Category Archives: race day prep

Week in Review 4.3.17 to 4.9.17

Monday: Kicked my own rear. 1.5 miles at tempo up the UVM Bike Path, 1 mile at T on the track and 2 by 200 all out (ha!) on the track. Did this full body lift and loved it!

Tuesday: 4 mile recovery run in the torrential rain. Quite miserable.

Wednesday: 2 miles easy plus round robin lift.

Thursday: Off day. Didn’t totally intend to do an actual off day but exhausted from my first week back in the ICU.

Friday: 3 mile shakeout run with 5 by 1 at MP, 5 by 1 at T Pace.

Saturday: 2 mile warmup then Half Unplugged at Steady State pace. Finished in 1:31:54. Super happy with my ability to do my workout and not overdo it despite two early miles that were probably too aggressive.

Sunday: 5.25 mile recovery run in 60 degree weather. Amazing!

Total Miles: 37.6

Quite pleased with this week. I started up in the SICU again this week (read, dead legs from all day standings) and still managed to get some reasonable training in including a huge workout yesterday at Unplugged. It was mentally challenging not to press as hard as I could but I was really happy to get a controlled tough effort in and am especially happy today as I’m tired but not trashed.

What I’m most excited about, however, is that I am much more interested in training again! I don’t know if it’s the weather or getting something like Unplugged under my belt, but I’m ready to get back into workouts and start the improvement cycle.

One thing I did differently this week was run after work. I have to be in by 5:30 and with our current schedules, it’s hard to go to bed early enough to get good sleep in time to get up at 3:30. Even with compression on, my legs were miserable but at least I got some runs done in the light! For this week, I’m going to try am workouts and see if it’s better.

One thing I didn’t do well at this week was hydration. It’s hard to drink enough water in the ICU because we can’t have water on our work stations and we spend a lot of time running around trying to keep critically ill patients safe. Every day this week, I would come home completely parched and realize that the only water I’d had was in my coffee. I need to prioritize drinking more water this week so I’m not so miserable by 6 pm.


Week in Review 3.27.17 to 4.2.17

What?! A real week of training?

Monday: 5 hilly miles in Asheville. Made a dog friend on my run who followed me for 2 miles. His name was Finn and he was a sweet old guy who loved to run. Happy to reunite him with his dad, however!

Tuesday: 6.4 miles with striders. Super slushy out.

Wednesday: Humbling 7 mile progression run. Legs after.

Thursday: 6.2 mile recovery run. As I thought for 90% of this run, getting back in shape is the pits!

Friday: 4.5 mile run.

Saturday: Another snowstorm! 12 miles on the treadmill. Mind numbing but happy to get a longer run in.

Sunday: 3.4 miles plus this arm workout which was a killer. I can barely type.

Total Miles: 44.5

This week was humbling with a capital H. Almost every run (except my long run thank goodness) felt like a total slog and I spent most of the week being grumpy about being out of shape. That said, I am beyond grateful to be able to run and lift almost at a normal level (and for friends who reassure me that my out of shape isn’t that bad). I was also extremely diligent about my pre-run mobility drills and glute activation exercises, so it’s not surprising that I was sore and tired all week.

The week ahead has the Unplugged Half Marathon and I am looking forward to it! As I’ve said, I’m going to treat it like a workout. My plan is to warm up, ease into the first 2 miles then run at steady state pace until Mile 10. At Mile 10, I’ll try to pick it up if I can. I will be wearing my Garmin to make sure I don’t get over excited and to get a sense of where my fitness is. In my dream world, I would come in under 1:30. In a more realistic world, I’d like to be under 1:32 and feel like I executed a great workout and felt comfortable cruising along.

For the rest of the week, things will be as normal. I start in the SICU tomorrow morning (my last requirement EVER in medical school) and will be back to running at an inhumane hour until I figure out what my schedule looks like.

Week in Review 7.4.16 to 7.10.16

Hard to believe my time in Chicago is coming to an end already! This week was a bit Dickensian with both the best and worst workout of this training cycle.


Monday: Horrible workout. It was hot, my legs were exhausted and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get into my heart rate range for tempo because my legs were so tired. To top it off, my right foot went numb so I spent my cooldown panicking that I’ll need surgery on that side soon. 2 by 2 mile at tempo pace, 9 miles total.

Tuesday: 8 mile recovery run.

Wednesday: Conference plus shift = not a ton of time to run. 5 miles after work with strides on the track. Saw fireflies as I was finishing up!

Thursday: Unplanned off day. With horrible weather (violent thunderstorms) and my legs feeling really punky, I decided that a little rest was better than forcing out a workout. Prorated 7.

Friday: (Inexplicably) fantastic workout! 85 degrees and humid on a black track, yet the best workout of this mini-cycle. 1 mile at tempo pace, jogged lap, 4 by 400 at interval pace (5:35 ish), jogged lap then 4 by 200 at repetition pace (5:00 ish). 9 miles total.

Cooked, but worth it.

Cooked, but worth it.

Saturday: Long run along Lake Michigan on the Lakefront Path. Definitely crazy crowded at times but what an incredible resource! 13.1 miles because my running partner insisted on the extra point 1…

Sunday: Taper begins! Easy 30 minutes around the neighborhood plus 2 laps of strides. Legs tired from the Friday/Saturday combo.

Total Miles: 55.3

Happy to finally reach a down week since my last real one was in May. I’m glad to be going into the half with some decent training on my legs but also incredibly grateful that my body held together without an adaptation week. I don’t like to push it around such things and will take this week very easy with a 50% taper and some finger crossing that my legs respond.

Right now, race day weather is looking grim with a capital G, calling for humid and 85 with a dewpoint in the 70s. Thankfully the race starts early (6:30 am), so we’ll avoid direct light. The trade off, of course, is that it’s often most humid in the morning. My goals are pretty loose given that summer races depend almost entirely on weather but am hoping to a) run faster than Plattsburgh (1:26) and b) would really like to be in the 1:23 range going into fall training. Since I’ll be heading to Asheville and altitude next week, I’ll be back in basetraining mode and a 1:23 would be a nice marker before heading up and slowing down.

Week in Review 5.9.16 to 5.15.16

Monday: 6 by 30 seconds hard uphill on the bike path. Humbling to try to do speed work when my legs are clunky! Legs after.

Tuesday: 5 mile recovery run in the woods. Got impressively lost and ended up on the side of 89.

Wednesday: Early morning combination workout with 5 minutes at tempo pace followed by 10 by 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy. Tempo felt great, interval work was hard but worked on staying smooth and engaging my glutes. 9 miles total.

Thursday: 6 mile recovery run in the woods. First really hot day! Arms after.

Friday: 7 mile run on the treadmill because I was being a wimp about it being cold and rainy again. Core after.

Saturday: 4 laps of 100 meter ins and out, 4 laps of 200 on, 200 off, 1 400 at I effort. 8 miles total.

Sunday: Freezing cold 10 miler along the lake. This weather is brutal for getting dressed in the morning!

Total Miles: 52

Spring in Vermont is such a fickle beast. This week had incredible days where it was 60 and sunny and awful days where it was 40 and raining. Looks better going forward but it is all-around difficult to acclimate when you’re wearing tights one day and a tank top the next!

Happy with this week of training, both because I got in reasonable miles and three good efficiency efforts. I’m 85% sure I’m in for Freihofer’s so want to keep focusing on speed while continuing to build overall fitness. I joked with Will last night that I must be recovered from my marathon (in 2014) because I’m starting to think about running another one.

Shake It Up

I’m not someone who does well without a plan or a goal in any aspect of my life and running is no exception to this. While I don’t always have my eye on the next goal, I can’t go very long without another goal on the horizon to get me through workouts. This particular tendency has created an issue recently because I just don’t know what’s on the horizon. I have some idea of what my 4th year will look like now (and man, the summer does NOT look pretty), but it’s hard to pick a race when I’m surviving day to day.

Recently I’ve had the itch to get some races on the calendar and decided that instead of doing my usual marathon or half marathon, I’d totally shake it up. This capitalizes on my current crazy schedule where mileage isn’t a reality and gives me something new to dig into. A couple of years ago, USATF NE came up with the All Terrain Runner series that gave runners the opportunity to show off their skills across a variety of terrains and distances. I’d toyed with doing it last year but because the events are so different, it really doesn’t work with a year where you have traditional goal races. This year, however, it’s the perfect fit for me.

It all kicks off next weekend with a 7K snowshoe race (provided we get more snow…this winter sucks). I spend a lot of time on the snow and even a fair amount of time on snowshoes but I’ve never tried to run, which guarantees an entertaining time next Sunday. I’d like to get out and practice running over the next week but may have to head to the back of Mansfield for a chance at snow.

I’m also signed up for the trail and mountain components and plan to race the outdoor 10,000 and road 5 miler. We’ll see about the cross country and ultra component. The trail race is a USATF NE Championship and the mountain race (Loon) is the US National Championship, so that adds some extra motivation!

What out-of-your-comfort-zone races have you done? Bets on how many times I fall in a 7K?

(No) Looking Back

When I was learning to drive, my dad took me to this hilly old cemetery in town to teach me how to back up. Petrified, I asked “But what if I hit one?!” “Then you’ll pay for it.” I proceeded to creep backwards but kept my eyes forward, which prompted my dad to give me some of the best life advice ever:

Look where you’re going, not where you’ve been. 

I’m not sure he said it to be prolific. In fact, I’m quite sure he just wanted me to use my rear view mirror but nonetheless, it’s important life advice. Taper week brings up a lot of self-doubt and a strong desire to look back. I want to look over my last Philly cycle, to see if there’s a crystal ball that will tell me what might happen on Sunday. Will has forbidden this particular activity so I’m stuck looking at the current cycle, which I think is a more productive exercise. I’ve done a lot of work. I’ve run a lot of miles. Not all of my workouts have been great, but I’m fit and not injured and most of the time, that’s all you can ask for. So without further delay, here are the workouts I’ve done in Phases 3 and 4 this year.

  • 16 by 400
  • 15.5 mile long run
  • 5 by mile at tempo
  • 8 by 800
  • 16 mile long run
  • 6 by 1000
  • 2 by 2 mile at T pace
  • Downtown 10K in 38:33
  • 17 miles with 6 at M pace
  • 16 by 400
  • 3 mile continuous tempo
  • 5 by 1K
  • 15 mile long run
  • 3 by 2 mile at T pace
  • 6 by 800
  • 18.2 mile long run
  • 5 by 1 mile at T pace plus 4 by 400 at R pace
  • 4 by 1200
  • 13.6 mile long run
  • 5 by 1000 plus 4 by 200
  • 15 miles with 8 at steady state pace
  • 14 by 400
  • 16.5 miles with 5 by 1 mile at T and 5 by 200 at R
  • 6 by 800 plus 4 by 200
  • 14 mile long run
  • 5 by mile at Tempo plus 5 by 200 at R
  • 3 by 1K plus 5 by 200
  • 3 by 1200 at T pace plus 4 by 200 at R

With that last workout done today, nothing left to do but stay calm and rest up until Saturday!

Do you look over your training cycle to gain confidence or does it just make you more nervous?


Week in Review 11.9.15 to 11.15.15 and Goals for Philly

Taper begins…

Monday: 9.2 miles at practice.

Tuesday: 5 by mile at T pace (6:00, 6:08, 6:08, 6:06, 6:02) and 5 by 200 at R pace. Felt pretty clunky but once I focused on cadence, everything felt better. Legs afterward.

Wednesday: True beginning of taper with an off day, prorated at 5.4 miles. Drills and arms.

Thursday: 6.3 miles easy with striders on the track. Calves very sore.

Friday: Me versus the wind. Again. 3 by 1K (5:38 pace) plus 5 by 200 at R pace. Felt clunky again but got it done. 2 times through leg circuit after.

Saturday: Ran 2.5 with the girls at New Englands (they kicked butt!!!) and then did 3 easy with Will when I got home.

Sunday: 8.1 mile “long” run with 8 striders on the track. 1 set of arms after.

Total: 50.2 miles

The start of taper is always met with such mixed emotions. On the one hand, it’s nice to know that you are done with all the hard work. On the other, you instantly begin to think about all the things you should have done or could have fit in. Things haven’t been too bad thus far because I’m actually pretty sore (I’m hoping from the 200s) and happy to have the easier days.

I also spent most of last week harassing Will about what he thought I could run. Not trying to sell myself short, but the 1:15 just seems out of grasp given the way my fall went. I’m not disappointed in this training cycle but definitely could have used the 6 weeks I spent feeling awful in August/September! I’m a huge fan of A, B and C goals so here are mine:

C Goal: PR (under 1:21:45). I’ll be honest that I’d be very disappointed if I couldn’t better this time, excluding crazy weather which we aren’t forecast to have.

B Goal: Break 1:20. This is essentially where most of my race plan is focused. 1:20 is a big mental barrier for me but also a major entry point into many of the top level races that I’d like to be a part of going forward.

A Goal: 1:18:30. Just under 6 minute pace, this would be a great run for me.

Race Plan: I’m not planning on wearing a watch and will approach Philly much like I did the first time: ease into the first 2 miles, steady state effort til 6, tempo effort til 10 then send it for the last 5K. One adaptation to this may be that I connect with a group of women going for the Trials Standard in the full, who I imagine would go out right around 1:20 pace. It’s far easier to pull along with a group, so if the opportunity presents itself somewhere between 5:55 and 6:05 pace, I’ll be trying to chug along with them to pass some miles. The other adaptation will depend on how I feel in this final week; if my tempo miles tomorrow start to show taper pop and I’m down around 5:50, I’ll have a little more confidence to go out at 6 minute pace and hold it, rather than accelerating through the race.


Week in Review 11.2.15 to 11.8.15

Back from an awesome weekend in DC. Somehow our little group of friends has turned into a big group of families. We had 15 adults, 2 teenagers and 5 kiddos under 3 in the very grown up house of the newest married couple in the group, the night ended at 6 pm and the only person who ended the night without pants on was a 3 year old. The times, they are a changing!

Monday: 16.5 mile run with workout embedded. 5 by 1 mile at T pace (6:09, 6:09, 6:07, 6:09, 6:11) and 5 by 200 at 34 seconds followed by enough running to make it to 2 hours and 10 minutes. Legs afterward.

Tuesday: 7 mile recovery run plus reffing XC lacrosse.

Wednesday: 8 miles on the complex plus striders.

Thursday: The first meh workout in a while. 6 by 800 (2:48, 2:52, 2:54, 2:56, 2:51, 2:53) plus 4 by 200. 10 miles total. Legs afterward.

Friday: 14.2 mile long run before the flight to DC.

Saturday: 5.25 mile recovery run with KC and Emmy! Super humid.

Sunday: 8.2 mile run on surprisingly hilly roads near KC’s new house. Legs pretty wiped but presumably poor sleep for two nights didn’t help.

Total Miles: 69.1 

Not my most focused week. During my workout on Monday, I kept finding myself thinking about something else only to realize I was in the middle of a tempo mile. On Thursday, I just couldn’t get my effort right and my legs felt exhausted from the first step. I don’t know if I was just not recovered from Monday or if I’m starting to get antsy for taper, but this week felt scattered. I’m glad I got the mileage in that I did but I’m hoping this coming week brings a little more focus.

Taper starts midweek, so I’m looking forward to all the crazy that goes along with that! I’ve already been bugging Will about what time he thinks I can run and how he thinks I should approach the race. More on that later this week…

Workout: Prerace Shakeout

Summer is peak racing season and as such, it’s not uncommon to have a race almost every weekend. Although frequent racing is a great way to improve speed, it also disrupts training cycles because you are constantly preparing for and then recovering from a race. This is not unlike the challenge I face as a high school cross country coach: how do we continue to have good performances every weekend AND make progress towards the State Meet. In past years, we’ve used Friday’s as our “shakeout” day, with a short run and striders before we head to our pasta party. This spring, however, I’ve been personally experimenting with other prerace routines and will be implementing the following both for my own races and for the team this fall.

First, do an easy run for whatever your daily mileage is supposed to be minus 1.5 miles then hit your local track. For all laps, aim to maintain light, smooth form. All of these paces should be effort-based; the purpose is to remind the legs of all your gears and get the legs ready for a race effort.

Lap 1: Jog the curves and run the straight sections at regular run effort.

Lap 2: Jog the curves and run the straight sections at tempo effort.

Lap 3: Jog the curves and run the straights at interval paced effort.

Lap 4: Jog the curves and run the straights at all-out effort.

When you finish your last lap, cooldown to home or your car.

One of the biggest barriers that I see as a coach and experience as an athlete is difficulty in changing gears from an easy running pace. Many of us can go from “slow” to “fast” without a lot of thought, but the ability to click through other efforts is lost for many of us and inhibits our ability to execute smart races or cover opponent’s moves. Doing this workout regularly before races helps create neuronal circuitry and muscle memory that will reap benefits through a racing season.

When Do I Do This Workout? This workout is great for the day before races up to a half marathon in length. If you want to use it for a marathon, change the paces to regular run – marathon pace – tempo pace – half marathon pace. This workout is also a great way to come back to speed work in general; it helps you to remember your paces and gives enough stimulus for positive adaptation.




Gore-Tex Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

Claws Up!

Claws Up!

I struggled to pick my race for this coming fall, paralyzed in part by wanting the “perfect” place to take my stab at it and in part by wanting some known commodity to focus on all summer. Philly holds great memories for me; in 2012, I ran my current half PR here and finished 18th overall. It’s a fair course but it’s not an easy course, with two big hills in the second half of the course. There is decent course support for much of the race, usually good weather and at least a few other women around to race. I’m hoping that with the OTQ deadline looming, there will be more women than usual.

This is also the day before I come back to school. Talk about coming down to the wire…185 days to go!

Philly in 2012.

Philly in 2012.