Tag Archives: marathon training

Week in Review 8.25.14 to 8.31.14

I was having a hissy fit when I started to write this up. Truly. I was sitting at my desk half in tears and debating whether I should even attempt my fall marathon. My race this morning was THAT bad. Then I looked at my training log to write this post and realized I capped a 78 mile week off with a race, which capped off a 331 mile month. What precisely did I expect my legs to feel like? Anyway, hissy fit almost resolved and I didn’t do anything stupid like pull my entries.

Monday: 11.25 miles recovery paced. Hip core routine after.

Tuesday AM: 8 miles on the 15K course. Arms after. All done by 8 am and feeling really accomplished.

Tuesday PM: 5 miles with the girls followed by beach abs routine.

Wednesday: Scheduled off day, prorated at 10.3

Thursday: Monster tempo run. 3 by 2 mile at T pace, for which I used a heart rate monitor and kept it at 168-170. What a low stress way to get a workout done!!! Definitely doing that for the remainder of this cycle. 13 miles.

Friday: 8 miles recovery pace.

Saturday: 7 miles through Hinesburg before coaching at the CVU Relays all morning. Girls kicked ass. I need to bottle some of that get-up.

Sunday: Labor Day 15K. Fricken disaster. Felt awful from about .5 miles in and just slogged through. 1:02:55, 19th place. Race report tomorrow when I’m done being so dramatic.

78 miles.

Arm lift.

Hip core and beach abs.

Today marks 6 weeks from race day, which means about 3 more weeks of really hard work. When Will can count off my workouts on his fingers, it starts to feel real. I wish it felt real in a more positive sense today, but one way or another, October is coming. Here’s hoping this insane humidity decides to leave the area soon so I can have some kick ass workouts and race simulators.

Week in Review 8.18.14 to 8.24.14

This was just one of those weeks where I did not feel like a runner. In fact, I felt a lot more like this baby horse trying to stand up every time I tried to walk.

Monday: 9.35 mile run. Tried to do my workout and it just wasn’t going to happen.

Tuesday: 8 mile run plus lifted arms.

Wednesday AM: 1.5 miles with the Girls for the Relay.

Wednesday PM: 7.4 miles with some shakeout strides.

Thursday: 9.55 miles with 7 by 5 minutes at T pace. Still felt clunky and awkward. Lifted legs afterward.

Friday: 8 mile recovery run out in Underhill.

Saturday: 4.5 mile easy run just to move, out of miles for the week!

Sunday: 17 mile long run in the heat with 20 minutes at T pace. Felt horrible from the start so just glad to get through it.

Total Miles: 65.3

Arm Lift, Leg Lift

Plank Set every night.

I’m hoping that this funky week passes and my legs feel better through this week. I’m hoping for a Wednesday workout which gives me plenty of time to recover before my race on Sunday even in the midst of an 80 mile week.

How was your week of training? Anyone else have the mid-cycle blues?


Product Review: Nuun Active Hydration

I finally did it. After listening to everyone rant and rave about how Nuun changed their lives and made them look younger and run faster, I had to temporarily get on board with the Angry Birds and try it out. Because it comes in many different varieties, I took my time testing it out. I used it on runs. I used it after runs. I even used it after a night where I had one too many craft beers and acquired a serious morning headache.

Most recent trial flavors, Orange and Pink Lemonade

Most recent trial flavors, Orange and Pink Lemonade

The Claims: Nuun is an “electrolyte enhanced drink” that promises to “alleviate cramps, help muscles function, communicate and burn energy efficiently.” Unless I failed biochemistry (which I didn’t), that’s a enhanced interpretation of the role of electrolytes. In general, we think of electrolytes (Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride and Bicarb) as being critical mediators of the electrical function of our cells. Of the above claims, alleviation of cramps and muscle function are the most scientifically supported. Also in general, it’s difficult to deplete these to the point of loss of function without an underlying medical condition. Most of us on normal runs, in normal temperatures are at a very low risk of depleting electrolytes. The environments where electrolyte depletion is likely are long events or events in extreme heat or humidity.

Each Nuun Tablet has 360 mg Sodium, 50 mg Potassium, 25 mg Magnesium and 13 mg Calcium.

So if I’m skeptical, why did I try Nuun? First, because everyone else is and I like to know what’s on the market. Second, because I don’t drink enough water and welcome things that help me increase my intake daily. Third, because it’s summer and I regularly do 90+ minute runs in hot conditions. Because I’m asking a lot of my body over the summer months, it’s worth it to make sure the electrolyte gas tank is topped off before my next big effort.

What I Found: I tried four flavors of Nuun Active Hydration: TriBerry, Lemon Lime, Orange and Pink Lemonade. I’m waiting on a tube of Watermelon Nuun to arrive. Once I got used to the flavor (a little chalky, despite being a fluid) and the waiting (you need 2 minutes for the tab to dissolve), I found that I really liked drinking Nuun after my runs. It is more interesting than water and I found it easier to get 20 ounces down than I usually do. As for the flavors…

TriBerry: Blech, my first trial and not for me. Reminded me of medicine as a kid.

Lemon Lime: Okay. Not a strong flavor, a lot like watered down Yellow Gatorade.

Orange: Good, subtle flavor but totally palatable.

Pink Lemonade: My favorite and one I will definitely use again.

In conclusion, although Nuun didn’t make me younger, it does make my post-run routine more exciting and I’m more willing to drink water and generally rehydrate myself. It doesn’t have sufficient carbohydrates for use alone during a marathon, but could be combined with gels or other food items.

Have you tried Nuun? What’s your favorite flavor?

Week in Review 8.4.14 to 8.10.14

As I alluded in a tweet earlier this week, this was one of those weeks in marathon training that grinds on you. Almost every run felt like a struggle and even keeping my eyes open is a feat. I did reinstate my daily plank habit (1 minute plank, 30 second side plank on each side) so I’m happy about that. I also finally got to the real gym again to lift, so happy with that as well.

Monday: 8.25 miles in the hot sun in San Diego with a serious sunburn.

Tuesday: 11 miles back home. Forgot what hills felt like. Lifted arms after.

Wednesday: 12.5 miles with 35 minutes at tempo pace on a rolling course. Fatigue/time change settling in big time.

Thursday am: 7.4 miles with XC girls.

Thursday pm: 3 miles plus leg lift at the gym. Not the optimal day for it but have to keep strength up.

Friday: 10 miles easy. And by easy, mean it felt incredibly hard even though it was an easy pace.

Saturday: 18 miles with 9 at MP which was 6:50 this week. Not where I want to be but happy at the end of a big week of travel on yet another hot early morning.

Bike-fie? My fearless escort Erin made my long run fly by with her tales from summer in India.

Bike-fie? My fearless escort Erin made my long run fly by with her tales from summer in India.

About 7 miles into my MP work.

About 7 miles into my MP work.

Sunday: 9 miles at the most recovery focused of paces.

Total Mileage: 79 miles.

This coming week is our last week off before school starts again, so I have to start planning more carefully for getting runs in. It worked really well for me to do runs bright and early on our road trip and I’m thinking about starting that again, at least through the fall. I’m lucky because coaching gives me some extra miles but I still need to get workouts and long runs in.

Just a huge helicopter parked in the dog park, nothing to see here.

Just a huge helicopter parked in the dog park, nothing to see here.

Week in Review: 7.28.14 to 8.3.14

This one will be brief, since most of my runs were on my daily road trip posts. All in all, it was a solid adaptation week with a good workout in Memphis and nice easy mileage in San Diego. It’s been unusually humid here (92%) and even rained yesterday. The terrain is dead flat, however, making it a great place to prep for the flat Albany course.

Monday: 7.5 miles in Harrisonburg, VA.

Tuesday: 5 by 1 mile at faster T pace in Memphis, TN for a total of 9.8 miles.

Wednesday: Scheduled off day, prorated at 7.6 miles. Full body lift and 10 minute jog.

Thursday: Unplanned off day, due to the breakdown of our car AC in the Arizona desert.

Friday: Amazing run in Coronado. 10.4 miles that were the fastest “easy” miles I’ve run since before Philly.

Saturday: Feeling the travel, time change and humidity today. Slogged through 9.2.

Sunday: Long run, slogging a bit again due to humidity. Decided not to do the workout because my legs were dead and got a solid long run in instead. 15 miles, due to my strict instructions not to run more than 2 hours. Hip core afterward.

Mileage Total: 60 miles. Perfect adaptation week before I go back up to 80 for next week!

July Mileage Total: 296 miles, up 30 from June. Hoping to break 300 for August.

Tomorrow is my last day in California before I pop on the Monday night red eye home to Burlington. I’ve had a blast on our trip and really enjoyed seeing a whole chunk of the country that I’ve never seen but am also ready to get home to Will, the dogs and our little yellow house.


Week in Review 7.7.14 to 7.13.14

NOW it feels like marathon training! Solid week with solid miles and workouts.

Monday: Pretty wiped out from my long run. 8.25 recovery miles.

Tuesday: Still feeling wiped and it was about 100% humidity out, so l just did a regular run of 9.4 miles while LT did her workout.

Wednesday: Keeping my workout train rolling! Hot day but headed out for 3 by 2 miles at tempo pace and nailed it. Total of 10.4 miles.

Thursday: Crunched on time and needed to let the dogs spend some time out of their crates so I hit the spin bike for 45 minutes, prorated 5 miles.

Friday: Recovery 10. Miserably hot. Gotta stop doing my runs at 3 pm.

Saturday: Easy 10. Still hot but new shoes feel great!

Sunday: BAM! 20 miles with 6 miles at marathon pace in the middle (at my current VDOT, that’s 6:57 pace). Felt totally doable. Really psyched to have this done.

Total Miles: 73 miles

I did a lot better on core, stretching and foam rolling this week because we finally got our gym set up. Still need to work on getting over to the UVM gym or MMU more for real lifting. Aiming for about 80 this week so I’ll add in a couple doubles to make that happen.

How was your week of training? Get any great workouts in? Anyone else get new shoes?


Inside Out Underwear



Believe it or not, this post is running related. It’s also underwear related, although I try never to run in the underwear in question. Anyway, at least once a week, I find myself with underwear inside out and laugh every time. It’s never not funny to have to flip your underwear while wearing business clothes and standing on one foot in a bathroom stall. Because why would you ever find out before you left home…

Anyway, about 2 years ago, I made a life decision that that markedly improved my quality of life, challenged my general insistence on perfection and made me far more likely to find myself with inside out underwear. What was this decision? I stopped folding my underwear. There. I said it. My mom is almost definitely disappointed in me, but at some point while working full time, training, coaching, taking pre-med classes and studying for the MCAT while doing laundry at the local laundromat, I found myself unable to fathom spending 20 extra minutes to fold my underwear. So I didn’t. I headed home and threw them in the drawer where they lived anyway and life went on. If it gives you any impression of how wound up I can be, it was one of the most freeing experiences of my life. I haven’t folded underwear since (unless I’m traveling, let’s not get insane) and it is a similarly amazing experience every time I realize I don’t have to fold underwear for 20 minutes.

So what do my laundry habits have to do with running? Letting go of perfection is really, really difficult for me. This quest for perfection spills over into my running. Of course, some elements of this are part of why I’m successful at running. Other elements, however, self-sabotage me out of workouts and races. If I have a bad repetition or mile, I’m prone to starting the downward spiral towards “I suck and will never reach my goals-ville.” I react to missing assigned paces almost the same as I would react to missing a workout. Bad runs can trip me up for the week to come because for me, not being perfect is unacceptable. I’m literally never happy with a race and barely make it across the finish line before I start picking apart what I could have done better.

Logically, I know that perfection is unattainable in almost any pursuit and most definitely in running and medicine. Emotionally, however, it’s still a daily struggle to realize that giving it the best I have on any given day and getting close enough is the best most of us can ask for.

What silly life “rules” have your broken over the years? How do your personality traits show up in your approach to running?

I Walk The Line

I’m quite confident that Johnny Cash wasn’t talking about running when he penned “I Walk the Line” but he nailed it when he sangĀ I’ll admit that I’m a fool for (running). I’m currently walking the line between fitness and foolish with a foot that just doesn’t quite want to get on board with this training cycle.

My general rule for aches and pains is to ask myself three questions:

  1. Have I had this pain before?
  2. Does it get better or worse with running?
  3. Is it changing my form?

With exception of broken bones or some serious injury, if a pain is new, goes away as I warm up and lets me run almost normally (as normally as I run with a post-op foot), I assume it’s volume related discomfort and carry on. Sometimes I’ll do an extra recovery day or tone down a workout but this has worked well for me over the years.

My current “niggle” is giving my injury approach a run for its money, however. When it started, it was just a little soreness across the top of my foot. As I’ve learned to run again after surgery, I’ve had some assorted foot pain as I got back up to mileage and figured out how to carry my foot. Given this, I assumed this too would pass. However, in the last week, the top of my foot has gone from a little uncomfortable to really fucking painful (that’s official doctor speak for 8/10 pain) on occasion, especially after hard efforts. Just when I’ve gotten to a point where I am thinking I need to take a day or two off, I’ll have a totally pain free run. For example, on Saturday, my foot was sore doing an hour of recovery running and I wasn’t hopeful about my Sunday long run. Naturally, I did 18 completely pain free miles on Sunday. Yesterday I could barely walk. Today it’s much better but still a little tender.

I’m pretty confident it’s a touch of tenosynovitis of the extensor tendons, the little guys who help lift your toes. With high arches and some hesitation on my surgery side that leaves me in dorsiflexion a little longer than desired, it’s not surprising that they got inflamed. They seem to be happier when I add an extra recovery day between efforts, tie my shoes loosely, add a little KT tape to help them out and ice after my runs.

I have some unhappy tendons...

I have some unhappy tendons…

Dealing with little injuries like this is always a thin line. As I said to a running partner this morning, if I had any suspicion that this was something more serious, I’d take time off. If I took an off day every time I felt sore or tweaky, however, I’d never get my mileage in. That’s the cruel fate of the distance runner; it’s a rare day when something doesn’t hurt or ache. In our house, the first few minutes of the day are spent creaking around, hanging on to the railing on the stairs while we warm up. I’m sure my neighbors who see me warm up and cool down would be surprised that I can run faster than 10 minute miles.

How do you triage little aches and pains? What’s your niggle of the week?

Week in Review 6.30.14 to 7.6.14

Finally a great week, even with insane temperatures. It was an adaptation week and included a scheduled off day (my favorite combination), so I feel pretty darn good writing this one up.

Gorgeous long weekend for some beach time

Gorgeous long weekend for some beach time

Monday: 7 miles. Sore post move but happy to get out there and run.

Tuesday: Best surprise ever. Decided to go for my tempo run despite 90 degree temps and was pleasantly surprised. 30 minutes at continuous tempo pace. Due to the heat, I just did it on effort and it came out to be 6:51 pace, which isn’t too far off the planned 6:45 pace. Total of 9 miles.

Wednesday: 6 miles easy with Will. Heat starting to get to me, felt really crappy on this. Core after.

Thursday: Scheduled off day. Walked dogs for a while in Centennial Woods.

Friday: Another great workout. 12 by 400 at I pace. Accidentally did 13 apparently. Average pace of 86 which is 5 seconds faster than the last time I did this. Felt better and better as the run went on. 9 miles total. Total body lift and flexibility afterward.

Saturday: 7 miles easy in Shelburne while the boys did their long run.

Sunday: 18.25 hot ones at 2 pm. Weird schedule so had to do this at the heat of the day but psyched to have the first real long run done. Felt fantastic, although finishing up Maple Street sucked.

Maple Street: .9 miles, literally straight up. Humbling every.single.time.

Maple Street: .9 miles, literally straight up. Humbling every.single.time.

Total: 63.2

2 times up Maple Street

2 core sessions

1 full lift

2 successful workouts

Looking forward to the coming week, to getting back up in mileage and to pressing onward towards October! 14 weeks to go.

I Thought “Dog Days of Summer” Referred to August…


It’s getting hot. Like my previous life in Biloxi, Austin and North Carolina hot. I’m lucky in that heat and humidity doesn’t bother me as much as other people but it’s still pretty miserable.

Always a good sign when the forecast includes a cactus in Vermont.

Always a good sign when the forecast includes a cactus in Vermont.

In an effort to get my sh*t back together, I decided that I had to attempt my workout yesterday, despite cactus-friendly temperature. I had a firm talk with myself on the way down to the bike path about focusing on tempo EFFORT and form, no matter what the pace turned out to be. It worked. I did 30 minutes at tempo effort, which turned out to be 6:51 pace and not all that far off my continuous effort goal right now. The cool down was gruesome and I required a nap but I’m glad I got this in and looking forward to my second workout this week.

A rare sports bra only run. Somehow managed to coordinate it with my headband, so style points for that.

A rare sports bra only run. Somehow managed to coordinate it with my headband, so style points for that.

Finally, to help out a fellow runner in keeping her hair off her face until the heat breaks, the winner of the Sweaty Bands giveaway is Laurel who is already a Sweaty Bands devotee. In her comment, Laurel said she never runs without them and shared this great photo on Instagram as well.

Rocking a wide Sweaty Band in her winning entry

Rocking a wide Sweaty Band in her winning entry

How are you staying cool this week? What’s your tactic for talking yourself through workouts in tough weather conditions?