So this was the scene sitting around the table at brunch this morning after my 17 mile run. It was me and runner 1, runner 2, and runner 3. All of them are friends that I’ve been “running with” or at least starting at the same place and time with for a while now.
Runner 1 is an incredibly talented female runner, super fast, who’s planning 2 marathons this fall. She’s qualified for Boston, twice, and ran 65 miles last week. She’s been running some of her “slow” runs at an 8:00 pace – yeah. Runner 2 is another very talented runner, male, Boston qualifier, who makes running look so easy. He says he’s going to hit a certain pace, and he does. Every time he races, he PRs and seldom does he “struggle’ through a run, not even his 20 miler this morning. They sat down at the table, feeling fine, and ordered normal food to re-fuel after their run.
Then there was runner 3. I ran with him for the first 12 miles of my 17 this morning. He wasn’t feeling it this morning and was having a hard time. He wasn’t REALLY struggling but it was harder than normal. It happens, I’ve been there many times. Runner 3 is a lot like me, has to work a little harder than runner 1 and 2 to get decent results, so I appreciate his effort TREMENDOUSLY. Runner 3 ordered a bowl of fruit and was disappointed that he didn’t finish the entire run.
I sat there nursing my ginger ale, the only thing I could stomach and talked a little bit about my run. It felt fine for the first 11 miles .Then it started getting hot. I was trying really hard to occupy my mind. Running around North Park I wondered why I never saw anyone swimming in the lake. I wished I was out kayaking so I could splash the cool water all of myself. I repeated the same song in my head over and over; “Funeral for a Friend” by Elton John….
“….love lies bleeding in my hand…”
All those things helped a little, but the last three miles hurt. My legs were exhausted and I was sweating like nobody’s business. As I sat around the table afterwards, knowing we’d all be back at it again next Sunday, I started thinking. Which one of these runner types earns more respect? The runner who has true natural ability and seems to fly through every run without issue, or the runner with less natural ability who despite the struggles, keeps coming back.
The answer in my opinion, is both types. I respect the runners who seem to be born to run. They conquer every mile with purpose and strength. I envy them and admire them. Runners like myself deserve respect too. I mean, obviously I have my share of struggles. It seems like a week of runs can’t go by without at least one of them sucking big time. But I’m there EVERY WEEKEND with runner 1 and runner 2 anyway. I’m proud of myself for that. Quitting would be so much easier. As a matter of fact – in my last mile, my final thoughts revolved around how much this sport sucks.
Until you cross that finish line. Then, it’s glorious.
After a long nap with my dog, Cooper….
For all you runners out there who have such amazing raw talent, thank you! You motivate and inspire me. And for all you runners out there who struggle to get every mile done, you are my comrades, and I know what you go through each and every time you lace up your shoes. You also inspire me.
You would think that marathon training would make you hungry ALL THE TIME. But honestly after I do my pace runs on Saturday and my long runs on Sunday, I don’t eat very much for hours and hours. I just don’t have the stomach for it. I love chocolate milk after I run but not much else. During the week my hunger goes in cycles; sometimes famished and sometimes not in the mood to eat at all.
Typically when I start running miles and miles a week, the weight starts to come off effortlessly. But this time around, not so much. As a matter of fact I’ve gained a few pounds. So, natuarally my first instinct is to start tracking my calories closely. Not just the calories, but also the breakdown of calories. It’s always hard to wrap my mind around the following concept, but the truth may be that I’m not eating enough for my current activity level. The dietitian told me this last training cycle and I responded by upping my caloric intake by 400 calories. And, it worked.
I’m no sure if I’m doing so good packing on the calories, but I’m working on it. Here were my meals yesterday:
Pre-run meal: black coffee and a Health Warrior Banana Nut Chia Bar
Post Run: Mara Natha Almond butter and banana sandwich with a huge water (one of my favorite things I ate this week)
I was too busy with meetings in the afternoon to grab a snack, so it was straight to dinner, which was a pretty great treat; Field Roast grain meat frankfurters, topped with southwest bean salad and Daiya Vegan cheese, corn and sweet potato fries.
My ultimate goal is eat somewhere in the neighborhood of 1800 calories. I fell short of that and burned 486. Doing this on a regular basis will tech the body to hold on to everything it takes in. However, I also have to mindful of eating the right calories as opposed to just packing them on with whatever.
Question: is it always a given that you lose weight during training?
Yes! Half way through. It’s a good feeling to be half way through training, until you consider the fact that the hardest weeks are ahead. Most of the weeks up until the taper, 6 weeks from now, hover right around the 40 mile mark per week. If you’re training and have friends who are training, some of them may either be (1) injured or (2) can’t hack it and simply drop out. These weeks separate the people who really want it from the people who just thought they did! You have to be all in.
I’m hanging in there and still feeling strong – that’s the good news! Last week I had a couple of great runs and this week started out the same. This is the part where I explain that running is SO mental. It only took me 5 training cycles to really allow this fact to sink in. One bad run and it knocks you down a few notches. So much so, that your next runs start going south because the little voice inside your head screams YOU SUCK!
On the other hand, a couple of good runs and bam! You can conquer the world.
For part of last week, I didn’t have a watch, OR a phone, so no documentation on my runs, but I DID do them.
Tuesday – 5 miles in the pouring rain – no watch – ruin phone
Wednesday – 3 miles hill sprints on the treadmill – without falling off the back
Thursday is typically the most boring day of the week for running because it’s a recovery day (filler miles), but it was kind of exciting because I had a new watch to use. The Forerunner 220. I’ll go into more detail about the watch in a later post, but so far I like it. 5.25 miles at an easy 9:20 pace.
Saturday – 8 miles at marathon pace. My goal was an 8:45 but I ended up with an 8:40. The best news about this run is that I ran the exact same 8 mile course as last week, but this week it was easier. Now that’s a confidence builder. All I can hope is that each week I see improvement.
Sunday – Long Run Day. This was a tough one. Sunday always is after Saturday’s run. Your legs are tired and when you first start it seems like such a LONG WAY to go. But I had Brianna with me and we chatted a bit so the miles ticked off at a reasonable rate. It did rain again this Sunday which kept everything relatively cool. I never mind a little rain. We did 16 miles at a 9:17 pace. Our long run pace range is 9:15 – 9:45, so it’s nice being able to stay in the low end of the range.
The schedule this week:
- Monday – rest
- Tuesday – 5 miles (9:00-9:15)
- Wednesday – miles repeats (4 miles) at 7:55 per mile or less
- Thursday – 5 miles (9:15-9:45)
- Friday – Rest
- Saturday – 8 miles at marathon pace (8:45)
- Sunday – 17 slow miles (9:15-9:45)
Question: if you have a good run/bad run how does it influence your training?
I’m going to start my little tale two Sundays ago while out on my 14 mile run. I was at North park, famous for the perfect 5 mile loops around the lake. These loops make it ideal to stop at your car every loop to refuel and hydrate. Well, on this particular Sunday, I stopped after the first loop to grab some water and GU and attempted to stop my Garmin (Forerunner 405) without success. As I stood there drinking my water, waiting for someone to use the bathroom and whatever, the minutes ticked by and the average pace went up and up, pretty much ruining my stats for the remainder of the run. it had been doing that a lot lately so I decided it was time for a trade in.
I called Garmin and packaged up my old watch the very next day to ship it off for a newer model. Garmin has a pretty decent trade-in deal which can really save you a few bucks. As I was wrapping my old watch up I hesitated before I sealed the envelope and to my astonishment, got a little teary eyed. I mean, over a watch! The watch went approximately 3,000 miles with me, through 4 marathons, 6 half marathons and countless other races. It was with me on all three ridiculous tumbles I took, with me when I was disappointed and when I was elated about my performance. I guess I was a little sentimental about shipping it off. But I did it anyway.
So there I was, week 6 of marathon training, without a watch. Ugh! I used the Nike plus app, which is a decent stand in on runs when I was alone and during the group runs, just used the stats off another runner’s watch. THEN, yesterday I went out for my 5 miler at 5:30am and during the last 1/2 mile was caught in a horrific downpour. I mean, I had never run in rain like that. 2-3 inches of water on the streets. AND, yes, I had my phone with me because, of course, I had no watch. It was in a “waterproof” Spibelt which wasn’t that waterproof. So now, no watch AND no phone.
This leads me to wonder if carrying all this stuff is really necessary. Is it better to just run out the door, without worrying about pace and specific distances? Do we really NEED to photograph every run as if we are Olympic medalists?
The answer to these questions…HELL YES!
My runs have a purpose now. There are specific guidelines to how far I should be running and at what speed. No wavering from “the plan”, the plan that will take me across the finish line of the Columbus Marathon in 3 hours and 50 minutes. End of story.
The technology problems have been resolved. The new watch has arrived and is set to go, and the phone – well, lets just say it wasn’t as bad as I originally thought. It’s back too. Tracking mileage and pace will NOT be a problem tomorrow morning. And as for the endless parade or running selfies. I like them, other people like them and I like other people’s, so they will continue. Plus, they are a really fun way to visually track progress.
Here are a few pics from last week.
Tuesday – Medium Day
Saturday – Marathon Pace run documented in detail HERE
Sunday – Long Run with Frank and Brianna
This weeks schedule is another hard one, but at least I have my new watch to mix things up a little.
- Monday – Cross Training
- Tuesday – 5 miles @ 9:00 – 9:15
- Wednesday – 3 miles hill sprints
- Thursday – 4 miles @ 9:15 – 9:45
- Friday – Rest
- Saturday – 8 miles at marathon pace 8:45
- Sunday – Slow Long Distance 9:15 – 9:45
We’re half way through the week and I’m almost half way through training!
When I was handed my training plan for Columbus, the schedule included a marathon pace run every Saturday. My goal marathon pace is an 8:45. Sounds easy enough right? At the end of the run I should end up with an 8:45 pace.
That’s what I thought until I mentioned to a more experienced runner a few weeks ago that my marathon pace run ended up being an 8:53 because I started too slowly. He was confused and asked me to clarify and I told him that I started around a 9:10 pace and worked my way down, trying to catch up a little in the back half of the run. This is the part where I realize I’ve been doing them….
The goal of the marathon pace run is two-fold. One, it’s supposed to get you physically comfortable running at the pace you plan to run on race day, and two, it’s designed to get you to ” feel” that pace. In other words, at any given time during the run, you should know, without the assistance of a watch, that you’re running your correct marathon pace. By learning what marathon pace “feels” like, paces either too slow or too fast are quickly felt and adjusted accordingly. The proper way to execute is to run mile after mile at marathon pace, exactly, or as close as possible (within a few seconds)
Ahhh, now that makes sense.
So last week, I was excited for my marathon pace run. I felt slightly sluggish that morning after the Liberty Mile, and I wasn’t quite hitting my pace. At mile two the earth jumped up and smacked me (yeah, I fell – remember that?) so I didn’t finish my run. That was a first.
Today, I gave it another go, with much better success. Paces over the course of 8 miles were as follows: 8:34, 8:42, 8:42, 8:51, 8:44, 8:51, 8:40 and 8:34. They were pretty darn close. Despite the fact that I was very close to hitting my pace and learning what it “feels” like, I wasn’t happy with the level of effort it took. My breathing was a little more labored than I would like it to be. I’ve experience that a lot this summer and not quite sure if it’s humidity, heat, dew point, or allergies or something. But I have 10 weeks to figure out what will make this pace more comfortable.
I’ve done some research and found an article on Increasing Lung Power so I am going to work on that. I’m also planning on incorporating a tempo run into my plan on Tuesdays to add another day of faster pace running. Between these two things, I’m hoping in 3 weeks to see some progress. I’ll keep you updated.
Hope everyone’s summer training is going well.
Columbus Marathon – 71 days and counting.
Marathon runners are a uniquely tough breed. Not because on race day we can push our bodies through 26.2 miles, but because we can endure approximately 16 weeks of rigorous training in preparation for those 26.2 miles. Training, that most definitely includes lots of miles and sore muscles, but may also include: frustration, injury, doubt and overall fatigue, both physical and mental.
Every time I’ve trained for a marathon, I’ve experienced all of the above. I know what it’s like to wait all week for that one long run, only to have a poor performance force me to just get though the week until the next one. I’ve finally, after 5 years learned how to really push (when I’m alone) out on the track, even when it hurts, because that’s what it takes to get better. I’ve fallen (on a rocky road/trail) during this training cycle and wondered to myself if I’m really cut out for this sport.
However, when I sit back and think about all the positives I’ve experienced, it wipes out all the bad. Often times when I’m taking those first steps during a run I think about all the things people who don’t run are missing.
- The way the air smells at 5:30am
- The first hint of the sun peaking over the trees or reflecting off the water
- All the animals just waking up and out eating breakfast
- The feeling of a downpour on your skin as you run through puddles on mile 12
All of those things and so many more make me happy I’m a runner. Yes, the road may be rocky at times and hurt when you fall on it (that story here) but I feel like I get to experience so much more of what nature has to offer because of my sport, good and bad. It makes me feel alive.
Now that I’m done being sentimental, last week went well, for the most part. Here are a couple of pics:
Tuesday: 5 medium pace miles
Friday’s race and weekend miles (19 total) are recapped HERE. I got to do what I loved for another week, so it was great!
This week’s schedule looks like this
- Monday – Rest
- Tuesday – 5 miles at medium pace (9:00-9:15)
- Wednesday – 4 miles including 4x800s @3:50 or less
- Thursday – 4 mile recovery run (9:15-9:45)
- Friday – Rest
- Saturday – 7 miles at marathon pace (8:45)
- Sunday – 15 miles long slow pace (9:15-9:45)
Hope you’re having a wonderful week and enjoying your runs like I am.