Marathon Focus Week 1

Switching training focus this week to the marathon.

Total mileage: 80 - 85
Monday: Easy
Tuesday: 5 x mile @ 5:50 with 2 min recovery jog
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 8:00 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 6:00 pace with full recovery
Thursday: Tempo run; 3 - 2 - 1
12 miles @ 6:30
20 miles @ 6:55

How it played out:

85 miles
8 runs
20 at 6:49 and 12 at 6:24
1 bootcamp class
no strides on Friday, too snowy, no decent footing

3-2-1 Tempo

Not gonna lie, I was a bit intimidated by this weeks training and a bit nervous about hitting the paces on a few of the workouts, but I am doing my best to shut off the anxiety part of my brain and just trust that my legs can do the workouts. The forecast today left me feeling much more confident and ready to rock and roll on today's tempo. Salty and my friend MY were planning to run with me and the wind was only supposed to be 1-3 mph, compared to last weeks 17 gusting to 24 mph, so this sounded like it would be an awesome run.

Certain times of the year I seem to get a bounce in my fitness regardless of what type of training I am doing. I have no idea if it is coincidence or what but the past two weeks I have felt like I was getting that bounce despite not running faster at the 5k. 8 weeks out from Columbus last fall I had a really good track and tempo workout followed by an awesome race at Spirit of Columbus. Who knows if it is just my attitude or a real fitness breakthrough, but this week (8 weeks until Boston) I seem to be getting a similar bounce, my Tuesday track workout went well, I felt much fresher yesterday than I normally do after a track workout, and despite a hard bootcamp class last night I felt really good today the first three miles of our tempo.

Goal today was 6 miles. First 3 at 6:15, next 2 at 6:05, and the last one at 5:55. I was hoping since the wind wasn't as much of a factor that we could really dial it in today and hit paces rather than work off of effort. The downside of the perceived fitness bounce is I seem to have a hard time picking out the right effort for my planned paces. We ran 3 out and 3 back today, wind at our backs on the way out and in our faces on the way back. It was nowhere near the problem it was last week, but it must have been a little stronger than 3mph by the lake because it was definitely noticeable when we turned around. The first mile was a touch fast, I blame it on feeling fresh and having such good company combined with it being close to 40 degrees. The next two miles just sailed by and the legs felt great. The next mile we had to deal with the hairpin turn and some traffic that had us rolling to the top of a hill at 6:15 pace, with the following downhill I wanted to get us back down to 6:05, and we did that, but probably did it a bit too aggressively. The next mile had to really focus to keep it under 6:05. The last mile I was struggling for sure. My breathing was ragged and we were working pretty hard to keep it under 6:00. I tried not to look at the watch too much because I really couldn't have run any harder and I didn't want to get upset if it was slow. My eyes were starting to glaze/freeze over a bit and the last half mile I had to resort to some serious mental tricks to keep myself focused ahead instead of on the ground. With a serious push around .9 we barely got that mile under 6:00. Not quite the intended 5:55, but still my fastest tempo ever and trying to hit the 5:55 kept us honest.


5 * Mile

Target workout last night was 5* one mile at 5:50 pace with 2 minute recovery jogs.

Weather here has made it pretty tough to do these outside so we headed down to Akron to get on the indoor track there. It is not a short drive, and traffic can be a pain, but as long as we get there early we can get in most of our workout before the evening track clinic gets too far into their workout avoiding dodging kids on the track. It's a 300 meter track so it is nicer than going somewhere else that is shorter or having to hit the treadmill. We got lucky last night and arrived to no softball practice so we were able to start the workout early and we were almost completely done before anyone was on the track.

My training partner has been killing me at the indoor races this spring so I have been trying to let her take the lead in the workouts and just work off her. Last night this worked out great as she was right on pace and content to stay there. I never felt great but just tried to focus on one lap at a time, keep my head up, focus on form etc. Because NC was humming Lady Gaga Born this way, the workout was done to that tune in my head, it just wouldn't get out of there!

I took the inside lane for the 3rd and 5th mile to try setting the pace, I was fast the first lap on each, but pretty steady the rest of the laps. We decided to pick it up the last mile. I was a bit surprised I was able to, but glad I sucked it up and did it. Managed to get in 11 miles without getting in anybody's way. Other than the driving to and from it really is a good location and a nice track.


Pretty sure this is my best mile repeat workout ever. I tend to fall apart on these so that was a nice mental boost. Can't wait to get onto an outdoor track though!

Threshold Training Week 6

A solid week of training.

Goals for the week:

Total Mileage 70

Monday: Easy
Tuesday: Workout
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:30 pace with full recovery
Thursday: Tempo run
Kent 5k
22 miles @ 7:00

How it played out:

72 miles
7 runs
2 bootcamp classes
17:50.22 5k indoor race
22 mile long run at 6:48 pace

Funny how easy a 70 mile week feels now after three weeks of 80 miles. So much time on my hands :)

Kent State Tune Up 5k Race Report

Well this morning was another opportunity to test my racing skills and get in the mix with some ladies of similar abilities. I managed to meet some of my goals today, but others were not met. Overall I am pleased with my effort, slightly disappointed with the resulting time, but glad I sucked it up and ran the race. (Previously in the week I was heavily leaning towards skipping this one and either running a road 5k or focusing on training, but coach insisted this was important as it would help me mentally and help to develop speed.)

As predicted once the race started there was a small pack that took off around 17 minute pace and then a second pack of us around 5:34 at the mile. I did my best to settle in with this group as the effort felt right and I also told myself to relax and be patient and not to make any moves. This lasted for a few laps, and then I decided we had to pick it up a bit as the girl leading the pack was not holding the pace. I moved to the front of my little pack and pulled for a few laps until another gal traded leads with me for a few laps before the 2 mile. Around the 2 mile a CRC runner I know (PB) decided to up the ante and took the lead of our group, unfortunately I just couldn't find that gear to go with them and I lost my pack. We started lapping other runners at this point. I never heard the 2 mile split, but I had heard shouts of 17:30ish finish pace, and I was doing my best to run by feel and really wasn't aware of what the splits my coach calling out meant for my finish time. I knew I wasn't keeping up with the two gals in front of me, but I felt like I was running hard. I was confident I was working harder than I had at Akron. The last two laps I really tried to dig in and make sure I felt like I was giving everything I had. My legs were getting the same feeling they do at the end of a really hard track workout so I was confident I was really racing my hardest. Finished the last lap and looked up at the board to see 17:50.22. Not at all what I was expecting given the effort, and given how I felt about my race.

In retrospect perhaps I should have sat back longer and tried harder not to pull the pack I was in, maybe I worked harder than I should of in the second mile causing the fall off in the third mile, but I am not sure it would have made a difference. I think once I lost contact I was just working at the same effort but unfortunately losing a few seconds each lap without someone to gear off of. It is also possible I didn't work hard enough to find that next gear as I am aware that PB has run much faster 5ks than me and perhaps I limited myself knowing that she has better speed than me and knowing she was capable of running under 17:20, perhaps when she made that move I should have pretended she was someone else I can keep up with and tried harder to force the pace.

I'm a little conflicted with the result since I feel like I really ran a better race than Akron, but the result was the same. Perhaps that just means that my current 5k fitness really is 17:50ish, and that is all the speed I have. But perhaps it means I need to take a different approach in the 5k next time to get a better result. The 5 ladies ahead of me all have better speed than me and have all run better short races than me. I was super stoked to come in 6th place given the field. I just wish I could have upped the ante a bit that third mile and come a little closer to 17:35.

I have to remember that I only do 2 or 3 5ks a year and that now that I am getting faster it is not going to be as easy to improve my times in these short races without doing any real specific speed training. A 17:50 rut/plateau really isn't such a bad place to be after all :) It is just tough as running these races makes me want to work harder to improve these times and see if I can be faster, but they aren't really my goal right now. So I feel like each race that I don't improve is a "missed opportunity."

To end on some positive notes. No more 5ks for awhile and no more indoor racing, woohoo! My training buddy smoked the track today running another PR in 17:09 and coming in 2nd! I now have run three 5ks under 18:00 solidifying my faith in my current speed and knowing that these aren't some fluke. I came in 6th in a solid field of female runners from Ohio. I'm really happy with the effort I put in this morning. Added bonus I got to cheer for one of my trail running friends as he ran his first indoor 5k, and catch up with some of my ultra buddies who I miss dearly.


Tomorrow I am racing another indoor 5k. Like last year I am headed to the Kent State Tune Up. Hopefully unlike last year it will be a good experience. With my primary focus being the marathon it is really difficult to get amped up for these shorter indoor races. Firstly while I like track in theory, racing on the track is not usually pleasant for me. Sure if I get a good result I will be stoked, but the experience is stressful at best, humiliating at worst.

The rational part of my brain knows that at the end of the day no one really cares what I run at this race but me. No matter what I run my family will still love me, my friends will still say I did great, and the result really doesn't mean much in the scheme of things. The irrational part of my brain feels like this huge spotlight is on me and the pressure is on to do something spectacular. Digging through my very short list of recent 5k experiences I am confident that even on a bad day I will not run like I did last year here. But that list also leaves me with little confidence in a huge breakthrough tomorrow, which is obviously what the goal is toeing the line with a bunch of other speedy chicks. Why else would I be torturing myself? :)

The heat sheets came out last night and I did some research to try and get a feel for who else would be gunning for similar goals to me. It is really hard to say, but it looks like there will be 3 super speedy chicks under 17:15 and then about 9 of us with a potential to run between 17:20 and 17:50. I definitely think I can run better than I did at Akron with a more even effort. I'll just have to see how it plays out based on what the field does.

So the mental goals for tomorrow:

1) Stop being a headcase and just run. I feel like on the track there is so much micro management going on in my head. Hearing splits every minute and trying to up my effort every lap gets a bit overwhelming. I want to try and just let go tomorrow, find a pack that I can tag onto and just run.

2) Don't let preconceived notions of where I should be based on past experiences dictate who I run with. Trust my instincts and run with a group that feels "right."

3) If I want to PR I need to obviously pay a bit of attention to pace. I'd like to be through the 2 mile between 11 and 11:20 to give myself a shot at a PR. But I want the mental effort to get there to be minimized. I shouldn't start really suffering until that last mile. Just relax and let the pace happen.

4) Stop holding back. The marathoner in me has this reserve that I just can't seem to tap into until I mentally decide I can survive the rest of the race. If I don't feel like I am running at my limit that last mile, then I am not pushing hard enough. I need to try and break through this mental barrier if I want to see a big jump in my time.

5) Don't get stuck pulling a group. I am so used to my road race mentality of leading when I can and doing my own thing, I have a really hard time tucking in and following others. Track races just don't work like that and I need to learn to relax and settle in and wait until later in the race to pull myself.

Time Goals:

In an ideal world it would be a huge confidence booster if I was under 17:20 for this race. I have absolutely no idea if that is even feasible though and that is a pie in the sky "A" goal.

Realistic Goals:

B) 17:35
C) PR (17:47 or better)

Wish me luck :)

One Windy Tempo Run

Mother nature has decided it is time to be the usual February tease and this week in Cleveland we are getting a few days with temps cracking 50 F before we'll settle back into the usual 30ish degrees this weekend. Hey I can't complain, any day I can run in shorts is a good day. Of course a shift that big in temperature is usually accompanied by some sort of bad weather. Today it was wind! I run a lot of my lunch time tempos on a street that runs parallel to the lake that is not near any buildings, it is a straight shot out and back so on a windy day you are pretty much guaranteed some suffering. Unfortunately it is usually wind traveling at your back on the way out and at your face on the way back. Making it difficult to decide on a pace initially and meaning you will have to work hard in the middle or end of the workout depending on where you start.

In an effort to relax a bit I have been ignoring the watch the past two weeks and going by effort. But as today's workout called for 7 miles at 6:25 I had to wonder what an equivalent pace would be in each direction. Using Daniel's wind formulas this nifty calculator tells you what an equivalent pace would be for different wind conditions.

Fun to look at, not sure how practical it is in a real world situation. I checked it out before the run knowing today I'd be facing 17 mph winds gusting up to 26 mph. Given last week we struggled into 12 mph, I knew today would not be an evenly paced run, but I wanted to give myself the best shot at an even effort run. The calculator put the paces into the wind at 7:25 and with the wind at 5:50. That seemed like an awful big adjustment to me, but I decided that as long as paces were between those ranges today we'd call it a success.

This week we started with the wind rather than against it. Fun fun, you feel like you are flying the first few miles, but unfortunately a little shy of 2 we know we have to turn around and go to work. I just ignored the watch after the 2nd mile and pretty much just ran hard. I cannot lie, the next 5 miles went by unbearably slow. The wind never let up, at times making it feel like we were standing in place. But other than tired quads, my legs really felt good and I was able to push myself to keep the effort high. Huge help in that I had training buddies with me the entire time today. Salty did really well the first 2 miles then did her own thing to finish out a nice 4 mile tempo. MY and I pushed on into the wind for 3 miles before rounding the stadium and finally heading back with the wind and a fast final two miles. It was definitely hard work even with the wind at our backs, but mostly because we were so tired from working into the wind. Gladly the watch finally beeped sounding the end of our 7 mile tempo and we jogged it back in super slowly into the wind.

12 miles averaging 7:06 and 7 tempo miles averaging 6:24.5. It feels good to have been able to nail that workout in these conditions. I am definitely learning that letting go of being so OCD about the watch is a good thing.


Back on Track, again

The birds are chirping, snow is melting, and I did not blow up on my track workout today. Perhaps there is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel :) Mood is much improved and the hamstring is feeling closer to 100%, so hopefully I'm ready to kick it up a notch here and really get with it on my Boston training the next 9 weeks.

A few things I think probably helped today:

I took yesterday's recovery run really easy and knocked it down a few miles.
I focused today on effort rather than splits and basically let my training partner be the watch.
The workout had more built in rest today, which I think allowed me to keep the effort higher.
I went in with a much more laid back attitude.
I basically had a week off speed since last weeks workout was a bust.


2 miles at marathon pace, 3 min jog,10 x 1 min at 3K pace with
2 min jog, mile at 10K pace, 2 min jog, 800 at 5K pace
Pace: 6:20 mar, 5:30 3K, 5:50 10K, 5:40 5k


Ran the 10* 1 as 292 meters around the track all between 58 and 1:01

Threshold Training Week 5

Goals for the week:

Total Mileage 80

Monday: Easy.
Tuesday: 4 miles alternating between 5K and marathon pace, then 10 x 1 min @ 5:20 pace with 3 min jog. Pace: 5:42 and 6:20
Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:20 pace
Thursday: Tempo run 6 miles @ 6:15
12 miles @ 6:40
20 miles @ 7:00

How it played out:
80 miles
6 days running, 9 runs (3 doubles and Wednesday off)
1 failed compound workout
Bagged the second set of sprints
2 boot camp classes

This week was a tough one mentally. I think the midwest winter weather finally broke me. I did my best to pick myself up and dust myself off later in the week with lots of good company for my easy runs and long runs. Wednesday woke up coughing and took some cold medicine and didn't run, but still managed to survive boot camp class.

Key workouts:

Tuesday- Lunch: 6 miles failed workout

What I sent my coach after jogging back to the office in tears.

"These compound workouts are killing me. Apparently I am not in shape to run the 5k or marathon times I have run because I haven't been able to do a single one of these compound sets without falling way off the paces. I stopped after the 1st and 2nd miles to walk it out today because I couldn't hold the pace, and 3/4 through the 3rd mile I quit because my hamstring tightened up and was causing me to limp. None of the miles were even close to the paces.

Jogged back in tears frustrated with myself, frustrated that I can't do these damn workouts, and frustrated that I might have injured myself.

I don't know if I am burned out, overtrained, or if it is just winter, but this is probably the most frustrated I have ever been with my running."

Thursday- Did the tempo with my buddy Salty and basically ignored the watch. The wind was brutal and my hamstring was sore so I just ran by effort.

Again ran 1.5 with Salty, 1 by myself, 1.5 with Salty, and the rest by myself. Ended up doing a bit more than 6 miles to avoid a longer cool down into the wind. Did 6*30 second sprints on the way back but didn't look at the watch for pace. (HW=Headwind)

06:25.5 HW
06:38.3 HW
07:01.6 HW
02:56.5 HW

Averaged 6:27 for the run, not exactly the goal, but given the conditions I considered it a success.

Saturday- Headed out with hopes that my hamstring would behave, and for the most part it was okay. Couldn't quite hit 6:40 in the wind, legs felt like tree trunks and ended up with 12 miles at 6:45.

Sunday- We headed down to Hinckley for some hills and a change of scenery. Goal was 20 at 7:00 pace but again I pretty much ignored the watch and just ran by feel. The hamstring felt much better than expected and while the hills and wind were tough we managed to get in the 20 at 6:57 pace.

Threshold Training Week 4

These rundowns are getting a little out of control. I've been reading a few fast ladies blogs and like their format a lot better. And in all honesty who really cares what pace I ran my recovery days :)

So will be trying something new here for a bit to see if I like it.

The goals per coach:

Total Mileage 80.

Monday: Easy.

Tuesday: 1 x 800/1600/3200/1600/800 meter compound set (5 straight miles no rest). Run 800 meters at 5K pace, 1600 meters at 10K pace and 3200 meters at goal marathon pace followed by 1600 meters at 10K pace before finishing with 800 meters at 5K pace. Pace: 800 @ 5:40 pace, 1600 @ 5:50 pace and 3200 @ 6:25 pace.

Wednesday and Friday: easy miles @ 7:20 or slower. 6 x 30 sec @ 5:30 pace with full recovery

Thursday: Tempo run 6 miles @ 6:15

12 miles @ 6:45
18 miles @ 7:10

How it played out:

82 miles
8 runs
1 double (Sunday)
2 Bootcamp sessions (M/W)

1 night out bowling/dancing
Way too much superbowl food and beer consumed!

Tuesday Workout: Ran at Case indoors. Just couldn't hit the paces. I've been struggling with these compound sets. It seems in order to keep some semblance of speed my body is just used to having recovery. Still adjusting to these workouts, so far though, not a fan. What doesn't kill me right?


Thursday Tempo: Had to deal with sloppy footing into the wind miles 1 and 5 and parts of 2 and 6. Ran about 2.2 miles out and 2.2 back then 0.8 out and back. 1.5 with Salty, then 8 minutes on my own, then another 1.5 with Salty, then the rest on my own. Had to stop briefly for two lights. Actually given how hard mile 5 was I have no idea how we ran the 1st mile as well as we did.


Averaged 6:16.6 and other than mile 5 really felt controlled the whole time. Temps were kind of weird. Wind made it cold but the sun made it warm, just not an ideal day for a tempo really, at least not downtown with sloppy footing and crazy drivers, but we made do.

Saturday Run: Aka sloppy solo snow festival. This run was the start of my negative atitude that has lasted several days. Couldn't hit the paces with the snowy ground, ended up averaging 7:03. It wasn't a bad run, just a bit mentally taxing running 12 miles by myself in a mini snow storm, when I would rather have been having fun with friends.

Sunday Run: Wasn't sure what to do about pacing since Saturday was slow, so I decided as long as the pace was doable I would run 6:45 for the first 12 miles then finish up easy to get in 18. Ran all but 3 miles by myself, and continued to just be a relatively unpleasant person all around. Finished out the run at 6:53 pace. Really didn't feel bad running wise, was just cold and grumpy.

In retrospect I am probably fighting a bug of some sort, and had to run indoors two days because of weather. Hopefully it is just the winter bringing me down and hopefully my attitude will get better the rest of this week :)

Tempo Trivia

Let's play a game. See if you can figure out which miles of today's tempo were plagued by headwinds, sloppy footing, and near misses dodging traffic.


Despite the sketchy parts of the run it was an excellent workout with my buddy Salty who is quickly getting back into shape after baby #2. Actually felt pretty good for all except that 5th mile today. That one was ugly. But next week it would be really nice if they cleared Marginal because I got a little too friendly with drivers side mirrors and sides of buses today.