St. Luke’s Half Marathon Training: Week One

Mirage3I don’t usually say this, but I felt blessed this week. Blessed to have begun training for my goal of running a sub-1:45 half marathon. Blessed to feel like my foot is finally starting to heel. Blessed to have had some extremely beautiful weather this past weekend after the horrible winter we’ve been having. And most importantly, blessed to have a boyfriend who’s willing to go to yoga class with me (I swear, it was his idea!). Seriously though, week one went better than I could have expected. My foot is heeling up (knock on wood) and I was able to get in at least one of my workouts. This week I hope to run all five running days and be able to finish my workouts without any foot pain.

Monday, February 17 - IronStrength for 40 minutes

- 3×15 jump squats and 3×10 rotary planks (on each arm)
- 3 sets rows from plank (x10), pushups (x10), situps with weights (x10)
- 3 sets plyometric lunges (x10), alternating sides of hamstring reach (x5 front, side, and rear) in between
- 3 sets mountain climbers (x10), legs down (x10)
- 4 sets of deadlift high pulls (x5), biceps curls on single leg (x5), overhead press on other leg (x5)
- planks (60 secs; side, down, side) x2
- Ring of Fire squats/lunges (10, 8, 6, 4, 2)

Tuesday, February 18- 5.2 miles with 3 miles up-tempo

This was my first official run of training for the St. Luke’s Half Marathon in April. I’m trying to break 1:45 so my race pace will be roughly 8:00/mile. Since I’ve been having some foot issues, I decided to (mostly) forgo my first workout of training which was a HMP run. Instead I opted for 5 miles with 3 up-tempo miles, so not race pace, not tempo, just a little quicker than easy. Foot felt pretty good for most of the run.

Plan: 5 miles with 3 miles at half marathon pace (8:00/mile)
Actual: 5 miles with 3 miles up-tempo (8:32/mile)
- 1-mile warmup @ 9:13/mile
- 3 miles @ 8:32/mile
- 1 mile cool down @ 9:13/mile

Conditions: Indoors on the treadmill at the Energy Center; warm
Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3 (second run in them)

Wednesday, February 19- 10-mile easy spin

Today my training plan had me on tap to run 5 miles, easy, but since my foot is still not 100 percent, I figured I’d opt out of the run and do some riding instead. Foot felt great and I got my heart rate up, which is really the point of easy mileage (and recovery!).

Plan: 5 miles, easy
Actual: 10-mile easy spin

Conditions: Indoors at the EC

Thursday, February 20- Yoga, 60 minutes

Went to my first yoga class at my new gym with my boyfriend (it was his first class ever!). The class was really gentle but it felt good to dedicate some time to stretching out.

Friday, February 21- 5 miles with 3 miles at HMP (8:00/mile)

This was my first workout of the half training and it felt pretty good but still hard (which it should). I ran it on the treadmill because I wanted to make sure I maintained the right pace for the HMP miles.

Plan: 5 miles with 3 miles at half marathon pace (8:00/mile)
Actual: 5.08 miles in 43:40 with 3 miles at 8:00/mile
- Warm-up for 1-mile at 9:13/mile
- 3 miles at 8:00/mile
- Cool down at 9:00/mile

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3
Conditions: indoors, hot

Saturday, February 22- 5 miles, easy

Went on an easy run with the local running store. Foot was feeling a little achy this morning but I was able to get the run done.

Plan: 5 miles, easy
Actual: 5.3 miles (Garmin didn’t acquire in time but was running around 8:30s)

Shoes: Saucony Mirage 3
Conditions: BEAUTIFUL! Sunny, mid-30s but felt even warmer

Sunday, February 23- 8 miles, long slow distance

First long run of this training cycle, and my first long run in a very long time (like a month), went really well! At first I didn’t feel so good and my foot was bothering me a bit but once I got into my groove I felt great.

Plan: 8 miles, easy (9:18/mile)
Actual: 8.01 miles in 1:10:45 (8:52/mile)
Splits: (1) 9:27 (2) 8:59 (3) 8:56 (4) 8:52 (5) 9:00 (6) 8:50 (7) 8:42 (8) 8:22

Shoes: Asics Gel Flux
Conditions: around 35 degrees with some wind

Week one mileage total: 34 miles

See all weekly training recaps here.

It Was Love at First 400m

Lehigh TrackI ran in my new racing flats for the first time this week and it was love. On Wednesday, I went to the Lehigh University track to tackle some 400 repeats. It was a hot, humid evening with storms looming in the distance but the minute I put on my Fastwitches I knew it was going to be a good night.

Megan came with me and our plan was to do 6-8 400m repeats, depending on how we felt. I’m still very new at speed workouts and my pacing tends to be all over the place. For 400m I usually do anywhere from 1:44-2:00- much too wide of a range. Megan told me to try to hit 1:50 even for all of the repeats.

After a 1.25-mile warm up we stretched and got to work. The first 400m I went out a little fast- 1:37. I chalked this up to excitement and trying to chase Megan and just told myself to calm down and take the next one super easy.

Well, the next three were 1:44, 1:43, 1:43. I was feeling good but usually this is the beginning of a gradual slowing down for the rest of my speed workout. We rested a bit, I took a swig of Nuun-infused ice water and we got back to it. Except now, Megan told me to try to maintain the speed I had been doing and hit the final four 400s at 1:44/1:45.

I hit the next three all at 1:40 flat. We were about to do our eighth and final 400m and Megan gave me a challenge- sub-1:40. I was still feeling great and after all, it was the last one so you might as well go balls to the wall because then you’re done.

That’s exactly what I did and ran a 1:34- three seconds faster than my first 400m repeat. Needless to say, I was absolutely pumped and praising my new racing flats for all of their hard work.

We cooled down and did some hurdle walkovers and called it a night. This was my first run in the new Saucony Fastwitch 6 racing flats and I thought there was a noticeable difference. My feet and legs felt light, I was able to maintain a faster turnover, and they seemed to grip the track better than any of my other running shoes. I know it’s still early on in their running shoe life and I’ll have to try them on different surfaces and different runs but so far so god with the Fastwitch 6s. It was love at that first 400m.

Workout summary:

1.3 mile warmup at 8:40/mile pace
8x400m
(1) 1:37
(2) 1:44
(3) 1:43.2
(4) 1:43.6
(5) 1:40.2
(6) 1:40.4
(7) 1:40.8
(8) 1:34.7 (!!!)

400m cool down

When Should You Get a Running Coach?

(source: Pinterest)

(source: Pinterest)

I’ve been mulling over the idea of getting a running coach for a few weeks now. I’ve seen progress in my running over the past year but I know that’s due in part to my inexperience- every race is a PR or close to it. So I thought I’d ask, to improve, should I get a coach?
  1. To get a running coach or not get a running coach, that is the question. Thoughts?
  2. Tons of people were pro-coach…
  3. @FitHappyGirl get one! I love having one and have improved tremendously. Ex 2:03 half from oct 12 to 1:49 this April
  4. Some people said it depends on your goals and finding the right coach (but were mainly pro-coach)…
  5. @FitHappyGirl So important to find one who’s the right fit, philosophically and personality-wise. Otherwise you lose a lot of benefits, imo.
  6. @FitHappyGirl But great to have someone monitor your performance, give advice, and adjust personalized training as you progress!
  7. @FitHappyGirl Absolutely, but a running coach should help you as much with what not to do as pushing the envelope at the right time.
  8. @FitHappyGirl If you haven’t met your goals on your own, try a coach. Make sure he/she works FOR YOU. Then take a leap.
  9. @FitHappyGirl If you have the right coach you’ll love running even more!
  10. @FitHappyGirl i hired @SpeedySasquatch for speed work! so mainly on my own but needed guidance for certain aspect! #justathought
  11. Then there was this…
  12. And you can count on Jason to be the odd man out (just kidding!)…

Luckily I work at Runner’s World so I have plenty of resources here but it might be good to have an objective person (who I don’t work with every day) as a coach instead. I’m nervous it might be too closing to the start of MCM training to get a coach now but maybe not. I’m also wondering about in-person coaching vs. online. I know plenty of people have had success with online coaching but the main reason I want a coach is to have someone push me, especially when I tend to sell myself short. I’m going to keep doing some research into it and see what I come up with.

Tell me, have you hired a running coach? Was it in-person or online and did you see improvements?

Big Sur Marathon Training- Week 12 and 13

Running this bridge in less than one week! (Source: Big Sur Facebook Page)

Running this bridge in less than one week! (Source: Big Sur Facebook Page)

I’ve been in full taper mode and with last week being so busy for work with the Boston Marathon, and then the bombings, and then the follow-up, I haven’t had time to write up my workouts from the past two weeks. Also, because we were very busy traveling, I missed one of my runs which really bummed me out. But, I was assured by my coworkers that it wasn’t a big deal and I am more than ready for Big Sur this weekend. It may be the taper crazies talking, but I really hope they’re right!

Week 11- April 8 – April 14

Monday: Stretch and foam roll

Tuesday: 5.32 miles in 44:19 at 8:19/mile pace

It was a very, very hot lunch run today. Full sun and 80 degrees the whole time. Apparently, that makes me run faster? My Garmin died before my run so I used the Runmeter app on my phone. According to my splits, I ran pretty fast but I felt like it was such a slow slog the entire time. I’m not sure if these splits are accurate but here they are:

Mile 1 – 6:28/mile (I’m not kidding, that’s what it says)
Mile 2 – 8:40/mile
Mile 3 – 8:53/mile
Mile 4 – 8:50/mile
Mile 5 – 8:38/mile
Mile 6 – 8:25/mile (for 0.32 miles)

I also did Oiselle’s dirty dozen core workout.

Wednesday: 5.32 miles in 44:36 at 8:23/mile pace.

This run was just not working for me. It was so hot when I went out for my lunch run I just didn’t feel good the entire time. I was supposed to run 6 miles but I didn’t have it in me to complete the run, I needed water asap. I think I’m just not used to the heat yet and thankfully it’s not going to stay this hot for too much longer.

Thursday: 8 miles in 1:13:00 at 9:06/mile pace.

I ran this morning before heading home to Massachusetts for the Boston Marathon. It was SUPER humid out due to the storm last night but it was a bit cooler than the past few days so that was a nice break. However, because it was so humid out I felt like it was a little bit harder to breather. I felt pretty good the whole time and just wanted to take it easy. My splits:

Mile 1 – 9:32/mile
Mile 2 – 8:58/mile
Mile 3 – 8:55/mile
Mile 4 – 9:09/mile
Mile 5 – 9:13/mile
Mile 6 – 9:04/mile
Mile 7 – 9:00/mile
Mile 8 – 9:06/mile

Friday: REST

Saturday: I was too busy with work to get my long run in so that didn’t happen. Womp womp.

Sunday: B.A.A. 5K

2-mile warm-up: Meghan and I did a quick warmup run before today’s B.A.A. Boston Marathon 5K. Ran around and did some strides.

3.1 miles in 25:23 at 8:11/mile pace. This morning I ran the B.A.A. Boston Marathon 5K and set a 2-minute PR! I had kind of high hopes for this race because I knew it was going to be a fast, flat course. It was super crowded which made it kind of hard to maneuver around people but overall it was a great race!

Week 12- April 15 – April 21

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5.5 miles in 51:00 at 9:16/mile pace. #runforboston

Wednesday: 6.5 miles in 59:00 at 9:06/mile pace.

Thursday: Detox flow yoga and Oiselle dirty dozen

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 10 miles, long, slow distance in 1:30:43 at 9:04/mile pace. It’s bittersweet but this was my last long run of Big Sur training. I can’t believe I’m running a marathon in a week!!

Sunday: 3.32-mile recovery run in 28:55 at 8:45/mile pace. Easy shakeout run today around the neighborhood. I wanted to do 4 miles but I had some blisters in the making that were killing me.

See all training recaps here.

Tips and Tricks for Surviving the Taper Madness

With my peak mileage weeks behind me, my final really long, long run done, I am heading into my taper and although I’m (honestly) welcoming it with open arms, I’m hearing the taper is not all it’s cracked up to be.

I’ve been logging my highest mileage weeks ever throughout this training cycle, which makes sense since it’s my first full marathon, so the prospect of lesser mileage totals seems appealing to me right now. But, hey now, stop right there, my coworkers say, the taper is the hardest part of marathon training.

Why is this, you ask? Well, while you’re training for a marathon you get used to always having a very long run on the weekends. You get used to logging double workouts to hit your midweek mileage goals. And, you get used to spending most of your time running. Then the taper comes and all of a sudden you have some free time and you don’t know what to do with it. Some people start to doubt their training and others just enter into the taper crazies.

Upon hearing all of this, I thought I’d seek out some advice to avoid taper madness and hopefully make it out alive- and more importantly, make it to the starting line at Big Sur confident in all of the training I’ve put in during the last few months. Here’s what I found:

So moral of the story? Find a way to distract yourself from the fact that you’re not running as much as you’re used to. Whether that means catching up with friends, reading a good book or straight up sleeping through the taper, try to get your mind off the fact that everything you’ve been doing for the last few months is about to culminate in one goal race. I’ve told many people before to trust in their training once the training cycle starts to wind down and race day slowly approaches but now, it’s my turn to trust in my training. And the extra naps don’t sound too bad either!

Do you have any tips for surviving the taper? If so, mention them in the comments section below!

Marathon Training Musings

(source: Pinterest)

(source: Pinterest)

I can’t believe it but I’m actually nearing the end of my marathon training. Last week was my peak mileage week and after Saturday’s 20-miler I’ll officially be in taper mode. With the Big Sur Marathon roughly three weeks out, it’s given me pause to reflect on what I’ve learned so far. Everyone says the most important part of training is learning what works for you so you’re prepared come race day. But, in my opinion, I think training teaches you a lot about yourself, your determination to reach a goal, discipline and some very important details about your body that, for non-runners, would be too much information. So here is a rambling list of things I have learned while training for the marathon. I hope you enjoy and can partake in some of my wisdom (I’m kidding).

  • Marathon training and general high-mileage distance training will leave you tired… all of the time.
  • You’re also going to be slightly sore but not completely sore all the time.
  • Another thing that’s going to happen all the time is hunger. I’ve been hungry this entire 12 week period and no meal has satisfied me enough. (But you learn to keep a well-stocked snack draw in your cubicle.)
  • You must get enough calories. If you don’t Aunt Flow will stop visiting like she did to me, which leads to other problems like calcium deficiency and stress fractures (and possibly no babies in the future), all of which is no bueno.
  • I’ve developed an abusive but dependent relationship with my foam roller.
  • Yoga is my friend, although I’m not the best yogi out there (I’m trying!)
  • This song can get me through basically any run: Skrillex “Rock ‘n Roll”
  • You’ll get faster overall. While long runs might be slow, you’re general fitness will increase and you’ll be running shorter distances faster than you could have imagined.
  • Body Glide.
  • I take the time to untie my running shoes and remove them slowly incase a toenail decides to jump ship.
  • Best post-long run meal: grilled cheese on whole wheat bread with jarlsberg cheese and tomatoes. Yummm…
  • Sacrifice. You’ll have to miss out on fun times with friends but you’ll never cease to be amazed by their unconditional support.
  • You’re training for your own marathon. Not another runner’s. Don’t get bogged down by other people’s progress, paces and distances. Train for your own race and be confident in that training.
  • You’ll be in crazy-amazing shape. Seriously, my legs muscles are cut and nothing jiggles. Boomtown.
  • You’ll be humbled and touched by your family’s willingness to listen as you regale them with a breakdown of your long run (even though they may be doing a looping eye roll on the other end of the line).
  • The running community, both in real life and virtually, is made up of the most supportive people I’ve ever met. Whether you had an amazing long run, or you’re sitting on your couch searching for motivation to go out and get your recovery run done, in the rain, slightly hung over, they are there to give you the extra push.
  • You’ll get addicted. There’s something about distance running, the discipline it takes to train and the pain you’ll feel along the way that’s just addicting. Although I haven’t crossed the finish line and officially become a marathoner, I’m already planning my next 26.2. Stay tuned!
  • Above all else, marathon training has taught me to be fearless because if I can conquer 26.2 miles, what else am I capable of?

Big Sur Marathon Training: Week Ten

Screen Shot 2013-03-31 at 5.51.47 PMI had a huge week in training this past week. It was my peak mileage week of my entire training program and I ran my highest mileage for the whole week, logging 41 miles for a total of 172 miles for the month of March. That’s 42 miles more than my previous monthly mileage total. Best part? My legs aren’t completely dead! I thought they would be after this week but they’re still feeling good. My outdoor allergies kicked in this week though and that set me back on my paces a bit but pace isn’t too important for me right now since I’m just aiming to finish the marathon. Here are my workouts from last week:

Monday: Cross training day- 50 minutes of Vinyasa flow yoga. I went to a vinyasa flow yoga class at the Energy Center at work. It was a bit more intense than usual which was good because it really felt like a workout. We did a lot of hip openers and hamstring stretches which was just what I needed after last week’s training.

Tuesday: 7 miles easy in 1:03:00 at 9:09/mile pace.

I’ve been dealing with some bad allergies lately so the whole breathing part of this run was a bit difficult. But the weather was so absolutely gorgeous so that made the run very enjoyable. I had planned to split up my mileage today but when two co-workers said they wanted to do a full 7 miles during our lunch run, I jumped at the opportunity. My splits:

Mile 1 – 8:58/mile
Mile 2 – 8:54/mile
Mile 3 – 8:53/mile
Mile 4 – 9:01/mile
Mile 5 – 9:26/mile
Mile 6 – 9:22/mile
Mile 7 – 9:05/mile

Wednesday: Double workout day, two runs for a total of 7 miles.

Run 1 of 2- 5.15 miles in 46:00 at 8:55/mile pace. This run went really well, however my allergies are giving me tons of trouble in terms of breathing. I went out for a lunch run with my roommate and showed her the 5-mile loop we usually do during the day. I felt good the whole time but I’m starting to realize my pace is dependent on whether or not I have music- i.e. I run much faster when I’m listening to music than when I go without. I hate having this crutch but I’m also not willing to give it up just yet. My splits:

Mile 1 – 8:55/mile
Mile 2 – 8:54/mile
Mile 3 – 9:07/mile
Mile 4 – 9:04/mile
Mile 5 – 8:53/mile

Run 2 of 2 of the day for a total of 7.15 miles. I ran this one after work at the gym, on the dreadmill but it was good, easy and quick. I felt good the whole time.

Mile 1 – 8:34/mile
Mile 2 – 8:28/mile

30 minutes of strength training: arms, abs and hamstrings.

Thursday: 6 miles easy in 54:00 at 8:58/mile pace.

On this run, I learned running, breathing and allergies aren’t a good combo. Add strong headwinds to the mix and you’re in trouble. This was a kind of slow and generally uncomfortable run. My paces weren’t bad but I just felt like I was going in slow motion because of the wind and my struggle to breathe. My splits:

Mile 1 – 9:10/mile
Mile 2 – 9:03/mile
Mile 3 – 9:03/mile
Mile 4 – 8:57/mile
Mile 5 – 8:47/mile
Mile 6 – 8:47/mile

Friday: Rest and foam roll

Saturday: 17 miles in 2:43:00 at 9:35/mile.

This wasn’t the best run ever. My allergies were really giving me a hard time so breathing was a bit of an issue. I did everything I did last weekend for my 20-miler to prep for this one but it just wasn’t the same. At one point I contemplated cutting it really short because my hear just wasn’t in it. This taught me the meaning of “relentless forward motion.” Not every run is going to be great but if you can get it done that’s all that matters.

(1) 9:34 (2) 8:56 (3) 9:12 (4) 9:23 (5) 9:36 (6) 9:43 (7) 9:32 (8) 9:30 (9) 10:15 (10) 9:52 (11) 9:45 (12) 9:41 (13) 9:45 (14) 9:42 (15) 9:47 (16) 9:37 (17) 9:22

Sunday: 4-mile recovery run in 35:00 at 8:45/mile.

I really wanted to run today but when I was coming back from Philly this morning, I was just so tired and unmotivated to get out the door. I’m so glad I did though because the run was great and just what I needed to clear my mind. It’s really true, you never regret a run. My splits:

Mile 1 – 9:27
Mile 2 – 8:42
Mile 3 – 8:40
Mile 4 – 8:12

Weekly mileage total: 41 miles.

See all training recaps here.

20-Mile Bliss

ShoesTen weeks ago, I downloaded my first-timers marathon training plan and entered my weekly mileage goals into my calendar- both on my computer and on paper. I like having it down on paper so I can physically cross it out once it’s done and feel like I really accomplished something.

As I entered the workouts and mileage onto my calendar, one number stopped me- 20 miles. That’s like, really far, I thought. But at that time, back in January, I had every right to be intimidated by this number. The most I had ever run was 14 miles so I had no business thinking about 20 miles yet. Also, it seemed so far away at that point, it just felt out of reach.

But then last week as I was staring down my Saturday long run, I knew it was time. I had built up to 18-mile long runs, done them twice, so I was ready for 20, theoretically. After all, it’s only 2 more miles, right? I asked around my office for advice, how do you make it through, are there any tricks, can I split it up? The answers were all helpful but it didn’t do much to calm my nerves.

On Friday, with my midweek runs crossed out, I had two more workouts left- the 20-miler and a shakeout. At that point I still couldn’t really fathom actually running 20 miles. But I did what I always do for long runs. I set out my clothes on the floor, picked out my socks, tights, shirt, windbreaker, and shoes. I laid out my Gu packets- two vanilla bean and one mocha- I placed my handheld water bottle next to my gear, and got my headphones ready to go. My Garmin would charge overnight, my breakfast was planned and alarm set. I was prepared.

I woke up Saturday morning to sunny, blue skies and I actually felt calm, ready and even excited. Before heading out I logged into the Runner’s World Challenge forums to check to see if anyone had any extra advice. One Challenger, Mark, suggested I not think of the run as a 20-mile run but rather four 5-mile runs strung together.

“Five miles is easy,” he wrote. “You’ve done it many times.”

So I set out for my four 5-mile runs, at least that’s how I was thinking about it, and the time flew. I honestly couldn’t tell you what I thought about during the whole run but before I knew it, 3 hours and 6 minutes later, I was back at my apartment doorstep, beaming from an excellent run.  I was in utter bliss.

After showering, stretching and eating, I went to a friend’s house for a BBQ. One friend asked me how my run went and then said running 20 miles would be a form of torture for her.

Valid point, I thought but it got me wondering, as distance runners, why do we do what we do? Why do we voluntarily spend three hours on a Saturday morning, alone or with a group, running miles most people won’t drive in a single day? Why do we put up with the injuries, time spent away from friends and family, hours spent training, for something we’re neither forced nor required to do? Every runner has a different reason for training for a certain race distance. Some runners start training for their first 5-K to lose weight. Others are pushing themselves running tempos and intervals after working full-time day jobs to try to snatch the illustrious and prestigious BQ (Boston qualifying time). Where other runners just run to run, not for any particular goal or race but just because they enjoy it.

For me, running started off as a way to prove something to myself. To prove if I worked hard enough I could achieve the (seemingly) impossible. But now it’s evolved into something so much bigger. It’s runs like my first 20-miler last weekend that remind me why I fell in love with running a year ago. It’s hard to explain but the love for running is a bond all distance runners share, at least I like to think so.

All I know is, I came home from my run and went right to my calendar and with a black ink pen, I crossed off my first 20-miler. Now that, was bliss.

Big Sur Marathon Training: Week Nine

"Everything is possible."

“Everything is possible.”

I had a really, really good week of training for week nine. I’m still beaming actually! I logged my highest weekly mileage ever- 40 miles!- and tackled my very first 20-mile run and I’m happy to report it went flawlessly, much better than last week’s 17-miler. I was nervous going into training at the beginning of the week because my legs were noticeably fatigued from the racing/long run combo the weekend before but as the week went on, I felt myself getting stronger and better yet, more confident with my running. Here are my workouts from week nine:

Monday: Yoga- I did the Lululemon Yoga for Runners (Recovery)

Tuesday: 4 miles in 33:58 at 8:29/mile pace.

I was happy the weather cleared in time for my lunch run. It actually ended up being really sunny and nice for the whole run. I wanted to take it easy after my crazy weekend of running last weekend but I went a little faster than anticipated. My right ankle has been a little sore though so I’m going to need to do some serious foam rolling and icing later on tonight. My splits:

Mile 1 – 8:55/mile
Mile 2 – 8:37/mile
Mile 3 – 8:35/mile
Mile 4 – 7:50/mile

Wednesday: First run of the day was a hill workout- 6 miles (two ginormous hills) in 58:34 at 9:45/mile.

I forced myself to do a hill workout because I hadn’t done one in a few weeks (although most of my runs involve significant hills). We usually run this huge hill in the back of our office building but this time we did that, went down the backside of the mountain and then ran back up- two hills for the price of… well, two huge hills. It was hard and I had to walk some of the first hill but I’m really proud to report I didn’t walk ANY of the second hill!

Mile 1 – 9:07/mile (warmup)
Mile 2 – 11:27/mile (first hill and lots of walking)
Mile 3 – 10:29/mile (still on the first hill, less walking)
Mile 4 – 9:59/mile (second hill, no walking)
Mile 5 – 9:01/mile
Mile 6 – 8:32/mile

Second run: Easy 1 mile on the treadmill in 8:40 followed by strengthening exercises.

Day total: 7 miles in 1:07

Thursday: 5.05 miles in 44:22 at 8:47/mile pace.

This run was neither here nor there. It was a good pace and I felt good but my right ankle was still a little funky. I’ll keep foam rolling and icing. My splits:

Mile 1 – 8:56/mile
Mile 2 – 8:45/mile
Mile 3 – 8:47/mile
Mile 4 – 8:51/mile
Mile 5 – 8:36/mile

Friday: Rest and ice my ankle.

Saturday: 20 miles in 3:06:18 at 9:18/mile pace.

This was my first 20-miler of my marathon training and my longest distance ever. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous for this but I felt oddly calm before heading out. My legs felt amazing the whole time, no hip or ankle pain! In a lot of my long runs the last two miles are the worst because my legs are just done but that wasn’t the case for the 20-miler. I also couldn’t believe the pace I was able to maintain despite all of the hills on my run. Here are my splits:

(1) 9:29 (2) 8:54 (3) 9:11 (4) 9:08 (5) 9:17 (6) 9:16 (7) 9:13 (8) 9:03 (9) 9:44 (10) 9:43 (11) 9:38 (12) 9:30 (13) 9:21 (14) 9:10 (15) 9:30 (16) 9:15 (17) 9:28 (18) 9:07 (19) 9:04 (20) 9:16

Elevation gain: ~400 feet

Sunday: 4 mile shakeout run in 36:00 at 8:57/mile pace.

When I woke up my legs were DOMS city post long run but I had a 4-mile easy shakeout on my schedule. I thought it was going to be super slow but once I got going my legs actually started to feel better. I am now a big believer in the post long run shakeout. My splits:

Mile 1 – 9:32/mile
Mile 2 – 8:56/mile
Mile 3 – 8:54/mile
Mile 4 – 8:29/mile

Weekly mileage total: 40 miles.

See all weekly training recaps here.

Pros and Cons of Running Doubles

Fit your run inMy marathon training plan has me running pretty high mileage during the week. I usually have at least one 7-mile run midweek and in the coming weeks I’ll be logging upwards of 20 miles between my runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. While my training plan is a little more aggressive than a typical first-time marathoner training schedule, many marathon training plans, no matter the experience level of the runner, have at least one high mileage day during the week. If you’re like me and have a pretty busy work schedule, it’s hard to log the mileage in one run so I opt to split it up during the day and run what’s referred to as a double, or running twice in one day, a.k.a. two-a-days.

At first, I was weary about doing this because I thought I might not be getting the full benefit of a 7 or 8-mile run on a Wednesday, but after asking around and a little research, I learned running doubles actually has more pros than cons. If done correctly, running a double can boost fitness and build mileage (without feeling like you’ve been running forever).

When I have a double day on my schedule, like I did on Wednesday, I like to make one run a “workout” and the other an easy, recovery run. Since I’m training for Big Sur, my workout focus was on hills. I had to run a total of 7 miles for the day but instead went out for a 6 mile run at lunch that included two intense hills with an elevation grade that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 2.47.30 PM

Since I already got 6-miles of my daily mileage total done, after work I only had to run a mile so I opted for a slow, recovery run at the gym followed by tons of stretching and some strength exercises.

This was a more intense double day than I usually do. Usually I’ll split up a 7-mile run into a 4-mile tempo run at lunch followed by a 3-mile recovery run after work. I prefer to do my second run at the gym because then I’m able to get some strength training in after but you can do it outside too.

One tip I have for running doubles is to make sure you do some dynamic stretching before your second run. You’re muscles are going to be a little tight from your first run, especially if it was a workout, so you want to make sure you warm up before going right into the run. Then, as always, be sure to stretch out after your second run and hydrate- running twice in one day takes more out of you than you think!

Still not convinced about the benefits of two-a-days? Don’t you fret, of course I asked Twitter for its opinion on the pros and cons of running doubles. Here’s what people had to say:

There are also some cons though, although the majority seem to revolve around having to shower twice in one day.

So if you can get past showering twice in one day, endless hunger and not to mention some extra laundry, two-a-days really aren’t that bad. At the end of the day you have to ask yourself: how bad do you want it and how much are you willing to work for your goal?