MCM Training Week 5: Lessons in Flexibility

Along with becoming the kind of person who works out in the morning, I became the kind of person who can function during the week on six hours of sleep sometimes.

In the past, if it looked like a workout would compromise my eight hours of snooze time, I snoozed on the workout. Well, there’s no time for snoozing when you have an aggressive marathon goal to pursue, and so I’ve sacrificed blogging in favor of sleep. Hey, the less I blog, the more I have to blog about, right?

So let’s talk about my Week 5 of marathon training.

I give it a solid A-.

On paper, it was great. I got in every single mile, my five scheduled runs, a session with my new trainer and learned how to be flexible in my training.

Mentally, it wasn’t the best. Sticking 100% to my mileage meant a bit of a jump from previous weeks, and that definitely showed in my pace and how easy my runs felt. (Spoiler: not easy.)

Tuesday: Personal training session with Jaz + 4-mile run. My quads and glutes were SHOT from the training session, but they loosened up as I shuffled along.

Wednesday: I had 7 miles of hills on my schedule, but for myriad reasons—starting late, not wanting to completely drench the heart monitor in sweat, not wanting to go back up to the park—I did 5 miles tempo instead.

Thursday: Rest day on my plan, which is awesome, because I have an early meeting every Thursday.

Friday: My schedule called for 4 miles, with 2 at marathon goal pace, which is a scary 9:09. How the hell am I going to do that for 26.2 miles? I now completely understand the idea of MGP runs—it’s pretty hard to hold one pace consistently, but training my body to know what 9:09 feels like will help when I’m trying to stay around that pace for three hours and fifty-nine minutes. As I looked at my Garmin, the pace for the MGP miles kept bouncing anywhere between 8:40 and 9:20. So I have no idea what MGP feels like yet. I was also sick to my stomach for whatever reason and had to stop at the awesome Chelsea Piers bathroom both before and after those two miles. I don’t envy Ali’s life.

Saturday: Woke up too late, decided to swap my long run with Sunday’s run and did six. I had four on the schedule, but I did two miles to make up for Wednesday’s run. It was hot and I felt sluggish the entire time.

Sunday: 13 miles done in sunny, hilly Franklin Lakes, NJ. As Kimra and I discussed, running in a place you don’t usually run in requires a bit more alertness to figure out where to turn and face whatever changes in terrain may come, so I never really got “in the zone.” Unless that zone was at CVS and Starbucks, where I stopped to get water (at mile 4 and then at mile 11.) My pace (10:04) was a bit slower than it had been on previous runs, but it was hot and hilly, so that makes sense, frustrating as it may be.

So, this week’s lessons learned: even though sometimes you really need to sleep in (Saturday), don’t do it both days if you don’t want your runs to suck in the summer; strength training is good for you; flexibility is key in marathon training if you want to get all your damn miles in. That’s both the legs-that-aren’t-as-tight-as-rubber-bands flexibility and the juggling-things-around flexibility.

How is your training going? How do you fit your training in around a busy schedule?

How Fast Can I Run One Mile?

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Today, my plan called for a one-mile time trial. I don’t think I’d run just one mile since huffing and puffing through the mile in middle school, so I was ridiculously excited to see what I could bust out for just one mile.

I don’t usually curse on my blog, and I don’t usually post pictures of my Garmin, but I think we can agree this is worth breaking both of those rules, right?

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Because this? This is fucking awesome. If my plan is right, and as my fitness improves, my time will decrease, I would LOVE to break a 6-minute mile—which I NEVER would have thought possible.

BRB inputting this into as many race calculators as possible.

One Week Down, Fifteen to Go

One week of Marine Corps Marathon training down, 15 to go.

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Here’s a snapshot of what I see in my Runner’s World Challenge training log. All of the workouts from my plan are pre-loaded into there, and I can then export them to my g-cal.

I can also just drag and drop a workout to change up y schedule a bit. For example, the plan has long runs on Sunday, but I usually run my long runs on Saturday so I can have the rest of the weekend free to have fun and have them over with. So, I just swapped Saturday and Sunday’s runs.

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Here’s a zoomed-in example of what I see (complete with my logged miles and notes.) Also, by “easy enough to run hills,” I mean somewhere relatively easy for me to get to. Since I’ve basically resigned myself to becoming a morning runner since I’m either working late or doing something else at night, I still want to get as much sleep as possible and run, so I don’t really want to take the subway to Central Park or somewhere else hilly to run.

This morning, I had big plans to go to the beach with Emily, but I woke up, looked outside and at weather.com and realized that today was not going to be a good beach day. It was overcast and humid, and thunderstorms were in the forecast. No thanks. Since I was up, I did some work, but then started feeling EXHAUSTED, like I’d taken Benadryl.

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I would like to introduce you to the culprit. I started taking these supplements a few years ago when working out with a trainer. He told me that the magnesium was good for athletes (and according to a study cited in the article, female runners have intakes as low as 59% of the recommended daily allowance) because it aided in muscle recovery. My muscles were feeling pretty achy last night, so I decided to take one of these babies. Whoa. I don’t remember this happening when I first started taking it, but I felt like I got hit by a truck this morning. I did some work and general screwing around on the Internets from about 7-10 and then had to go back to sleep, I felt so lethargic. Has this ever happened to any of you?

While the magnesium-induced lethargy was not so ideal, it did force me to just slow down for a few hours today. No catching up on work, Junior League work, blogging, working out, doing laundry, screwing around on the Internet. Just dog-snuggling and TV-watching.

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Yes, of course my dog has a banana toy.

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Eventually, I decided I needed to get in today’s run, a 4-mile easy run. My plan calls for 5 days, and on two of the days, it says I can substitute cross-training, but I’m trying to see if I can get adjusted to running 5 days a week. I’ll try it for a few weeks, and if anything starts hurting or it feels like too much, I’ll drop down to 4. I was really sore and tight, so I decided I needed some yoga, too.

I went to Yoga Vida (previous Yoga Vida review) for their flow class. Alec Baldwin’s wife is an instructor there, but was not my instructor, so there were no Jack Donaghy sightings.

I was looking for something that wouldn’t kick my ass, but wasn’t just lay-on-the-ground-and-do-a-few-stretches, and this class was perfect. It was a flow, but it never moved too quickly for my sore muscles. I ran one mile there, took the 65-minute class, and then ran 3 miles home to finish out my 4 miles for the day.

Today’s miles: 4 / Week miles: 27! Even though a few of the runs this week were less than awesome, I’m still happy with my first week of training.

Those of you who’ve just started training for something: how’s your training going?

Fellow runners, what kind of supplements, if any do you take?

Edited to add: Runner’s World gave me a comp entry into their RW Challenge program to blog about it. All opinions are my own.

It’s Almost Marine Corps Training Time!

Tuesday is a big day.

Not just because the numbers are three odd numbers in a row, although I guess that’s kinda cool, too.

^Ignore that. I apparently have no idea what date or year it is.

No, on Tuesday, I start training for my third marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon.

It’s in D.C., where I formed all my bad habits, so I’m excited for another race there to show the city I’m doing better without it. Last year, I surprised my friend Lindsay and went to spectate Marine Corps, and now she’s back on the East Coast (yay, minus not having a friend to visit in Hawaii) and living outside of D.C. and will be able to spectate me running the race!

I’m also excited…

…because I’m participating in the Runner’s World Challenge! Back in May, Tina, Anne and I had an awesome meeting with the communications director for Runner’s World, and I mentioned I was running Marine Corps. He asked if I’d want to try out the challenge in exchange for blogging about it.

I don’t know if I’ve ever said yes so quickly! Runner’s World wanted to work with me, who could barely run a mile just a little over three years ago? Well, okay. I was seriously flattered and excited.

It includes:

  • a training plan (I chose the break 4:00 one, gulp)
  • access to their training log software, which I’m just starting to play with now, but lets you upload your Garmin info to and access from your iPhone. The access from iPhone part is cool, since in years past, I uploaded my entire schedule into my Google Calendar, so I like the access-from-smartphone part. There’s also areas to input stuff like weight and nutrition, and I’m going to try to keep up with those but know the nutrition-logging will be hard to keep up with.
  • motivational emails from Bart Yasso (although we’re already buddies)
  • a t-shirt and book
  • access to private forums

And then some awesome race-weekend stuff:

  • strategy session and shakeout run with Bart Yasso
  • pre/post-race private tent access (after Disney Princess, I can say this is super-clutch)

One of my New Balance contacts tried and loved the program for Big Sur, so I’m really really excited to try out all these tools and have access to their editors through this program for the next few months.

Let’s talk marathon: are you doing one this fall? If so, which one? Do you have an aggressive time goal, too?

NYC runners: Last year, I started a Facebook group for those training for the NYC Marathon. It became an awesome way to connect with other runners who were also marathon training and learn about cool area races going on that fit in well with NYCM training plans. Since I don’t want to leave my own group…let’s say that it’s for NYC runners training for marathons, okay? You can click on the link above to request membership. (I keep it private so the whole Internet doesn’t know where you’re going running if you don’t want them to.)

If you’re not training for a marathon, any big fitness goals you’re working on?

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