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Posts Tagged ‘Run Less Run Faster’

Maybe the title of this post should be “Trying Not to Freak Out About My Fourth Full Marathon” or “Counting Down the Days Until I Hit the Starting Line and Ask, ‘Why Am I Doing This Again?'” It’s August 1 and there are 23 days until the Santa Rosa Marathon. I feel ready and freaked out at the same time. I call it a healthy respect for the full marathon distance. I have trained hard, but I know that it takes more than training to have the kind of race I hope to have. It takes good weather on race day, proper fueling, mental fortitude, a willingness to suffer, and a fair amount of luck.

I have done what I can do in advance. Sunday is my last long run of 20 miles, then the blessed taper begins (I’m not being facetious when I call it blessed — I’ve come to look forward to the few weeks of reduced workouts that prime my muscles to fire on all cylinders on race day. I love the magic of taper and how it turns tired legs that barely make it 20 miles into strong legs that carry me 26.2 miles.)

I bought new shoes, quite possibly the last pair of size 11 Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13s on Amazon:

Yes I really do wear a monster size 11. I am just grateful for the proper fit that keeps me (for the most part) from getting blisters and black toenails.

Yes I really do wear a monster size 11. I am just grateful for the proper fit that keeps me (for the most part) from getting blisters and black toenails.

I love how the purple and light green remind me of veraison <—– fancy word I learned in Napa that means “change of color of the grape berries.”

Cabernet grapes undergoing veraison at Frog's Leap Winery in Napa Valley.

Cabernet grapes undergoing veraison at Frog’s Leap Winery in Napa Valley.

I took my new shoes out for an eight mile run this morning. During that time I thought about the Santa Rosa Marathon and whether or not I feel ready. I have faithfully checked off every workout on my training plan, but I am left wondering how that training will pan out on race day. This time around I went with the intermediate marathon training plan from Smart Marathon Training: Run Your Best Without Running Yourself Ragged. Like the Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary 3-Run-a-Week Training Program plan, it calls for three runs per week and two cross-training sessions, but this plan specifically prescribes that the cross-training sessions each be 20-25 miles on the bike, and it replaces some of the long runs with 50-60 mile bike rides. That means that for July, I ran 112 miles, and put nearly three times that many miles on the bike — 323 miles. If you look at training time alone, I spent more time biking than running (18.3 hours versus 17.8 hours)! I also stuck to the suggested strength training sessions twice a week, mainly following the workouts in Quick Strength for Runners: 8 Weeks to a Better Runner’s Body (my quick review: great for beginners but also easy to ramp up for more advanced athletes).

So, where does that leave me? I feel stronger than I have during past marathon training sessions. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that I’m putting in an average of 8-10 hours of training per week compared to an average of 7 hours per week for my last round of training. Thankfully, I feel less tired and worn out. Even though I’ve been putting in the same number of running miles per week (average of 27 per week for the last five weeks), I have run fewer 20-milers and really enjoyed substituting the long bike rides. If anything I’m a little worried that the training on the bike will not pay off on my feet. I need to have faith that the plan strikes the right balance of running, cardio on the bike, and strength training.

What if any training plan(s) do you follow? Do you have any fitness-related books that you recommend?

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I confess I have the dread disease that requires me to log every mile of every swim, bike and run, and every minute of exercise. If I don’t document it in at least three places, it didn’t happen, much like if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it. I track my runs and bike rides with a Garmin and/or with MapMyRUN, then record them on MapMyRUN, on my computer spreadsheet, and on my paper marathon training schedule. That’s normal, right? 😉 Just nod and back away slowly, and maybe you won’t catch this dread disease.

The fact is I find the data fascinating and it all helps me keep on track for my triathlon and marathon training. I’ve got an Olympic distance triathlon coming up in two weeks (!!) and the marathon in 10 weeks (!!!) I’ve been following the Run Less, Run Faster beginner’s marathon training plan. It calls for three runs per week (speed work, tempo, and long run) plus at least two cross-training workouts. For cross-training of course I do swimming and biking, a natural fit for the triathlon training. I also throw in some strength training. All that means that I exercise an average of six days per week for an average of six to six-and-a-half hours total. (Now I know that sounds like a lot to someone training for her first 5K, and like nothing to someone training for an Ironman. I don’t compare myself to anyone else (although if you want to leave a comment to tell me how much you’re training for your 70.3 or 140.6, I’d be curious to know the answer!))

For me the week generally looks like this:

Sunday: 60-minute bike ride or 30-minute ocean swim
Monday: rest day, possible 30-minute strength training
Tuesday: 60-minute speed workout, generally 6 miles including warm-up and cool-down
Wednesday: 30-minute swim or 40-minute bike ride, plus 20-30 minutes strength training
Thursday: 60-minute tempo run, generally 6-7 miles (this will be going up as the plan proceeds)
Friday: 30-minute bike ride plus 30 minutes of strength training; optional rest day or only strength training
Saturday: 120-minute long run (soon to be more as I head into new territory with 14+ mile runs!)

It ends up being three runs, two bike rides, one or two swims, and an average of two strength training sessions. By the numbers for August:

Swim miles (a swim mile being 1500 km): 5.25
Bike miles: 101.3 (full disclosure: I count 30 minutes on the spin bike as 10 miles)
Run miles: 100.59 (woo hoo, broke my first 100!)
Number of strength training workouts: 8, for a total of 3 hours 25 minutes

My handy computer spreadsheet shows me a pie chart that compares the ratio of swim to bike to run to weights, all based on minutes. It consistently stays at about 58 percent running, 18 percent biking, 14 percent swimming and 10 percent strength training.

Do you log all of your workouts? In more than one place?! Please confess that I’m not the only one.

What are you training for if anything and what does your mileage and workout time look like recently?

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I only wish I were there to see the London 2012 Olympics! Photo credit: JP Photography

Okay fine. It’s a slight exaggeration to say I did speedwork with the Jamaican sprinter and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. Just a tiny bit misleading. It would be more accurate to say that I did Tuesday’s speed workout on the treadmill at the gym while I watched Usain Bolt qualify for the Men’s 200m in the semifinals of the London 2012 Olympics. Nearly as inspirational and motivational, right?

I am new to speedwork. When I trained this past spring for my first half marathon, I ran with a running group whose plan avoided speedwork altogether. We did one long run on Saturdays and four more easy or medium efforts during the week. The coaches thought the best strategy to get us to race day well-trained and injury-free was to have us put in the mileage with four months of steady running. I can see the wisdom in that and it indeed got me to race day healthy and helped me achieve my goal of a sub-2 half.

This time around, I am following a marathon training plan from Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster, Revised Edition: Become a Faster, Stronger Runner with the Revolutionary 3-Run-a-Week Training Program. The plan incorporates one speed workout, one tempo run, and one long run, plus at least two days of cross-training. Perfect for this triathlete!

The Run Less, Run Faster plan tailors each workout based on the runner’s previous race times (for me, my half marathon time of 1:55:10). Tuesday’s speed workout called for the following:

Warmup at 10:00 pace, 6 mph*
1200m at 7:29, 8.02 mph
1000m at 7:28, 8.04 mph
800m at 7:22, 8.14 mph
600m at 7:17, 8.23 mph
400m at 7:12, 8.33 mph
RI** 200m (for me, done at a gasping walk!)
Cooldown at 10:00, 6 mph

* I mention the miles per hour for people like me who are pace-challenged. For the record, I am also direction-challenged (never ask me if we’re heading north on a trail) and spatial-relations-challenged (it’s a wonder I haven’t tripped over my own feet yet).
** Rest Interval in between each drill.

I find that I love speedwork. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when I finish. I never get bored, which is saying a lot when I have to run on the treadmill. Even more important, it gives me a physical boost and the mental confidence to know that I am working toward hitting my goal pace on race day.

Do you incorporate speedwork into your running workouts? What’s your favorite track repeat? Do you find the Olympics as inspiring and motivating as I do?!

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