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October 2017 in review! Total mileage for the month: 323.6 - my biggest month ever! In comparison, I did: January - 261, February - 212, March - 203, April - 219, May - 249, June - 205, July - 275, August - 301, September - 271. Oct. 2-8: 70.1 Oct. 9-15: 77.1 - a volume-focused week (only a tiny workout) Oct. 16-22: 71.6 Oct. 23-29: 76.6 - my sixth week in the 70s! Oct. 30-Nov. 5: projected at 65 - a cut-back week with a half marathon race at the end October 1st family photo...if only I'd worn a blue skirt on this day! Races: Oct. 7: Panther Run 5K as a workout at steady 6:00 pace for 1st overall female Oct. 21: Kansas City Half Marathon as a split progressive tempo workout, in 1:21:36 (1:23:16ish adjusted) for 2nd overall female Favorite race: Any time the choice is between a half and a 5K, there is really no choice, even though I had some legitimate complaints about the race. KC Half! Workouts: Oct. 4 - 5 x 1 mile repeats with 0.5 recoveries (3.2 warm up, 1.1 cool down) in 5:42.0, 5:38.7, 5:38.4, 5:35.8, 5:34.3 (average 5:37.8). I was a bit shocked to see this workout on my schedule so soon after the Indy Women's Half, but I chalked it up to more getting used to trying to run fast on tired legs. I was even more shocked that I nailed the workout (and look at those beautiful negative splits)! My goal pace range from my coach was 5:38-5:42, and I was just hoping I could hold onto 5:42, particularly since it was 68* with a dew point of 68* (you'd think that type of weather at 5:30 a.m. would be over by October!). This was a PR mile repeat workout; my previous best was a 5:40 average for 4 repeats (run on May 10 on the same course as this workout). The last time I did 5 repeats I ran 5:57, 5:54, 5:57, 5:56, 6:02 (also the same course) -- I was unhappy with that workout and it was back in December 2016, though. I ran these solo, so I was pleased with the implication that I am getting mentally tougher about pushing when I'm on my own. It was also nice redemption after failing a mile repeat workout, and then re-trying it 2 days later with a medicore performance on August 22 and 24. Oct. 7 - Panther Run 5K at tempo in 19:01 via 6:00, 5:56, 6:04, 5:58 final bit (2 warm up, 3 cool down). After my October 4 mile repeat workout, I almost wanted to throw-down all-out race a 5K to try to break 18:00, and might have tried (and subsequently been disappointed) at this one if it had been on an accurate good course and in good weather. But since I knew the course was turny and a shade long, and since it was over 70* and very windy, I had no problem sticking to my original plan of running it at 6:00ish pace in order to try for the win, get in a short tempo, and save my legs for my long run the next day. Based on how I ended up feeling, presumably because of the October 4 workout and the Indy Women's Half being on my legs, I would not have raced a fantastic 5K anyway (6:00 felt harder than I expected it to)! Oct. 14 - 21.4 mile long run with 5 x 1:00 pick ups (described below). Oct. 17 - Fartlek of 2 x 4', 3', 2', 1' pushes with recoveries equal to the next push (2 warm up, 1.6 cool down). My paces on the pushes were 5:54, 5:47, 5:42, 5:28, 5:44, 5:49, 5:33, 5:59 (incline), and I recovered at 7:00ish pace, giving me 5.77 miles at 6:16 pace for the pushes and recoveries all together. Strava said the last 1:00 push grade-adjusted to 5:42 pace, but because of the incline it came very close to ruining my sub-6:00 streak! I think this is the best I've run on this workout, but I was more excited about recovering at 6:58-7:05 than anything! Farleks are always a nice lower-key way to get in fast running. Oct. 21 - Tempos of 4 miles, 3 miles, 2 miles, 1 mile, 1 mile with 0.5 recoveries (2.5 warm-up and 4 cool-down), run during the Kansas City Half Marathon. This workout requires a lot of elaboration, which can be found here, but seemed to have been successfully executed. Oct. 25 - Fast finish mid-week long run (9 steady then cut down final 3); I averaged 6:55 for the whole 12.2 miles and the final 3 miles were 6:23, 6:12, 6:09. The final half mile on the course I ran is up an incline we complain about call Mentor Hill, and I about had a coronary trying to keep it under 6:10 pace! It's funny because every route my running group runs from this frequent starting location is rolling the entire way, but we act like this incline at the end is a mountain; I guess it is just the placement and length of it, because it's not at all steep. Oct. 31 - 3 x 2 mile progressive split tempos with 0.5 recoveries (2.1 warm up, 2 cool down). Call this one practice negative splitting under cumulative fatigue! My goal paces were 6:10, 6:00, sub-6:00 and I executed just under with splits of 6:08/6:06, 5:58/5:59, 5:57/5:53. I could definitely feel the 22 miler from 2 days before on my legs (not to mention the lunges from the day before), but I think that was part of the point for this one. It was cold (25*) and I tend to under-dress when I'm going to be running hard, but I think I erred a little too much on that side because I didn't actually warm up until I was almost finished with the first rep. The first rep was also the hardest and I was really glad I got to start slower! The last mile was a push but it felt good. Overall I was happy with this workout, although it didn't inspire confidence about running 13.1 miles at a just slightly slower pace. Doubles on Oct. 3, 5, 10, 11, 12 (the true miracle was that I ran all 3 of them at lunch that week!), 17, 18, 24, 26, and 31. Strides on Oct. 7 and 21 (pre-race, even though they were workout races), and 27. Bootcamp (full body strength workouts) on Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30, plus enough additional strength here and there to hit at minimum 90 minutes of strength work total per week. Favorite workout: The mile repeats on October 4 felt like a huge victory to me! Long Runs: Oct. 8: 18 miles steady (6:52). I ran the first 8 with Missy and Rebecca, and the next 10 with tunes. The weather was beautiful (49* and no wind) and I felt fantastic! I find that once I warm up, 6:50ish is my cruising relaxed pace now, which is super encouraging. Feeling strong on this run solidified my confidence that I made the right decision about not throwing down all-out in the Panther run the day before. I drank quite a bit of water with 3 tabs of nuun energy before and during this run, and I had to pee twice but the caffeine seemed to have me raring to go (with the run in addition to with the peeing)! Oct. 14: 21.4 miles (6:52), with 16 steady then 1:00 pick-ups to 6:00-6:10 goal pace at the beginning of every mile the rest of the way (so 5 x 1:00 within a base run). My paces on the pick-ups were 5:54, 6:01, 6:15 (uphill), 5:47, 5:45 (some decline). Strava said my grade-adjusted pace (GAP) was 6:01 on the uphill one and 5:52 on the decline one; the others were all pretty flat with GAPs within 1-2 seconds. This was faster than I ran the same pick-ups during my 20 miler in September, and they felt better this time, so I was happy about that. The pick-ups certainly illustrate the importance of even pacing though, because picking it up like that blows me up a bit (e.g., the last 5 miles would have been much easier at the same overall pace with even pacing), but I think blowing up a bit is the purpose. I felt good enough that I kept going until I got back to my house instead of stopping when my watch hit 21 (that's how I know a good day vs. a not good one -- on bad days I will stop the second my watch hits distance!). I took one gel of the brand I will use in my marathon around mile 11, and also drank some nuun energy and water at miles 11, 15, and 19 while on the run (no watch stopping). I ran this solo except for brief company from about miles 2-5, so it was a bit lonely but probably good for me to tick off consistent paced miles alone (most were around 6:55, with the end faster). It was 65* when I started and probably over 70* when I finished, which is pretty amazing for mid-October -- I love this weather for training, but would complain if it was a race day (as exhibited in regards to the Panther Run and Kansas City half this month alone). Oct. 21: 19.6 miles total, with the Kansas City half as a progressive split tempo workout, described here. I was scheduled for 18 miles total, but ran a little longer warm up (because I like to keep moving until the gun) and cool down (because a friend had a 10 mile cool down after her 10K, and I was going to do 5 with her to help, but I got too hungry and stopped at 4). Had I done the math at the time I'd have probably gone 0.4 farther, but maybe not because I was absolutely starving! Oct. 28: 22.4 miles (6:54), all base. Going from long runs at 60-70* to this one at 26*/feels like 20* was a bit of a shock! I over-dressed in an effort to maintain some of my heat adaptation and because being out in the cold for over 2.5 hours can be quite draining if you're not warm enough. Overall this went really smoothly. I had company for about 4 miles (miles 3-6), and was solo with music for the other 18.4. The miles ticked off and I finished feeling good. Strava told me this run had exactly 700 ft elevation gain; I am not sure how I managed to hit that on the nose. Before this run I looked back at my 22 miler before Phoenix; it was the same run (all base, and I ran to 22.5 that day on the same area farm roads) and I averaged 7:26 pace on it. I remember being a bit tired on it because it was a week after I raced the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona half, and likewise I was a bit tired on this one following the Kansas City half, but I was pretty pumped that I averaged 32 seconds faster/mile on this one! I drank nuun energy and vanilla Ucan before, and during I had nuun energy and most of one Accel gel (my mitten had the rest of it), all of which I will have on race day (well, I will have 3 gels on race day). I will also eat a solid breakfast about 3 hours pre-race on marathon day, but I didn't want to get up at 3:30 a.m. to do that before this run. So basically I will be better fueled on race day, but I practiced some of my race day nutrition and it all went down well! Favorite long run: I loved them all -- it's a 3-way tie! Wednesdays were 11-12 mile days (mid-week long runs). Highlights/thoughts/randomness: I feel good. I never knew I could run this mileage and feel so good! Sure, I feel fatigued sometimes, and my easy runs the day after long runs are always significantly slower than my usual easy pace, but I think I feel better than I ever have during a marathon build. Perhaps the increased mileage is helping me in this aspect. Whatever it is, I'm thankful. I am also completely injury-free (not even a niggle), which I am super thankful for. I wrote an entire post about my October food cravings here. No days off in October and it's getting redundant to report this (my last day off was June 19, and I expect my next to be post-marathon). We got to watch my youthful training partner Jessi take 3rd in her conference cross-country meet, which MSU hosted right here in Springfield on October 28! The weather was crazy this month; I ran a half in 70* on October 21 then a long run at 25* on October 28. It felt like we skipped fall and went straight from summer to winter! Where were those nice 40-50* morning lows? The high on November 5, my next race day, is 78*. Hopefully all my race day weather perfectness is just saving itself up for CIM.
Hello again Loopsters! This is my first bloop in the loop reborn. It doesn’t look like I’ll manage to increase my writing on the new loop. But I’ll try…and try to be more interesting. (But this bloop doesn’t really accomplish that. More of a stream of consciousness about my recent training, and minor issues I’ve had) I am getting into the main part of training for St. Jude Memphis marathon. I’d love to go sub 4:30. That’s been my goal for how long now? It’s been more than a year since I completed a marathon. I’m feeling good but there’s been a couple set backs. A little more than a month ago I went to the chiropractor and mentioned that the side of my right heel hurt. He quickly determined that the real problem was in my calf. A quick press on a trigger point there confirmed it for me. Ow! My calf was super angry. I had a 6k race on that Saturday and he told me not to run before then. (So no running just for Thursday and Friday) He also said I should consider getting trigger point injections. I was not at all sure about that! My calf didn’t hurt except when someone pressed on the trigger points. But it was tight when I ran. After 2 days of rest the 6k went great (I placed 1st in my age group and was 9th woman overall – covered in my last real bloop on the old loop). My heel felt better by my follow up appointment the next week. I was even more unsure whether it was worth pursuing the trigger point injections, but they weren’t going to charge me more than the cost of a normal appointment, the heel felt better but the calf was still clearly very, very tight and angry. With such a tight timeline for my upcoming marathon, I don’t have time for injury so I went with it. Curiosity played a role too. For the next 4 weeks I went in once a week for the injections and massage. Each visit my calf got less tight and my heel pain was long gone. I still don’t know if I really needed the injections, but I do know they helped. I may very well have been fine without them, but I’m glad I didn’t take the chance. The other set back happed 2 weeks ago when just before I went to bed I started to feel really sick to my stomach. I went to bed feeling like I was going to have to get up again soon to…um, empty my stomach but I made it through the night (not sleep well at all, but without revisiting my supper). Tuesday morning I got up and still felt bad, but I got dressed hoping I’d feel better. I didn’t and just the walk to the bathroom left me all sweaty. Not good. Finally my stomach did give up. Ok, no workout, no run and no work. I spent the rest of the day on the couch, mostly sleeping and struggling to get water in. About 3pm I ate a little toast, and I had a small bowl of rice for supper but that’s all I ate. Wednesday I went to work, but still had no appetite. I managed to eat a little anyway. I went out after work to try to run. I made it 2 miles before my stomach started cramping and my legs said, nope, you are done for today. Gradually as the week went on I felt better, but my appetite didn’t come back at all even by Friday night before my scheduled 16 mile long run. I’d been eating so I figured I’d try and see what happened. I started running on Saturday and right from the very beginning my legs felt heavy. I hoped they would feel better as I went but they really didn’t. Finally at 11 miles in I called it a day. The following week was a cut back week, so I could attempt 16 again without getting behind on my plan. Finally Sunday night I actually felt hungry again. From there I did feel better. Last week I was able to all my runs in as planned. Attempt #2 at 16 went great – I even managed to run the last mile the fastest (something I’m doing to help simulate running the last mile of a race). I felt really good. Today’s run was great too. I’m feeling good, I hope I can keep this going. Sorry this bloop isn’t very interesting, and maybe kind of gross. Hopefully I’ll have more time to devote to the next one I write. And maybe there will be pictures…