Monday, May 26, 2014

Training check in

I've been taking my training a bit more seriously this past week than I have since April's half. With a marathon training plan chosen, I need to be focused on endurance.  When I mentioned this to Mr. Shoe he reminded me that I still have another 5k before the marathon and I shouldn't get ahead of myself. This past week was a mix of speed work (for the 5k) and getting back to higher weekly mileage (marathon).

Monday: 3.1 mile run with negative mile splits (8:30, 8:00, 7:30)

Tuesday: 1 mile warm up, 7x400 at 1:50 per interval, 1.25 mile cool down

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 5.12 mile run at a steady 8:00 pace

Friday: rest

Saturday: 5.2 mile run about 9:00 pace. I cleared my watch without writing down the actual time, oops.

Sunday: 5 mile run easy pace

Total miles: 22.42 miles

Sunday's run was actually supposed to be 7 miles but at about 4.5 miles I started getting stabbing pains in my left foot. I managed to alternate running and walking to get to the 5 mile point, but after that I could not keep running. Unfortunately I was doing a point to point run and had not brought my cell phone with me. I had to walk the last two miles with my left foot in pain.

I've been staying off my feet as much as possible and while I am sitting there is no pain. Unfortunately walking is still extremely painful. There is no swelling or bruising. I'm not quite sure what is wrong with my foot, but hopefully it will be feeling better in a day or two.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Marathon Training

I am starting to feel just a little bit panicked about running a marathon this year. The number one thing that I am stressing over is choosing the right training plan. I am certain that I could choose any basic training plan and get myself to the finish line. If only I could just let this be enough. While I don't expect to be exceptionally fast, I would really like to do the absolute best that I can based on my current training and fitness level.

I've been reading through a few running books and articles and have sought out the advice of experienced marathoners.  I kept waiting for someone to hand me the "right" training plan, but there really isn't a right plan for everyone.  I ended up asking the following questions and using the answers to craft a plan that would work best for me.

1. How many days/week should I be running? 

I've looked at a number of training plans ranging from 3-6 days per week.  I am currently running 5 days per week.  That is also the amount that I use to train for my half marathon last September.  Apart from a few disruptions (wedding, winter storms, etc) I have been running 5 days per week for close to a year. I don't see any reason to cut back at this point. I don't think I could handle the jump up to 6 days and the increased mileage without risking an injury.

2. Is a base of 20-25 mpw going to be enough?

Yes and no.  For a first time marathoner this is enough to get started on any beginner plan. For a runner trying to improve speed, it may not be enough.  Since my goal is to do as well as possible (without over training!) I need to start upping my mileage immediately. I've already tweaked the last 4 weeks of my advanced 5k training plan to be more in line with increasing mileage.

3. What should my peak mpw be?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. Some people have found success running just 40 mpw while others are running double that (and beyond!). To increase my mileage without taking on too much too soon, I have devised my plan to increase by 10% for two weeks and then cut back slightly on the third week. It will repeat this pattern until my long run hits 20, then it will alternate high and low mileage weeks. My plan will allow me to reach a max of 50 mpw.

4. Should I keep doing speed work?

No. My focus needs to be on adding endurance not increasing speed/strength. My plan is to have only "hidden" speed work, such as hills, pushing for the last few miles of a run, a few strides, etc. Increasing my mileage/endurance is my number one priority.

5. What pace should my training runs be?

Apparently they should all be way slower than I have been running, especially my long runs. I've even been running my interval workouts too fast. This was covered in all of the books I read/flipped through, and this reddit thread succinctly explains why. My plan is to choose training paces based on Daniel's Running Formula. I will use the paces based on my most recent half marathon.

6. What can I do to avoid getting injured?

My stay healthy plan is to make sure I dedicate myself to proper stretching, foam rolling, and strength training.  These are the things that I usually let slide, but not any more! My strength training routine will be pretty minimal, consisting primarily of core work, 4-5 leg strengthening exercises (enough to prevent muscle imbalances) and possibly a few pushups for upper body strength. Foam rolling will be regularly scheduled a few times a week, instead of waiting for an injury to pop up. 

7. What is a good goal? Am I going to fail miserably?

My goal right now needs to be having a successful training period. The bottom line is that how well I do on race day is determined by how well I do during training. At this point it is much too early to know how well I am going to adapt to running higher mileage. Setting a goal now would just be asking for trouble.

I'll start thinking about an actual goal after my half marathon (5 weeks out from the full). The goal that I set is going to be used to determine what my starting pace should be. Going out too fast sounds like the biggest mistake a first time marathoner can make. It is one that I plan to avoid!

The plan I ended up choosing/creating is essentially Hal Higdon's Intermediate 2. I made a few small changes to the plan, but I'll cover that in another post. I've also started coming up with what changes I will make if this turns out to be too ambitious of a plan.

Remember, this is just what (I hope) works for me. I am in no way an expert.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

5k Playlist

Hello, Mr. Shoe here.

All of our posts up to this point have been from Mrs. Shoe. I have wanted to start posting as well, but I just didn't know how to get started. I figured this was a good place to start.

My Shanty 2 Shorts 2014 race playlist:

1. Don't Stay, Linkin Park
2. Skeptics And True Believers, The Academy Is...
3. Alone Together, Fall Out Boy
4. Caribou Lou, Tech N9ne
5. Beast Within, In This Moment
6. Taking Over Me, Evanescence
7. Make The Money, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Total Time: 25:36
All of these songs are 180 bpm, a great pace for barefoot/minimalist running.

I don't run with a watch, so I knew if I wanted the sub-25 goal I was chasing, I needed to finish before my last song ended. And, as you know from Mrs. Shoe's race report, I achieved that goal and more.

Song #5 (Beast Within) was supposed to start when I reached the 1.8 mile point, an uphill section on the course, but I actually reached the 2 mile point before this song started to play. This was my first indication that I was on track to not only reach my goal, but also smash my PR.

I really enjoy running to 'In This Moment', Maria Brink (lead singer) really cuts loose on a lot of their songs. I really like her raw, emotional sound. I was looking foward to tapping into that power for the uphill, but realizing I was two tenths of a mile ahead of my goal pace ended up being enough of a push to get me up the hill.

What's your go-to song? What song pushes you to do one more mile, attack a hill, or drive to the finish line?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Michigan: Shanty to Shorts 2014

Mr. Shoe and I officially checked Michigan off of our list last Saturday with the Shanty to Shorts 5k.  It turned out to be an amazing day for everyone that we ran with and we enjoyed the post race celebration at Short's.

The race did not start until 10:00 AM so that left us with plenty of time to sleep in, drop a car off at the finish of the point-to-point race, and pick up our packets.  Actually Mr. Shoe and his father took care of the car and packets while I leisurely ate breakfast.  I am spoiled.

Tech shirts were new for 2014!
We got to the start of the race with plenty of time to spare.  I did an easy run for a few minutes then a couple of short sprints to get my legs warmed up.  After a bit of stretching it was time to line up.  The race director made a few announcements about the course and let us know that we were two minutes away from starting.  The next thing I knew the race had started and I was scrambling to get my watch going!

I started towards the front of the line up, but during the first mile I watched a dozen or people pull away from me.  I completely lost sight of our friend, Justin.  He was flying down the course! The first mile felt pretty easy and my time was around 6:30, a bit faster than my goal.  I tried to just settle into that pace and focus on not letting the runners around me get too far away from me.

Mr. Shoe, me, Devon, Justin

Around the 2-mile point the course had leveled out and two women caught up to me.  I knew I wasn't leading the race, but I didn't want any more women to get ahead of me!  I was quite relieved that when I saw their red bibs and realized they were running the 10k! I managed to keep up with them until the 10k course split from the 5k.

The last half mile was a bit rough.  The course turned to the left and into a head wind.  I could see the finish line and was trying to make out the clock, but I couldn't.  I completely failed to realize that I was wearing a watch. I just tried to push as hard as I could; I don't think my final kick was all that strong though.  I crossed the line at 22:13, just a bit off my goal of 22 minutes. It's a solid new PR though, so no complaints here!

Celebrating our finish with Short's Anniversary Ale
I met up with Justin who had also set a new PR! We didn't have much time to celebrate because it turned out that Mr. Shoe was basically right behind me!  He was the third PR of the day at 23:17, taking 5 full minutes off of his previous best!  I am so proud of him!  We had a few minutes to stretch and grab some bagels before we started looking for Devon, who was running his first 5k.  It's a good thing we started looking when we did because he surprised us all by finishing in under 28 minutes which was, of course, yet another PR for our group.  Four runners and four PRs, you can't beat that!

And then it turned out that we could beat that!  Justin was the second person to finish the race and, since the first finisher was actually in the master's class, he was the first "normal" finisher! He also told me that I was the first woman to finish, but I didn't believe him. I continued not believing him right up until I saw the results posted.  Yep, I was the top women's finisher! I could not believe it!

Up-cycled running shoe trophies for the top finishers

I think it is safe to say the Mr. Shoe and I will definitely be back at this race next year! Who knows, maybe we'll even be able to both set PRs for the third consecutive year on this course!

Friday, May 9, 2014

S2S Prerace

I am getting very excited for my upcoming race this weekend! Mr. Shoe and I ran this race last year and had a great time.  It was Mr. Shoe's first race ever! This year it will be his cousin's first race ever, which I find extra exciting since I want everyone to love running as much as I do! We will also be joined by one more friend and the original Mr. and Mrs. Shoe (Mr. Shoe's parents!).

The race starts at Shanty Creek ski resort and runs down to Short's Brewing Co., hence the name, Shanty to Shorts.  Oh and I literally mean you run down to the brewery.  The first 1.8 miles is all downhill before the course levels out for the last 1.3 miles.

Last year this downhill let me set an amazing PR. I was hoping to finish under 25 minutes.  Instead I took 28:51 all the way down to 22:59. Most of this PR was due to the fact that I had greatly increased my training and mileage.  However, throughout last year's races, I was never able to come close to the 23 minute mark again.  The mid-24s was about the closest that I got.  So that extra minute and a half that I shaved off my time I completely credit to the downhill.

The other thing that I love about this course is the finish.  It finishes at an amazing brewery.  The awards ceremony is held in the brewery and your race bib will save you a dollar on your first beer, and the beer is excellent.  I am looking forward to this part of the day almost as much as the race!

Does anyone else like to celebrate with a post race beer? I will also be taking recommendations for out of state races that end at breweries.  You know, for the 50 states running list...definitely not for my side project The Shoes Drink 50. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A change in focus

With the Glass City Half Marathon behind me, it is time to shift my focus from distance races to improving my 5k time.  Mr. Shoe and I have two 5k races coming up, one on May 10 and one on June 14.  My 5k time has improved quite a bit over the past couple of years, but this is the first time that I am actually following a training plan with that specific goal.

I am following a modified version of Hal Higdon's Advanced 5k training plan.  This plan has a lot more speed work than I am used to.  I have been alternating between tempo runs one week and intervals the next week, but this plan calls for intervals every Tuesday and tempo runs every Thursday.  It will be interesting to see how that goes.  I am looking forward to having less structured long runs, running for time instead of distance.  I think I am going to use that as an opportunity to get off the pavement and hit the trails.   I'm excited to see how this training plan works for me, hopefully I see some awesome results!

Mr. Shoe is also looking to beat his 5k PR (28:17).  I am very confident that he is going to completely smash this time.  Last summer, before his injury, we did a number of 5k training runs together that were in the 25 minute range.  A few weeks ago he did a test run and finished in 24:57.  The fact that his PR hasn't been broken already really comes down to the fact that he only did 3 races last year.  Two at the very beginning of the season and the race in Hawaii after being sidelined by his injury for a few months.

Unfortunately this week has not been an ideal week for training.  I was planning on taking Monday and Tuesday as rest days, but ended up taking Wednesday as well since I was still feeling pretty miserable from my allergies.  Mr. Shoe took an extra rest day early in the week, thinking he would be able to make it up later in the week, only for him to end up feeling too sick too run as well.  We both managed to run on Friday and Sunday, so hopefully the next week goes as planned and we can get to the starting line feeling confident and prepared.

How do you get back on track after a poor week of training? Do you try to make up any missed workouts or do you just skip it and move on?