Training Check In

It’s hard to believe I’m already in the middle of my 7th week of training for the Chicago Marathon – I swear time passes by more quickly with each passing year!

Since I haven’t been doing weekly training recaps for this training cycle like I did for Boston this Spring, I figured I could do a quick check in post to say how things are going, and what’s different this time around from training through winter/spring ๐Ÿ™‚

Biggest change: I’m not using Hansons Marathon Method. (Whattt??) I know, I know. Hansons helped me nail a PR in Boston, and I felt good doing it too. I absolutely plan to use this method again, but I’m doing so for next year’s Boston Marathon. The reason I really chose Hansons in the first place was that the longest run on the schedule was 16 miles. I hate winter weather, and the thought of suffering through multiple 20-milers in the dead of winter really turned me off. I completely loved Hansons, and think the cumulative fatigue worked to my advantage on race day, especially on Boston’s course when my legs felt trashed after 16 miles downhill (ok rolling hills…but mostly down).

This time I’m using a plan from Advanced Marathoning. I got the book for Christmas back in 2012 and read through it then and there. But I used Run Less, Run Faster for my Baltimore Marathon in 2013, and Hansons for Boston this year. I didn’t want to use Hansons 3 cycles in a row (especially since I don’t mind super long runs in the summer), and I didn’t want to go back to Run Less, Run Faster.

Enter Advanced Marathoning. I chose the 55-70 miles per week plan since with Hansons I topped out at 66 and felt good (meaning no injuries or soreness, just general tiredness). I’m using the plan as prescribed for the most part,ย except for the addition of progressive runs throughout, and adding speed to a couple of the longer runs.

Most weeks look like this:

Monday – 9-11 miles with 5-6 at tempo

Tuesday – Body Pump

Wednesday – 13-15 miles

Thursday – 10-12 miles

Friday – 5 miles

Saturday – 15-21 miles

So far I haven’t done any speedwork, which Hansons had me doing from the start. This plan has an endurance build up before the speedwork comes in, so I’ll be starting it in the next week or two.

One ofย Alison’s recent recapsย reminded me about fast finishes as well, so I’m incorporating those into my runs more often as well. I used to run fast finishes or some variation of progressive runs ALL.THE.TIME. in the winter – but that’s because at least 25% of my weekly miles were on the treadmill, and it became second nature to pick it up at the end. Since I returned to nearly 100% outside running, I kind of zoned out and stuck to the same pace for my entire run. Not anymore though ๐Ÿ™‚

Cross-Training: For Boston, my cross-training was solely yoga and a variety of planking after pretty much every run. I’ve kept up the planking, but have switched out yoga for body pump. The truth is, I get bored of whatever cross training it is I do after doing it week after week for months on end. I’ll go back to yoga at some point, but for now I wanted a break. Back to body pump it is.

I’m also using the app 30 days, again from something Alison mentioned. It builds challenges for you based on what you can already do for a specific exercise, over a 30 day time span. So if you can do 10 push-ups, over a 30 day period, it might build you up to 45. I’m trying to do better about “the little things” during this cycle, and this app keeps me on top of it – I’m using is specifically for push ups, mountain climbers, and wall-sits. Additionally, I’m doing bridges and leg lifts since my right glute and IT band have been feeling the mileage. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about (yet), but definitely want to be diligent about the prehab so I can keep running. Last but not least, I try do do some calf raises or shin strengtheners each night.

Saddest Change: I said goodbye to Sammy ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

We met about a year ago on our first run each with the Montgomery County Road Runners, exchanged numbers, and never went back to the club. We ran together twice a week, in the morning or evening, in the heat and cold, wind and rain. But it was time for her to fly out to CA for a road trip across the country with her boyfriend before starting grad school in PA – awesome way to spend some vacation days before starting school, but she is sorely missed.

Races before THE GOAL RACE:ย Just 2 weeks before I fly out to Colorado for the Pike’s Peak Ascent! Have I done any specific training for it? Nope. I find it kind of funny that I signed up for a 13.32 race up a mountain 2 months before my goal marathon that’s known for being one of the flattest courses around. But really, I just want to have fun in Colorado. I have no time expectations. They say the ascent takes you roughly the amount of time it takes to finish a marathon, but given that I’m not training at altitude, or on hills specifically, I’m not really taking that into consideration. Crossing the finish line alone will put a smile on my face ๐Ÿ™‚

After that, it’s the Chuck 12, then my first 8K race – the Kensington 8K. Then Chicago with Beth! Luckily for me, she just moved to Chicago, and will know all the cool places to go ๐Ÿ˜€

2.5 months to go!

How’s your training going?

What “little things” do you do daily to for your running body?

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18 thoughts on “Training Check In

  1. Thanks so much for the shout out, sister!!! Your training is looking AMAZING and I am SO freaking excited that you are using my main man, Pfitzy, for your training! You won’t be disappointed. I love that you are rotating it with Hansons – I’m interested in checking that plan out, as well as Hal Hidgeon. I’ve been loving those fast finishes this summer – I have gotten into a habit of doing them even on recovery runs and I seem to feel a shift in my mental game at the end of a run, which is great. On a daily basis, I try to do abs and the 30 day app that you also mentioned! If I can fit in a 30 minute yoga/stretching session, I call it a win but I’ve been sucking at that this week! I also make sure after a run to do MYRTLs to strengthen hips – that takes less than 5 minutes and I feel like they are really effective! I can’t believe you are doing Pikes Peak. I’m SO JEALOUS but can’t wait to hear all about it!! Ahhhh!

    • I had to! Your recaps are so inspiring & informative- it’s great to see what I should consider adding to my own training ๐Ÿ™‚
      So far I’m really liking Pfitzinger’s plan, though it is kind of strange to spend so many weeks base building before I add in speedwork. But I trust him!
      I like fast finishes for recovery runs too- I hope as I continue to do them, that speeding up at the end feels more natural & almost automatic. For now I’m just enjoying finishing on a high.
      You are awesome at fitting in all the extras! I’m trying to start small & incorporate more stuff on my own instead of relying on classes at the gym with each cycle.
      I’m so excited for Pikes Peak! (Though I might be feeling more like “what have I gotten myself into?” on the start line ;))

      • Sometimes I feel like my weekly recaps are so wordy but most of the reason I post so much detail is because I want to really learn something this time around, and with not working with a coach I don’t have the constant dialogue where I tell him everything about my workouts! I like being able to go back and reference. I hope some of what I’m doing helps you, too!!

        That was the thing I LOVED about Pfitz – its a whole chunk of time where you are basically just building miles. It really makes sense – first get that base, then start adding in speed! That was the reason that I switched from my old training plan to his plan. Now that I quit my coach, I am incorporating the two. The other book I am using is called Run Faster From the 5K to the Marathon. That one does add speed in a little earlier, but it’s in the form of just some basic intervals. It’s been nice to take the focus off of pace for most of the summer months, but I started picking up intensity again this week.

        None of the books really discuss fast finish miles in detail but a lot of bloggers do, and it makes sense – the time I’m the most tired is the end of a marathon so I’ve just been trying to make my last mile faster relative to what my pace is that day! Even if I’m doing a recovery run at a 9 min pace – maybe my fast finish is an 8:30.

        I can fit in the extras now because I’m a teacher and I’m off for the summer! I wish I could do this all year long! LOL! I seriously can’t wait for you to do Pikes Peak and recap it – I am really looking forward to hearing about it! I don’t personally know anyone who has done that race and it’s on my bucket list!

      • Wordy can be good though – you’ll definitely have a well documented & detailed account of your training when you look back on it ๐Ÿ™‚ & I personally love reading training recaps, it’s where I get most of my ideas for what to add to my own training!
        I agree that waiting until later in the training cycle to add speed work is nice in the summer – it keeps running enjoyable during the hottest months of the year. I only worry when it’s time to add speed work back in, I won’t be as motivated and it will pretty much suck to get started again. But nothing worth having (including PRs) comes easy ๐Ÿ™‚
        I’d say I’m pretty jealous of your free time every summer, but I know I wouldn’t be a great teacher. I’m an introvert & love sitting behind a computer for most of my workday, lol.

      • I think when you add speed work back in, you’re going to be strong because you have a big base. I can’t wait to see how you do! Are you planning to go back to Boston this year?

  2. How do you like doing Body Pump during marathon training? I did it for my first 4 marathons but always questioned if it was too hard on my body with all the mileage i was dong. So for Philly last year I stopped going and did my own strength stuff at home. I do think Body Pump has its benefits, (and I miss it terribly!) but it is a pretty intense class.
    Your weekly mileage looks like no joke! I am so impressed with all those double digit days!

    • Body Pump is definitely intense! I kind of look at it as another hard workout day, just not in the form of running. I think last summer I pushed myself too hard in it, and focused too much on trying to add more weight. This time I’m going lighter on the weights so it’s not as killer as it could be, but I think I’m still getting a quality strength workout.
      I’m hoping to add more strength training at home so I can phase out Body Pump eventually, but frankly I don’t have the motivation to do a long enough workout at home! It’s why I’ve started using the app 30 days so it keeps me on track & I can slowly build up to spending more time building muscle at home.
      Thank you! I’m hoping my body will continue to handle it without any issues ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Awesome, another Chitown Marathoner! ๐Ÿ™‚
      Foam rolling is amazing (though it may not always feel that way…). I always wonder how people could run high mileage in the past before foam rolling was even a thing!

  3. I am using the same plan for my fall marathon. I am actually finding it really hard though. My body is just not used to these 12 and 14 mile mid week runs and they are wearing me down. I am still doing it, just adjusting it a little.

    • I wonder if it’s a combination of the heat & humidity with the mid-week runs? I had some runs earlier this summer that I felt miserable after. A couple of them I just had to lay down and recover for a bit before I could move on to anything else!
      Either way though, you’re a smart runner that’s good at listening to your body, so I think you are doing the right thing ๐Ÿ™‚

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