Don’t Push It (too hard!) – Boston Marathon Training Week 10

I had the following conversation with my best friend on Wednesday:

Michele: How are you feeling?
Me: Better, but my run today was horrible.
Michele: Why? Are you still sick?
Me: No… well, I think I’m at about 95%. It’s frustrating though because I did a threshold run today and it was way harder than it was supposed to be. I’m not happy that my fitness has gone backwards.
Michele: You’ll finish, and you won’t be last (referring to Boston).
Me: But I want to break 4 hours (whiny voice).
Michele: You’ll finish, and you won’t be last.
Me: Yes, and thank you for the reminder.

I’ll finish and I won’t be last. That was the goal of my very first marathon. I did finish, and while I wasn’t “last,” I was definitely bringing up the rear with a time of 5:51:02 (course had 6 hour time limit).

This was a good reminder because, we all need to train with our current fitness instead of the fitness that we had, or wish we had. If you’ve lost training time due to illness (my case), injury, or any other interruption, it’s not advisable to mindlessly pick up where you left off. I know this and when I advise others I make sure to help them with perspective. But this is hard, and it is a good reason to have a coach.

Last week I wanted to run 14 instead of the 12 my coach assigned. I asked him about this and he said, “my gut reaction is no.” He was right, and even running the 12 miles I went too hard. (Recovery – Boston Marathon Training Week 9)

If you read my training log notes you’ll see that I have a mixed week…some good runs and some surprisingly hard runs. The good news is that the week ended well.

The lesson in all of this is to train at the fitness you have, not the fitness you want. If you do this, you’ll eventually get to the fitness you want.

7 weeks until race day! Have a great training week.

Workouts: 2/18/2018 – 2/24/2018
Sunday, February 18, 2018
6:26 AM  5 Miles Easy
Planned: 5 mi
Completed: 5 mi ~ 54:59 (10:59 min/mi)
Workout Comments: I wasn’t sure if I should run because my legs were still tired from yesterday but I decided to just take it very easy. It ended up feeling pretty good…was probably the slowest I’ve run in a long time.
Monday, February 19, 2018
7:20 AM Strength & Mobility

3 Sets of the following sequence with ~ 30-60 seconds rest between each exercise.
15 squats; 20 sec. plank; 10 push ups; 20 Crunches; 10 lunges on each leg; 20 sec. plank; 10 calf drops on each leg; 20 Sit-Ups
Workout Comments: Added jumps onto step…3 risers; Squats, first set both legs, 2nd and 3rd were single leg; Lunges were walking with 20# kettlebell

Completed: 56:36
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
5:05 PM  5 Miles Easy
Planned: 5 mi
Completed: 4.5 mi ~ 43:16 (9:37 min/mi)
Workout Comments: This was a group run. For the first mile and a half I was trying to keep up with the others then I slowed down…except for beating the train and a traffic light.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
2:19 PM Run – Lactate Threshold: 4 x 1-Mile 
Planned: 7 mi
2 Miles Easy; 6 Strides
4 x 1 Mile @ Threshold Pace w / 1:00 rest
1 Miles Easy
Completed: 8 mi ~ 1:23:49 (10:29 min/mi)
Workout Comments:

Well that was hard! I knew that I would end up going slower than at track but this was slower and very hard. Maybe it was the very small hills and the wind or that I’m still not 100% from being sick or all both…but this run made me feel incredibly out of shape from a cardio perspective. My legs actually felt fine! So I guess that’s a plus.
Entered later: On further reflection, I think I’m not 100% yet. Five hours after the run I’m pretty tired. I will make sure that I go a VERY easy pace on my long run…and maybe cut it short if my HR goes up and stays there.

Friday, February 23, 2018
7:58 AM Long Run
Completed: 14 mi ~ 2:42:42 (11:37 min/mi)
Workout Comments:

2/23/2018 11:44 AM

Nancy Switzler
Since I ran too hard last Saturday, and Wednesday’s threshold run was actually run too hard as well, I decided to make sure that I ran very easy today. So I kept my heart rate in the low 30’s for most of the run (avg 132). For this reason the run was very easy…even with going up and down hills. At the same time it was incredibly slow. While I know this shouldn’t matter, it’s frustrating to see how this bad cold knocked fitness right out of me!

Saturday, February 24, 2018
7:44 AM  Easy Run
Completed: 5 mi ~ 54:46 (10:56 min/mi)
Workout Comments:

Nice run that felt great…except for my trip and fall at mile 4. Overall I think this was a good week and hopefully I can get my mileage up next week.
4:04 PM
Completed Run: 36.50 mi ~ 6:39:35
Completed Strength Training: 56:36

Quit Blaming the Kids

In the aftermath of an atrocity such as the massacre last week we enter into the Facebook and other social media debate. One unfortunate aspect of that debate inevitably is one that argues that the young people themselves are at fault…or if not the young people, then the culture around these young people.
I always want to comment, “I never knew you had such a low opinion of your own children.” Of course the response would be, “oh, not my children…the problem lies with other people’s children.”
This argument is offensive and lazy. It naively posits that “if the children weren’t such disrespectful jerks, we wouldn’t have _______.” (In this case yet another gun massacre).
Are there problem children? Of course there are. Just as there are problem people in every generation. And if we truly have a generation of children who are so bad that it is there generation that is at fault for what ails us, then we must point the finger of blame squarely upon ourselves…the parents of this generation.
In year’s past I tried to engage with people who view the necessity of guns differently than I do. I did this because I believe that those who, “like their guns” and those of us who don’t see the necessity, both need to be part of the solution. Sadly, such encounters never produced anything. Those I engaged with did not want to change anything…unless the change was to put more guns into the hands of more people. Some of these are the very same people who are now blaming the younger generation for violence that they are too ready to accept because their guns are more important than making any needed change. I wish this were not so.
The problem does not lie with young people! It lies with people of my generation and with those who are older than me. We have failed those who are younger. Personally, I am thankful for the young people who are so eloquently, strongly, and emotionally raising their voices. I am proud of them, I thank God for them while I mourn the necessity of their voices, and I will follow. We all should.
Please share some stories of the strong young people in your life.

Recovery – Boston Marathon Training Week 9

Well, I only lost two weeks of training due to illness (This Sucks! Boston Marathon Training Weeks 6, 7, & 8). According to my coach my setback is really just one week of training. I’m grateful for his perspective because as I was sitting sick, I was also stressing about Boston. Would I recover in time to train?

Recovery. I’ve learned that recovery is just as important as running itself. There is also no one way to recover. Maybe recovery, in itself, is a discipline. Here are some of what I’ve learned about recovery.

  1. Recovery is absolutely necessary for improvement. You will not improve as a runner (or with any other skill) without including recovery in your training plan.
  2. Sleep is recovery. Sometimes we hear people brag that they can get by with little sleep. They’re deceiving themselves. The truth is that our bodies are working hard at repairing what needs repairing while we sleep. Think that hard workout made you faster? No, it just made you sore. The perfomance gains come from the body repairing itself while you sleep.
  3. Good nutritious food aids recovery. We need proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals…and we need to receive them from wholesome food. Don’t let your diet derail your training by eating lots of processed and unhealthy food.
  4. Sometimes recovery means movement. This one can be tricky. One remedy for tight sore muscles is a nice walk, some gentle stretching, and even an easy run (probably more like a jog). Why is it tricky? Because we could easily convince ourselves that constantly moving (instead of resting) is aiding our recovery. It’s not. But some movement is very helpful. Balance is key.
  5. Roll out those muscles and get a massage if you can. I can still remember when I first bought a foam roller. Rolling out my legs was so painful that my husband walked into the room to find out what was happening. Now I roll out my legs and back almost daily (that’s my aim). I actually have a nightly routine of bridges, clamshells, rolling, and stretching. Once in a while I skip it and lay in bed wondering why I’m having trouble going to sleep! Sometimes I get up and give my body the relaxation it needs.
  6. Warm baths. A warm bath with Epsom Salts is usually a Friday (day off work) treat for me. It’s so relaxing that I have to be careful not to doze off in the tub.
  7. Rest.  If you’re battling an illness or injury let your body rest. You will miss days but probably fewer than if you get worse because your body wasn’t able to recover.

That’s my recovery list. What can you add?

Here’s my training diary for the last week:

Workouts: 2/11/2018 – 2/17/2018
Sunday, February 11, 2018
6:51 AM Run – Marathon Pace
Planned: 10 mi
2 Miles Easy; 6 Miles @ Goal Marathon Pace; 2 Miles Easy
Completed: 5 mi ~ 51:12 (10:14 min/mi)
Workout Comments: The actual workout was changed to a short easy run because it was my first run after being sick. I started out with the intention to run 4 miles but I felt so good that I ran 5. This felt normal and my HR was always where it should have been. Yes!
Monday, February 12, 2018
 Strength Training
Performance Prep (modified) – Dicharry
Warmup: roll back; banded arm circles; banded pull-apart; overhead carry; bear walk; squat w/dowel; single-leg deadlift w/dowel
Workout: kettlebell all squat (20);
3 sets of the following: deadlift w/kettlebell (20); squat w/band for form (20); kettlebell swing (20); push-up (10); jump rope (double & single leg
4 sets of suitcase carry with kettlebell; calf raises with weighted backpack
Cool down: foot screws; twisted warrior
Actual workout time: 47 minutes
Completed: 1:17:22
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
6:57 AM  5 Miles Easy
Completed: 5 mi ~ 50:58 (10:11 min/mi)
Workout Comments:

Run felt nice but my HR was all over the place
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
5:07 AM Strength & Mobility

Core & Strength Level 3
3 Sets of the following sequence with ~ 30-60 seconds rest between each exercise.
15 squats; 20 sec. plank; 10 push ups; 20 Crunches; 10 lunges on each leg; 20 sec. plank; 10 calf drops on each leg; 20 Sit-Ups
Completed: 48:42
Thursday, February 15, 2018
7:38 AM    6 Miles Easy
Completed: 6.5 mi ~ 1:06:14 (10:11 min/mi)
Run – Hills & Strides

Strides X 4
To Be Completed right after you finish your run.
* Strides are medium-hard to hard efforts roughly 20 seconds each or 100 meters long (a straightaway in a track) where you focus on quick turnover. They are a harder effort but not all out sprints.
Take roughly 45 seconds rest between each stride (rest can be walking around or a very light jog.)
Friday, February 16, 2018
8:57 AM Strength & Mobility

Core & Strength Level 3
3 Sets of the following sequence with ~ 30-60 seconds rest between each exercise.
15 squats; 20 sec. plank; 10 push ups; 20 Crunches; 10 lunges on each leg; 20 sec. plank; 10 calf drops on each leg; 20 Sit-Ups
Completed: 53:04
Workout Comments:

I included jump rope between sets…one-legged jump rope is hard!
Saturday, February 17, 2018
7:48 AM
12 Mile Long Run
Planned: 12 mi
Nice and Easy.
Completed: 12.14 mi ~ 2:04:25 (10:14 min/mi)
Workout Comments: I’d asked my coach if I could puch up to 14 miles. He said no. Thankfully he did because the last couple miles were very hard. I also ran harder than I should have. So that my legs were very tired on Sunday. I need to listen to my own advice on recovery.
Planned Run: 33.00 mi // Completed Run: 28.65 mi ~ 4:52:51
Completed Strength Training: 2:59:08


This Sucks! Boston Marathon Training Weeks 6, 7, & 8

This photo of my Garmin shows the sad status of my current Boston Marathon training.

Week 6 of my training for Boston was almost a perfect week. All my runs felt wonderful. I got in some quality hill work. My weekly miles were increasing nicely. I was doing very well with my strength program and working on increasing the mobility in my right ankle (this was supposed to be the subject of my blog that week).

At the same time all this good training was happening my husband was sick with the crud that seems to be affecting more people than usual this year. I was so hoping it wouldn’t affect me. On Friday night (1/26) before my 14 mile long run I woke up and felt a little weird and wondered, “am I getting sick?”

When Saturday morning came I felt fine but also wondered about that feeling in the middle of the night. I decided that since I had no symptoms I’d go ahead and do my 14 mile long run. I thought that if I were sick I’d know it right away and could stop. I ran the same 14 course that I’d run a couple weeks earlier (nice hills). The run felt great. I even ran it 6 minutes faster while feeling as if the effort were easier. Yeah!

Two hours after this run the scratchiness in my throat/chest started. I’ve been sick ever since. On Wednesday of this week I thought I felt good enough to run and easy 4 miles. It felt wonderful! The next morning I felt better. But by afternoon I was coughing like crazy.

By tomorrow I will have lost two weeks of training. And that is how I’m preparing for this awesome goal race that I was so excited to earn!