Base Building for Spring Racing: To Bayshore!

I haven’t been posting weekly training updates because it seemed silly to recap a relatively boring schedule (base training isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to write or read about). But a small recap seems fitting because I just wrapped up my 8th week back to normal and consistent mileage after the craziness of Monumental and Honolulu.

This winter has been so different than the past two years – mostly because I’m not training for Boston. Props to all of you fighting through the winter to peak for a great experience – it’s no small feat! I’m personally not missing hilly 20 milers and brutal speed workouts against a Chicago headwind but I’m really excited to follow those of you running in April. [I’m sure I’ll get the itch to run Boston again at some piont but maybe after some recent memories fade away and I’m ready to fight with the weather.] I’ll stick to my 90 minute long runs and a fairly amicable relationship with the treadmill for now.

So, the past 8 weeks have been a slow build to relatively normal mileage and I’ve gradually added in speed and tempo workouts. The first week I ran 20 miles total and this past week I rounded it out with 40 miles (and one 5-day streak, which hasn’t happened since Octoberish!). The first 4 weeks or so were full of easy peasey miles and the only ‘speed’ I did included workouts like 10 x 1 min surges with 1 min recovery or 5 miles easy with 10 min up tempo to finish. Getting back into shape has been tough but every week I finish feeling more and more like myself. My first longish run was only 7.6 miles and that felt incredibly tough (granted, it was 10 degrees and Corey & I had to fight through 20-30 mph winds for over half the run). I think no matter how many marathons I run, it’s always surprising to me how difficult even 3 miles feels after a recovery period. It’s the nature of the marathon training beast, I suppose. I haven’t had any “oh my goodness life is beautiful and running is the greatest and I ran so fastttttt” kind of runs yet but I have a feeling they will come if I keep putting in the work.

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I’m proud of the consistency in my running and my strength training so far this year. I haven’t skipped my hip and glute strength routine (wahoooo!) and I’ve done core workouts at least 2 times each week. (It’s always easier for me to commit to these routines in the winter, when I’m usually already at the gym.) Staying out of the “more and more mileage is better” trap isn’t easy but I know I can’t focus on shorter distances (and tough speed workouts) without cutting mileage (easier said than done especially after dedicating so much time to the marathon the past two years).

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I had one of those DERP “WHY ARE MY LEGS SO HEAVY?!” long runs last weekend. At least the sun was out!

So! This week kicks off a 12 week training cycle leading up to the Bayshore Half in May!  12 weeks seems like a long time to get fit for 13.1 (or so I keep telling myself) and I’m excited about some workouts that I’ve never done before. The Shamrock Shuffle 8k is coming up in a few short weeks (eepers!). I’m already starting to get nervous — probably because, in 2014, I only raced …..wait for it…. TWICE! [New York Half in March and Monumental in November; paced my sister at Honolulu]. I’ll be getting to more start lines in 2015 – I’d rather just get out there than be greedy about racing when I feel like it’s “worth it” (AKA when I feel like I can PR). I haven’t decided if I’ll be racing it all out or treating it as a tough tempo workout yet but either way it’s going to be a good tune-up, along with the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in April.

17 days til spring!

26 days to Shamrock 8k

40 days to Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

and 80 days to Bayhore.

What’s coming up on your calendar? How are you dealing with the winter weather in your area?

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{Currently} February 12, 2015

Reading: I just finished reading Station Eleven, as one of the books on my list of books I aboslutely must read in 2015. My sister pushed me to read it and I’m glad she did. I don’t normally pick up sci-fi-ish books but this one didn’t seem so other worldly. If you’re looking for a good book to read, I recommend it. Now…what should I read next? (as if I don’t have enough to choose from on my Goodreads lists…)

Obsessed with: This isn’t really a new obsession but I’ve found myself watching a LOT of Fixer Upper lately. I get sucked into design and renovation shows on HGTV all the time. I think it’s because my mom is always decorating and redecorating the house and I think I’ve somehow acquired that design gene. Once a room is ‘finished’, I always seem to find a way to justify changing it. Fixer Upper is entertaining mostly because Chip and Joanna are a hilarious couple. I appreciate that they don’t take themselves too seriously. I’m contemplating moving to Texas just to befriend them…and their kids… and their puppies (don’t tell Barklee Ann).

Also, I splurged on a pair of new booties. Obsessed. They were really comfortable right out of the box.

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Restocking: my supply of Nuun. I think the last time I placed an order was October (gasp!), so I bought a ton of different flavors this time around. I’ve been trying to drink *at least* 24 oz of water before noon every day. After I stopped training for a specific race and dedicated time to recovery, I fell into the bad habit of sipping coffee all morning (it takes me a long time to finish one cup) and realizing once I sit down to lunch that I haven’t yet had any WATER. Morning workouts are few and far between these days but I’m doing myself zero favors by waiting to consume water until so late in the day.

Happy about: how I’m responding to training lately. It’s only my 6th week back to consistent mileage and I’m slowly but surely starting to feel like myself again. My PR at Monumental feels like such a long time ago (and it kind of was); I keep reminding myself that running isn’t necessarily going to feel that great in the beginning, but each week seems to improve. The first 4 weeks back in a routine were a slog with plenty of easy miles, zero true workouts, and a fair amount of cross training. Besides an angry piriformis and a few visits to the chiropractor in January, it was a standard little base building phase. At the end of February, I started adding small workouts like: 4 x 1200 at tempo pace with 400 m recovery and 10 x 1 min surges.

I like the routine of my hip strength and core strength routines, spin, yoga, and 5 runs per week (between 25-35mpw) right now.

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My sister and I ran a few miles together over the weekend. Looks a little different now doesn’t it?

October vs. February

Spending time: in Holland, MI with my family. Last weekend, I took the Amtrak up to Holland to spend the weekend with my mom, sister, and brother. We all had a free weekend and made plans to go up there and relax. The state park there is busy in the winter, with residents checking out the frozen lake. I couldn’t believe how far out people were walking – you could barely even see the water beyond all of the ice. Can’t wait to go back and enjoy it this summer 🙂

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Surviving: the winter blues. When Chicago received 22 inches of snow last week (one of our biggest blizzards ever), I thought, “okay, this isn’t so bad.” But the next day I woke up with a big old ‘deeeeeerrrrrrrrp’ & thought, “when the heck is this going to end?!”. I trained through the past two Chi winters to prepare for Boston so I’m no stranger to dealing with the elements. There’s something about just making it happen that makes you feel like a badass while everyone is inside running on the treadmill. Last year, I would do anything just to get to the lakefront and get a solid workout in. But I don’t have Boston on the horizon and I’m fine with ‘resorting’ to the treadmill for most workouts (the only run I’ve consistently done outside is my long run, mostly because I have the time to get to and from the lakefront path). It’s been fairly sunny lately, but those grey days are a big downer. I increased the amount of Vit D I’m taking and treating exercise like it’s my own personal sunshine. 35 days until spring, folks!

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Relaxing with: hot epsom salt baths. Summer = ice baths. Winter = epsom salt baths. I bought Dr. Teal’s salt bath for tension and fatigue a few weeks ago. I add in a little bit of bubble bath (because why not?!) and take a hot epsom salt bath after most of my long runs. Winter training is so different from training through the summer. In the winter, I sleep in and have a lazy morning drinking coffee while I procrastinate my run. In the summer, I chug a half a cup of coffee and get my butt out the door before the temps climb too high.

Are you surviving the winter? Are you loving it or are you over it?

-J