NCR Marathon Training Week 4: That time I jumped in to marathon training during week 4.

I was doing the whole weekly workout recap thing for awhile and then I stopped. Why? Well mostly because there wasn’t any real reason for me to be writing it all down. I wasn’t working toward any specific goal so who cares if I missed a run on some random Tuesday?

Now that I’ve unexpectedly thrust myself back into marathon training, for my own accountability and sanity I thought it might be good to make Mondays my recap days all over again. This time I’m starting in week 4 and I’m basing all of this very loosely off the same Hal Higdon plan I used for New Jersey with a couple major differences:

  1. I will actually be racing during this cycle. I enjoy it and yet I pretty much entirely held off last time thinking that it would cause problems when in the end it did me zero favors. Also…
  2. I will only be running one 20 miler. I fared waaaaaaay better in the first marathon when I kept my milage lower leading up to it. Live and learn I guess.

So let’s take a look at what happened last week:

Monday, August 17: I raced last Sunday and on Monday my quads felt a little like they had gone through a meat grinder. You’re welcome for that lovely visual.

I downloaded this free virtual spin class app for my phone and hopped on a spin bike at the gym for a half hour. I kept the resistance really low and it felt nice for my tired legs. Then I went to Body Pump, eased up on the squats, but added some extra weight when we did upper body stuff.

Tuesday, August 18: 3 miles. My legs were feeling much better and I banged this one out fairly quickly at a 7:24 pace. I know in a couple weeks I’m really going to miss these short 3 milers.

Wednesday, August 19: 6 miles, pace. So I had already decided that I would be doing my long runs on the trail where I will be running the actual marathon and I wanted to try and do my pace runs there as well for obvious reasons. I needed to get this run done in the morning though and there’s no way that I’d be running 6 miles on the trail in the pitch dark of 5am. Instead I ran a pretty regular route around my neighborhood; 7:51 pace which is still waaaay faster than intended.

I seriously suck at pace runs. Luckily I have a quite a bit of time to work on this.

After work I had a bunch of free time because Betty was with her dad. I ended up taking half a spin class and then going to yoga for an hour.

Thursday, August 20: 3 miles. Treadmill (7:37 pace). Then I went to BodyPump again because the Thursday instructor is hilarious and awesome.

Friday, August 21: A marvelous day of rest and celebrating my mom’s birthday!

Saturday, August 22: Long run. The plan said 11 miles, but I have a 12 mile race in 2 weeks and even before signing up for NCR I wanted to get a 12 mile training run in beforehand. This was my longest run since April. The last time I did a long run out on the trail (10 miles) it couldn’t have been more fantastic. This time?

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And not because of my pace or anything. I just don’t know what was wrong with me out there. It started off well, but by the time I got to mile 6 I was completely checked out. All I wanted to do was get back to my car, but the problem was? I was 6 miles from my damn car.

Those 6 miles were a serious mental struggle bus. I was texting my boyfriend and my mom along the way to tell them how much everything was terrible. I told my mom that I was going to stop at mile 11 and just walk the rest of the way back.

Then I didn’t, which was the one thing that really saved this run from being a complete disaster. I made it all the way through even though I was nearly in tears at the end. I wasn’t necessarily in pain; I just hated everything in that moment. But I have to admit…I did feel pretty good about myself after that.

Sunday, August 23: 60 minutes of cross training. I went to BodyPump because awesome instructor was teaching again. Then I hung out on the elliptical for a half hour to get my legs moving. They were pretty stiff from the day before.

Total Mileage: 24.
Grade: B. 

This week I am scaling back my mileage and doing something of a mini taper before Charles Street 12 on the 5th. Also on the 5th?

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The Color Run Night comes to Baltimore!

BALTIMORE3 at checkout will still get a discount on registration if you want to run with me. Slowly. Because I will have already run 12 miles that morning.

Have you ever double-booked races on the same day before? How’s your training going?

I hope everyone has a great start to their week!

xo,

Salt

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WWYD? My 20 miler.

It’s What Would You Do? Wednesday! Usually I’m pretty good at making decisions by myself, but today I’m stumped and who better to turn to with a pressing question about running than the wonderful online running community?

The answer to that is of course nobody.

Here’s my conundrum.

This weekend is the first in a set of two 20 mile long runs. I clearly remember that last year my anxiety was in overdrive over such a thing. This year I’m all

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But just like every day for the past couple months the weather is stressing me out. Mother Nature cannot make up her damn mind. Monday and Tuesday were both beautiful and then it all started to go downhill from there. Friday they are calling for the  s-word yet again. I can think of more than one s-word that applies to this situation.

Anyway the best possible weather for my run would be Saturday afternoon: sunny and in the mid-50’s. Unfortunately Saturday afternoon is not available to me as Mr. Salt works so I have to weigh my other options. They are as follows:

Option 1: Saturday Morning

  • Start Time: 4:30 am
  • Forecasted Start Temp: 33 degrees
  • Wind: 2MPH

Pros:

33 is chilly, but it’s not the worst thing ever. The lack of wind would be nice. It would also be nice to get this run out of the way at the beginning of the weekend so I don’t spend all day Saturday over-thinking it.

Cons:

4:30 am is stupid early, but I want to make sure I have a little more than 3 hours to finish this run and Mr. Salt leaves for work around 8 am. A 20 miler that early in the morning and in the dark will be boring and lonely. Thinking about it makes me a little sad.

Option 2: Sunday Morning

  • Start Time: 8:00 am
  • Forecasted Start Temp: 34 degrees
  • Wind: 8MPH

Pros:

If I went this route I would be starting off at a race.  It’s a 15K. The distance would cover nearly half of my long run and then after I crossed the finish line I would just continue on for another 10 miles. I like this option because it gives me the opportunity to not only sleep in a little later (because 4:30 is EWWWWWW), but also go on a nice little run with friends for while. Definitely nto as boring and solitary as option 1. Because it’s a club event, it will only cost me $2. Mr. Salt does not work on Sunday so I don’t have to hurry home.

This race is on a trail. Not off the beaten path or anything…it’s a rail trail and mostly crushed gravel and dirt. If the conditions on the trail are good, then the run will be flat and pretty easy on my legs. It would be nice to get another run in on a flat course because my marathon is flat.

Cons:

I can’t go to this race in race mode. The point is not to PR because once I’m done I will still have the same distance plus a little extra to add on top of it.

Now back to those rail trail conditions. I really have no idea whether they are crap or not because I haven’t run over there since last year. We just had a terrible winter. With the new weather moving through on Friday it might make it even worse. For this race last year there was quite a bit of mud and potholes. Also it will be windier than Saturday. (Though I guess not by much.)

Option 3: Sunday Afternoon

  • Start Time: Whenever the heck I want. Let’s just say noon.
  • Forecasted Start Temp: The high on Sunday is supposed to be 43.
  • Wind: 13MPH with higher gusts.

Pros:

I can sleep in. I can run around my neighborhood where I know there isn’t any ice or snow (yet) and I can take as long as I want.

Cons:

If it were going to be warmer I wouldn’t mind the wind so much, but as it stands the conditions won’t be so great. Also I don’t love the idea of running later in the day on Sunday because it eats into time with my family. We don’t get a lot of time to hang out each week because our schedules are so opposite. At least if I ran on Sunday morning I would (theoretically) be done by 11-ish and would have the rest of the day ahead of me.

Now this is where you come in. 

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What would you do in my situation? I set up a little poll for people to vote. I am definitely leaning a couple different ways, but the results of this poll will most likely help me make up my mind.

Thank you in advance!

Do you stress about your long runs? Have you ever run part of your long run in a race before? (If so, do you have any advice for me?)

xo,

Salt

NJ Marathon Training Week 5 Recap

Also to be known as the week I’m really glad I spent more time running outside because things aren’t looking so hot weather-wise coming up. Quite the opposite actually, especially next week. Florida cannot get here fast enough.

Week 5 Grade: A-

Monday, January 19: Body Pump. They introduced a new routine and I should have reconsidered adding extra squat weight when I had no knowledge of what was coming. That class was BRUTAL. I believe I’ve mentioned the pain in my ass on here…like actual pain in my glute area. Without having seen a professional, I’m diagnosing myself with a high hamstring strain and I think all those squats are exacerbating the issue. I

I’ve decided to forego pump class this coming week and see if it helps. Not that class will even be happening tomorrow anyway because it’s about to snow and my gym has the most ridiculous inclement weather policy on the planet. They are constantly canceling classes and opening late when it hasn’t done much more than rain.

Tuesday, January 20: Plan said 3 miles. Usually I run on the treadmill on Tuesdays, but I was feeling burnt out on it after last Sunday’s 11 miler.I ended up doing 4 outside (8:11 pace).

Wednesday, January 21: 6 miles at whatever pace I wanted which ended up being right around marathon pace. Honestly I haven’t been entirely happy with my paces this week (hence the – in my grade) and I felt like I had to work much harder for this run than I usually do. I’m hoping it’s just my body not jiving well with the winter temps plus the added stress of my hamstring.

In the evening I did an hour of yoga because by some miracle the gym didn’t cancel it despite the fact that we got some snow that day.

Thursday, January 22: Too much snow on the ground so I took this run inside. 3 miles (7:44 pace) and then hopped on the elliptical for 15 minutes.

Friday, January 23: My feet hurt. So glad for a rest day.

Saturday, January 24: 12 mile long run. Oh god where do I even begin with this. I had been watching the weather like a hawk all week because they were calling for several inches of snow overnight. I REALLY didn’t want to do another long run on the treadmill. I figured I would play it by ear and see what was going on in the morning.

My alarm went off at 5am and when I looked at my phone there was a text alert from the gym. Of COURSE they wouldn’t be opening until 7 due to inclement weather. Like seriously? I’m thisclose to writing a complaint letter. Mr. Salt works at 8. Obviously there was no way that a 12 mile long run was happening in the matter of one hour.

Unless I ran outside.

I went to the window. It didn’t appear to be so bad. I got myself dressed, headed out, and…yeah it was freaking POURING. The roads and sidewalks were covered in slush. I almost turned around and crawled right back into bed, but instead I (wo)manned up and got to running.

It was a complete mess out there. I was sliding everywhere and my shoes were full of water. I was soaked all the way through. Running on ice is an incredible workout. I used muscles that I don’t think I’ve ever used before. I finished my 12 miles smiling, 8:43 pace overall which was pretty great considering that I was practically crawling through parts of the run. It was easily the worst weather conditions I’ve ever run in. If I had driven by me in a car I would have thought I was insane.

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I’m smiling, but I REALLY hope I never have to do that again.

Sunday, January 25: A cross train day to rule them all. In the morning I went to the gym…30 minutes on the Arc trainer, 15 on a bike, and then I did 2 miles on the treadmill where I alternated walking briskly at a 10% incline for 5 minutes with running at marathon pace on a 1% incline for 5 minutes. I really liked that workout and plan to do it again for a longer distance.

In the evening I had my spa retreat event complete with an abbreviated introduction to Yoga Wall class.

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Looks a little intimidating, doesn’t it? I’ll do a full recap later this week (and a recap of everything else I got to experience at The Still Point Spa), but this class ended up being a wonderful and very necessary stretch session. And I got to hang upside down! Yay for head rushes!

Week 5 Total Mileage: 27

My main goal for week 6 is more stretching and taking care of my hammy. Maybe adding in some extra yoga. Hopefully stepping back from Pump class for a bit will allow that to heal. It’s a step-back week mileage-wise so I’m grateful for the extra rest. All my other body parts are feeling pretty solid though!

If you’re currently training, how was your week last week? How’s your weather? Are you being impacted by this crazy snow storm right now? What is the longest really bad weather run you’ve done? Have you ever tried Yoga Wall?

I hope everyone had a happy weekend! It definitely went by much too fast, but at least I’m ready to start the new week in a relaxed way thanks to The Still Point Spa!

xo,
Salt