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.

Big Sur Marathon Training: Week Eight

A prerace photo with my friends before the Holyoke St. Patrick's Day 10-K!

A prerace photo with my friends before the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day 10-K!

This past week was a great one for training. I was able to get in all my training runs, including my first ever attempt at Yasso 800s and my first 10-K (race). I also was able to go back to Massachusetts for the weekend to spend time with my close friends and family and honestly, it was the most perfect weekend. I couldn’t have asked for a better week of running and I hope this week will be the same! Here are my workouts:

Monday: Cross-training day. I went to metabolic boot camp at the gym after work. It was no-repeats Monday and we did four circuits with five different exercises for 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off.

Tuesday: Easy 5-miler in 44:00 at 8:52/mile pace.

I thought this run was going to be awful because for one, it was on the treadmill, and secondly, I forgot my headphones and there’s nothing worse than running 5 miles on the treadmill with only Sports Center on repeat to keep you entertained. So, I decided to entertain myself by running intervals. During ever commercial break I cranked the speed up to 7.1 mph and during the show I ran at 6.6 mph. This kept be entertained enough to make it through the run feeling great.

Wednesday: Easy 3-mile in 25:12 at 8:24/mile pace.

This was a really great, short lunchtime run. My shorter distance runs are starting to get much faster and what’s even better is the faster average pace is feeling easier. I think after Big Sur, during the summer, I’m going to focus on shorter distance races and trying to get faster overall. My splits:

Mile 1 – 8:32/mile
Mile 2 – 8:23/mile
Mile 3 – 8:16/mile

Thursday: Yasso 800s- 7 miles with 6×800 at goal marathon time, in 1:01:00 at 8:42/mile pace.

My first ever attempt at Yasso 800s was a success! (And that’s a good thing because Bart himself came over to my cubicle on Thursday to make fun of me for never having done them) My training plan called for 7 miles with 6×800 at pace. I ran this on the treadmill because I don’t have access to a track and I thought it would be the best way to make sure I hit my pace.

1-mile warmup at 9:22/mile pace.
6×800 at 4:00 with 200m in between at an easy pace.
1.5-mile cool down.

Friday: Rest day!

Saturday: Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Road Race (10-K) – Official finish time 53:55 at 8:34/mile pace. Came in 1787 out of 5777 (top 30 percent!) overall and 332 out of 1657 for my age group (women 2-39 years old) which was top 20 percent!

I ran my first 10-K ever Saturday and while I wasn’t trying to race it I ended up doing pretty well! The course was extremely hilly which I thought would be hard but didn’t turn out to be too bad except for the final hill right before the finish. My splits:

Mile 1 – 9:14/mile
Mile 2 – 9:22/mile
Mile 3 – 8:55/mile
Mile 4 – 8:42/mile
Mile 5 – 7:41/mile
Mile 6 – 7:56/mile
Mile 7 – 2:03/mile (for 0.28)

Sunday: 17-mile long, slow distance in 2:49:00 at 9:56/mile pace.

Probably wasn’t the best idea to run my long run the day after racing but lesson-learned. It was really great though to get to run with my cousin Paige and my friend Lindsey. We took it really easy because we were all tired from yesterday’s 10-K that we promised we wouldn’t race but ended up racing anyway. It was also a tough route we ended up choosing because there were a ton of hills but it was a really nice run. The wind set us back a bit too but overall, a great run with great friends.

Total mileage: 38 miles

See all training recaps here.

Big Sur Marathon Training: Week Seven

Photo from Sunday's recovery run through Trexler Park.

Photo from Sunday’s recovery run through Trexler Park.

Another week down, another week closer to the starting line. Training went really well this week. It included an early morning run, speedy mile splits, yoga, a glorious long run and shorts! The weather over the weekend was absolutely gorgeous and has put me in the best mood (despite losing an hour of sleep). While this warm weather is not here to stay for very long it gave us all a taste of what’s to come: SPRING! Here is a recap of my workouts last week:

Monday: XT – Did a 50-minute yoga class at the gym at work. This class was a bit more challenging than one’s I’ve done in the past- which was a good thing. She had us doing a bunch of hip openers and twists which felt so good. Nice way to start off the week!

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

This was my longest pre-work run ever and honestly it felt great! I’m sitting in my cubicle now and I feel like I’ve already accomplished so much today! The run itself was really great too. I went out sans music because it was still kind of dark and I didn’t want to risk getting hit by a car. My splits were pretty good too which was really great. Overall, awesome run!

Mile 1 – 9:39/mile
Mile 2 – 8:59/mile
Mile 3 – 9:05/mile
Mile 4 – 9:24/mile
Mile 5 – 9:01/mile
Mile 6 – 8:52/mile
Mile 7 – 8:44/mile

Wednesday: 4-mile lunch run in 32:30 at 8:07/mile pace.

My lunch run went much better than anticipated. I thought it was going to be terrible, especially since there was supposedly a huge snowstorm coming and it decided to be super windy/rainy/snowy during my whole run. Alas, it was a great run and I don’t know where this speed is coming from on my shorter runs but I’m not complaining! My splits were:

Mile 1 – 8:35/mile
Mile 2 – 8:07/mile
Mile 3 – 8:15/mile
Mile 4 – 7:38/mile

Thursday: 7 miles total for the day, broken up into two runs.

Run 1 of 2: 5 miles in 45:16 at 8:52/mile pace. This was the first run of the day at lunchtime. I felt really good during this run and my paces were really great. I took it easy but I’m starting to notice what now feels like an easy pace is actually a lot faster than I’m used to. I had to do a total of 7 miles for the day but unfortunately for me, that’s too much for a lunch run. My splits were:

Mile 1 – 9:01/mile
Mile 2 – 8:51/mile
Mile 3 – 9:02/mile
Mile 4 – 8:51/mile
Mile 5 – 8:44/mile

Run 2 0f 2: 2 miles in 18:00 at 9:00/mile pace. This was the second run of the day, after work and on the treadmill. I took it really easy with the pace because I’ll admit, I’m afraid to run fast on the treadmill. My legs felt good though and it was a nice, easy run to wrap up the day.

30 minutes of strength training- Arms and core exercises.

Friday: Rest day- foam rolling and stretching

Saturday: 16 miles in 2:28:24 at 9:16/mile pace. (My last 16-miler was completed in 2:34:00- HUGE improvement!)

This run was absolutely AMAZING! It was a whole 6 minutes faster than my last 16-miler AND I set a half-marathon PR of 2:01 during the first 13-miles, who does that?! Seriously though, I needed this after last week’s terrible 12-mile run. I felt great the whole time, the weather was an unbelievable 55 degrees and sunny, and I think I finally got my fueling down (although I wouldn’t have minded more water). I went out a little fast to start but scaled back my pace in the middle to remain pretty consistent. Splits:

(1) 9:16

(2) 8:49

(3) 8:58

(4) 9:09

(5) 9:18

(6) 9:18

(7) 9:06

(8) 9:26

(9) 9:22

(10) 9:25

(11) 9:21

(12) 9:47 (humongous hill)

(13) 9:26

(14) 9:25

(15) 9:24

(16) 8:54

Sunday: 3.35 mile recovery run in 31:00 at 9:15/mile pace. I went for a nice recovery run through a local park with my roommate. It was just too beautiful out and instead of going on my normal running route, my roommate suggested we check out a park nearby instead. The park was PACKED with runners, cyclists, families and puppies. So fun!

Total mileage: 37 miles

See all training recaps here.

Respect the Long Run – No Matter the Distance

(source: Pinterest)

(source: Pinterest)

A few months ago, before I began training for Big Sur, I was talking with my Dad about running. My Dad is a 16-time marathon veteran, a nine-time Boston Marathoner, repping a 3:09 PR. He started running during the first running boom, which he describes as the “hippie days” of running, and while he doesn’t run very often anymore, he is still a vault of knowledge when it comes to anything having to do with running.

At the time of our conversation, I was getting ready to run my first half-marathon and in the midst of dealing with a pretty bad IT Band flare-up. He told me, “Hannah, running is like riding a rollercoaster- it can get you so high to the point of feeling invincible and send you crashing down in a second.” But, he reminded me, at some point the ride levels out.

I remembered this conversation while I was running my 12-mile long run last Saturday. It was a cutback week for me and I thought to myself, “12 miles, that’s a piece of cake!” Maybe I was overzealous coming off of successful back-to-back 16, 18, and 15-mile long runs. I was climbing the roller coaster and didn’t realize I was in for a long downwind decent. All I know is that 12-miler was one of my worst long runs in a long time.

But, you know what? It wasn’t just me who had a bad long run last weekend. In fact, many of my friends training for spring races had bad weekend runs. One person, who was also on a cutback week, said it perfectly – “I didn’t respect the long run.”

I know I didn’t respect the long run last weekend and the long run knew it too. Did I have to stay up until 12:30 the night before? Was it a great idea to try to squeeze in my run before a hair appointment in the late morning? I allotted myself 45 minutes of prep time before heading out the door, was that enough to digest my cereal and coffee? The answer to all of these is probably not.

I think it’s common in marathon training, at least in my experience, to assume the shorter long runs are going to be easy. But it’s that kind of thinking that leads to being less prepared for these shorter long runs. I tend to put the 16, 18, and 20 (which I have yet to do) milers on a pedestal. But in earnest, all long runs should be put on that same pedestal.

So why was the 12-miler such a bad run? It wasn’t that I was hurting and it wasn’t that I wanted to stop, I just felt like my heart wasn’t in it. My stomach felt terrible for some reason and all I could focus on was getting back to my apartment, showering and making it to my appointment on time. But looking back on this run, maybe I was not as prepared for it as I am for longer long runs, but I will take that as a lesson learned.

A blogger friend of mine, Michele Gonzales, had a less-than-fantastic long run last weekend as well. In her blog post about it, she said, as much as she enjoys a successful long run, there’s a lot to learn from the bad ones too. Whether a run is good or bad, short or long, goal pace or easy, there’s something to learn from every run. While these ups and downs can be strenuous, they are what levels us out in the end, so we can make it to the starting line, knowing what works.

Big Sur Marathon Training: Week Six

My fast 3-miler!

My fast 3-miler!

I can’t believe I’m already halfway through my training for Big Sur! I know it says I’m only at week six, but I picked up the training program two weeks in so I’m really at week eight. Since it’s the halfway point, this week was a cut back week in terms of mileage and long run distance. I thought this would be a much needed break, which it really was, but my long run ended up being a lot harder than I had expected it to be- and it was “only” 12 miles! I ran my runs in my new Brooks Ravenna 4s and I really like them. I was desperately in need of new shoes, and was having the ankle pain to prove it, so it was good to get in some new kicks.

Monday: XT – Today was a cross training day so I went to metabolic boot camp. It was no repeats Monday which means we did 4 circuits of 5 different exercises. I felt really good though!

Tuesday: Easy 5 miles in 46:38 minutes at 9:08/mile.

Today was my first run wearing my new Brooks Ravenna 4s and I really liked them! I maintained an easy pace- legs were a little sore after last night’s bootcamp- but overall the run was really good. It was actually kind of warm out which was a nice change!

I finally figured out how to view mile splits on my Garmin thanks to Laura, so now I’ll be posting them :)
Mile 1- 9:28/mile
Mile 2- 9:03/mile
Mile 3- 9:06/mile
Mile 4- 9:18/mile
Mile 5- 9:05/mile

Wednesday: 8 miles total for the day, split up in two different runs.

Run 1 of 2: This is the really tough hill workout I’ve been doing to prep for Big Sur. It has the same elevation gain as Big Sur’s Hurricane Point, but it’s over a mile instead of two miles- so steeper but shorter. I’m noticing some huge improvements though, not just with this workout but with my other runs as well. I hadn’t done this workout however in over 2 weeks so I wasn’t sure how it would go but it was definitely my best attempt yet! I ran more of the hill than I’ve been able to before and wasn’t as tired. Here were my splits:

Mile 1 (warmup) – 9:19
Mile 2 – 9:39
Mile 3 (hill with some walking) – 12:01
Mile 4 – 9:13
Mile 5 – 8:54
Mile 6 (.4) – 3:44

Run 2 of 2: 2.6 miles in 24:00 at 9:13/mile. This run was super easy and on the treadmill at the gym. Felt good the whole time.

Thursday: “easy” 3-mile run in 24:30 at 8:09/mile.

Ask me where these paces came from and I honestly could not tell you- I guess I just felt like running really fast? I know it was just a 3-mile run (that’s all my training plan called for on Thursday) but my paces were my fastest ever. Here are my splits:

Mile 1 – 8:27/mile
Mile 2 – 8:16/mile
Mile 3 – 7:48/mile (yeah, that happened)

Also, I went to a 45 minute gentle flow yoga class after work. I’ve been trying to incorporate much more yoga into my training and so far it’s definitely helping.

Friday: REST DAY!

Saturday: 12 miles, long, slow distance. 12.35 miles in 1:58 at 9:33/mile. I felt kind of sick to my stomach during this whole run. I think I might not have given myself enough time between breakfast and when I left for my run but I just felt gross. Also, I went to bed way too late last night and was really tired. My splits were less than impressive and I had to walk a few times. Why does it seem like the shorter long runs are harder than the long, long runs?
(1) 9:44
(2) 9:08
(3) 9:18
(4) 9:32
(5) 9:25
(6) 9:35
(7) 9:31
(8) 9:52
(9) 9:48
(10) 10:18 – eek!
(11) 10:09 – eek #2!
(12) 9:16
(13) 3:09

Also, I did a 10 minute post-run yoga workout by lululemon.

Sunday: easy 3-mile shakeout in 29:00 at 9:39/mile. I ran with my friend Cassie and although it was pretty cold at first, we warmed up quickly and had a great run.

I finished the day with a short post-run yoga sequence.

Total mileage: 31 miles

See all training recaps here.

Knowing When to Alter Your Training Plan

Pre quote

(Source: Pinterest)

I’m almost halfway through training for the Big Sur International Marathon and I am thankful to say (knock on wood) I haven’t had any issues with my training, my long runs, my paces or anything else for that matter. However, I’ve been following the RW Challenge First-Timers marathon training plan and while my long runs have been really great, there was one thing about the plan that scared me to death- three 20-mile long runs.

I know a lot of marathoners and have followed their training on their blogs, on twitter and on Daily Mile, and I never knew one who did three 20-milers for their first marathon. Many of them did two 20-milers and some did only one, but I never saw three. When I looked down at my training plan last week and talked about the impending first 20-miler on group lunch runs, I kept hearing the same advice- don’t do it.

I’ve only been running for a year (not even- my runniversary is March 8!) and while I’ve done two half-marathons, with a PR of 2:02, and countless shorter distance races, I’m not the most experienced runner. I’ve also had some overtraining-related injuries in the past while training for half-marathons and this is the first training cycle I haven’t experienced an IT band flare-up or Runner’s Knee resurgence (again, knock on wood).

While on the whole I think I’m getting a lot stronger, I’ve been handling the mileage well, and I’ve been eating healthy, I didn’t think doing three 20-milers would be the right idea for me. I honestly think I could have handled three 20-milers but the stress of seeing those three long, slow distance runs on my schedule, was more than enough to push me over the edge. Also, I want to make it to the starting line in Carmel healthy and energized, not burnt out and weak.

So, after consulting with some of my co-workers here at Runner’s World, Meghan offered me the best plan. The plan really only change two of my weekend long runs- last weekend went from 20 miles to 15, and a weekend in April changes from 18 to 14. Our Chief Running Officer, Bart Yasso, made the plan for her when she was training for a marathon (she’s done 10!) and I thought it looked like it would work for me.

Looking at my training schedule now, it still resembles the First-Timers plan but with two minor modifications, so now it’s the Hannah McGoldrick plan. Whether your training for a marathon, a half-marathon or your first 5-K, it’s easy to become highly dependent on a plan- I’m 100 percent guilty of this. While I fully support following training plans, it’s more important to listen to what your body is telling you. It doesn’t mean you’re doubting yourself, it means you’re training smart. Plans are never a one-size-fits all so make the changes you need to make to get to the starting line healthy and ready to race.

Big Sur Marathon Training: Week Five

Pre-rainy long run selfie!

Pre-rainy long run selfie!

Training went really well this week and I didn’t have any problems getting my runs in. I had my first two-a-days experience because I had to run 7 miles on Wednesday, which is too much for a lunch run so I split up my runs. I also adjusted my training plan because the plan I was following had me run three 20-milers between now and Big Sur and after consulting with a bunch of my coworkers, I thought it would be best to cut it down to two 20-milers. I want to make sure I make it to the starting line injury-free and not burned out. I’m looking forward to this week’s runs though because I bought new running shoes (Brooks Ravenna 4s) and I can’t wait to try them out!

Monday: Cross-training day. I did a 20-minute yoga for recovery class from Lululemon to recover from my 18-miler the day before. I also did 15 minutes of ab exercises which included planks, plank variations, Russian twists and crunches.

Tuesday: 5 miles in 47:00 at 9:12/mile pace. I had 5 miles at easy pace on my schedule for Tuesday and I decided to do them on the treadmill because it was raining/snowing/sleeting and I just didn’t feel like getting soaked.

Wednesday: 7 miles total at easy pace. I split this into two runs, I ran 4 miles at lunch and finished in 33:58 at 8:29/mile pace. This was an amazing run and felt really great. I surprised myself with my pace but it didn’t feel like I was really pushing it, it actually felt kind of comfortable. I then ran 3 miles after work in 27:20 at 9:00/mile pace. I also did some ab exercises and arm strengthening exercises.

Thursday: 5.6 miles in 51:00 at 9:06/mile. This was a really great lunch run with two of my coworkers. We did a new running route which was nice because we usually stick to the same loop.

Friday: Rest and foam roll!

Saturday: 15 miles, long slow distance, in 2:20:38 at 9:22/mile pace. This was by far the best long run I’ve had for this training cycle. Despite the dreary weather, it was misting pretty heavily during my whole run, I felt really great. My legs felt fresh, I didn’t have to stop or walk at all and my pace was really solid the whole time. I also conquered all of the hills of this run without a problem.

Sunday: 20 minutes of yoga for recovery, foam roll and planks.

Weekly Mileage Totals: 33 miles

See all training recaps here.

Big Sur Marathon Training: Week Four

Leave Fears BehindI was a bit nervous about training this week because my work week/schedule was a little hectic. While my workouts didn’t exactly happen in the correct order, I got all of them done and had my highest mileage week ever and ran another distance PR with my 18-mile long run. I’m hoping this upcoming week will be a little better in terms of my schedule but I’m learning to not be so rigid with the training plan, if I have to swap training runs, it’s not the end of the world! Here are my workouts from this past week:

Monday: Cross-training day. I took a 50 minute flow yoga class at the gym at work. Because I ran my long run the day before, I was a bit sore still so I thought doing a yoga class would be a good way to relax and stretch out my muscles. I definitely need to work on my flexibility but I really enjoyed this class. I also did 15 minutes of ab exercises which included planks, crunches and other exercises.

Tuesday: Easy 5-miles in 47:15 at 9:26/mile pace. My legs were definitely still feeling the 16-miler from the weekend before so I took it slow on this run. I also tried out a different route which was a lot hillier than my normal 5-mile lunch run route but it was good to mix it up. I also did about 10 minutes of planks when I got home.

Wednesday: 4.15 miles in 39:00 at 9:23/mile. My legs were still tired and I was just actually tired because I went running before work. I haven’t gotten up to run before work since the summer but it did feel really good to get my run done for the day. Also, I ran with my roommate which was really great because if it weren’t for her it would have been much easier to press the snooze button when my alarm went off!

Thursday: I was supposed to do a 5-mile run with 4x800s at marathon pace but my day at work was so hectic I couldn’t run at lunch. I wanted to run after work but when I got home and ran to the track, it was locked and the lights were off. So, no run. Instead I did a 30-minute power yoga session online and ab exercises. I was pretty bummed I missed my workout but it was out of my control so there wasn’t much I could do about it.

Friday: 5-miles in 44:00 at 8:48/mile pace. Since I was angry with myself for missing my workout the day before, I went balls to the wall with this 5-miler. My average pace was 8:48/mile but my last 3 miles were hovering around 8:20/mile and 8:30/mile which was really good for me, especially during a middle distance run. I felt SO much better after this run!

Saturday: Easy 3 miles in 26:52 at 8:57/mile pace. I switched my long run from Saturday to Sunday because I had to cover the Millrose Games in NYC for Runner’s World on Saturday evening and knew if I ran my long run the same day, I would be absolutely dead. So, I opted for an easy shakeout with my roommate and it went really well!

Sunday: 18 miles in 2:58:00 at 9:52/mile pace. Another distance PR this weekend with my long run! It definitely wasn’t easy though. My legs felt pretty dead from standing at the Millrose Games all day the day before and I didn’t realize how much that would affect me. Also, the wind was incredible during this run (20mph+) and it was VERY cold. But, I powered through it and finished the run strong. I was really proud of myself too because I ran by myself which is definitely not easy, especially towards the end of the run when my mind is trying to give up. Besides my tired legs, I felt pretty good throughout the run. I wish my pace had been a bit faster but the wind was just too much and I had a headwind the entire second half. Overall, good run!

Weekly Mileage Total: 35 miles

See all training recaps here.

Only You Can Celebrate Your Running Milestones

Thing about running

Image by Rachel Greenhouse, ilbelfarniente.wordpress.com.

Yesterday, after my long run, I walked up the stairs to my apartment, took off my running shoes, sat down in butterfly pose to stretch out my hips and thought, “Oh my God, I just ran 16 miles.”

In less than a year’s time, I’ve gone from not being able to run a mile, to running a four miler, then jumping up to running two half-marathons and now I’m training for a full marathon.

I still remember the day, back in May, when I ran 6 miles with my cousin along the beach in Maine. It was my first breakthrough with running. The first time I saw “the wall” and just leaped over it like I was jumping over a puddle. We got back to her house that day and celebrated because it was a huge deal for the both of us. During these first few months of running, every little bit further I went was a milestone. It was cause for celebration and reflection on how far I’ve come.

This weekend I hit another milestone by running my longest run ever and logging my highest mileage week ever. When I woke up Sunday morning, I saw my running clothes laid out on the floor with my Gu packets meticulously placed and ready to be ingested and I didn’t feel nervous. I felt excited and anxious about taking on the challenge of running a new distance.

The run went flawlessly but during those two and a half hours on the road I couldn’t help but think back on how much progress I’ve made. With every run, whether it goes well or not, I’m humbled by the results.

I know many runners, much more experienced than I am, who will say they have a long run of “just” 10 miles on a given weekend. I have been guilty of this very same thing saying I “only” have to run 4 miles on a weekday. Well, there are so many runners out there who see 4 miles as challenging and may feel like 10 miles is impossible. I have a good friend who will run a 10-mile race next Sunday and she typically runs 3 to 4 miles during the week. But, on Sunday she texted me, excited to tell me she ran 6.5 miles, her longest run ever. I was so proud of her and how far she has come.

Running is an individual sport and each milestone is relative to each individual runner. What is a huge accomplishment for one person, like hitting a new distance or nailing a new pace, may be routine for another but that doesn’t make each milestone less sweet. I don’t take for granted for a second how far I’ve come already. After my run on Sunday, I realized, although 16 miles is not the longest I’m ever going to run, it’s still a milestone and I will celebrate it as such because it was my own personal accomplishment and no other runner can one-up me on that.

Big Sur Marathon Training: Week Three

#PROOF

#PROOF

Training went really really well this week! I hit some major milestones including my highest mileage week ever and I ran my longest long run ever- 16 miles! This was a really huge deal for me because it hasn’t even been a year since I started running (my run-iversary is March 8). It’s insane to see how far I’ve come in such a short amount of time.

I was also able to maintain my strength-training with boot camp, incorporate more ab exercises, and maintain my yoga practice, which was great. I also tackled the major hill workout again and saw improvement. It’s all up from here! Here are my workouts from this week:

Monday: Cross-training day- Did 45 minutes of metabolic boot camp at the gym and was able to increase the weights I was using from last week.

Tuesday: 3 miles easy in 26:19 at 8:46/mile. I did an easy lunch run with the whole Runner’s World crew after we finished out RW Building Run-Up (in honor of the Empire State Building Run-Up). I was second place female, no big deal. Really it wasn’t a big deal but it was fun.

Wednesday: 5.3 miles in 54:00. This was the crazy hill workout again on 10th Street. I definitely felt an improvement climbing the hills this week over last week. I still had to walk about half of the inclines but was able to run more of it than the first time. Progress is all I ask for!

Thursday: 4 miles easy in 34:40 or 8:39/mile. Ran during lunch with two of the other RW ladies and had a really great run! I always run faster with them which is nice. I also did 45 minutes of a gentle flow yoga class after work. The instructor mixed it up this time and did some newer poses that felt really great.

Friday: Rest and foam roll.

Saturday: 3.11 miles at 9:38/mile. My roommate and I decided to brave the Storm Nemo ravaged roads in PA (they weren’t that bad just really slushy) and go for a run. I was supposed to do my long run on Saturday but because the road conditions weren’t great I opted to switch it to Sunday. There was almost no shoulder on the road because the plows didn’t do the best job of removing snow so we ran on the snow almost the whole time, which slowed us down considerably but overall it was a great run.

Sunday: 16 miles in 2:34:00 at 9:38/mile. This was my longest run ever and I felt surprisingly really good for the whole run. I wasn’t nervous going into the run because I repeated my mantra to prepare myself mentally, “Settle in for the ride.” My legs felt good and it wasn’t too cold so it was a lot better than last weekend’s long run. The route I took was really hilly but I surprised myself and was able to run all of the hills with no problem. The only time I doubted myself was at the very end, during the last 1.5 miles. I think I was just realizing how close I was to being done that I started to realize how tired I was. I think next weekend on my long run I need to fuel better. I only took one GU and some gummy bears, maybe two GUs next time? Live and learn, that’s what long slow distance training runs are all about! Overall, it felt amazing and I was really proud of myself!

Elevation chart for the 16-miler.

Elevation chart for the 16-miler.

Weekly Mileage Total: 32 miles

See all training recaps here.