Weekly training recap… new mileage PR!

I haven’t done a weekly recap in a couple weeks, so let me recap LAST LAST week before I recap LAST week.

The week of Sept 19-Sept 25 was my highest weekly mileage PR ever: 66 miles. We finally had some beautiful fall weather, and I got to 66 with 6 days a week of running and double two-a-days. Rounded out the week with an 18 mile run Saturday and 12 Sunday for the first of several scheduled 30-mile weekends. Legs were tired but GOOD for the long Sunday recovery. And I had even more miles on the table for the following week and I was READY!

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Found a neat little trail behind my office building; will definitely be returning soon!

The week of Sept 26-Oct 2 was a really fantastic week of training. And ANOTHER MILEAGE PR of 70 miles! The weather wasn’t great. My legs were dead by my Thursday doubles. But I felt GREAT. So here’s the day by day:

Monday Sept 26: 6 miles
Ran Monday with my Joe to Go coffee crew. Nice and easy, chatting with folks, catching up from the weekend. This run is always really relaxed; it’s my sociable (ish; it IS pre-coffee…) recovery run.

Tuesday Sept 27: 5 miles am, 5 miles pm
Ran in the morning in dark, drizzly, humid weather which meant SLOW. But I made up for it in the afternoon when I moved my Wednesday PM run to Tuesday because the sun came out and it was a perfect evening for a run when I got off work. I romped around in the woods a bit and had one of the runs where things just flow and feel good.

Wednesday Sept 28: 10.1 miles
Decided Wednesday morning that I didn’t want to run 10 miles in the dark and gloom, so I moved my run to the evening, and since I cannot do speed work on Thursday am after a long Wednesday pm run (experience has taught me this), I did a longer speed work session Wednesday. I ended up doing 1 mile warm-up to a local park which has a .65 path around some soccer fields, then used that path to do 8 Yasso 800s aiming for a 3:20 to 3:30 800 and I clocked in at 3:22, 3:26, 3:25, 3: 24, 3:28, 3:26, 3:29 and 3:28, even against some strong 12-15 mile winds! Ran 2+ miles roundabout home and called it a night. My legs were super tired, but in a good way, the rest of the night (and most of Thursday).

Thursday Sept 29: 8 miles am, 6.4 miles pm
Eight slow, dark, windy, drizzly, gloomy morning miles. Then 6.4 miles in the wind and the damp and the dark with my Pacers Thursday group in the evening. Overall a dreary day to run, but managed to get all the miles in! Legs were better in the evening than the morning, but not by much. I was definitely feeling the cumulative fatigue that I plotted!

Friday Sept 30: REST DAY, HALLELUJAH.

Saturday Oct 1: 20 miles
20 miles a bit slower than I wanted; paced 9:22 and I wanted to pace 8:45-9:15. But I was really, really feeling the miles from the week. I decided to take a few walk breaks on hills so that I wouldn’t have to cut the run short. I’ve been testing a different fueling strategies, so I had two stops at my car, and getting going again was SO HARD. But my 16 oz Gatorade, 16 oz water and 1 gel gave me LOTS of energy for the last 2 miles when I dropped the pace to race back to the parking lot to down the rest of my giant Gatorade bottle 😉

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Sunday Oct 2: 4.6 miles am, 5.4 miles pm
I went with my Oiselle-Pacers team to the USATF-NJ 5k women’s championship, and luckily I was able to spectate and did not have to race! I did the warm up with my team, then ran the course backwards, spectating around 1 mile out, and then ran the cool down. I did some more miles when I got home from the race to get to 10 for the day and 70 for the week.

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Total miles for the week: 70.5 miles!!!

I’ve been shocked the last two weeks how good my legs (and the rest of me) feels with this mileage. My peak week during my last training cycle was 64 miles, so to do two weekly mileage PRs back to back (I mean, 136.5 miles in TWO WEEKS? That’s more than I used to run in a month not sooooo long ago!) and still feel good seems mind-boggling and totally amazing now.

What’s even cooler is that when I decided last summer that I wanted to keep upping my mileage until I couldn’t anymore, I had 70 miles in my mind as a Holy Grail kind of goal. The first phase of working toward this 70 mile goal began last fall with a training schedule running a range of 45-60 per week with a peak of 59 miles. The second was this spring when I was running a range of 55-65 per week with a peak of 64. The third is this fall with peak weeks at 70-72 miles and a range of 60-70 miles per week. When I first decided a year+ ago that 70 was my Big Goal, it seemed like such a crazy number. And now I’ve done it, and it doesn’t even seem like my limit. My legs and my brain continue to amaze me; 3 years ago you could not convince me I’d be running this volume because it sounds crazy. And maybe it is crazy, but I’m having too much fun doing it to stop 🙂

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It’s been a while…

I’ve been pretty incommunicado on my blog since the marathon. I’ve heard rumors of  post-marathon blues/depression/funk, but I’ve never really truly felt it until this go around. While the race was fine — I wish I’d done better — I wasn’t really upset about it. I made up my mind pretty quickly to run another race on May 29: the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington. However, last week I firmly decided against it, and here’s why:

I needed a break.

Looking back, I trained hard August-November last year, then as soon as my hamstring recovered in mid-late December, I was back at it with 35-40 mile weeks, and shortly after I bumped up to 55 mile weeks in late January and never looked back. The fewest monthly miles I’ve run in the past 9 months was 110 miles, when I was injured/recovering last December. My legs need a break from training, but so does my brain.

img_2836Beautiful sunrises do help me get out the door though.

So I’ve been laying low. I’ve only been going to group runs for the last two weeks and keeping my mileage around 24-28 miles per week. It’s been hard because my heart just hasn’t been in it. I’ve been out in the middle of a run — doesn’t matter how far: 5 miles, 10 miles, whatever — and suddenly I just don’t want to be running anymore. I want to be at my desk getting work done, or in my bed taking a nap, or back home eating breakfast. After a few runs like this, I definitively crossed Vermont City off my “to do” list and decided I needed to take care of my brain before I could get back to running full steam ahead.

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Instead of running a million miles per week solo like I’m used to doing, I’ve been going to group runs — that gets me out the door at least — and I volunteered at a race last weekend instead of running it (see the lovely, neon yellow course marshal vest above!). I’m trying to reclaim my “happy running” feelings, but it’s been tough. I’m trying to be supportive of my other running friends, but my involvement on my running forum on MyFitnessPal has definitely tapered in off the last few week (sorry, MFPals!).

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Big group run of 13 x 1 mile hill repeats… we’re crazy!

I think what’s making this running funk even more difficult is the fact that I have so many major, real life stressors right now. I am meant to be finishing my thesis, but I defered my degree to September for a whole host of reasons. Primarily, because I really, truly, desperately need to focus on getting a job. I’ve been applying to jobs like a madwoman: jobs in Princeton, Philadelphia, D.C. and NYC. It’s just taking forever to hear back from anyone, so I’m in this awful “wait and see” limbo in which I can’t do anything  real world productive… like find a place to live, since my university lease ends June 30. Everytime these thoughts cross my mind while I’m running, my energy is zapped and I feel guilty for taking the time for myself when I should be working on applications. I know that’s silly, but that’s the way my brain is working right now. So I’m just trying to run enough to keep my stress level manageable.

Hopefully I’ll be back at it in 1-2 weeks with regular updates and a new zest for training, but for right now, I’m in a definite slump, and I’m just going to have to ride it out. I’ve got too much on my plate to even let myself feel bad about not running 50-60 miles a week again (yet) or for not even wanting to run most days. Plus, with all these rest days and low mileage, my legs are the peppiest they’ve been in almost a year. It feels great to get up in the morning and not hobble to my coffee maker!

I hope everyone’s spring–>summer running and/or training is going well!

Training recap: April 18-24

2 of 3 weeks of marathon taper are done!! Hooray!

Monday, April 18: 6 miles
Nice and easy run with my Monday morning coffee crew. Legs were feeling good and the weather was nice. Great start to the week!
Core work: single leg balances, single leg calf raises, single leg squats, reg squats, lunges and bridges (regular, single leg and extended)

Tuesday, April 19: 0 miles
Just core work today! Sit-ups, leg raises, scissors, bicycles, clamshell extensions, planks and push-ups, plus some foam rolling.

Wednesday, April 20: 8 miles
Woke up to a HUGE calf cramp in my right calf. It released fairly quickly once I hopped out of bed, but the tenderness persisted until Saturday. This happens every taper. It’s no fun.
Cramp or not, I still did my run as planned: 2 miles warm-up then four mile at marathon pace (7:50, 7:45, 7:40 and 7:50), then two easy miles to cool down. Had lots of roving aches — typical taper — but overall felt good. The coolest thing was that I realized that I’ve totally nailed sliding into marathon pace. I just think “Cruise speed!” and I’m down in the 7:40s-7:50s. I’ve done a good job training these paces, and I hope it serves me well on race day!

Thursday, April 21: 6.4 miles
Fun group run with my Pacers store group! Pretty warm and didn’t hydrate well plus spent the afternoon sipping coffee instead of water… so though I was running fast, it did not feel great in my heart-chest-space. Made a note in my training log to “HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE” since I’m awful at it anyway. Gotta get my hydrate on pre-‘thon!

Friday, April 22: 0 miles
More core work! Sit-ups, bicycles, Russian twists, modified Supermans (just glute activation), lunges, squats, pushups, bridges (regular, single leg, and extended), plus some foam rolling.

Saturday, April 23: 6 miles
Started my run at 8 am and it was 63* and 80% humidity. Gross! Plus my legs were stiff from taper + rest day, so I spent the first five miles battling stiffness and trying to get my body how to remember how to deal with humidity. Not a great run, but at least my calf wasn’t sore from Wednesday’s cramp anymore!

Sunday, April 24: 10 miles
If Saturday’s run was awful, Sunday’s was great! Some folks from my Princeton running group met up with some NY Harriers members and we did a nice 10 miler on the towpath in Stockton, NJ (followed by some amazing doughnuts and BBQ and fried chicken!). I was in a good pack with 5 guys, chatting and yammering on and on at an 8:07 pace til we turned around. Ended up pacing 8:02 overall. Decided to label this my “tempo run” for the week so I can skip my Wednesday speedwork. It was confidence boosting to know that I was able to run and chat at race pace (almost all our splits the second half were sub-8). That means that when I’m focused and NOT talking next Sunday, I should be in good shape to hit 7:40s-7:50s when I decide to push the pace!

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Beautiful day for a run!

Total: 36.4 miles

Overall, this was a great week of tapering. I felt pretty good the whole time — other than the calf cramp achiness. And here’s something new: NOTHING HURTS! My last three marathons, I’ve nursed injures in the week(s) leading up to the marathon: IT band pain before Baltimore, a stiff heel/calf before Minneapolis, and a strained hamstring before Philly. This time: Nothing! I feel great! So now I’ve just got to stay healthy and keep my legs happy. I am anxious and excited for race day to get here. For once, I don’t fear my body failing on me. Just gotta keep my brain in the game!