Boston 2014 Training: Week 4 of 16

Boston 2014 Week 4 of 16

This week, I ran 43 miles.

Strength training x 1

Spin Class x 1

Core Routine x 3

5 Runs

1 Rest Day

The goal this week was to be realistic, put in the work, and be patient. (And know that the fitness will come!)


6 recovery miles, 8:12 average. + Bodypump class

Planned on working a half-day on the holiday but spent a large portion of the morning at the gym (and it was surprisingly busy!) I ran 6 easy treadmill miles as recovery to get back into the week while watching the Today show. My legs seemed to have more pep today than they usually do on recovery days. Good sign!

And thennnnnn…I went to my first Bodypump class. Let me just say that I’m typically not into this kind of group fitness class. I’m not sure why but I’d rather get the work done on my own. But I’m glad I went! My upper body was in sufficient shock by the end and there were tons of squats and lunges to strengthen these grandma hips (although they’re feeling less and less creaky each week.) I’m thinking about going back to Bodypump through this cycle to work on overall strength.


[4 mile tempo] 7 miles, 7:34 average.

Today, I decided to dominate the treadmill instead of letting it get the best of me like it did last week. It worked! 2 miles up, 4 mile tempo, and 1 down. Splits: 7:08, 7:03, 7:03, 6:58. I’m still working my way back into fighting shape and tempos are always the hardest part of that, it seems (especially on the treadmill). But for some reason, I was able to find my groove today. And despite some pretty tired post-Bodypump legs, they still had some kick. Happy happy joy joy!


1 Hour impromptu DJ Spin Class + Core Routine x 2

BEST.SPIN.CLASS.EVER! Not kidding. I went to the gym looking forward to a solo, easy spin just to flush the legs and apparently I read the schedule wrong because I showed up just in time for a live DJ spin class. Yep, spin instructor AND live DJ. I was a bit skeptical at first but I’m definitely going back now. Awesome music and the instructor was the best I’ve had at my gym (and I’ve tried 4-5 by now). So much for an easy spin! Plenty of springs, progressive hills, and jumps. I haven’t sweat that much in one spin class…ever. I had a puddle underneath my bike by the end. 🙂

+ core routine x 2

Winter Hydration with Nuun


[5 x 1000m repeats] 8 miles, 7:55 average.

Booyah! This one felt good! For some reason I’ve been able to find my groove on the treadmill lately. I still don’t love it but you gotta do what you gotta do in the winter. I ran 2 mi w/up, 5 x 1k with 400m recovery, and 2 mi c/down. Splits: 3:50, 3:54, 3:54, 3:53, 3:50.

I was really happy with how this went. The goal was just to run smooth and controlled through all 5. Mission accomplished–now I have a baseline for future 1k repeats. Oh! And I received a few weird looks at the gym when I did a shoe switcharoo between warmup-workout-cooldown. Side note: I felt like I was flying in my racing flats. I’m happy to transition back into them for speed workouts after a long hiatus.

And then….I drank beer and cooked dinner with a recipe from the Craft Beer Cookbook. Because, I can drink my beer and cook with it too.

Craft Beer Cookbook


Full rest day. Highlights include copious amounts of pizza and beer.


6 recovery miles, 8:15 average + Core Routine x 1

After a big brunch, a mid-afternoon nap sounded blissful but I knew I’d feel good after running easy. I was looking forward to a super early bed time to make up for it but that didn’t happen for some reason.


15.28 miles, 7:35 average pace.

I shifted my long run today to avoid yesterday’s 25-30 mph winds and I’m pretty glad I did. The wind today was strong at times, but not like last week (probably because it from the W). I started around 11 am after a full night’s sleep, some coffee, and a Picky bar–smooth caffeinator ftw! I wore my neck gaiter and sunglasses (which I almost never wear) to block the wind. The first half was a big slushy mess and my legs were pretty fatigued halfway through. I saw Chanthana around mile 4 when she was 9 miles in and was jealous that she’d be inside and warm sooner than I. 🙂 She helped me get out of the house this morning when she told me to put my Boston jacket on and get it done. By mile 8, I just wanted to be done with this one, but once I turned around to run back south, conditions improved. I really need to befriend the dude that drives that little John Deere plow on the lakefront –he made the second half of this one SO much more enjoyable than the second. Kind of shocked at my pace. Still aerobic and didn’t feel like I was running outside of a comfortable zone. Keeping an eye on my right foot, felt a bit sore by the end.

14 degrees, real feel 4 degrees
20 mph wind gusts, 4 mph constant

Total Miles: 43 miles, 5 runs


Some nice progress this week, I think! The treadmill was nice to me and I was shocked at how smooth and comfortable the 1k repeats went on Thursday. And fighting through the mental battle of tempo-ing on the treadmill on Tuesday makes me think that training is going well. I decided to go to ART every 10 days again, so things started to feel a bit creaky by week’s end, so it will be nice to work some things out in a few days.



Boston 2014 Training: Week 3 of 16

Jan 19 Boston

This week, I ran 37 miles.

ART x 1.

Hip Strength x 1.

Core x 1.

This week was a cutback recovery week and I took full advantage of it. The past few weeks, I did a considerable amount of cross-training on my running rest days. A little bit of yoga and spin here and there has been making my legs feel fresh when it comes to workouts lately. But this week, the couch and some movies sounded more appealing. 🙂


6.85 miles, 7:29 average (Speed ladder 1200m to 400m)

It’s been a long time since I had to write a speed workout on my hand so I wouldn’t forget the target paces. (I sweat it off by halfway through the workout, anyway haha.) Loving these “warm” temps –with the sun out this afternoon, it felt like spring.  The wind made a few of the intervals difficult. The path was still full of ice but I chose a section that was mostly clear and ran all of my repeats on the same section of the lakefront path.

2.38 w/up
Speed ladder with 200m RI (1 min walk, 1 min jog)
1200 – target 4:39/ actual 4:34
1000- target 3:49/ actual 3:44
800- target 3:02/ actual 3:01
600 – target 2:15/ actual 2:12
400- target 1:29/ actual 1:30
1.25 c/down

This was definitely a challenge. Legs had a hard time working through the 800 m interval after pushing hard on the 1200 and 1000. On top of that, I started to feel the affects of acid reflux in the last few repeats. I ate lunch an hour and a half before I started my run, so probably should have waited a bit longer to digest.


5 recovery miles, 8:12 average. Treadmill.

+ Jillian Michaels 6 Week 6 Pack DVD –> RETURN OF JILLIAN MICHAELS! And yep, this DVD is just as hard as I remember it being last cycle. I actually consider this core and hip strength training because there are plenty of lunges and hip work. It’s amazing how strong you can feel after only 30 minutes of Jillian Michaels yelling at you through a tv screen.


Complete rest day. I got my nails done and watched silly TV. Because, sometimes you just need a girly day. 🙂


7 miles, 7:34 average. (Progressive tempo-ish run)

+ Hip Strength Routine

Recovery week tempo-ish run. Ran 1 mi up, 5 mi progressive from 7:30-6:48, and 1 mi down. This actually didn’t feel as “easy” as I was expecting it to, probably because it was on the treadmill and the temptation to either slow down or stop is stronger. I haven’t locked into a strong tempo pace yet (still early in the cycle!) but I assumed working my way from 7:30 to 7:00 min/mile pace over 5 miles would feel easier. Really wish I had run this one outside instead of on the treadmill!


5 recovery miles, 8:12 average. Treadmill.

10 min rowing + 10 min Stairmaster + ART appointment

Who knew the gym was the place to be at 7 pm on a Friday night?! I couldn’t believe how busy it was–thought it was going to be empty. The true sign of a good recovery run? My legs felt so much better after this than they did beforehand. Went to PT for another ART appointment in the morning. Worked out some left hip soreness and did some Graston on my outer left quad.

For no reason whatsoever, I felt like using the rowing machine and the Stairmaster after my run, neither of which I’ve used in the past 3-4 years? I consider this super light cross-training of the week. Plus, the stairs have to be good for these runnin’ glutes, right?!


13 mile long run, 7:31 average.

Cut back week long run out on the lakefront this morning. Motivated to get out there before the snow hit this afternoon. Some of my long runs this cycle are going to include some faster miles and a few goal marathon paced miles. I’ve never really done that besides some fast finish runs and I’m curious to see how it affects my overall training. I decided to do 1-2 mi w/up, 9-10 mi 7:20-7:35, and 1-2 mi c/down. My legs did a fair job of ‘turning on’, but not until later in the run when my face almost froze off in the wind. I really regret not wearing my neck gaiter to cover my face when I really needed it (last ~4-5 miles). Always a rude awakening when you enjoy running north and forget about the wind running the opposite direction. Solid airplane side-5 with Chanthana (thank goodness we didn’t meet 2 minutes beforehand–she would have caught me mid-snot-rocket!) 🙂 The legs felt pretty tired by the end but I was more frustrated with the cold wind than anything else.

Followed by (you guessed it!) yet another brunch with Chanthana and Corey. We’re like…really really really really really ridiculously good at brunching.


Brunch and total rest!


I think I put in another solid week of training. I impressed myself with the speed ladder on Monday, and even though the progressive didn’t go well on Thursday, I’m sure it would have been a different outcome on any other day or if I chose to run outside. Tempos are mentally tough no matter what, but the treadmill adds a little bit more of a challenge than I was feeling up to that day. I’m happy with the long run, especially because I seemed to lock into the target pace early on and hold it fairly easily.

Bring on another good week!

Boston 2014 Training: Week 2 of 16

A solid week of training and again, big success because my legs didn’t fall off! Baby steps, people.

This week was all about surviving the #polarvortex and #Chiberia. Because, let’s be serious, I’m sure as heck not running outside in anything that ‘feels like’ less than 0 freakin’ degrees. I have a love-hate relationship with the treadmill, but I’m glad I had access to one this week!

This week, I ran 38 miles.

60 min yoga.

1 hr spin class.

ART x 1.

Massage x 1.

Core x 1.

Hip strength x 1.

Week 2 of 16 Boston 20145 runs and 2 cross-training days. Solid.

Monday: 5 miles, 8:12 pace + Core and Hip Strength routines

5 recovery miles after 15 on the treadmill the day before. I trekked to the gym to get this easy run in. It’s only a 3-4 minute walk but I bundled up and covered everything except my eyeballs. 🙂 Legs aren’t sore from 15 yesterday but they still felt a bit heavy today.

Tuesday: 7 miles, 7:53 pace – 4 x 800 workout

After a long work day and frigid commute, I drank some hot tea and trudged over to the gym to do this on the treadmill. (Who else is excited for the HEAT WAVE of 35 degrees this weekend?!?!?!) Ran 2 mi w/up, 4 x 800 with 400 m RI, and 2 mi c/down. After waiting 10 minutes for a treadmill (which never happens because I never go to the gym at 6:30 pm, the rush), I was happy to get started. The first one was definitely a challenge but I found my groove by the 3rd repeat and the 4th was a good challenge. All of them were 3:09-3:11.

Wednesday: 1 hour yoga 

I’m loving yoga lately. Lots of things to stretch out. Plus, when I go in the evening, I’m relaxed and ready for bed by 9 pm. #hermit

Thursday: 8 miles, 7:26 average – 4 mile tempo workout

After too many treadmill miles in the past 7 days, I was excited to finally get out to the lakefront for a workout. Headed out around 3 pm when the light snow was coming down. Ran 2 up, 4 mi tempo, and 2 down. Originally scheduled a 5 mi “long tempo” workout but decided to run 4 at a quicker pace. Periods of slush and slide on the lakefront but overall not too bad. Last two tempo miles were tough against the wind. Splits: 7:07, 7:04, 7:04, 7:00.

Friday: 1 hr spin class + ART at PT

Made it to another Friday spin class with Corey. It was an endurance ride and most of it was in the saddle, which made for a pretty boring class but it was a good flush of the legs before running long tomorrow at least. Went to PT this morning for another ART session–feelin’ fresh.

And surpriiiiiise! We’re already at the 100-day countdown to Boston!

2014-01-10 08.39.11

Saturday: 14 mile long run, 7:53 average at Morton Arboretum 

Drove out to Morton Arboretum with Chanthana and Corey this morning to get some hill work in. These Boston-bound ladies will be ready for those hills in April! My legs feel like they ran more like 20 miles than 14 because sections of the East and West loops were literally sheets of ice. We had to constantly cut across the path to find the passable sections — they sanded a good portion of it but the temps made it slick, I think. At Mile 7, I thought I’d cut this short and just get a solid 1:30 in but once I got there, I pulled it together and finished the scheduled 14 miles. Something seemed to click around mile 9 and I just went with it. Happy to finish the last two at 7:21 and 7:18 after working the legs pretty hard on those hills. Last year I didn’t do any hill training for Boston — this is a good start.


2014-01-11 15.36.31

Sunday: 4 easy recovery miles, 8:23 average on the treadmill 

Super easy recovery run after brunch, massage, and errands. Really wish I could have run and then enjoyed the massage, but the legs are flushed either way!

This week was pretty great. If there was any indication that the left quad is ready to work, it was Saturday’s hilly 14-miler. I’m sure many would scoff at the hills we ran, but they’re really challenging when your normal runs look like this…


I rested hardcore on Saturday evening and woke up on Sunday feeling fatigued, but not sore. Another good sign! I think the speedwork is helping to build strength and I know that the added cross-training is helping to correct some imbalances that I didn’t know existed (until it was too late) in the fall.  I’ve also been using the R8 Roll Recovery almost every single day—honestly, not sure how I survived without. The legs have felt refreshed every time I go out for a run lately!

Boston 2014 Training: Week 1 of 16

I went back and forth a few times on whether or not to publish my weekly training recaps this time around. I haven’t been posting much pace/split information on Dailymile because I want this cycle to be more ‘internal’. That said, I’m going to jot down a few details each week to keep training in perspective leading up to Boston 2014.

Boston is 15 weeks away! WUT.

2014-01-06 11.17.40

This was the first “real” week of Boston training as it was the first week I put in some solid speed work and a short tempo run. I put in some solid base training, with 167 miles in December. I’m pretty psyched that everything seems to be coming together and each week I’ve felt more and more like myself.

So, this is how Week 1 went down:

I ran 39.5 miles.

90 minutes yoga

ART x 1

Massage x 1

Core x 1

Hip Strength x 1


Easy 5 recovery miles, 8:12 average. treadmill miles 

+ ART at physical therapy and 1 hour massage in PM


Easy 5.5 miles, 8:05 average.

So, today was supposed to be mile repeats. Buuuut they didn’t happen. I was lazy this morning (taking advantage of time off work to get some good sleep) and then I had to run errands. The gym closed early and I knew the snow was going to start around 3 pm but I really wanted to get the final run of 2013 in. I ran the 2 miles to the lakefront and on my way, I teamed up with this dude riding his bike to catch a stray dog that was running through traffic. I followed her without getting too close until she turned around when we tried to ‘corral’ her but she was too quick. The cyclist seemed to be having better luck so I wished him luck and ran on to the lakefront. Conditions weren’t terrible because the snow was somewhat ‘crunchy’ but mile repeats would have been awkward and likely painful with bad footing, so I’ll shift this week’s workouts. When I finished up the easy 5 and left the lakefront trail, I ran into the cyclist and guess what?! He was able to get close enough to the dog after she went down into a snow bank by the river!!! She had a tag on so hopefully the owners are happy to have their dog back this evening. I gave him a high five and told him HAPPPPPY NEWWWW YEARRRR! 😉


REST/ Cross-training –> 90 minutes of New Year’s Yoga. My definition of a lovely NYE is a yummy dinner and being in bed by 12:15 AM, both of which I accomplished. I impressed myself by making it to a 10 AM class on the first day of the year. I was happy with lots of hip openers and pigeon in class!

2013-12-31 20.08.37-2


7 miles, ~8  min average. Mile repeats: 6:27 pace on the treadmill  + CORE

2 mi up, 3 x 1 mi repeat at 6:27 with 400 m RI, 1.25 down. First repeat was stupid hard, I had to pee in the middle of the second (heh), and I finished strong on the third. I was happy to get it done without feeling like my legs were falling off. We’ll see where these mile repeats are at in weeks ahead!


7 miles, ~8 min average. Short tempo! 2 x 1 mi tempo pace + HIP STRENGTH ROUTINE

Ran easy 7 miles with 2 x 1 mi at 6:58 with 2 min RI. I’m slowly easing back into the cycle with this workout. I’ve had some really great steady state runs and easy runs that have been at a quicker pace than I thought they would be in the past few weeks. Everything seems to feel more difficult on the treadmill and, after Thursday’s mile repeats, I was very happy with the tempo pace.



I skipped out on the ‘balmy’ 20-something temperatures this morning to give my legs a rest. I knew I’d take a chance on the weather but I was still hoping I’d be able to run long on the lakefront on Sunday. I was mistaken.


15 miles, treadmill insanity. 8 min/mi average.

Soooooo I went to the gym to run long on the treadmill today. I’m glad I came prepared with a movie on my iPad because I may not have finished all 15 mi without it. I took a water and stretch break at an hour and again at 90 minutes. Shifted the pace between 8:06-7:47 throughout along with the incline to change it up. Ya know, now that it’s over I’m kind of surprised how easy that was. The Way Way Back entertained me for all of 1 hr 40 minutes before I turned the music on. The last 20 minutes was easily the most difficult, probably because I can’t avoid thinking about the time remaining on the treadmill.

I’m happy I was able to put in some good work this week despite some crazy weather. I took a risk running mile repeats and the tempo back-to-back but the legs seemed to respond well after the rest day on Saturday. I’ve been using the Roll Recovery R8 practically everyday along with using the foam roller to release my glutes. I haven’t really been sore because of it. Need to keep up this routine!

So, off to a good start! 15 weeks to go…


A Reflection on What Worked: 2013 Edition

A (belated) annual recap is in order. I really like looking back on years’ past and I think I deserve it to myself to recap 2013. This is more for me than for anyone reading so you really shouldn’t feel obligated to read 🙂 (Because, let’s be serious–enough annual recaps are floating around out there!) 

2011 was the year of firsts.

2012 was the year of: “Ok, I did all that last year. What can I possibly tackle in 2012?”.

2013 was more like a rollercoaster. A lot of good things happened and a lot of unexpectedly sad and frustrating things happened.

BUT, there are accomplishments to celebrate and setbacks to learn from so that 2014 is the best year of running and racing yet.

In 2013, I…

improved my 5k time by 33 seconds.

improved my half marathon time by 2 min, 30 seconds.

improved my marathon time by 3 minutes, 10 seconds.

ran 1,622 total miles (annual personal distance record).

ran a monthly mileage high of 202 miles in March.

ran an average of 31 miles per week and 135 miles per month.

successfully trained through a Chicago winter and raced my first Boston Marathon.

ran my first relay– Hood to Coast with Nuun!

2013 Races

raced 6 times, with PRs in the 5k, 10k, half, and full.

bonked…hard. Ya live and ya learn, ya know?

trained hard for a fall marathon that didn’t happen. It can’t all be sunshine and rainbows.

was reminded that the ‘little things’ make a big difference (and that acupuncture and ART are my friends!).

and placed in my age group a few times! (it appears my fears of placing in this competitive age group were a bit dramatic):

  • Wacky 10k: 2nd place overall female, 1st age group
  • Chicago Women’s 5k: 2nd place age group
  • Bastille Day 5k: 2nd place age group


So, there ya have it. All in all, it was a year of accomplishment with a few setbacks. What doesn’t kill ya makes you stronger. I’m looking forward to a fun year of racing and running in 2014!

– J