Monumental Marathon: Training Week 6 of 12

Week6

Ahhhh, it felt so good to be home this week. I felt like I could finally focus on catching up on sleep and make the apartment feel more like a home as opposed to a random place where I’ve slept a few nights this month. I unpacked my office (finally) on Monday and working in my new space each day this past week was refreshing. The apartment is flooded with light in the morning – it makes waking up with my cup of coffee that much easier. 🙂

Because I was less stressed about the new place, I think I was also less stressed about training. The added relief of running my first 20 miler last weekend made me feel like I could really focus on quality workouts. Annnnd the PERFECT weather in Chicago lately was pretty nice too.

The glaring hole in my training lately has been a lack of both core AND strength work. This is a huge red flag to me because this is when I usually tend to break down. I’m committing to both this week and hope to avoid the DOMS waddle as much as I can. On the other hand, I have been foam rolling every day and stretching more than I have in recently weeks.

Monday: [Easy 8.1 mi, 7:45 avg] 

Legs had some pep and ‘pop’ (in a good way) today. It was a grey, gloomy day but a perfect one for an easy run. After about two weeks of running in hot & humid D.C., a cool lakefront felt like a big treat (and contributed to a relatively speedy easy run). It’s amazing what kind of clothing people think they should be wearing when it’s 60 degrees outside – shirtless dude in shorts was followed by a woman with ear warmers, two long sleeve shirts, and leggings on. IT’S NOT WINTER, PEOPLE! But I guess, you’re prepared?

Tuesday: [Speed: 10.07 mi, 4 x 1 mi] 

More progress! I take it as a good sign that I actually had FUN during this workout. My goal was to run the mile repeats at 6:15-6:30, so between target 5k and 10k pace. I think I’ve done 5 x 1 mi at 6:25 average before but that was probably a year ago. (And I knew that 6:15 per mile would have been pretty much ridiculous, so I settled on anything between 6:20-6:30.) I’m really happy with how this went and it was the perfect evening for a workout on the lakefront.

Splits: 6:29, 6:12 (poop break = mid-mile rest = speedy split), 6:19, 6:23 – 3 min recovery (45 min walk, remaining jog)

2.57 up, 2.2 down

Wednesday: [Easy 10, 7:54 avg] 

10 easy on the lakefront tonight. I felt like I had a ‘workout hangover’ this morning after the previous night’s speedwork so I didn’t run in the morning as planned. Longish work day and some relaxing at home before heading out around 6:30 pm, which is really late for me. It’s definitely getting darker earlier these days. Hurumph. It was so dark by the time I finished that I ran down the middle of my quiet street to avoid cracks in the sidewalk. I’m clearly learning since the bursitis fall, people! (This was myirst run in the Saucony Cortana – really like them, probably because they just feel like a heavier, more supportive Kinvara.)

Thursday: [10 mi, 7:17 avg with 3 x 10 min @ HMP-ish]

I guess this went well? I dunno, wasn’t really feeling it. Intervals were all on pace, but I just didn’t feel energetic today. 4 consecutive day of running and almost all 10+ miles, so being tired made sense. I was monitoring minor knee pain and iced it after the workout. Ran 2.5 to the lake, 3 x 10 mi at HMP-ish with 3 min jog recovery, and 1.9 home. Splits: 6:44, 6:41, 6:38. I had to give myself a big pep talk on the first one just to get through the headwind going north. Woof. Tailwind was appreciated on the last one!

Friday: OFF 

Much-appreciated rest day!!! My mom drove up this afternoon before seeing family in the suburbs on Saturday. We got mani-pedis and went out to an Italian restaurant for dinner together. It was a nice, relaxing evening. 🙂

Saturday: [15 mi, 7:41 avg]

Beautiful and relatively cool morning out on the lakefront this morning. Manuel A C. had his 20 miler and he absolutely crushed it with a solid negative split. He sauntered into Starbucks where we planned to meet like he was just out for a stroll. My 15 went well, although I was still monitoring some minor knee pain. It originally started on the inside of my right knee but later in the run it shifted to the outside and felt like IT band tightness. It didn’t get worse really, just noticed it off and on. The planned rest day Friday helped and Sunday is another rest day. Not too worried about it but it’s a little discouraging to feel these little pains pop up. I took an ice bath after the long run and iced my knee several times on both Saturday and Sunday. I felt really good at the end of the run, surprisingly. The last two miles were a fast finish: 6:58 & 6:52. I basically spent the rest of the day on the couch watching movies (post- long run insomnia yo!) , drinking beer, and eating pizza. First lazy Saturday in a long time!

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I stopped in Fleet Feet to buy a #RunChi t-shirt finally! And then I sheepishly tucked two magazines into my shopping bag. File this under: “I normally don’t look like this.” See also: “That will never happen again!”

Sunday: OFF

Complete rest day. Ahhhh. This felt heavenly. I fell asleep on the couch at 9:30 on Saturday (watching The Lorax, no less) and, after dragging myself to bed, woke up at 10 AM. I haven’t slept that long straight through in a long time and I desperately needed it. I felt like I was cracked out on Saturday, but a brand new refreshed person on Sunday morning. 12 hours sleep + donuts ‘n coffee + brunch with the CT and Corey + football & beer with friends = perfect lil’ Sunday.

Because this is such a condensed training cycle, I know my legs are taking more of a beating that they normally would in a longer cycle. I’m really taking it day by day so that I don’t do something stupid and blow up. I’ve had a bit of deja vu lately because this exact week last year was when my left adductor started to cause big problems and resulted in me not running the Grand Rapids marathon. Thanks to TimeHop, I relived the “big breakdown” through tweets of the past. (I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.) I’m doing my best to put my head down and put in the work so that I can have a great race this fall!

-J

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15 Long Distance Recovery Methods (And What They Actually Look Like in Real Life)

15 Long Distance Recovery Methods and What They Actually Look Like in Real Life

We all know that recovery is important. You have to stress, recover, and repeat to get fit & fast during a training cycle. But I always feel like people talk about recovery as if it’s some kind of sophisticated act of willing your muscles to feel relatively human again. When, in reality, it’s painful, not all that pretty, and usually involves some kind of teeth-baring agony if you’re really working hard. So, I’ve listed several fancy (and not so fancy) recovery methods and their literal “holy shit why does that hurt so much” translations for the long distance runner.

  1. Compression socks –> because squeezing both your muscles and your fat into socks that are 3-4x smaller than they should be feels really, really good (and we don’t know why but it kind of makes us feel badass)
  2. Foam rollin’ –> because why not roll around on the floor like a sloth for entirely way too long just because it hurts?
  3. Roll recovery –> basically, spring-loaded roller blade wheels with handles that inflict an inordinate amount of pain on your tender muscles. AKA meat/muscle tenderizer (and you’re too lazy and/or tired to roll around on the floor anyway)
  4. Legs up the wall –> Reverse that blood flow! And because that awkward bum-shaking shimmy that you do to get closer to said wall is actually hilarious after a 20 miler.
  5. Chocolate –> antioxidants, yo. (And because some smartass person once said: “Chocolate comes from cocoa, which comes from a tree. That makes it a plant. So, basically chocolate is a vegetable” …and I believe them 173.9%.)
  6. Beer –> Liquid carb-loading, because you probably already ate a bowl of pasta or an entire pizza today. Plus, it’s practically the nectar of the gods.
  7. Ice bath –> Because going to the edge of frostbite and back is worth it, damn it! If you can’t feel your crotch, you’re doing it right.
  8. Recovery boots –> To reach the point at which you discover that, in fact, your sciatic nerve does exist! And shit, you probably could take a blood pressure test from your buttocks. Also, because you’ve always wondered what it would be like to have elephantiasis of the legs.
  9. Active Release Technique (ART) –> Because you know you have “soft tissue” in there …. somewhere.
  10. Dry needling and/or acupuncture –> Your legs already hurt so what kind of damage could a bajillion tiny little needles do anyway?! Also, you do this because you get some sort of sick satisfaction of seeing your nerves pulsate and you’re really not sure why.
  11. Deep tissue massage –> Because you’re one badass chick/dude and a ‘relaxation’ massage with aromatherapy just won’t do. You value a massage therapist like a normal person values his/her best friend foreverrrrr.
  12. Trigger Point Massage Ball –> You seriously never thought you’d ever willingly sit on top of a lacrosse ball or tennis ball and call it ‘magic’. You buy the fancy ball anyway.
  13. The Stick –> You might as well use your grandmother’s old wooden rolling pin and call it a day. see also: meet tenderizer slash foam roller slash Roll Recovery.
  14. Your Couch –> Your most prized possession: you know, before, during, or after you commit to #1-13. It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, really. See alternate: the floor, because it’s never felt so comfortable as it does after a 20 miler in 90 degrees.
  15. Chiropractic adjustment –> You’re a sick individual and you love hearing that snap, crackle, and pop. And you’re supposedly ‘aligned’ because of it.

Your ability to recover quickly is directly correlated to your willingness to commit to 1 or 15 of these methods, which usually results in looking like some type of fool to the general population. But you never said you were normal anyway.

What’s your favorite recovery method? And what kind of love/hate relationship do you have with it?

– J

Monumental Marathon: Training Week 5 of 12

Week5

Week 5: the week I started to feel my legs coming back around.

This week wasn’t nearly as stressful as weeks 3 or 4 but I was still traveling for work and then extended my stay in DC through the weekend to spend time with my lovely sisters. I flew out Monday and flew home on Sunday so I was in full “live out of your suitcase” mode — which, is probably a good thing because whatever wasn’t in my suitcase was still packed away in boxes in the new apartment.

On Sunday, I realized I had only been home for 3 days this entire month — but I genuinely enjoyed training in DC! I felt like I had quality workouts and my legs didn’t struggle through workouts kicking and screaming (well, maybe a little whining here and there).

Monday: OFF 

I had a run planned today but I was exhausted and had to tidy up a few things before flying out that afternoon. A rest day after 13 mi at GMP (and 18 mi total) the day before was probably wise anyway. Worked out for the best.

Tuesday: [9.24 mi total: 10 x 600 workout] 

This was the BEST workout I’ve had probably since before Boston. I haven’t really felt like myself lately – but that’s probably because I only have 4-5 weeks of consistent running logged since the bursitis healed. Consistency is beginning to pay off.

I’m sure the cooler temps in DC had something to do with it – it was a beautiful morning for a workout. I ran through the mall to Potomac Park and ran around Hains Point. I wish I had done my research the week before because I would have done workouts in the same place. It’s flat, fairly shaded, and a large portion of it is actually closed to vehicles. I saw plenty of cyclists whiz by and some speedy runners. I think it was also a bit cooler right on the water. This was my first 600m repeat workout ever – it’s interesting because my body knows how to run 400m, but extending it 200m was challenging. The goal was between 6:10-6:20 pace with 1:30 recovery jog between (30 sec walk, 1 min jog)

Splits: 2:16, 2:18, 2:17, 2:17, 2:20, 2:20, 2:21, 2:12 (woah nelly), 2:16, 2:22.

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Confidence boost!

Wednesday: [Easy 5 with client + Easy 5 solo]

AM 5 easy, 8:24 avg: Took a client for a run around the tidal basin and down the national mall this morning. Another beautiful rave run in DC! Legs were tired yesterday and a bit fatigued this morning but the shakeout helped.

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View of the tidal basin, with Washington Monument to the left

PM 5 easy, 7:37 avg: Another easy 5 after a long day of work. Stopped at the Jefferson Memorial and the steps of the Lincoln Memorial just to people watch. Observation: there were groups or pairs of people that were obviously traveling together, yet they all chose to take selfies of themselves with each monument. I wanted to turn and yell “why don’t you just take each others’ picture?!”

Thursday: [9 miles, 7:40 avg – 6 mi steady state]

I slept through my workout this morning and had a full day of work. I was really looking forward to a solid 10-12 miles to start the day. Storms were expected later this afternoon so I wasn’t sure if I would be able to run at all. Luckily, my sister was planning on going to her gym today anyway and had a guest pass I could use. We had dinner plans so I shortened the steady state from 8 to 6 miles. It was stupid hot and humid in the gym and I never really found a rhythm. It’s been awhile since I ran on a treadmill in general so I’m assuming that’s why I felt a little crazed. Still, happy to be able to get in a short workout. 2 up, 6 at 7:13-7:19, 1 down.

Friday: [Recovery 4.13, 7:47 avg]

Recovery 4 from my sister’s apartment mid-morning. Ran down Capitol Hill and then back up it! A homeless dude chirped “4 min miles, 4 min miles,…” as I jogged by.

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Saturday: [20 mi LSD, 8:24 avg]

First 20 done! Fueled by pizza, chocolate brownies and ice cream. My sisters and I all had long runs to do this morning. Lindsey T. was a wonderful tour guide for the first 6 miles. We ran from her apartment down Capitol Hill to the mall, then over the bridge to the Mount Vernon Trail, where we split off to finish our own distances. I ran past DCA and then back to the Mall before doing a loop at Hains Point. I really started to miss frequent water fountains between miles 4.5 and 13.5. It wasn’t terribly hot or humid (and there was plenty of cloud cover) but I stopped for several minutes at mile 13-14 just to make sure to get enough water and not bonk. The first 6 mi were 10 min/mi just chatting with my sisters and the last 14 were 7:30-7:50. The last time all three of us ran together was probably middle school. We talked the entire time and I couldn’t believe that we’d already run 6 miles by the time we had to split off.

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Loved this route!

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3 sisters, 42 collective running miles before 11 AM.

20 miles followed by a beer festival. It’s practically routine now: run 20 and drink beer for 4 hrs. Related: if you ever thought Korean BBQ tacos taste yummy, try running 20 miles beforehand. I practically went weak at the knees.

Sunday: OFF – back to Chi 

I’m really happy with how this week’s training went. I may not be hitting paces or feeling quite as strong as I have in past cycles, but I know my legs and motivation are starting to come around. I feel like after being 157% stressed last week, that this week was a big ‘refresh button’. 7 weeks to go!

– J

Monumental Marathon: Training Weeks 3 & 4 of 12

Playing major catch up over here, folks! It’s been hectic the past few weeks to say the least. The week of August 25th, I spent packing up my apartment and preparing for a move that weekend (no Labor Day relaxation for me). As if moving wasn’t stressful enough already, I had a trip to DC for work that’s been part of a big year-long project Monday- Thursday of the following week. I literally unpacked my apartment for 4 hours before heading to the airport and didn’t have a chance to even sleep in my new apartment until Thursday night. It’s like I don’t even live there….yet. 🙂

Pro tip: If you ever try to squeeze moving, work travel, and marathon training into a condensed time frame, you will need way more coffee than you ever thought you would need in a lifetime. Also, you will be hungry and tired for approximately 2 weeks. But hey, that’s just normal marathon training right?

So, here’s my attempt to recap two weeks of training!

Week 3 – August 25th Training Recap:

Week3

Monday: [Easy 6, 8:01 avg] Just an easy 6 around the neighborhood. Nice and cool-ish evening after the rain came through today.

Tuesday: [Speedwork 8.3 miles, 7:24 average] 1 mi, 4 x 400, 1 mi

This was a big reminder that I’m not in shape yet. Annnnd I’m in that phase where I’m trying to run paces I feel like I should be able to run, but I’m definitely not there yet. These paces are misleading due to stops to tell myself to “woah nellllyyyyyy”. (reverse pep talk? Is that what you would call self-talk to slow down?)

~3 mi up (bathroom stop)
1mi- 6:19 (wayyyy too fast)
4 x 400 with 2 min RI – 1:29, 1:33, 1:27, 1:30
1 mi- 6:25 (again too fast, but convinced myself to cruise a bit)
~1 mi down

Wednesday: [Easy 9 mi, 7:56 avg] 

Gorgeous, peaceful morning out there on the lakefront. I stopped a few times just to take pics (carried my phone so I could track bus home). It was especially calm and quiet because I ran without music. The legs are starting to notice higher mileage weeks.

2014-08-27 09.34.35

Thursday: [Steady state 9.44 mi, 7:27 avg]

Wahooo! Either my legs are coming back or the low temp & humidity really helped me tonight (hopefully both?!). Last week I struggled with a short tempo run and tonight, a steady state felt relatively easy. It actually turned into an impromptu progressive tempo because I was feeling so good – and I clearly celebrated in those last two miles. 🙂

2.4 up
Steady splits: 7:11, 7:05, 7:04, 7:00, 6:46, 6:46
1 down

Friday: “REST” 

Rest is relative. Packing and everything that goes along with it is exhausting. I’m so glad we started packing on Monday and gradually put everything into boxes.

Saturday: [15 mi long, 7:53 avg]

This just felt like a slog. My legs didn’t really bounce back after Thursday’s workout (and especially Wednesday’s hip strength session). I stopped a few times today just to stretch my hip flexors out – each time, it helped. It was unexpectedly hot today too. Probably should have hydrated more last night. Just a mentally and physically hard week I guess- but solid mileage! Gu at Mile 6 and 11 – plenty of water stops.

I was incredibly stressed and tired the rest of the day. The little odds and ends always take the most time when you’re packing. I thought we’d be done packing have time to relax by 7 or 8 pm but I was still packing at 10 pm. Still, packing beers helped. 🙂

Sunday: MOVING

The movers were on time and everything was loaded into the new place by 11:30 AM. It’s a long story, but we didn’t have a place to stay that night so Corey and Brad were very kind to host us. After a super hectic week, it was so nice to spend time with friends playing Would You Rather, drinking beer, and eating a delicious dinner.

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Unplanned dress coordination.

Week 4 – September 1 Training Recap:

Week4

Monday: 4 hours unpacking + flight to DC.

Monday-Thursday: work + flight home Thursday evening

Friday: work + near nervous breakdown + family arrives!

Saturday-Sunday: fun in Chicago + Chi Half Marathon as workout

(next Monday: flight out to DC for the week again)

This week was really tough. I had to shift around a few runs and do a double to get some easy miles in. I tried to get as much sleep as possible and still fit in plenty of training. I was super stressed out trying to manage some of the logistics after moving apartments – probably more difficult to do that long-distance than it would have been at home.

Monday: REST 

Tuesday: [Easy 6, 8:09 average]

I had about an hour between finishing the work day and meeting my sister for dinner. It’s HOT here this week – heat index was over 100 degrees today – so I ran on the treadmill for the first time in months. It’s a crappy hotel treadmill but it was likely better than running outside. I didn’t run from Saturday until today, so any kind of movement made me happy.

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Look what my sister showed up with! First time seeing it in person!

Wednesday: [4 easy miles in AM + 10 easy on Rock Creek Parkway in PM]

4 mi easy (around 9 min/mi pace?) Led some clients on a monument tour this morning. I’ve led a few runs with this client before and haven’t had that great of a turnout. I had 5 people come this morning! I’m sure it didn’t have anything to do with me and more to do with how close the hotel is to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. We ran up the steps to Lincoln in a giant herd of folks at November Project. 🙂 (crossing my fingers and toes that I can do a workout tonight)

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10 mi on Rock Creek Parkway: 7:32 avg. All hope is not lost on this week’s training! As much as I really did not want to go running tonight, I’m so glad I did. I’ve never run the Rock Creek Parkway before, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. I sort of knew where I was going and planned an out-and-back route to be safe. I had about an hour of sunlight left so that helped me churn out these 10 (I got back to my hotel at 9 miles once the sun set and went to the hotel gym for the last one – anything to get those miles in!) I had a fartlek planned with 10k pace surges but that was thrown out the window when I realized how hilly the parkway is. Basically just ran by effort up and down the hills and tried to keep an even pace. Will definitely run through there again.

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Big hill = moment to stop and take in the view

I’ve never done doubles as part of my training. Running 14 mi in one day wasn’t the easiest way to get the miles in but I enjoyed getting out there for the sunrise AND sunset today.

rock creek

Thursday: [Easy 5.4, 7:46 avg]

I was most definitely tired today, but when I woke up and checked the weather for Chicago for this evening, I figured I should get out there for an easy run before I fly home. It wasn’t even 70 degrees but still fairly humid. I did loopty loops around the mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol. Lots of runners out there this morning! I really love running in DC. I’d always heard that Washington D.C. is a runner’s city but I didn’t really believe it until this week. It’s nice to have different options – the Rock Creek Parkway is a completely different run than the National Mall. As much as I love the Chicago Lakefront, it would be nice to have more options.

2014-09-04 10.24.54

Friday: REST 

I had planned to run today but I was a) super tired and b) super f*&^%ing stressed out from unpacking and setting up the apartment. I probably wasted a good 15-18 hours of my life talking to Comcast within 4 days and I nearly reached my breaking point on Friday morning. It’s not worth sharing here, but I’m sure 90% of Comcast customers have similar stories to mine. The good news? I finally talked to someone that could help me and our service was restored by 1 pm.

I had family visiting this weekend so I wanted to make sure the apartment was at least a bit like home before they arrived. We went to Piece for dinner and drank entirely too much beer at the Emporium Arcade Bar that night.

Saturday: OFF 

Shakeout was planned before Sunday’s half but spending time with the fam won out.

Sunday: [18 mi total- 13 mi steady state (close to GMP) at Chicago Half + 5 w/up & c/down] 

Manny signed up for the Chicago Half months ago and I realized this fit into my training plan really well. My schedule had 13-14 at GMP to GMP + 20 sec and I did a total of 5 mi as warmup and cool down. First 18 miler of this super short training cycle! I didn’t get my tempo workout in this week, so I guess this steady state replaced it! I felt pretty flat the entire 13 but that’s to be expected with no shakeout yesterday and poor sleep all week. My goal was to start out closer to 7:30 but I got caught up in the race atmosphere and ran 7:10-7:20 for the first few miles (definitely felt that later on!) I took my time at water stops (1 min) and made sure to pour water over my head in the later miles when it started to get hot. I’ve run this course once before as a training run and remember it being more fun- seemed boring to me this year. Still, it’s a well run race. Met up with Lynton K. and Pete afterward for a “delicious” Mich Ultra. After 4 shakeout miles, it actually did taste good but I’m convinced anything would at that point.

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A 12-week training cycle isn’t ideal but I think I’m making progress.

Phew! Tough cookies the past two weeks. I’m a bit disappointed that my training didn’t have as much quality as planned, but I was probably a bit naive to think that I would be able to fit it all in this week and still have plenty of energy for that small thing we call work. I really enjoyed running in DC and knew that I would be able to stick to more of a routine the following week. I have to keep reminding myself that 4 weeks ago, I wasn’t even sure if I could train for a fall marathon. I’m so happy that the bursitis subsided and I’m beginning to feel like myself again. I figure this cycle is just one big experiment anyway. 4 weeks ago, running an easy 13 miles felt like a 19 or 20 miler. I knocked out 18 with a solid workout on Sunday – progress! #realitycheck

Spoiler alert: my legs started to come back this week!

– J