Category Archives: endurance

Weeks in Review: 2/13/17 to 2/26/17

There’s no filter to undo those circles…

2/13/17 to 2/19/17

Monday: Early morning snowshoe run for 45 minutes because the snow was just too amazing to not play in. Plus, I’m signed up for the Northeast Snowshoe Championships so I figured I’d better get out and practice!

Tuesday: 8 miles with 4 miles at tempo pace. Downhill skiing in the afternoon.

Wednesday: 4.28 mile recovery run.

Thursday: 8 miles with 4.5 miles at steady state on the treadmill.

Friday: 3.25 miles easy.

Saturday: 45 minute snowshoe run at my parents. SO hard in all the snow.

Sunday: Off day.

Total Miles: 23.5 plus 90 minutes of snowshoe running.

2/20/17 to 2/26/17

Monday: 8 miles with 5 by 2 at interval pace followed by a mile at steady state.

Tuesday: 5 mile recovery run

Wednesday: 6.65 mile regular run

Thursday: 5 mile progression run

Friday: 10 miles of classic skiing at the State Meet.

Saturday: Long call. Lots of hospital walking but no run. 300 abs routine before bed.

Sunday: 11.3 mile long run.

Total Miles: 46.0

The last two weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. When we’re on Inpatient Medicine, we typically work six days a week with one weekend day off. Since the State Meets fall on weekdays, however, I had to stack some weekends so that I could have the time off. This past week, my “off day” from the hospital was very much an on day at the rainy, windy classic State Meet. Needless to say, I’m pretty wiped out and amazed I ran at all!

The toughest girls you’ll ever meet.

And my resilient, wonderful boys relay team.

My workouts have felt pretty good lately, which I attribute in part to my being fastidious about taking my multivitamin with iron. I stopped taking extra iron after last summer because my running had decreased and the high sweat loss season was done. However, because of the size of my hematoma, I decided to add a multivitamin with iron back in and have felt much peppier on runs lately.

I finally feel like I’m getting in a rhythm with my early morning runs…which must mean it’s time to switch schedules again! I have one more week on Inpatient Medicine, then switch to Surgery Boot Camp. This has a later start time but I think I’ll continue to do my runs in the morning. As ski season winds down, I’ll also be looking to add Body Pump back in for strength training.

Goals for 2017

The only guarantee in 2017 for me is change. In March, I’ll find out where I matched. In May, I’ll move and graduate. In mid-June, I become a surgical intern. As I’ve been ruminating on goals for 2017, one of the biggest challenges is that I don’t know exactly what my life will look like and past June, I don’t know what my call schedule will be which makes planning races or training difficult. Thus, my biggest goal for early 2017 is to lay down the habits that will allow me to continue to train during Residency. My secondary goal is to build a foundation to chase the Trials Standard for the 2020 Olympics and continue to represent Skechers Performance at local, regional and national races.

To do this, I’ve had to think about what works for me in terms of training, what is a reasonable training load that will allow me to race well AND be sane and what I’ve continued to struggle with during the past few years. I don’t know the specifics of any program yet but I do know that I can plan on working 80 hours a week with approximately one day off a week.

  1. 40 to 45 miles a week. Such a bitter pill to swallow but I have to be realistic about what I can really get in throughout the year. At this point, my plan is to do 30 minutes on most mornings with an early wakeup two days a week for an interval effort and a steady state effort plus a long run on my off day. This obviously won’t prepare me for a marathon length event but should allow me to do a half marathon or shorter with minimal notice. It will also let me scale up to the marathon once I have my schedule.
  2. Daily strength training or core. One of the things that I’ve been reminded of during my run break is that I feel so much better when I’m doing strength training and core on a regular basis. Although I am well aware of the benefits of strength training, I always struggle to fit this “extra” in. To better do this, I’ll plan to do my strength or core work at the end of the day. It’s so tempting to hammer through my to-do list but I need to make strength a real priority and setting a time for it both eliminates the need to get up at 3:30 am every day and gives me a mental break at the end of the work day.
  3. Diet Quality Score > 15. Despite my best efforts, interview season continues to wreck havoc on my nutrition. When I have a choice, I’m making high DQS choices but on interview days, all bets are off. There will be plenty of temptation to eat quick, easy food but residency is just as much of an endurance sport as running and fueling with good food will make both running and learning to be a surgeon a little less painful.
  4. Flexibility. Trying this one again! Yoga practice at least once a week, both to center my mind and work on my ever worsening flexibility. Daily foam rolling routine (8 passes over each major muscle group) to follow my daily strength/core.
  5. Morning runs!! The only constant for me is that if my run doesn’t happen in the morning, the likelihood that something comes up skyrockets. When I come back to running on Monday, my first order of business is to get my run done. My hope is that by June, it’s such a a habit that I don’t think anything of it.

As I always tell my girls, it’s one thing to set goals. It’s another to figure out the processes that set you up for success in reaching them. I’m highly motivated by checklists so I’m going to make a weekly checklist that sits on my bulletin board and includes all of these items as checkmarks. I also went back to a paper weekly/monthly planner for 2017 (I need the broad overview to feel in control) and will write in my daily workout as well as my week goal on the week page. Finally, I’m putting a bulleted version of this goal list on my bathroom mirror and on my desk.

What are your goals for 2017? How are you setting yourself up to meet them?

Week in Review 12.19.16 to 12.25.16

First, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and spent lots of quality time with friends, family or chosen family. For me, it was enough of a gift to be home for a couple of days without packing a bag!

Monday: Interview at Brown so quick early workout with 2.5 miles on the treadmill and a body weight strength workout.

Tuesday: 7 miles easy outside followed by 45 minutes of nordic skiing at the Range.

Wednesday: Appointment went way over so all I got in was 45 minute of skiing at Trapps.

Thursday: 9 mile progression run plus 45 minutes of nordic skiing.

Friday: 7 miles of easy running.

Saturday: 6 mile fartlek with 10 by 1 min hard, 1 min easy.

Sunday: Easy hour of skiing at my parents.

Total Miles: 31.5

Total Minutes Skiing: 195 minutes

I did not do a good job of balancing running and coaching this week, period. During cross country season, if I screw up my schedule or have too much going on, I still get a run in at practice. During nordic season, however, I’m on skis and although it’s a GREAT workout, it’s not a run. It’s typically my intention to use skiing as a secondary workout but that didn’t work out this week. I’m glad that I got a decent progression run in as well as a fartlek workout but I’ll admit that I’m frustrated to not be able to string together any reasonable training lately. My total mileage for 2016 will be much lower than any other year during medical school (even my surgery years), so I’m doing a little soul searching on what is going on to contribute to that and what I can do to improve for 2017.

The All-Terrain Runner series was released for 2017 so I’m debating about whether I want to sign up for that again and try to get more events in this year or simplify and stick to New Bedford with a plan to reevaluate after I know where I’m moving in June.

Week in Review 9.19.16 to 9.25.16

Monday: 7 mile recovery run.

Tuesday am: Body Pump then 7 miles easy.

Tuesday pm: 4 miles with the team, some moderately fast in their workout.

Wednesday: Interval workout. 10 by 400 on the track (87 to 89 for all). 10.5 miles total.

Thursday: 4 miles easy plus Body Pump.

Friday: 8 mile run in the rain and cold.

Saturday: 6 miles at Manchester.

Sunday: Power hiked Camel’s Hump with Will. 45 minutes up, 30 minutes down. Both of us are sore today!

Total Miles: 46.5

I’m starting to embrace whatever the day offers me for fitness. Part of me wants to be back on a strict training plan, with big race goals and high mileage, and part of me is loving the fact that when I woke up yesterday and it was 40 and sunny and crisp, I decided I wanted to go for a hike and did that instead. As I wrote last week, I’m struggling with a comparison trap and trying hard to get myself out of that rut. I did get a super successful workout in on the track last week and am happy with my effort in that. I’m also really loving getting to Body Pump a couple of times a week. I’m sore but definitely getting stronger again.

For this week, I have a marathon pace workout today (fits with the team workout…) and a long run Thursday plus Body Pump, some doubles and a hike up Mount Mansfield on Sunday.

Why I Am Trying a 9 Day Training Cycle

It’s no secret that my schedule is wonky at best. I am occasionally on a Monday through Friday workweek but most of the time, the idea of weekend or workweek is irrelevant. Add in the fact that I start coaching full time this coming week with meets almost every Saturday and half my weekend instantly evaporates. On top of this, I have call requirements and a fall full of interviews, some of which are a long travel from Burlington.

In addition to this scheduling nightmare for the fall, I’m also in desperate need of a better recovery plan. Thanks to the above schedule, my ability to increase sleep is limited and by definition, I’m on my feet all day, sometimes in very awkward positions. How then, to create more recovery time so that I can keep chasing after my athletic pursuits? One option is to increase my intensity but drop my volume. I ran a very successful first marathon on 35 miles a week, so this is a possibility I’ll likely reconsider during residency. The other option and the one I’ll be trying out this fall is the 9 day training cycle. 

The premise is simple: instead of trying to do a speed workout, tempo workout and long run in 7 days, you do it in 9 days. The nice part of this is that each harder effort is followed by both a recover run and a regular run and increases the likelihood you hit hard workouts fully recovered. Because there are more days to play with, the added benefit of flexibility is a good fit for the inevitable travel delays that I’ll experience this fall.

Here’s what my first “week” back will look like:

50 8/24/2016 Hard 8/1:1 x 10 Legs
50 8/25/2016 Recover 6 Arms
50 8/26/2016 Regular 7 Core
50 8/27/2016 Hard 8/3 by 1 at T Legs
50 8/28/2016 Recover 6 Arms
50 8/29/2016 Regular 7 Core
50 8/30/2016 Long 12 Legs
50 8/31/2016 Recover 6 Arms
50 9/1/2016 Regular 7 Core

How do you adjust mileage for a 9 day cycle? As I’ve addressed in comments before, I prorate all of my mileage to get the right day to day load.  In the case of the example above, 50/7 is a daily load of 7.1, so my workouts are (daily load + 1), recovery is (daily load – 1) and regular is 7. Long run will start at about 25% of my total mileage and increase. After this 9 day set, I’ll go to 55 miles per ‘week’ and adjust accordingly.

When do you have an off day? I’ll be taking an off day on the 4th recovery day, which is every 12th day. Right now, I take an off day every other week which can be anything from 8 to 13 days. I think with the additional recovery offered by the 9 day schedule, I’ll be okay with this being on the long end but it will definitely be something I pay attention to when I reevaluate.

How long is my experiment? I’ll be trying this through early October, enough to go through 6 microcycles. If I feel like it’s an improvement over my current schedule, I’ll keep it going through the rest of the fall. if not, I’ll either go back to a 7 day schedule or try something new.

Anyone ever do a 9 day cycle? 

Calm (Alternative Title: Mindfulness I Can Tolerate)

I am one of the least intentionally mindful people on the planet. I move at 100 miles an hour, I always have ten projects in the air and generally consider it a successful day if I get through half of my to-do list. Recently, however, while on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, I was introduced to calm.com which is a website and app dedicated to simple mindfulness exercises. What I like most about the site is that it has 3 minute guided mindfulness exercises, which are a tolerable length even for me. There are also numerous options for calming noise on the right sidebar which is a nice feature for when I’m working or reading something that doesn’t require 100% concentration.

As I’ve shared many times on here, I struggle with significant running anxiety. Interestingly, my race anxiety has decreased a ton over the past few years (maybe too much as sometimes I feel like I don’t care about race outcomes any more) but my workout anxiety remains incredibly high. I don’t sleep the night before a big workout and as I get ready to start, I’m nauseous and in full on panic mode. Flooding one’s muscles with cortisol is not exactly the way to prepare for success so I made a deal with myself to try to incorporate some mindfulness features into my pre-workout prep. Now on workout days, my routine goes warm-up –> 4 laps of jog the curve, stride the straights –> drills –> eyes closed, mindfulness moment. I close my eyes, work through one of the mindfulness actions of wiggling my toes and attending to that action and take some deep, intentional breaths. It sounds hokey and one of my biggest challenges is not rejecting the idea but my workouts have improved MARKEDLY since starting this. It could certainly be incidental but it seems that taking a few moments to focus before starting helps to bring my heart rate down and narrow my focus.

For me, a few minutes of intentional mindfulness a week is a much more tolerable way to work on focus and anxiety than yoga, which has the paradoxical effect of making me significantly more stressed about my schedule, my lack of flexibility and so on. I do still do my 20 minute routine for runners but beyond that, yoga has never seemed to work to help my mental game. I’m hopeful that adding this small touch of mindfulness will be a good addition to my pre-race routine and help me move back towards a healthy dose of anxiety and race anticipation.

Do you practice mindfulness? How do you focus yourself before workouts and races?

San Diego Here I Come!

I have a rare week off in March and since Will isn’t off, I decided that I’d use the week to go train somewhere other than Burlington. I initially looked at heading to western North Carolina or to Flagstaff, but by the time I found flights, rental car and housing, the trip was getting to be ridiculously expensive. Imagine my surprise, then, when going to San Diego ended up being a totally affordable flight AND a chance to visit my sister for a week.

My sister lives on the BEAUTIFUL island of Coronado which boasts the Silver Strand Bikeway, a 7 mile bike path that runs along the ocean. When I was out there last, I did most of my runs out here and in March, I plan to do my tempo runs and afternoon runs here. I’m also excited to explore other places around the San Diego area both to work on my trail running and general fitness.

In particular, I’m excited to get to Lake Hodges Trail, Miramar Reservoir and of course, Balboa Park. If I can get out there, I’d also love to run out at Mount Laguna which sits at almost 6000 feet and sounds like a beautiful place to get a couple of hours of hard work in.

What’s your favorite place to run in San Diego? Anywhere in the area I shouldn’t miss?

Week in Review 2/8/16 to 2/14/16

Well, the Trials are a wrap and it was an incredible day as promised. The heat was severe as many athletes dropped out throughout the race and even the seemingly infallible Shalane Flanagan suffered towards the end. In the end, the men’s side came out to be Galen, Meb and Jared Ward while the women’s side will be Amy Cragg, Desi and Shalane.

Monday: 4.25 mile run on the frozen golf course to start getting my legs ready for my spring adventures.

Tuesday: 5 miles early on the treadmill. Workout attempt fail #1. Hip core after.

Wednesday: 6 mile hill run on the treadmill.

Thursday: Post call, off day.

Friday: 6.2 mile plod and study.

Saturday: 10 miles feeling great on the treadmill because it was -8 out!

Sunday: 4 miles easy plus arms.

Total Miles 35.4 

Running is such a fickle beast. Last week, every run felt amazing. This week, every run was a ploddy achy struggle until Saturday when I felt great again with no explanation for either end of the spectrum. So it goes. For this week, I’ll be doing my normal running mileage plus adding in an afternoon workout of either snowshoe running, trail running, stairclimber or walking/jogging at 15% grade as the weather and snow allows.

Feel the Burn

No, this isn’t a political post even if I’m from Vermont and Bernie Sanders was in fact a bit of a track star.  This is about that burn that we all chase as endurance athletes, the one that part of us shrinks from and the other part of us reaches for.

It’s not that I can’t get good lung burn when I run but I’ve been doing it long enough that it’s rare for me to really hurt during most workouts. On Saturday, however, I remembered what it’s like to suffer. I started the day by skiing. In a normal year, I ski most days of the winter and besides the first couple days, I’m generally happy except on the steepest of hills. Thanks to surgery this winter, however, I’ve only been on my skis a handful of times. As such, I put myself in a bit of an exhausted hole by the end of the races on Saturday morning. Then I head out to run on my snowshoes. I wanted to try it before the race and with another melt on the way, it seemed like Saturday was my best bet. I set off at a good clip (read: in motion) across the fields at MMU with the plan of running our new XC course a couple of times. By the time I had climbed the first big hill, I was gasping for air and looked down at my watch: 4 minutes. Shit. As the run went on, I got more efficient and learned how to run hills without totally going into oxygen debt but one thing is for sure: snowshoe running is no joke. I’ll be thrilled if I run 11 minute miles next weekend.

And this wasn't even deep snow!!

And this wasn’t even deep snow!!

On the way home, I was invigorated in a way I haven’t been after a run in a long time. Yes, I was humbled and exhausted, but I was also so excited to be challenged and to find a new way to expand my fitness.

What activity have you done lately that humbled you? What’s your surefire way to make your lungs burn?

Week in Review 1.18.15 to 1.24.15

Monday: 5.25 miles with 3 by 5 minutes at tempo. Legs afterward.

Tuesday: 4.2 mile recovery run. Arms after.

Wednesday: Off day.

Thursday: 6.3 mile progression run with hip core afterward.

Friday: Full workday plus our biggest MMU Pursuit ever! Lots of running around the course but no real run. Up for 22 hours…

Saturday: 9.5 mile long run. Flipping freezing out!!

Sunday: 7 miles with 10 by (1 minute hard, 1 minute easy) on the track. The hard sections were about 5:30 pace which I was psyched about. Legs after.

Total Miles: 32.2

Another solid week! I didn’t intend to take two days off but with the Pursuit on Friday, there was a ton of administrative work to do that meant I was up later than I wanted to be on a couple of occasions. Despite that, I fit in three quality efforts, plenty of strength work and another > 30 mile week. I also did much better on bringing my own food for the week which made me feel a lot better than eating cafeteria food (even if our cafeteria food at UVMMC is pretty amazing).

I’m at the end of the Surgery clerkship tunnel, with the oral boards and national shelf coming up at the end of this week. I should then have another hour in the morning which is just awesome. Hoping to push my mileage up towards the 40s as that happens. Also trying to figure out my racing schedule for February and leaning towards getting both my 3K indoor race in and the 7K snowshoe race as part of the All Terrain Runner series. I haven’t done this series before but with lots of different events that I would otherwise not enter, it seems like a great idea for a year where I don’t have the optimal training schedule.