Monday, December 28, 2015

Racing as Training

Getting excited for my long run on Thursday! I decided to run a half marathon. I'm running the Iron Horse Half that will be held on Fort Campbell. Technically, this was supposed to be a rest week, but I take license to move my workouts around as I see fit.

Because I'm "racing" and likely my effort will be higher than just a normal long run, I'm curtailing my runs this week to one light and easy run and the half. This is going to be a small race, which means I might just be the turtle this time. I just hope I don't keep everybody waiting too long.

This is the first race I've entered where the goal is just "another long run." I've used 5k and 10k races before as stepping stones to my half marathons, but this is a bit different mindset.

I really need to focus on eating more! I have been doing math on my electrolytes as well. I won't have time to change up much of anything before Thursday, so I'll probably go with Shot Bloks as my base fuel. Maybe do Stingers, maybe a Hammer gel. Maybe not. Still have a couple days to decide.

Hoping to finish strong in under 3 hours.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Longest Run To Date

This morning, I was off work, so I headed to the beautiful town of Murfreesboro to run the Stones River Greenway.

I have done a 17 mile run/walk/hike on accident before. I thought I knew a short cut to turn a 10 mile run into a 12 mile run. I didn't. Anyway, this morning I had scheduled the longest intentional run I'd ever scheduled of 16 miles. My target pace was 13:17/mile.

The weather was gorgeous. Warm and sunny. Started at 60 degrees and ended around 74! No worries about my clothes! Just threw on a Skirt Sports Happy Girl skirt and my Zooma half marathon shirt.

Now I've gone back and forth about my Altra Paradigm 1.5 shoes because they give me blisters on the inside of my forefoot. So today, I wore my Altra Torin (the original!) shoes that I wore last year on my first half marathon. I also leave those shoes in my truck so I can get a run in after work during nice weather. I have another pair of Torins that I use on my treadmill. Another pair I use for horse back riding. ANOTHER pair I use for going to town. And yes, one more pair in reserve. Some women collect dress shoes. I collect running shoes.

I parked at one of the trailheads near the north end. I started out running to the north and back past my truck because for 16 miles, I needed to run the entire length of the trail, out and back. My initial run/walk ratio was 4:45 run to 1:30 walk.

The first thing that went wrong. I took the wrong trail. I should have turned right, but I turned left. That took me 1.2 miles to another trailhead. I ran around a little bit down there through this cute little village and then back to where I could have turned to get back on track. So that took me an extra 2.5 miles.

The next thing that went wrong.

Last night there were really bad storms in the area. Lots of rain, lots of lightning, even tornadoes. The Stones River Greenway (oddly enough) meanders along the banks of the Stones River. The river was high, but for several miles, all I saw was water coming up close to the trail and some debris and mud over the trail where it had overflowed and receded.

But about 10 miles into my run, I came on sections of the trail that were under water. I managed to get around one without getting my feet wet, but the next one, even though I tried to go around, I ended up getting my feet completely soaked. So when I came to the next expanse, I just stepped right in. The water came up over my calf muscle, but not quite to my knee. After a mile of wading and running between the pools, I was clear of the water and on dry ground again. With wet socks and shoes. I had not worn my drymax socks. On I went.

For awhile, my mile splits were pretty close, some a little faster, some a little slower, to my 13:17/mile pace. Some were a little slower than I normally would count as close to my pace, but explainable for me having to look at maps or try to figure out where I was. After 12 miles, my pace plummeted. I was no longer close to 13:17. 16:00/mile and slower!

My HR was the problem. I could not keep my pace and still keep my HR under 170. So I got slower and slower and adjusted my run/walk ratio to 4:30 run (shuffle) and 2:00 slow walk. If my HR didn't drop below 150 during the walk, I kept walking until it did. It was pretty depressing to see the mile splits during this time.

Because of my unintended detour, my watch chimed 19 miles as I reached the trailhead where my truck was parked. I figured I was that close, might as well do one more mile. So I did my shuffle/walk for 3/4 mile past the trailhead, then turned back, finished that mile and walked back to the truck. I stopped to stretch at one of the benches. Boy that felt good! I was sore in my hips and just tired all over.

5 hours (yikes!) to do 20 working miles. I always exclude warm-up/cool down from my reported mileage.

30 minutes before - 100 calorie cup Greek Yogurt

6 pieces (1 pack) - Clif Shot Bloks - Black Cherry (with caffeine) - 200 calories/42 carbs
10 pieces (1 pack) - Honey Stinger Chews - Pink Lemonade - 160 calories/39 carbs
1 package - Gu Roctane Energy Gel - Strawberry Kiwi -100 calories/21 carbs
50 oz water

Post (0 - 2 hours)
1.5 oz peanut m&ms
1 Strawberry Cereal Bar
1 banana
2 mozzarella cheese sticks
1 tablet Hammer Fizz Endurolytes in 16.9 oz water
More water

My food still isn't right. To be fair, I only took enough fuel for 16 miles and ended up doing 20. 460 calories/102 carbs. 92 calories per hour. 20 carbs per hour.

15:00/mile average is quite depressing. At that pace, it would take me over 6.5 hours to do the marathon. On the bright side, the Chattanooga Marathon has a time limit of 7 hours...

Another really bright side is that my Altra Torins worked beautifully. No blood blisters. Nothing bad. A little wear and tear, but even with going through water, nothing terrible. My Paradigms are no longer my long run shoes.

Sorry for no pictures. My phone took a header into a concrete floor and disabled itself. I'll have to get a new one.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Weekly Recap - Shoes, Food and Breathing

Well, my training this week hasn't gone as well as I wanted it to.


Sunday, I had a 12 mile run scheduled. I went back to the Harpeth River Greenway and ran the entire section without any deviations to the alternate trail heads. I like parking at the Warner Park Nature Center because they have a bathroom there. Great for pre and post run necessities.

My run started in the 50s and it was 60 or so by time I got done. I wore one of my Skirt Sport Happy Girl skirts (I have several; they make me happy!) and my race shirt from the 2015 Franklin Classic where I ran the 10k followed by the 5k.

I call it a 10+5k since it's running 2 separate events one right after the other. I take about 1:15:00 to run the 10k, so I don't get much of a break before the 5k, especially since I tend to run back to my truck between races to switch racing bibs. Anyway, that shirt is a short sleeve athletic shirt.

I wore my Paradigm 1.5s again. I know, I said they don't work for over 12 miles and maybe they still don't, but I really want them to work. I'm stubborn.

I switched out the Lock Laces for a pair of regular laces I stole off another pair of Altras I have for non-running. Right away, I noticed the fit difference. I like my laces to be snug over the forefoot, barely there over the mid-foot and medium tightness at the ankle. It's hard to do that with Lock Laces. I was able to run much more comfortably with the laces this way. I managed the entire run with no blood blisters. Yay.

I think I might try the Paradigms one more time with the laces in a lace lock position to pull them back against my ankle a bit more. The biggest issue I have with these Paradigms is I tend to get blisters on the inside edge of my forefoot; the bunion area, and these shoes make that worse.

Does anybody else struggle with blisters at that point? Or is it just me? Share if you have tips!

I ran 12.5 miles using a run/walk of 3:1.5. Took me 2 hours and 45 minutes for an average pace of 13:12/mile.

Around 11.5 miles, my left hip started bothering me a little, but a little stretching during my cool down brought it right. But I didn't have any trouble with my IT band. I've been doing some glute strengthening exercises and I think that's doing the trick on the IT band. Need to be a bit more consistent about my strength training though. I hate weight work, so it's hard to get motivated, but hard to argue with results.


One of the things I'm working on for my marathon is making sure I eat enough. On my last 1/2, I was underfueled, so I know I have to fix that for my long runs. For my Sunday run, I ate the following:

Pre (about 1 hour before starting) - Greek Yogurt cup

During - 8 Honey Stinger (Fruit Punch) & 5 Cherry Shot Bloks (with caffeine) - alternated stingers/bloks; every 15 min. 1 blok, next time 2 stingers, repeat. This ended up being 66 carbs or 24 carbs/hr. Much better than the 1/2 where I only took in 40 carbs during the entire run.

This wasn't quite as regimented as it should have been. I was using my Garmin watch to tell me to eat and when to run/walk, and some of the eat alarms were hidden behind the run/walk alarms. I did figure that out and still ate, but might have missed 1 or 2 opportunities to eat after all said and done. Note to self, make sure the eat alarm is slightly off cycle from the run/walk alarms.

Post - 1 full Nuun tablet in 16.9 oz water; 1 oz quaker rice crisps (eh), handful banana chips (not going to work). At home - 2 cups black bean soup & 8 ritz crackers.

Feel like this was almost adequate for during, but need better post run fuel, especially on the drive home. Going to have to continue to think about that. Suggestions are welcome in the comments!! What do you eat on the drive home from a long run?


So here is where I have been struggling. A couple weeks ago, I had a fun training run where I pushed my speed a little during a treadmill workout. I did a 2 minute run/2 minute walk workout, but pushed my pace to 10:00/mile for the run sessions. That was a 6 mile workout total, so 50% at a 10:00/mile pace. I generally stay more in the  13:00 - 11:30 pace when I run.

I'm not quite 5 feet tall with legs so short when I have my riding tights customized for length, they come back with notes to the seamstress, that "the customer really did say that short; it's not a mistake." And I'm a distance girl, not a speed demon. So 10:00/mile was quite fun for me and easier to control on the treadmill.

Right after that workout, I went out to do errands and stopped by Starbucks to indulge in a Peppermint Mocha. I do not drink a lot of coffee or caffeinated soda (max 1 a day; more like 3-4 a week) and that shot of a ton of caffeine and sugar, combined with my workout gave me a rush that disrupted my breathing. I kid you not. I have been battling my breathing ever since, including during my long run this week.

The issue is I feel like I need to take deep breaths several times an hour, but can't. I have to struggle for that deep breath. For some reason, I have taken to breathing shallowly and not through the diaphragm.

So I skipped my speed workout this week and opted to focus on breathing instead. I've been focusing on breathing correctly throughout the day and forcing myself to breathe through my nose and breathe calmly.

My next long run is likely going to be postponed for a few days while I do some shorter runs to try to work through this. I walked for 1.5 miles and felt that things were going pretty well. So I may end up walking more during my workouts for the next bit as well. I want to nip this in the bud, not let it get into something that will completely derail my training.

In the meantime, I've cut out all caffeine except for what's in my Shot Bloks which I only use for long runs.

Has anybody else experienced these types of symptoms? I'd love to hear stories, solutions, suggestions.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Marathon Training Plan

So my training plan. I do have one. And I guess I'll share it. ;) For my halfs and my 10ks, I have used Runner's World's Smart Coach to get a starting point. I just use their free version.

Since I didn't actually start training for the marathon until after my most recent half, I was able to plug in some really current data. I gave it my current race time of 2:39:48 for a half marathon.

I am super proud of breaking 2:40. I underfueled that race and by the last mile my legs felt like huge blocks of lead I was dragging around, but I still dug deep and ran the finish to get under 2:40. I could apologize for being a slow poke, but I won't. This is who I am and I might as well just put it out there! I bet there are others that run my pace out there. In fact, I KNOW there are. Cause I wasn't alone out there coming in just under 2:40.

Back on topic. Yes, where was I? Oh, yes, I told Smart Coach I was training for a marathon and I wanted to train at a moderate level. I just want to get the miles done. I'm all about the miles, not the speed. So SC spits out a training schedule for me, which I then plop into a OneNote page so I can mark it up for notes.

I like that Smart Coach only schedules 3 days a week for running. That gives me 3 days for cross training or working the horses. Luckily, right now, the horses are on winter break, but it's going to be interesting when January rolls around and they're back to work and I have to work in 20 mile training rides AND 16-20 mile training runs every week!

Each week looks roughly like this: 1 long run. 1 speed or tempo workout. 1 easy run. Speed and distance increases gradually each week. Every 3-4 weeks, there's a recovery week of 3 easy runs of roughly 4-6 miles each.

I try to run my long runs outside. My shorter runs during the week are indoors on the treadmill, so I throw incline in there for hill running. For example, this week, I had a 2 mile easy workout scheduled, so I nudged the incline up to 4% for the workout, including 1/2 mile of warm up and cool down, and snagged over 500 feet climb for my efforts.

I also had a tempo run scheduled this week. During an actual race and many of my training runs, I do a run/walk strategy. I vary the amount of time I run or walk. For example, one of my recent long runs, I ran for 0.7 miles, walked for 0.2 miles, repeat for 13 miles. Sometimes I run for 3 minutes, walk for 1 minute. So I just mix it up. For my tempo run this week, I ran straight through at a steady pace that is just a bit faster than my target race pace. Next time I have a tempo run, I might do negative splits where I run each mile slightly faster than the last mile.

So my tempo workout looked like this:
3 minute walking warm-up
1 mile run/walk - 0.20 mile run/0.05 mile walk
3 miles @ 11:45
1 mile run/walk - 0.05 mile walk/0.20 mile run
7 minute walking cool-down

This was on the treadmill. I have a Hulu subscription so I can watch Hulu shows on my tablet and I only watch Hulu on the treadmill. Makes the treadmill more appealing for me.

The treadmill can be boring, but I have found it really has helped me with my outside runs. It helps me learn what a steady pace is and has really helped me control my breathing and stride a lot better than just running outside has. This is my personal experience. Yours might vary. ;)

Tomorrow I'm off for a long run. Only 12 miles. Those aren't terribly exciting anymore. The mileage just goes up from here though!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Holidays & Rest Week

So, I haven't abandoned my plans! I am still on track for the marathon in just 93 days!!!!

Thanksgiving week was great! I started it off with my cold 13 mile run. I managed to run an easy run on Tuesday, a steady pace 4 miles on Friday and a sluggish, fight for every step, "easy" 6 miles on Sunday morning. My husband and I took our bikes along on our Thanksgiving trip and I got 3 rides, including a pretty intense (for me) mountain biking ride on Sunday, this after my sluggish run that morning. I was scheduled for a 10 mile run, but I think the run + bike ride made up for it.

I did eat and eat and eat. And ate poorly. Which I believe accounts for my sluggishness the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but boy did I enjoy that food!!! We don't really do much the rest of the holiday season and the marathon is months away, so I indulged. :)

This week is a "boring" recovery week with 5 mile runs at an easy pace. I'm mixing up how I reach  my goal pace. First 5 mile run was steady and so slow I couldn't hardly stand it. Second run was 50% fast [for me ;)], and 50% walking. Thinking a trail run for my last recovery run might be nice before tempo runs, hill runs, speed workouts and long runs kick in again.