Friday, August 28, 2015

Erie Marathon Training: The Build

I've been far more "mellow" with this training cycle which is a complete 180 from last summer. My personality is naturally intense, so I'm not saying that I've become a totally different person because I'm still a high-strung/excitable person. I guess this summer I just really tucked my head down and did the work without worrying so much about it taking over my life. I didn't keep my training secret but I wasn't broadcasting every second. I still get very high/low off corresponding workouts but I also balance out from those peaks and valleys far quicker. I DO have a goal for Erie but I didn't let that goal dictate my every move this summer, I just wanted to put in the work and see what could happen.

Now that the end of the cycle is nearing though, I'm analyzing the numbers and the workouts and figured might be good time to actually talk about my marathon training on my running blog. Novel idea.

Training has been going well, and follows the typical ups and downs associated with marathon training. Some days are serious struggle fests to even get out the door, and other workouts leave you flying high for days. I expect this, prepare for this, and try not to dwell on either too much. You know the whole "don't let success go to your head, and don't let failure go to your heart" thing- kind of how I look at training. I try not to let the bad days beat me up too much, but I don't let the good days keep me from working even harder the next time.

May was a building month back after Boston, so no crazy miles or anything like that. I did 2 tempo runs and my long runs were primarily shorter and easier than normal. Favorite two runs of May were Pacing Buffalo Marathon, and then a 14 mile trail run I did with Heather.

June was another pretty low key month of building like May. My long runs were between 12-16 miles, and overall mileage was still relatively low. My workouts were focused on speed and track work, which was a really fun way to start the summer. Some of the workouts I did: 5 x 1 mile cruise intervals, 5 x 1 km, 3 x 1 mile at 90%, as well as a fartlek with bursts of 5k paced mixed in. Since my mileage was still building, I was taking the extra time to put towards supplementing my training with strength, core work, and extra prehab exercises. I think this really helped me mentally feel prepared to head into bigger months of July/August; I had the mileage base AND healthy foundation of strength to hold myself up.

I peaked at end of June to prepare for July which would start off with Boilermaker 15k. The two weeks following Boilermaker were a little lower, almost step back in order to bounce forward into marathon specific come August. July was another good month of adding in cross training (swimming and cycling) as well as supplemental strength and conditioning.

July Breakdown
Long Runs: 15 (7:44), 17 (8:04) {Both were meant to be time on feet, with no hard efforts}
-5 x 1 mile @ 10k-15k pace 6:26, 6:20, 6:23, 6:22, 6:19 {2 min rest}
-14 x 200 @ 40 sec. {100m recovery jog}
-4 x 1 mile @ 6:15 average {1 minute recovery}
-3 x 1 mile (200m sprint into 1200m @5k into 200m sprint) 5:53 average {4 minutes rest}
-11 mile wave tempo (5 minutes at GMP, 5 minutes at 10k) 6:55 average {including w/u & c/d}
-8 mile Fartlek ( 1 mile w/u, 7 miles with 20-60 second bursts @ 5k-10k pace) 7:13 average for run.
-Boilermaker 15k
-Tibbets Point 10k (used as GMP workout in midst of a longer run)

August Breakdown (First few weeks)
Long Runs:
-20.5 miles (8:03) Simply a time on feet run, easy paced
-16.6 miles (8:12) Recovery/step back long run, raced the day before
-22 miles (7:23) Long Progression, first half from 8:33 down to 7:36, second half 7:13 down to 6:32
-18 miles (8:03) Time on feet run, easy paced- good chunk was on a trail with rest on road
-10 miles with 8 @ 6:46 average (6:58 for entire run)
-Wave tempo (~12 miles) 10 min w/u, 60 minute wave tempo (10min GMP/10min 10k) @ 6:36 average, 11 minute c/d ( 6:51 average for entire run)
-12 miles with 10 @ 6:43 average (6:53 for entire run)
-Bergen Road Race 5k

August has been a really strong month for me so far. Coach started giving me back the long tempos to get into marathon mode and I was pleased how natural it felt to do again. I admit, the added weekly mileage turned into me putting less time into strength/cross training but I've gotten at least some in each week. In addition to my workouts, I typically had 1-2 other double digit runs each week for aerobic time on feet. August has an extra weekend in it this year so my overall monthly mileage will be my biggest by a LONG shot which is cool. I'm not ALL about miles but sometimes it's just really nice to see I can handle ~60 mile weeks back to back to back and not die(that is new for me).

I did a breakdown of my training like this before Boston and it was confidence boosting. It helps to lay it all out and see how much work I really have been doing. We let the days and weeks pass and don't always stop and look at what we have already accomplished because we are so focused on what is next. I'm proud of the work I've done damnit.

I'm currently halfway through my 10 day peak period (Started Monday and will end next Wednesday with last long tempo). I will do another update once I'm done, assuming I'm not in a comatose state.

Taper is in sight, I can already see the sheep I'll be counting and the mountains of food I'll be inhaling.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bergen Road Race 2015

I've been talking bitching about having an old 5k PR for a while now. I felt like I was crying wolf with each 5k I ran in the last 2 years, "I feel great, it's gonna happen today" only to have it definitely NOT happen. On August 10th, 2013 I ran a 19:09 to set my 5k PR. Since that day, the closest I was able to come was 19:35(3 times). Finally, 2 days short of a 2 year PR the wolf finally came out to play.

Everything I do is very much so for distance, for chasing my other goals. Sure, my fitness has seen huge gains in the last 2 years but I also knew it would take some work to actually nab my PR in the midst of everything else I am working towards(not to mention I don't race 5k's nearly as often as I used to).

The last few weeks have been good marathon training weeks, but coach had mixed in some great track workouts to help keep my turnover going strong. Heading into the race on Saturday I had 60-ish miles on my legs from the previous days- something that used to be a peak for me, and certainly wasn't a taper number. My goals for Erie are far more important to me than this though, which meant grinding through a good week and then finding one more gear to bang out the race.

I worked hard last week, but also made a point to recover and fuel well. I was stretching more, taking easy runs even easier than I have been, and made sure to hydrate as best I could. The day before the race I felt okay on my run- not fantastic but not bad enough I was discouraged. I then got to spend the evening with my family and Heather which certainly had my spirits high(and my belly full of Thai food). Heather and I ended the night with a good beer (Highlander Campfire Stout, tastes like S'mores; go try it, you're welcome) and some of the best ice cream- I felt fueled and ready heading to sleep.

Race morning was standard; Starbucks run, get ready, hit the road. Heather and I got there about 45 minutes before the race, met up with some of the other Bergen Elite runners and then got a good warm-up in. We did about 20 minutes and then changed into race stuff before I threw in some more running and strides while making way to the start line.

Walking to the start, mentally getting ready.
Normally I start pretty damn close to the front (first or second row) but this is one race I sit back a tiny bit in fear of getting trampled. I wasn't too far back though, started my watch right at the gun (no start mat) because I wanted to be on with the clock. Off we went, and so the chase began. I actually was really calm at the start, I think I just knew that I needed to be.

It's VERY easy to go out too fast at Bergen. With this kind of field, its hard not to get caught up in it all. True to form, I went out blazing faster than I should have. I hit the first mile in 5:47, but I'm happy to say I didn't let it shake me. I didn't freak out, I didn't instantly slam the brakes I simply just relaxed my form and focused on moving forward. I picked people in front of me to keep me moving, and slowly worked my way through the field- I wasn't the only one to go out fast and my goal was to pass rather than be passed. I also heard a coach yelling at a girl near me, I knew the name and also know that her and I are very similar in speeds (at ALL distances). I used that healthy competition to drive me forward and not let her catch me.
Me and my friend Joe around half way point!
I wasn't a slave to my watch and focused on running hard but not red lining too soon. The last thing I wanted to do was blow up and not PR. Faster times on another day, this race for me was about a breakthrough PR which meant playing it fast but also smart. Did I want to see if I could do sub-6 pace the whole time, YES. But risking blowing up and not getting a PR was not something I was willing to do this time around.
Second half of the race somewhere
Once I got to mile two I didn't drop another gear I just held on to the one that I was in- and it was a comfortably hard place to be. I started picking off other runners, and passed a few more women to move up in the ranks. I used small goals in the last mile- get to the top of the little hill then make the right turn. Embrace this straight away and go hard until the final right turn into the park. When I got to the park I kept my eyes on the finish and nothing else. The finish was on grass this year since the park road was torn up, luckily I didn't bite it (I'm a clutz who has this concern constantly).

18:52 official time which was enough for a long overdue 17 second PR.

I placed 15th overall for women, which I was very happy with. Each and every year the caliber of athletes this race gets amazes me. This year, the top 52 times were under 17 minutes and the top 99 times were sub-19. That is not something you see at other 5ks anywhere near here.

As my fifth time running this race, I continue to tell people that this is where it's at. If you want a fast field, hometown feel, and fun time- Bergen is the place to go for it. I was excited to finally get Heather to join me for it this year too!

Now back to your regular scheduled marathon training and peak grind, one month from today is Erie Marathon! Let's hope the confidence boost and momentum from this race and the rest of training carry with me on race day :)
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