Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Well-Read Runner: How Not To Prepare For A Long Run

Week 3 of training for the Mystic Half Marathon is done!  I'm 25% there!  :)

Total distance for the week: 18.53 miles

Overall, this was a great week.  My runs all felt good, I've managed not to skip any training days, and I'm just generally feeling confident.  I'm sure I'm still riding the wave of my 5K race last weekend.  Remind me how this feels in Week 8 when I'm a whiny, insufferable mess.  :)

Training for a late-spring race is a first for me, and the weather is a curveball for sure.  When I trained for a mid-September half last year, I began my 12-week program in June/July, when it was crazy hot.  I remember I had to bag a 10 mile long run at mile 6 because it was 98 degrees and JUST NO.  On the actual race day, it wasn't quite that warm (70's) but still humid.  So all of my training took place in weather somewhat similar to what I raced in.

This time around?  My runs for the last three weeks have averaged in 20/30 degree temps.  (Today it was 40, what LUXURY!!)  But when I race on May 31, there's a real good chance that it could be 80 and boggy.  A lot happens in 12 weeks of spring around here!  It will be interesting to see how the training cycle plays out, weather-wise.


Monday: Stretch and strengthen.  I let Jillian Michaels whup my butt again for 30 minutes.  I did 30 Day Shred, Level 2.  I love/hate that workout so much.

Tuesday: 3.5 miles, easy pace.  I had to get up early to do this one, and I really really REALLY didn't want to do the treadmill.  So I went 11 degree weather.  And it was a glorious, quiet run.  I was dreading getting out of bed for it, but I'm so glad I kicked myself outside!
It's 5am, it's dark, it's cold, LET'S GO FOR A RUN!
Wednesday: 6 x 400 speed workout.  On the treadmill.  Tough, as expected.  Only remarkable thing is that I started a new movie while I was running (360, starring Jude Law) and realized too late that the first 20 minutes were almost entirely subtitled.  Yeah, let's do speed intervals while reading tiny captions!  Fun times!!

Thursday: 3 miles easy + strength work.  Did an easy treadmill run in the morning (no captions to read this time, thankfully) and some core training in the evening.  Plank, squats, plank, push ups, plank, scorpions, plank plank plank...haha.

Friday: Rest!  Enjoyed it by sleeping in (til 6:15...) for the first time all week, and watching Whiplash with the hubster that night after the kids went to bed.  Best movie we've seen in a loooong time.
Whenever I can't keep pace during a run, I'll just imagine JK Simmons throwing a chair at me.
Saturday: 3 miles @ race pace.  My first race pace run!  I was not psyched when I looked outside in the morning and saw 2 inches of fresh snow on the ground.
Pretty snow, but still.  Snow.
However, by the time I got out there at 11:30am, it was mostly melted off the roads (though very wet, and 20 degrees, weeeee!).  I am not excellent at pacing myself, so I knew this would be good practice...and it was.  My desired race pace is about 9:45/mile, and my splits on the Garmin were 9:30/9:31/9:34.  Still a little faster than I want, but I was getting the hang of it by the third mile (and Nike+ actually listed average pace as 9:43, so maybe I did better than I thought?).  Glad I have more race pace runs built into the training!

Sunday: 6 mile long run.  I did everything wrong leading up to this run.  Let's be clear on that up front.  I decided not to do the run until right before dinner.  So the first wrong thing that I did was order a Spanish omelet (with extra salsa!) at a diner when we went out for lunch.  The second wrong thing I did was take Small Fry ice skating for the first time directly after lunch, which (though awesomely fun) was basically 45 minutes of me catching a falling 35-pound child and then pushing him around the ice rink on a chair.  Yay, jelly legs!

By long run time, I was a tad worried.  But I popped two Tums, said a prayer, and hit the road.  I'm happy to say that I did not barf salsa OR lose steam during the run.  (I did burp omelet, just not barf it.  Unpleasant but manageable.)  Actually, I kept a pretty even pace (9:51 on the Garmin, 10:14 on Nike+...I think the Garmin is more accurate) and I felt great.  40 degree weather, sunny, the only downside was a strong wind, but I'll take it.

Week 3 in the books!  Let's keep this momentum going!

How was your running week, friends?

What's your least favorite season to train in, weather-wise?

What's the worst thing you ever ate before a long run?  (You do not have to share the results of that decision.)


  1. Snow? Hard to imagine although the weather here dropped in the 50's so even in Florida the training is unpredictable as I pulled my long sleeves out to get some training miles in :) Sounds like a good week for you- lots of miles. I have a cast iron stomach so dinner the night before never bothers me to much :) Happy Monday!

    1. Ah, you Floridians!! :) 50's would have me putting the long sleeves away...haha! You are lucky with a strong stomach...that is likely my greatest weakness as a runner. I have to be so careful with the fuels I choose, especially mid-run!

  2. Oh, my gosh...Jillian Michaels is the devil in disguise! I love 30 Day Shred, too; it really kicks my butt. Great job getting out the door on those cold, cold, snowy days - good grief! I hope it's over for you and maybe Spring will finally settle in; 11 degrees is just ridiculous. Your description of your long run, post-Mexican, is hilarious; I'm glad the Tums helped out! One time I ate some kind of energy bar thingy before a run and I'd never had that brand before; I had the WORST indigestion during my run; it was awful! Great job on your training last week and I hope your week is starting off well; thanks so much for linking up with the blog today!

    1. Oh yes, I learned the hard way about mid-run nutrition last year as well...tried a Gu that I'd never had before and paid the price! Ugh. I wish my stomach wasn't so sensitive.

  3. You're inspiring me to run! I'm getting some running shoes this weekend, time to be fit!

    Did you find eventually find that breathing became easy? Because that seems to be my main problem while running.

    1. Woohoo, good luck!! Running is awesome.

      Breathing was a problem for me as well when I first started. I was VERY prone to side cramps. It did get easier the more I respiratory capacity increased, but I also got better at pacing my breathing with my stride. I found that if I exhaled only when my left foot came down(not the right), it lessened the cramps A LOT. But you have to see what works for you, it does take practice. Now I don't even think about it, but when I do pay attention to my breathing, I find I am still keeping that left foot exhalation pattern.

  4. Sounds like a great week! And - I'm with you on the weather...I HATE the treadmill and try to only do speed work on it, so I ran most of the winter in 20 degree weather...occasionally with snow flurries..and often over icy sidewalks. Isn't it sad when we consider 40 degrees a luxury (I do as well!)?! Ha!

    1. I'm glad someone relates to this!! So much of the rest of the country has already warmed up quite a bit. Northeasterners still feel my sub-freezing pain. :)

  5. I once ran a nighttime 5k glow run at the last minute for a friend. I burped sausage the entire race. It was not pretty. I'm still laughing about reading the tiny captions while running on the treadmill. I never understood how people read books. I bounce too much.

    1. Mmmm sausage burps. LOL. And yes re: reading books. I can read my Kindle (on VERY LARGE type setting) if I am doing an extremely slow run. Otherwise, no way.

  6. I'm chuckling to myself because I had a big no-no before my first ever 20 mile training run. I ate chili the night before and assumed I'd be okay because I'd never had chili related issues before. Let's just say 5 miles in I found the closest bathroom (in the lobby of a hotel) and in my haste to take care of business I wound up in a stall with no TP! Since it was 6AM and no one else was in there I waddled over to the next stall. Mortifying at the time but I can look back and laugh now.

    1. Oh nooooo! But I'm glad you can LOL in's good to have a few of those stories! :)

  7. Jillian Michaels-Love/hate her too! but love her more I think :)

    OMG-speed intervals on a treadmill-while reading tiny captions, I would have ended up on someone YouTube bloopers!!!

    Scorpions-have never seen or heard of those-need to add that to the workout!

    NO MORE SNOW!!!! #overit

    Good luck with the rest of your training!

    1. Total agree about the snow. It's 43 here today and I'm ready to set a lounge chair up on the front lawn!

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