Detroit Marathon: Week 9 training recap

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This week marked a major milestone: Halfway done with Detroit Marathon training! Although the excitement continues as I try to balance workouts with post-move disorganization (that’s putting it mildly; I can’t find anything in our new apartment at the moment) and business travels to IDEA World and BlogFest in Anaheim (recap with pics to come!).

Note that I said try because it’s been a struggle knowing I can’t do it all. right. now. But I am finding some solace in having the predictability of the training schedule staring me down each week. Otherwise, there’s a decent chance I wouldn’t be able to tell you what day it is.

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When I am “home,” however, Hubby and I are having a blast exploring new running routes = #allthebridges. And I’m pumped to have a brand-spanking-new, ass-kicking running buddy, Katie (above). She just rocked her latest half marathon a few weeks ago and is doing Hood to Coast next week, so we’re motivating each other to get out on our weekly long runs.

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Speaking of motivation…Track Tuesday was a doozy this week. Five repeats of 1000 meters at a 4:36 pace with 400-meter (one lap) recovery jog in between. Not only is it getting more challenging to hold the pace as the distance grows each week, but adding that half lap for each kept throwing me off. Although I suppose having to concentrate helped me plow through.

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And the good news is there’s a track that’s running distance from our apartment. I’m counting the jog to and from as warm-up and cool-down from now on, which will save my sanity by cutting down each track workout by eight laps! It’s the little things…

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Other than that, I’m hitting my paces on tempo and long runs, although the easy ones are probably still a bit speedy for what the program calls for (I’m in the 9:00-9:30 range, as opposed to 9:50-10:30, which just sounds painful). And I’m continuing to care for my bum heel with ice, Advil and rolling with a lacrosse ball, which all seem to be working well (fingers crossed).

So on that note, I’ll leave you with one final marathon-training public service announcement: It’s summer. It’s hot out. Stay hydrated, people. Here’s how Hubby and I prefer to do it after our long runs 🙂

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Coming next week — finally checking a running-related item off my bucket list — Hood to Coast. Stay tuned! 

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Detroit Marathon: Week 8 training recap

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Thought for the week: Running in the Northwest is pretty awesome. You get the best of both worlds: hot summer days, but cool evenings and mornings — i.e. perfect running weather. Ask me again how much I love it here when we’re in the thick of the rainy season, but for now we’re soaking up all the sunny goodness.

This week was the close of what I call the “ramping up” phase of training where, after building mileage in the first few weeks, the addition of speed and tempo workouts are delivering a nice dose of reality. But next week starts the “oh, crap” phase where things like 10 mile tempo runs and mile repeats on the track start to creep into the picture.

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I think my legs are finally starting to adjust to the increased frequency and mileage, though. Although some days are more of a struggle than others when it comes to early-morning workouts, I don’t have as much of that dead-legged feeling that I was dealing with a few weeks ago.

And if we’re being really honest here, the incentive of being able to pluck fresh, ripe blackberries off all the bushes along our run routes may also factor into my motivation for getting out there.

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My love/hate relationship with Tuesday track workouts also continues… It takes a lot of focus to commit to running in a circle for anywhere from six to eight miles total (this week it was six 800’s at a 3:45 pace with 400 recovery in between), but it’s an incredible boost of confidence when you’re able to NAIL the paces.

I’m always a little faster than I’d like out of the gate because it takes some time to settle into a rhythm with the first one, but my next five were in a tight cluster ranging from 3:39-3:42. Of course, the last one or two feel super tough, but by that time you can count on some adrenaline because you know you’re near the end.

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Another one of my goals for the week was to get my plantar fasciitis under control with some self-care techniques until I can get some professional help up in Portland. I’ll go into more detail in an upcoming post, but right now I’m icing with a water bottle, taking Advil for inflammation and using a rubber lacrosse ball to try to loosen up my feet.

I also went in for an impromptu massage this week, and the therapist spent 60 minutes entirely on my legs — from my glutes down to my toes. Some spots are slightly out of whack and I’m compensating for weaknesses in other areas, so I’m planning on doing some kind of combo of gait analysis, massage and preventative physical therapy to keep everything in check.

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But in the meantime, it’s one foot in front of the other. Many thanks for hanging with me through the first two months of training; it’s been awesome connecting through comments, tweets and posts. Eight weeks down, 10 more to go!

Detroit Marathon: Week 7 training recap

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This week was a whirlwind with two trips to Seattle (one for business meetings and workouts with the SweatGuru team, then another personal one with Hubby and friends).

And even though my training took a bit of a hit, it didn’t stop me from getting sweaty. We documented our adventures via the SweatGuru blog, so if you’re in need of a great studio when in Seattle, you might want to check out these spots!

  • ModBody Fitness – bootcamp with Stacey, who is doing Ironman Boulder this weekend
  • Ian Fitness – bootcamp with Abril and the energetic early morning crew
  • Troy Lucero Acme Yoga Project – challenging Ashtanga class with Troy, who got me into my first handstand
  • Parkour Visions – by the end of class, Brian had us hurdling over six feet walls
  • Sync Fitness – bootcamp with Jill, whose flow and music we absolutely loved
  • Lab5 Fitness – Roy had us feeling the burn with this Pilates-based strength & cardio class
  • Urban Yoga Spa – we topped off the trip (and pampered our tired muscles) with some hot yoga

Needless to say, I’m a little sore from all the different activities — and I definitely discovered a few muscles I haven’t used in a while.

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But there’s one thing that’s really been concerning me this week: a plantar fasciitis flare-up in my right foot. It’s something that started as a nagging annoyance during last year’s marathon training, but lately it’s been getting worse.

I’m waiting until we get to Portland and get settled to attack it professionally with some type of massage, PT, acupuncture or ART (still deciding and polling athlete friends; let me know if something’s worked well for you). I know that not running will ultimately help, but it’s not quite to that point, so I’m icing, rolling and taking Advil in the meantime.

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So rather than overextend myself by doubling up on miles, squeezing in extra workouts or switching up the schedule too much, I ended up modifying things this week by skipping the first three days of workouts while on the road. Luckily one of those days was an “off” day, but I am feeling anxious about missing the Tuesday speed work.

Other than that, training is progressing well, and I’ve got renewed faith in the program, thanks to last week’s 10K race. My “easy” run pace is slowing to somewhere in the 9:00 range, but I’m still able to maintain the tempo (8:46) and long (9:29) paces, so I feel like I’m on the right track.

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Thanks again for following along, and stay tuned for next week as I close out the second month of training! 

Detroit Marathon: Week 6 training recap

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Ok, it’s time to get real: I wanted to title this week’s post, “The one that almost did me in.”

Sure, the scenery is beautiful here in Oregon (see photo above). And the summer weather is ideal because it cools down at night to the perfect temp for morning runs.

But after topping out at 24 miles last week, this week’s jump up to 39 was a bit of a shock.

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Duh, you say. You’re marathon training. What do you expect?

Yes, I do realize that running a marathon will require a good about of (gasp) running in preparation for it.

But as a runner who does more than her fair share of cross-training, I can tell that it’s going to take my body a while to adjust to the mileage and frequency of the Hansons Marathon Method.

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But that’s the point — running on tired legs to train them to tackle the tough final miles of the race — so I’m keeping the faith and taking it one day at a time.

That said, the “easy” runs are going well; depending on the distance, I’m averaging 8:40-9:00, although I expect that to slow a bit as mileage continues to build.

The run I look forward to most, though, is the tempo run (run at marathon pace, which is ~8:46) because it comes after a day off and feels like a pretty natural pace right now.

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My least favorite (or at least the one that requires the greatest motivation) is that Tuesday speed workout.

It may not look like much, but factor in the warm-up, cool-down and all those recovery laps, and I put in eight — yep, count ’em, eight — miles around the track that day.

As you can see from the times, I was a little amped up the first two laps, but then quickly settled into a consistent pace.

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Sure, those last two felt a hell of a lot harder than the first few, but it’s encouraging that this pace was do-able for the duration of the workout.

That means that I (hopefully) picked the correct pace for the marathon. But time will tell just how accurate I am as I complete more of the speed and strength workouts.

So, as you can see, they’re a bit of a double-edged sword — tough to get psyched up for, but so helpful for gauging fitness, getting a feel for pacing and building confidence.

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Next week will be an interesting one because I’m thinking about switching workouts around (a bit of a no-no, according to the program) due to a business trip.

Hubby and I are also running a 10K on Sunday, and although it’s technically part of this week’s workouts, I’ll be adjusting the schedule accordingly for that, too.

So stay tuned for week seven…where the working title of that recap will probably be “All the moving pieces!”

Detroit Marathon: Week 5 training recap

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Well, fresh off our travels — literally, we landed late Sunday night — Hubby and I packed up and hit the road again.

The only difference? This time it wasn’t a trip, it was a move.

When Hubby decided to go back to school three years ago, we felt like this day might never come. But now that he’s graduated and it’s here, it’s bittersweet.

And as excited as we are for this next adventure, it’s always hard saying goodbye — especially when you’ve made great friends in a state that you’ve called “home” for the last decade.

It’ll be a few more weeks until we get settled up in Portland, so amid the chaos, thank goodness for the constant of marathon training!

Here’s what was on deck for the week.

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Since this week marks the end of the mileage-building cycle, I’ve started to buckle down and shift my focus from merely completing runs (consistency) to keeping a closer eye on pacing (quality).

Depending on the distance, a comfortable pace has been averaging around 8:30-8:40 for these, but I know that’ll change as the runs increase in duration and frequency.

Another change this week? I’m slowly adding cross training back into the mix, in the form of yoga and weight lifting. And I’m itching to do some swimming and biking once my schedule calms down, too.

But starting next week, I’ll be doing more speed-based workouts, so you can expect more detailed descriptions of each run and how I’m feeling as the program progresses.

But for now, I’m just trying to get into some semblance of a routine during this transition period…and fortunately this scenery helps!

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Thanks, as always, for following along…and stay tuned for week six!

Detroit Marathon: Week 4 training recap

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Greetings from beautiful Virginia!

Even though Hubby and I made a quick pit stop on our way back to the West Coast, we’ve been ramping back up to “real” life — which means returning to work and training this week with a renewed focus and a fresh perspective.

Thankfully, though, week four of the plan is still a mileage-building phase. So here’s a look at how I’m wrapping up the first month of training.

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Although we’ve been able to stick to a good schedule while on the road, I am starting to notice some loss of strength and flexibility from my usual cross-training routine.

Frankly, I’m a little antsy to get back at it, but it’s good to take a break every now and then. Especially when it includes another change of running scenery to explore.

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Running has not only been a convenient way to work out while traveling, but it’s also been an excellent way to get to know all the towns we’ve visited these past few weeks (photo recap to come!).

And, let’s face it: Having a training plan all mapped out ahead of time can be a saving grace on those days when both your mind and body are in vacation mode and motivation is waning.

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Physically, though, I’ve been dragging a bit this week due to jet lag, a migraine and a nagging case of plantar fasciitis, so my goal was mainly just to get the miles logged safely and uneventfully.

Oh, and there was also a little bit of sleep deprivation after visiting a neighbor’s (haunted) house one evening to hear a handful of local ghost stories. But so worth it!

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My favorite part of running here? The fact that, more often than not, we can set off down the road and back and not see a single car or human for miles.

My least favorite part? Some of the critters who share the road with us — namely this Virginia Timber Rattlesnake we spotted from the car mid-week. Needless to say, I’ll be watching my step very carefully from here on out!

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Stay tuned for week five as I head back to the West Coast and start the second month of training — where the more challenging parts of the Hansons’ training plan start kicking in…

Detroit Marathon Week 3 training recap

 

Photo courtesy of ghiandol

Photo courtesy of ghiandol

This week’s theme? Running under the Tuscan sun. 

After gallivanting around Italy last week, we’ve since set up a home base in Tuscany, which has been a convenient location for day trips to Florence, as well as some of the smaller hilltop towns in the region.

Oh, and the food is out of this world…so it’s a good thing Hubby and I have been sticking to our morning run schedule.

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As you can see, we’re slowly building in mileage each week, although it’s all supposed to be at an “easy” pace (9:51-10:34). I say supposed to because I haven’t really been dialing it back much from my usual pace, which hovers comfortably between 8:15-8:45 for runs in this distance range.

I know this approach could come back to bite me later — especially as I move up to six running days per week and those individual runs get longer — but my plan during these early weeks is to simply run by feel and re-evaluate as training progresses.

Next week, we’ll be back in the States — only we’re taking a quick pit-stop before we come back to the West Coast.

Stay tuned as I round out the first month of training…while still on the road!