Sunday, March 29, 2015

S2S 5k - Week 4

Rest day.

5.44 miles total. Warm up of 1.5 miles followed by just shy of a mile of technique drills. For each technique drill there was the drill itself, a short jog, a quick stride, and a short walk. Then I would start the next drill. The drills were followed by a 3 miles run at 9:00 pace.

5.66 miles at recovery pace (9:41, aiming for anywhere between 9:22 and 10:04).

5x3:00 at 5KE followed by 3:00 of recovery. With a 2 mile warm up and a 2 mile cool down this workout totaled 7.1 miles. Average pace for reps was 6:40.

This workout was brutal. It just wasn't my day. I felt fine when I was starting my workout, but a minute into the third rep everything started to fall apart. My arms and shoulders hurt while pumping my arms, which has never happened. The cold wind was making breathing so difficult even though I had taken my inhaler. I tried to just focus on form and getting through the workout the best that I could. It was a very frustrating workout.

Rest day.

11.34 miles with an average pace of 9:10. After dropping out of my long run last week and really struggling through my long run the week before, I was determined to make this long run a good one. And it was! I felt great the entire time!

I usually do my long runs on Sundays, but there was a marathon/half marathon on Sunday that used part of my usual long run route. I didn't want to be in the way so I just moved it to Saturday. This also allowed me to do my long run after a rest day, which probably contributed to how great it felt.

5.66 miles with an average pace of 9:44 (like Wednesday my target was my recovery pace).

Total miles: 35.1

Noticeably missing from this week: injury prevention work! Completely my fault so I won't bother trying to come up with excuses. I am already planning my Monday night to make sure I don't skip it two weeks in a row.

On a less disappointing note: this is my highest mileage week of the year (so far)! Aiming for another 35+ miles next week.

Monday, March 23, 2015

S2S 5k - Week 3

Supposed to be injury prevention day, but my laziness took over and this turned into a rest day.

5x2:00 at 5KE followed by 3:00 of recovery. With a 2 mile warm up and a 2 mile cool down this workout totaled 7.1 miles.

4.1 miles extra easy. Last week I ended up running some hilly routes on my easy days and it lead to some very cranky legs. Not wanting to repeat that mistake, I stuck to a mostly flat route and kept the pace very slow.

Hill repeats: 8x60s uphill with 4 minutes of active recovery in between. The last couple hill repeats were rough, but somehow I managed to finish them all. Total distance for the day was 4.72 miles. I was planning on a longer cool down, but needed to cut it short.

The guilt of skipping Monday's injury prevention work caught up with me around 9:30 pm Friday night. I ended up doing core and leg strengthening, foam rolling, and a short yoga session. Definitely patting myself on the back for doing this workout instead of going straight to bed (yes, 9:30 on a Friday night is an appropriate bed time, and yes, I am that cool).

Another short, easy run. At the beginning of my run I ended up finding one of my runner friends on the trail so we chatted for first half of my run. Having company made it easy to keep the pace light and conversational. 5.18 miles

I went into my long after a night of too many drinks and too little sleep. I was surprised that I actually felt decent during the run. My legs were tired and my mind was not at all into running, but I was out there getting it done. After about 5 miles I decided that was probably enough for the day. I pushed through a difficult long run last weekend and this weekend I was just not up for powering through. I ended up with 6.43 miles.

I'm trying not to be disappointed that I bailed on my long run yesterday. Even though I was running similar mileage in January and February, I was running almost all easy miles. At most I would get in two quality workouts (on speed session and one long run). This training plan has 3 quality sessions per week; it makes sense that I am feeling tired. I am hoping that cutting back a bit this week will allow me to move into week 4 feeling strong.

Total miles: 27.53

Friday, March 20, 2015

Figuring out 5k effort

My training plan calls for time based repetitions run at "5k effort," and it turns out that I am really struggling to figure out exactly what pace that might be. I know that I have mentioned the article "Solving the 5K Puzzle" about a million times, but since it is the basis for my training plan, expect to keep hearing about it for the next 8 weeks.

The author indicates that these effort based repetitions should be run at paces based on my current fitness, not the fitness I hope to have at the end of the training period. My most recent 5k was completed in 22:15, or about a 7:10 pace. That was raced the day after a 10 mile training run, so it is possible that I am a little bit faster now.
22:15 was fast enough for an age group award!
For my first set of 5k efforts (5KEs) I tried to run a bit faster than usual, but not crazy fast. I calculated that I was running at a 6:56 pace. I was supposed to run 5 reps, but I felt like it was too easy and ended up doing a couple extra. I decided to try to run a bit faster the following week. During week two I ended up running around a 6:22 pace. This was WAY too fast and I definitely paid for it for the rest of the week.

The truth is I really don't know how to pace myself at paces below 7:00. Part of this makes me want to panic. The best way to get a 5k PR will be to run even splits or slightly negative splits. If I can't figure out how to pace myself during the 1-2 miles, I am going to run out of speed before the finish line. Fortunately Hanna shared some very timely wisdom on her blog this week:

it’s okay – my body is still learning.

This is completely new running territory for me right now and it is okay if I can't perfectly execute every run on my training plan. When I trained for my first couple half marathons, I ran every long run as fast as I could. Now I know better. And by the time I have gone through this training plan a few times, I will be able to control my speed instead of trying to run each rep as fast as possible.

For week 3 I decided to give myself a little bit of help finding the right pace. I knew that I wanted to run a bit faster than 6:56 and slower than 6:22. I decided that aiming for 6:45 would be a good middle ground. Since I would be running for 2 minutes, I knew I needed to cover about .3 miles. I found a nice stretch of paved trail that was the right distance and set out to cover it 5 times with 3 minutes of recovery between reps.

My reps were 2:05, 2:07, 2:00, 2:00, 2:02

Average pace: 6:49. A tiny, tiny bit slower than intended, but the first three had a pretty strong headwind, so I'm really not bothered. I finished feeling like I could have gutted out one more rep, but I was glad that I didn't have to. Hopefully this means I was close to the right pace. I'm going to use this strategy for running the rest of my 5KEs and, hopefully, come race day I will know what I am doing.

If anyone has any better ideas for running this type of workout, please let me know! As I've mentioned, this is the first time I am following a 5k specific plan and could use any advice that is out there!

Monday, March 16, 2015

S2S 5k - Week 2

My right calf felt tight and my lower back started bothering me late Sunday night. I started with a short walk to try to loosen things up (and enjoy the sunshine a bit!). The only strengthening exercises that I did this week were for my core (no squats, calf raises, etc). Most of my time was focused on stretching and yoga. It felt really good and I felt so much better afterwards.

10x1:00 at 5k effort followed by 2:00 of recovery. I measured one of my 1:00 speed sessions and calculated my pace to be 6:22. This was definitely too fast for me. I am not used to running speeds under 7:00 and am having a hard time gauging my pace while running. This is definitely something I need to work on.

4.86 miles of hills. On Wednesdays I like to run with a local running group. Right now we are using our winter route because our summer route is iced over. Both routes feature a huge hill around the halfway point, however, the winter route has a bunch of extra bonus hills throughout the run. After running so hard on Tuesday, my legs were not impressed.

I took my rest day a day early. My legs were pretty tired from the intervals on Tuesday and the hills on Wednesday. I decided it would be better to take a rest day rather than keep pushing my tired legs.

6.51 miles once again featuring some lovely hills. Since my legs felt much fresher today the hills didn't cause any issues while running. The biggest hill that I encountered took me 10 minutes to reach the top. I know my pace was slower for this climb than the rest of the run, but I tried to just focus on keeping an even effort.

5.66 miles including an assortment of technique drills. I did maybe 80% of the drills mentioned in this video. I am aiming to do them all, but I forgot a couple of them while I was out running.

10.63 miles of agony. Mentally I really wanted to be out running, but my body just did not want to cooperate. The first 6-7 miles or so were pretty brutal. My legs were tired and stiff. My stomach was a weird mix of side stitches and cramps that switched sides every 5 minutes or so. I'm not entirely sure why this run sucked so much, but I just tried to maintain a nice slow pace and took a minute or two to walk as needed. Even with a handful of walking breaks my average pace was 10:17, so not too much slower than usual. I don't know what changed, but the last few miles of the run actually felt pretty good, even when I was splashing my way through some mud puddles.

Total miles: 34.38

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Puzzle Piece: Hydration

The Running Time's article on which I based my 5k training plan is titled "Solving the 5k Puzzle." As I have been thinking about this round of training, I have been thinking about what other pieces of the puzzle I will need in order to get a killer PR. Beyond logging my miles, what else do I need to do to get my body ready for an awesome race? I've already touched on one of them, injury prevention, but this month I am also focusing on:

In the summer it was much easier to drink enough water. I ran. It was hot. I was thirsty. Simple. Running in the freezing cold temperatures just has not left me thirsty. Somewhere between my calf strain in September and now, my day to day water consumption has dramatically dropped. I think I've had a few days where the most I drank was 16 ounces total. If I want to get the most out of my workouts (and I definitely do!) I need to start fixing this issue right now!

My goal right now is to drink more water throughout the day and make sure I am rehydrating after every run. I started last week with a goal of drinking 16 ounces of water while I am at work and an additional 16 ounces of water in the evening. This week I have bumped it up to 24 ounces of water in the day and 16 in the evening. Also for any run over an hour, I am rehydrating with Nuun instead of water.

While this is definitely a huge improvement over what I was doing, I am hoping to continue to increase my water consumption over the course of the month. I also want to build this into my daily habits now so that when I begin to increase my mileage for marathon training this fall, I will be building on a solid, healthy base.

Has anyone else noticed they are less thirsty in the cold months? What have you been doing to make sure you are drinking enough water?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

S2S 5k - Week 1

The forecast for Tuesday was 1-3 inches of snow/ice mix so I moved Tuesday's run to Monday. This might have been the best decision I made all week since when I left work on Tuesday the sidewalk was solid ice. Just walking was difficult.

My plan called for 5x1:00 at 5k effort followed by 2:00 of recovery. I ended up running 7 repetitions as part of a 5.18 mile run. I followed the run with a quick core session.

My first injury prevention day was a success! I started with a core routine that targeted my abs, back, hips, and glutes. I then moved on to strengthening my legs with squats, calf raises, hamstring curls, single leg squats and single leg calf raises. I'm pretty happy with this leg routine, but I need to add some IT band strengthening.

After focusing on strength I moved on to flexibility. I did a quick bit of foam rolling to check for any issues. Then I did some yoga and static stretching that focused on my calves, hamstrings, and hip flexors.

Easy run of 5.96 miles at an average pace of 9:29. Half of the run was into an 18 mph headwind. Not fun while running, but great training in the long run. At least I had a tailwind on the way home.

Hill repeats: 6x60s uphill with 4-5 minutes of active recovery in between. I was surprised that my plan called for such long recovery periods, but the reasoning provided was that shorter rest periods will not improve the quality of the workout but will increase the risk of injury. Since it was pretty cold out, I ended up taking only 3 minutes to recover. Any longer and I started shivering. This workout was incorporated into a 5.92 mile run.

This was my first time running hill repeats and I wasn't quite sure how to pace myself. As a consequence I ended up running the uphills just a bit easier than I should have. I would also have preferred to take longer recovery periods so as to follow my plan correctly. Does anyone have any advice for hill repeats?

Rest day!

Another easy run that was just shy of 6 miles. 5.96 miles of puddles at an average pace of 9:11. It was around 40 degrees for this run and I felt way over dressed with tights and an UA Coldgear top.

I had to drag myself out the door on Sunday. I just did not feel like running and the first couple of miles sucked. Two miles seemed to be a turning point; after that I felt better and better with each mile ran. My "I will do 7 miles to get my weekly total to 30 miles" ended up stretching into 9.24 miles (9:32 pace).  I felt so great on Sunday that the feelings of doubt caused by such a miserable ending to the princess half have completely vanished. I thought about adding some strides to the end of this run, but I decided that the intervals on Monday and the hill repeats on Thursday were enough speed work for one week. I didn't want to overdue it my first week of training.

The weather was once again just above 40 degrees and sunny, so I traded my tights for shorts. It felt amazing, but like Saturday, my paved trail was mostly puddles due to the melting snow. I have a feeling this will be the theme for the next couple weeks, but it sure beats freezing temperatures and snow storms!

Total Miles: 32.26

Friday, March 6, 2015

Florida: Disney Princess Half Marathon

I'm not even sure what to say about this half marathon. The first half of the race went really well, but the last half was kind of a mess. Which is kind of unfortunate because when I think about the race it is really easy to focus on the bad parts and forget how fun the first 10k was. Also I'm sorry for the blurry photos, most of them were taken while running!

My finish time: 2:14:07 (personal worst, haha!)
Mr. Shoe's finish time: 2:20:59

The plan for the race was for both of us to run with my sister, Colleen, for the first 10k and then try to pick up the pace for the last 7 miles. I wasn't really sure how this would go since I have heard a lot of bad things about how congested the course at Disney can be and how some sections will get so bad you will be forced to walk. My proof of time placed my in corral A, but if I wanted to start with Colleen, we would be starting in corral F. Running with my sister was more important than my finishing time, so I decided to risk the slow sections.

The first half of the race felt like it flew by. I was able to chat with my sister and husband. We had a fun time checking out the crazy costumes other runners were wearing and seeing the character stops along the course (we did not stop). It was also nice to have company during the severely banked sections of the course (painful!). Before we knew it we had reached the entrance to Magic Kingdom!

Running through Magic Kingdom was pretty spectacular! I don't know exactly what I expected from this part of the race, but I was pretty sure it wasn't going to a big deal. I was surprised how excited I got to see the castle, run through Tomorrowland, and, finally, run through the castle. I think it helps that there was a lot of crowd support through this section and the sun finally started to come up.

After one last picture as a group it was time to get serious. With Mr. Shoe on my tail, I started picking off runners. Although the course was narrow at this point and fairly crowded, I was able to run the entire time. I heard from later corrals that this part of the course was crawling along later; someone mentioned a 25 minute mile because people were walking so slowly. I am very happy to have missed out on that fun. At some point I ended up losing Mr. Shoe. I had two goals in mind. First, catch the 2:15 pace group. Second, if possible, finish in 2:10. Although I finished under 2:15 (and could even see the pace group ahead of me!) I didn't actually meet either of my goals.

With about 3-4 miles left I started getting a side stitch. This side stitch then mutated to extremely painful stomach cramps. Every other step sent shooting pain through my abdomen. Running was nearly impossible. The extra impact from running downhill actually made running impossible. I was in trouble. I felt like I was stopping to walk every 30 seconds. I stopped at a medical tent to drink some water and take a break, but nothing seemed to help. I started looking for Mr. Shoe because I was certain he would be passing me soon. I never saw him so I forced myself to press on.

Finally, I realized that I only had a quarter of a mile to go, and I managed to sprint it in. As soon as I got done running, I started to cry. I didn't really know why I was crying, but I couldn't seem to stop myself. Not really my best moment, haha. I waited for Mr. Shoe to finish and then it was time for a second sprint, this time to the bathroom for stomach issues (Sorry to over share. Extra sorry that this isn't the end of the story).

Once I saw my sister come through the finish area (2:33, just slightly off her goal of 2:30), I knew I needed to haul my ass up off the pavement and over to our meeting area. Pretty soon her family and our parents joined us. This was about the time that I realized I might be more than just usual race tired. It was around 70 degrees out and I was feeling cold and nauseated. Fortunately it was time to head back to our hotel for a shower.

Showering had to wait until my stomach got under control. It really hated me after this race and it culminated with me in the bathroom begging Mr. Shoe to find me a trash can so I could throw up as well (really sorry!). I think it was just the heat that got to me. It was easily 60 degrees warmer than the weather I had been training in and I stupidly wore a long sleeve shirt. I really hope it was just the weather and that this wasn't really an indication of my current fitness.

I love my husband and his willingness to wear matching pink shirts. He's the best!
I'm not sure if I would sign up for another runDisney event. One the one hand, running with a group and enjoying the course entertainment was definitely fun. I really loved running with my sister and want to plan another race with her at some point in the future. But on the other hand, $180 in registration fees (plus flights and a hotel) is a lot of money to spend on a race that I wouldn't actually be racing. I don't want to rule it out completely since every few years the Disney World Marathon ends up being on my birthday and it would be kind of cool to run a birthday marathon. So maybe in 2018?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Hello, 5k training!

I am feeling super motivated to jump into 5k training this week, which is why you are reading about my next training plan instead of a race recap from the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I am still finalizing that post and should have it up later this week. Sorry for the week+ delay! I like to stay away from the computer while I am on vacation; it is too much like work!

Disney World with my mister.
That said, I am loving that it is the start to a new week, a new month, and a new training plan! It is a wonderful feeling of freshness and I am happily pretending that spring is here as well. As an added bonus, Shanty 2 Shorts has finally updated their website with 2015 registration information so I 100% know when my goal race will be (May 9th, as expected).

For the next 8 weeks my training should look something like this (training plan based on the information found here, but adapted to my current fitness):

Monday: injury prevention 
Will include foam rolling, stretching/yoga, strength training, recovery runs, etc. In my attempt to move from 5 days to 6 days per week of running I am officially changing Mondays from rest days to injury prevention days.

Tuesday: 5k efforts 
A medium length run of 5-7 miles including repetitions at what feels like 5k effort. Reps will be based on time, not distance. My goal is to finish the last rep feeling like I could run 1-2 more reps. So not 100% exhausted but definitely tired. 

Wednesday: Medium run, easy pace
5-7 miles at an easy pace (8:30-9:30 pace)

Thursday: technique drills or hill repeats
Each week will alternate between technique/form drills followed by a medium length run and a medium length run with long hill repeats midway through the run.

Friday: rest day!

Saturday: Medium run, easy pace
same as Wednesday, 5-7 miles

Sunday: Long run
8-12 miles at a slow, easy pace (8:45-9:45).  In general I would prefer these runs to be 10-12 miles minimum, but since I am going to be adding harder running to my weekly routine I am allowing the first few weeks to be a bit shorter if needed.

Hoping this training plan will help me win again in 2015!
The last 2 weeks before the race will be structured a little bit differently. I'll go into more detail when that time comes. In general I plan to be running 30-40 miles per week. This was the distance I was running when I ran a 22:14 in September. But I wasn't doing any speed work AND I did a long run the day before the race. I am hoping that my 5k focused training leads to a fairly substantial PR, though I will be happy with any improvement.