I haven’t run in a race since February. For about 12 weeks after that race, I lifted weights and ran less. I actually gained about 15 pounds pretty quickly due to me running less mileage (burning less calories), eating more dense and protein rich foods and lifting weights basically everyday. It was refreshing to take a break from competitive running and not have a race on the calendar. I enjoyed getting “under the bar” and smashing out the weights in the gym. But, running is my serenity and my medicine so I methodically made my way back. My first few runs had no purpose or structure, but to simply stay in conversation pace and enjoy the moment. This was my catalyst to regaining my running mojo.
In mid-June, I really started to get back into a running schedule. I committed to a weekly track workout with my buddies and started doing some “semi-structured” workouts. This got me back into a routine. I honestly haven’t missed a Tuesday “speed workout” since starting the habit.
(FYI, that is the key to instilling a particular habit: DON’T MISS!)
Once July came around, I was now ready to start building back my weekly mileage. I started off very conservatively with the first week in July (3rd-9th) being at 24 miles. The 2nd week I hit 30. It was a good preparation period to just getting back on my feet again. I think this is where many runners go wrong and end up hurt; they start with too much volume. Their body is not prepared for the pounding and injury happens. I made sure to ease back into training.
At the end of week 2, it was time to light a fire under me, I signed up for a race. And I said “F it” and signed up for my first competitive marathon. (For those that know a little about my career, I have raced everything from 5ks to Ironmans. I have run self-supported marathons but not a true competitive marathon.) My thinking: “Why not come back to something that will totally take me out of my comfort zone?” Boom! I registered.
Now the sense of urgency was created….
|I log all of my training on TrainingPeaks.com|
Here’s how the next few weeks mileage looked like:
July 17th - 23rd: 47 miles
July 24th – 30th: 47 miles
July 31st – August 6th: 52 miles
August 7th – 13th: 47 miles
August 14th – 20th: 60 miles
August 21st – 27th: Recovery week 27 miles
August 28th – September 3rd: 44 miles
7 weeks – 324 total miles, that is an average of about 6.6 miles/day. Accept for one day that I was under the weather, I have not missed a scheduled workout.
I am an advocate of a lower mileage plan. As a “nonprofessional” runner who has many other tasks in life, I have to utilize the time I allow for my running lifestyle in the most efficient way. So my workouts are created with the concept of “minimum dosage required”. Why run more if I can attain the result I am looking for with less? Quality miles are the key. With that said, my plan is to build my mileage to peak out at 75-80 miles, two weeks before my main race. Marathon training is different than half-marathon training in the fact that you just need more volume under your belt. The workouts are similar, the quality is there, but literally, you just have to run more miles.
With the scorching hot weather and poor air quality this summer, many of my runs have been on the treadmill. I can get a quality session in without the demands of the hot weather/air quality.
Here was a treadmill workout I completed in late July:
20 minute warm up, starting off at an easy pace (8:30) and building pace (7:30 pace)
1 minute easy jog
6x2 min steady hill repeats, a pace that stays controlled
(90 seconds easy jog recover in between each set)
15 min steady pace (started at 7:30 and built to 7:00)
1 minute easy jog
8x2 minute tempo (wanted to do these at half marathon pace: 6:10-6:30)
10 minute steady (started off at 7:30 and built to 7:00)
*the goal of this workout was strength/endurance as you can see by the volume of hill repeats; I accumulated 12 miles in this workout.
Here is a track workout I completed in early August:
20 minute warm up
Dynamic warm up drills and striders to get loose
5 sets of this: (400/800/400), 200 easy jog in between each rep and 3 minute jog in between each set
1st set: 1:31, 3:02, 1:27
2nd set: 1:24, 2:56, 1:22
3rd set: 1:22, 2:54, 1:22
4th set: 1:24, 2:51, 1:19
5th set: 1:15, 2:43, 1:11
This is how I like speed sessions to go. Start controlled and get faster as the workout progresses. If you add this up, it accumulates 8000 yards of quality work. This type of session is how you build your speed and stamina. I accumulated 9 miles in this session.
On August 22nd (happened to be my birthday), I wanted to test my fitness a bit so I scheduled a 10k hard tempo. After coming off a few weeks of solid training, I wanted to do this 10k on tired legs to see what I could push out. I ended up running at 39:22, which is an average of 6:21 pace. I was satisfied with my progress up to that point. See mile splits below.
In regards to strength work during the week, I spend 1 day doing an upper body lifting session, 1 day doing bodyweight exercises like push ups and inverted rows and 1-2 days doing mobility and core work. These workouts keep my frame strong and honestly, I do not want to be the typical “skinny runner”. I like having muscle and I feel it gives me a solid foundation for my running. Since I am running everyday, my lifting sessions have decreased throughout the week.
What’s next? I will run a tune-up half marathon on October 15th, which is three weeks out from my marathon. Since I haven’t raced since February, I wanted to tow the line before the marathon. I will go into this race to compete but I will run smart knowing that the marathon is the priority.
Last point, after seeing 155 lbs at one point on the scale in May, I am now back to my “fighting weight” of 140 pounds. I fluctuate five pounds up and down from that number but usually stay right around that 140 mark. I like this weight during the bulk of training. If I am too light, I sacrifice power and risk sickness. So I do my best to stay between 138-142 as my “racing weight”.
Thank you for reading. If I can answer any questions for you, please leave a comment.
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