Sunday, April 12, 2015

Marathon #2 - Training Week 15

I kind of feel bad this week that I didn't post anything other than last week's recap.  I honestly meant to post and had some stuff half written, but I never got around to it.  I was just in total "game face" mode all week, knowing that this was my last big week of training and I wanted to nail every workout.

Someone posted a pic of the mass of people before the Saturday SCRR run and I caught myself in it.  I had to zoom in on it and see this epic "game face" moment.  That's the "let's do this" face, the "I'm here to smash 20 miles in the face" face, and honestly, the "come on and sort the damn pacer situation out already and let's get moving because it's freaking chilly" face.

Monday: Strength and Core, baby.  Core work is a runners bestie.

Tuesday: 7 mile recovery run with 6 strides.  I beat the hard rain on this one, but really wouldn't have cared if I ran in it because it was so warm!  Finally - some heat and humidity training!

Wednesday:  The plan called for 10 miles including 4x1200m repeats.  It was warmer and more humid than the day before and I was thankful for it!  I'll take all the heat training I can at this point, especially on hard workout days.  I totally killed my intervals.  They were to be done at my same 7:15 pace or faster and I came up with these paces: 7:04, 7:00, 6:59, and 6:58.  Woohoo!  Best part?  I didn't feel like I was running at a hard speed at all during them.  I really felt great!

I did a short yoga session later that day, but admittedly, it didn't feel great.  Probably the first time I can say that yoga made me feel worse, not better for doing it.  Strange.

Thursday:  11 mile medium long run.  I certainly did not miss the rain this time!  The first half of my run it was pouring.  Then it stopped and the temperature just seemed to skyrocket.  I got really hot, my heart rate started to climb, and I had to slow down a little.  This is exactly why I've loved this week's weather.  I wanted to see how I would react to these situations.  Luckily I didn't totally spike out and I was able to keep myself in control.  This run was also my very last double digit weekday run of my training plan.  I'm relieved and kinda bummed about that.

I did a second round of my core workout that evening.

Friday:  Rest!

Saturday:  SCRR Marathon course preview run!  I've really been looking forward to this.  One thing that all these long weekday runs has done for me is take the stress/anticipation/fear out of the weekly long run.  I mean, most weeks it's only just a couple miles more than I normally do on a Wednesday anyway, right?  No biggie!  I figured I'd head out with the 9:00/mile group since I wouldn't be running by heart rate and my last two 20 milers were around 8:55 pace and 8:35 pace.  I didn't want to go out with the 8:30s and end up having a rough go of it (and I was further glad I made that decision after hearing that the 8:30s ended up being yet another 8:00 group!).  Our group was quite large, and everyone was pretty cool.  We actually had two pacers and they were awesome!  I actually ran side by side with one of them for a while and talked and she was great.  This was really the best SCRR run I've ever had.  Anyway, it was good to get out on the back portion of the course and also to run up the hill into Oakland again.  I really have no problems with that hill.  It's long, but it's not incredibly steep.  I felt amazing the whole run.. most of the time I felt like I was really holding back but I enjoyed myself.  At the last water stop our group broke in two - some were having trouble keeping up so one of the pacers stayed behind while the other kept on as planned.  I was glad to be with a group on the back part of the course because I think I would have gotten myself lost if I tried to do it alone.  Way too many traffic stops and street crossings... When we came to the last few miles I really felt great.  I couldn't believe how far I'd ran because it didn't feel like I had many miles on my feet at all.  During that sweet downhill I started to pull ahead of my group with a couple of guys.  I just felt too good and I had to stretch my legs out a bit.  I definitely wasn't pushing hard at all, I was just in cruise mode.  I think one guy kinda thought I was trying to race him at one point because he'd get faster then I'd get faster, etc then we realized how far ahead of the group we were and just cruised along together.  As we rounded the corner and headed back into Market Square I was really sad because I really felt like I was just warmed up and raring to go!  I was SO tempted to run an additional mile or two (last training cycle I did run a 22 miler), but I kept myself in check and told myself to stick to my plan.  So I reluctantly did just that.  The run ended up being a little short when we got back to the SCRR tent (it said 19.93 on my Garmin) so after signing the logbook I ran back up and down the street a little until I got past 20 miles.  It would have messed with my mind in a terrible way if I'd stopped at 19.93!  I got some stretching in, got picked up, and headed home still feeling awesome.

I got a nice surprise when I synced my Garmin and looked at my heart rate data too... My heart rate was super low for a lot of the run - even "the hill".  I even had miles clock in at easy/borderline recovery heart rate!  Nice! 
Calloway thought my compression socks needed warmed up before I put them on.  He was straight up mad when I tried to take them from him, though.  Weirdo.

Sunday: I allowed myself to sleep in and have a bit of a lazy morning.  Then I headed down to the North Shore Trail for a 4 mile recovery run.  I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but I was pleasantly shocked when it ended up being my fastest recovery run thus far!  I ran by heart rate the whole time as always, felt like I was just slogging along and enjoying the sunshine, and it just happened!  I will be honest and say I do feel stiff in spots, but hey, I know taper will fix that.

A friend of mine tagged me on Instagram to #stopdropandyoga and since I was on my run when she did that I decided to get some pics of the recovery yoga I did when I got home. :)  

Total Miles Ran: 52.19
Total Running Workouts: 5 - 1 recovery with strides, 1 interval, 1 medium long, 1 long, 1 recovery
Total Strength Days: 2 - 1 day both total body + core, 1 just core only.  The next two weeks are planned to be the same and I will do no strength training the last week.

Nutrition this week: I give myself an A-.  I did very well for the most part sticking with healthy, whole foods to achieve my macros, but you all know I ate a bunch of Easter candy and even stocked up on more when it got clearanced.  We love Peeps in this house.  I think the lemonade is my favorite this year. 

That's it, guys.  Mesocycle #3 focused on race preparation is complete and it is officially time for taper.  I will say that I AM prepared for this marathon.  I'm going to knock on wood and say I'm pretty confident I have a PR waiting for me.  I've never felt this strong or ready for any race I've ever done - let alone a marathon!  I just have to be smart these last three weeks, stay healthy, and try not to do anything stupid.

Happy taper to everyone running Pittsburgh!  Carb up, Calm down!


  1. Yay Nichole! Great week for you. You seem so confident about the marathon. Even though we've never met and I just started following your blog I feel so proud of you and can't wait to hear how the marathon goes!

    1. Aw, thanks, Gretchen! I'm trying to stay positive!

  2. You should of ran with the 8:30 group I needed someone to run with, but you are right our group was going faster than the 8:30 pace we were supposed too. You had a awesome week and are definately ready for the race

    1. If there was an in between group - 8:45 - I would have totally gone for that. I always seem to be at a middle pace and then have to decide whether to run slower than usual or push it when I run with a group. I try to err on the side of caution and go slow. I'm hoping I'm good to go for race day! I've put my heart and soul into this training cycle!

  3. Woo hoo! What a week to end training between the intervals you knocked out, and feeling so good (and being so fast) on Saturday and Sunday. That's so awesome that your HR was so low on Saturday, even on the hill, and that you felt so good the whole time. I'd love to hear in another post exactly what in your training made this the best training--the high mileage? low HR training? the tempo runs? I have an idea for mine on what made my training so good and will be doing a post (basically, higher mileage with the bulk easy runs) but would love to hear from you. From reading lots of training recaps, I do think that yours and Mike K's training are great examples in really preparing you for race day. I'd like to learn more about your training plan.

    1. You're reading my mind - I've got that post going between my mind, a spreadsheet and just bullet points at the moment! :) During taper I tend to go over things and analyze stuff (and try not to beat myself up over shoulda coulda wouldas, etc). In brief, I think it was a culmination of factors balancing each other out. Yes to lots of miles on the legs especially during the weekdays. Yes to the heart rate monitor keeping my easy and recovery runs honest. There are several little details in there too that I think helped make it (knock on wood) and I'm writing it all down as it comes. I don't want to post it too soon and jinx myself, though. ;)