Sometimes in training, you have to learn how to adapt. And sometimes that means that the runs might be harder. Sometimes it means that your hard pace looks slower on paper, but the effort is there. Sometimes it means that you have to do two days of speed work back-to-back in order to have a bit of a life outside of marathon training.
Guys, I don’t know how I ever fit in gym mornings and time with friends and all that prior to this training cycle. Because, honestly, I don’t feel like I have much casual, free, leisure time anymore. I train in the morning, I do personal training sessions two times a week, I go to work, I come home, I stretch and foam roll, and in between all of that…I survive by prepping and eating and just making sure I get plenty of rest so that this body can continue to power through the workouts, training, and eventually, another marathon.
I am tired. I have been living in a constant state of exhaustion for the past 2 years. And with this past year, a lot of focus being on prioritizing rest/sleep…I just run out of time. I knew heading into this week that things were going to get crazy. Why?
Because I had concert tickets to see Rob Thomas…on Wednesday night.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT! So, after a bit of debate, I decided the only thing I could do was rearrange my workouts. I thought all the concerts/shows I had tickets for came AFTER my cruise, but I was wrong. Rob Thomas slotted in ahead of it. In the middle of the week. Not going wasn’t an option. Fun fact: I met Rob Thomas back in 1998 when I lived in Birmingham, Alabama. And, it had been FOREVER since I’d made time to go to a concert on a “school night.” HA!
So, let’s dive in to the insanity of this week.
Monday: INSTRUCTIONS: BASE RUN – GOAL 7 MILES – EASY EFFORT – TRY NO WATCH AGAIN
The best part about this past Monday was that it was Labor Day! HOLIDAY! Do you know what this meant? I slept in. I ran in the daylight. I had been out at my friend’s house on Sunday night for a Labor Day cookout. I indulged in more than a few Gluten Free Vegan S’Mores. I had a good amount of food, and enjoyed my time hanging out with some of my favorite people. We left late and I crawled into bed without setting an alarm. I woke up at my usual time and made myself NOT get up at that point. I did get up to stretch and head out for a run in the early morning. It was sunny, and a little humid, and the easy, recovery run felt a bit harder than it should have. I think it was the extra sugar that night, but it was worth it. Campfire S’mores are the best. The run was nothing to write home about. I just sort of let myself cruise, but it was a struggle at times, especially near the end. After over 16 miles of pounding on concrete at marathon pace in the Parklands the day before, my legs were not loving the movement or miles at all. They felt tired. And that happens. I made sure to give them some good foam rolling time. I was planning on planting my booty on the couch and binge watching Mindhunter on Netflix all Monday, but one of my best friends was in the hospital for surgery and I went and bought her a gift and delivered it to her. I did manage some meal prep, 2 episodes of Mindhunter, and finished off the day watching Free Solo with dinner. It was a long, productive, and very condensed day. But, that’s holidays for you. The run was a total of 7 miles…nice and easy on very tired legs.
Tuesday: INSTRUCTIONS: TEMPO RUN – 1 MILE WU; 3X2 MILES AT TEMPO (7:20-7:50) W/ 0.5 MILES RECOVERY; 1 MILE CD
UGH! Speed work. Not just speed work, but a tempo workout. I don’t know why tempos stress me out, but they do. At least this one was with some recovery time and not hard pushes for consecutive miles. My legs still felt a bit flat, but I decided to just give it my best effort. I never once stopped. Even in the humidity and the warmer temps….I came close to nailing this workout. The first mile of the last tempo push was a 7:57 so, but I got back to 7:50 for the second mile. It was the end of the workout, so I’m not too mad at it. I’m a little mad at it, because I like to have a bit more perfection with the workouts, but it was what my legs had that day. I came close and I did it without burning out. That’s a win. I did my additional hip strengtheners with my stretches that morning as well. As for the run, that gave me 9.5 miles for a Tuesday morning.
Wednesday: SPEED WORK – MONA FARTLEKS W/ 1 MILE HARD EFFORT
Yes…you read that right. Two speed work days in a row. It was my only option with the Rob Thomas concert starting at 8 pm Wednesday night. I wasn’t going to have the time or energy to wake up at 3:30 am to fit them in per usual on Thursday morning. I figured I wouldn’t get home until after midnight (I was right), so adjustments had to be made. I moved my short, recovery run to Thursday and Thursday’s speed session to Wednesday. At least it was my favorite – Mona Fartleks. They work like this: 2 mile warm up, 2×90 sec, 4 x 60 sec, 4×30 sec, 4×15 sec (with equal recovery after each at a pace faster than base pace), 1 mile hard effort, 2 mile cool down. I ran these SO much better last week. I was 3 minutes slower overall. But my legs still felt flat and my hard efforts were all I could manage that morning. That one mile push was unsuccessful. I did it, but it had at least 5 (if not a few more) stops just to pound on my legs and try to get them to loosen up, find some flow, and just go. I was so happy to just have this done and behind me. It wasn’t easy at all to run this much two days in a row. Hard runs usually get some recovery time…and there wasn’t enough here. I did my second day of hip strengthening exercises this morning, foam rolled while drinking my coffee, and even managed my evening stretches before heading out to the concert that night. It was a messy day. But sometimes training, and life, gets messy. It was just over 8 miles on the run!
Thursday: INSTRUCTIONS: NO WATCH ALLOWED! FOCUS ON THE GOAL OF THE RUN = RECOVERY! GO AS FAR OR SHORT AS YOU NEED, AS FAST OR SLOW AS YOU NEED, WALK OR RUN AS YOU NEED.
So…it was after midnight when I got out of the Rob Thomas concert and made it home. Trying to figure out when I would fit in my recovery run…I opted, since I was up and awake at that point, to just suit up, gear up, and go out and do it before heading to bed. The midnight temperature was in the low 70s, but there was no humidity and a nice breeze. And, for the first time all week, my legs decided that they felt good. I felt very light on my feet, free, and able to open up. I didn’t push pace or anything. I didn’t even have to stop, slowing down every time I needed to cross the busy road because there was ALWAYS a car. Seriously, why are there so many cars on the road at midnight. But I felt amazing. I did 4 miles. And they felt glorious…despite being completely exhausted and worn out from the early morning, speed work, real work, concert…all the things. It was a nice surprise and was the lift I finally needed to feel a bit better about my runs this week. Let’s hear it for small miracles.
Friday: Rest Day. It’s always a rest day. I have a big weekend ahead of me, so this was really needed. I really made a point to get to bed at a decent time the night before. And to SLEEP! Really sleep. Except I couldn’t. And I ended up waking up at normal time. I made myself stay in bed for a bit longer and got up about 30 minutes before my alarm. I tried. I really did. I took a shower, stretched, drank water, ate breakfast, got ready for work and went into the office. With so much going on, I kept track of my nutrition, rested my legs, stretched, foam rolled, and started to prepare for the weekend. God, I always look forward to Friday. Respect and learn to love those rest days. They are more important than the days you are running. These are the days that help your body get stronger, faster, better. I might be the only runner in the history of ever who looks forward to and loves rest days!
Saturday: INSTRUCTIONS: BASE RUN – GOAL 7 MILES – EASY EFFORT – TRY NO WATCH AGAIN
I was going running with my friend, Dennis this Saturday morning. Woke up early to fit in my stretching and give me time to lather up the sunscreen and fuel before heading over the river to meet up with him at the Big Four Bridge. I had told him that because I had to throw some race paces into my Sunday run now (making it more of a race than a training run), I really needed to take this run easy. Dennis has one gear…and it’s GO. But he was doing a 25 mile bike ride that morning after the run so we were going to keep it easy. And that…didn’t happen. He blames me. He claims that he’d shout out our pace and I’d say we needed to slow it down and then wouldn’t. Maybe he’s right. Maybe it was him. Who is to say. We turned around halfway and when we headed back up the bridge into the last mile, he took off and I let him go. After all, I was racing the following day and he was not. I met up with him at the finish, texted my roommate to come and get me before heading home to shower, eat, and head out to grocery shop and get some more vacation shopping done. I did manage to get my costume locked down for my cruise. It did mean that I didn’t get much time off my feet. I went out for “magic sushi,” the vegan sushi that has been my go-to pre-long run meal. Then, I foam rolled and stretched that evening and then went to bed early.
Sunday: DOWNTOWN DOUBLER 30K – INSTRUCTIONS: PLAN ON SHOOTING FOR 10-14 MILES AT RP FOR THIS ONE
I woke up just before my alarm again this morning, probably the nerves of having to race a race. Let’s face it…I have been using most, if not all, as training runs in the past. But, while still feeling wiped from a messed up week of sleep, I wasn’t feeling bad at all in the morning. I decided to treat this like marathon morning (let’s face it…I was supposed to be running a marathon in Erie, PA today had I been able to register before it sold out), and fueled as I intend to the actual marathon morning. So, my first breakfast happened. Then I stretched, got dressed, put on sunscreen. Prepared my fuel, which has been Maurten and it has been a GAME CHANGER for me. I packed a small bottle of it to take during the race along with a gel pack to take near the end. I never want to crash on a race, and my system of fueling hasn’t let me down yet. My roommate and I left the apartment and headed down to downtown New Albany, where the race was starting on the beautiful Greenway. For the 30K, runners would make 2 loops of the course. I was starting to second guess my enthusiasm for doing the 30K over the 15K…but too late to turn back now. My initial plan was to run 2 miles as a warm up, hit it for the middle 14 (if I felt good), and then use the final miles as a cool down. In my enthusiasm, I just took off at the start, so when I hit the first mile at a race pace (faster, really), I decided I would race the first 10 to 14 and then cool down in the last part of the race. I will do an actual post on this race, but it went REALLY well for me. I executed my fueling perfectly, even at the faster pace, and I managed a time good enough for 2nd in my age division. Stay tuned for a post. After the race, and after getting delayed by a train stopping on the tracks and blocking the parking lot, my roommate, myself, and our friends (who did the 15K) Ron & Shawn met with us for coffee at Heine Bros. Afterwards, I came home to shower, clean, meal prep, and get some laundry done. Also stretched and foam rolled. Ready for a breather!
My coach did forget that I was heading on my cruise at the end of the week and had a down/recovery week planned, but he switched it up to the following week so I won’t have to run as much or as hard on a cruise ship. That was nice of him. But that does mean I have a pretty stacked week again after a hard effort. Just going to do what I can and hope my recovery really comes along.