Training in Review & Goals

It’s that time again to look back at my training and share my goals for Boston.

This training cycle I pushed myself a bit more with both mileage and speed. While I kept my base training plan, I added an additional warm-up/cool down mile to my interval workouts and tempo runs. I reviewed and speed up slightly my various paces to reflect my last marathon and half marathons. These paces got HARD. I typically stayed at the lower to middle end of my pace ranges, though at times, I was able to speed up to the higher end.

The additional mileage added up to just over one hundred more miles run, than when I trained for Lake Wobegon. I planned to add a slow recovery runs on Sundays, but the way my schedule worked out, Mondays were a speed workout day, so I kept my Sunday rest day. I also didn’t want to overdue my mileage increase.

My average weekly mileage is still what many marathoners, would consider low, peaking at about 45 mpw. It has worked for me, so while I was willing to increase it slightly, there was no way I was going to up it to 60-80 mpw. I frankly don’t have the time to do so. Nor do I think my body would respond well to it.

Here’s the breakdown:

Total Miles Run: 574.18 miles
Average Weekly Mileage: 36 miles
Highest Weekly Mileage: 44.44 miles
Number of Tempo Runs: 15
Number of Interval Runs: 15
Fastest Interval Pace: 5:05 min/mile (Orangetheory), 6:07 min/mile (400 m)
Number of Long Runs: 16
Average Long Run Distance: 15.9 miles
Number of Orangetheory Workouts: 15

So how am I feeling now? Other than the usual taper exhaustion, I’m pretty good. I feel random aches in pains, such as stiffness in the big toe on my right foot and a little ache under my left knee. Oh and I caused a strain/spasm in my trapezius muscle on my left side when I napped too long on my arm last Saturday. Obviously it was really tight and that was just the cherry on top. It’s been so sore and stiff, I haven’t been able to turn my head to the right or sleep. On Tuesday, I went to see a physical therapist who adjusted me, gave me a painful massage and acupuncture. 


Ouch! The stiffness is much better, but after my easy 30 minute run on Wednesday night, it seized right up again and was really painful. I had one last appointment on Thursday which definitely left me with some nasty bruises. Hopefully it will be all squared away by race day. I need the power in my arms to use when my legs get tired.

Now onto goals. Are ready? You won’t believe me…

I don’t have any.

I suppose that’s not entirely true. My goal is to take in the experience. Take in the crowds and the course. Enjoy my victory lap that I worked so hard to take. I want to run a smart race. Start slow and not be defeated by the Newton hills. Seriously, that is it.

I’d be lying if I did say I’m really nervous. Part of it is because it’s the freaking Boston Marathon. Another part is that I have a lot of eyes watching/tracking me. The support is amazing, but also totally nerve wracking. All I can do now is trust my training, hydrate, eat right and rest. So that’s what I’m doing.

WIAW: Boston Marathon Week Edition 

My sensitive stomach when running has been a source on issues for a few years now. After experimenting with the low FODMAP diet, I’ve found what I need to avoid in order to try to prevent any GI issues during the race. Basically that means anything that tastes really good, is out. No onions, garlic, avocado, apples, pistachios, peanut butter, etc. Oh and no wheat or dairy. While I’m not a celiac, it does cause some digestive issues. I only care before a race, otherwise, give me all.the.bread.

Last May when I ran the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon, I had no stomach issues and had plenty of energy. I attribute a lot of this to my bland diet and an appropriate amount of carbs the week prior. I’m basically copying it this week. Without further adieu, here’s what a typical day of eating during marathon week looks like.

Breakfast: Two Gluten-Free Blueberry Waffles with a banana and some raspberries with a glass of water.

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AM Snack: Doesn’t really count as a snack, but to up my carbs I need sports drinks. Mid-morning I drank this G2. Regular Gatorade obvious has more sugar, but I just cannot handle how syrupy it is.

Lunch: Turkey sandwich on gluten-free bread with carrots and gluten-free pretzels and a big glass of water.

Afternoon Snack: I crack open a Smart Water while I snack on two graham crackers with almond butter. I spent the rest of the night sipping on that bottle of water. While I need to hydrate, I don’t need to overdo it.

Dinner: Shredded BBQ chicken sandwich with steamed green beans and roasted sweet potatoes with another glass of water.

Dessert: I gave up sweets for Lent, as I do every year. While that would be an easy way to get carbs, it’s not an option. Dessert was a package of instant steel cut oats with cranberries and blueberries. I didn’t take a picture because they exploded all over the microwave and it was a mess. At least I got to eat 3/4 of it.

These meals put me at about 225-250g/carbs. Come Friday and Saturday, my carb intake goal is around 400-500g. That is a ton of carbs. I love carbs, but I just can’t eat that many. To get them, I’ll probably grab a few Vitamin Waters to drink as well. I also try to make sure I get some form of protein in most meals and a vegetable.

What’s your key to race success?

Boston Marathon Training {Week 13}

I try not to have back to back speed workouts for several reasons. The first of which, is my body need recovery time. Obviously the fresher the legs, the better my speed work will go. The second, doing tough workouts back to back, is a recipe for injury. No one wants that. I also try not to do a tough run the day before my long run. Nothing like heavy legs trying to run long distances.

Last week, I broke my own, unspoken rules. After my Orangetheory workout on Wednesday, my legs were exhausted. For nearly a half hour, we did push, after push, all-out after all-out. While I felt like I was dying a bit, I hit my fastest 30 second all-out ever at 11.8 mph (5:05 min/mile!). That was pretty exciting! Anyway, Thursday came and I just did not have the energy to get my intervals done. I grudgingly, pushed my intervals to Friday morning.

Fast forward to Saturday morning, my legs were so tired. I told Amy, who wasn’t feeling great herself, my legs were a bit upset with me. We toughed it out in some pretty rough wind conditions with a plethora of hills to keep us on our toes. It was a tough run for both of us. Breaking my own rule had definitely affected my long run. I will not be repeating that this weekend before my last (!) long run before taper.

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 8 miles w/6 at Tempo
Wednesday – Orangetheory (3.5 miles)
Thursday – 30 min walk + 15 min bike + stretching (dead legs from OTF)
Friday – 6×800 @ 6:40 min/mile + 2 mile WU/CD
Saturday – 18 mile run
Sunday -Rest

Boston Marathon Training {Weeks 11&12}

I could not find my rhythm. I drank more water, wiped the sweat from my brow and started the treadmill up again. For the third time, I’d stopped the treadmill to do this. I was mentally struggling. My legs felt like bricks. I hadn’t slept well the night before and was a bit on the dehydrated side. I couldn’t wait for it to be over. I needed the run to be over. I probably should have just thrown in the towel, but with only two weeks left before taper, I wouldn’t let myself give up. I slowed down my tempo pace, but still, I was struggling. A run that was easy last week, felt like torture.

My run had a case of the Mondays. Runs like this leave me questioning my fitness and my ability to make it through a marathon. Obviously, I know I can run a marathon. I’ve done it and I will do it again next month, but I feel so slow. When I reflect on how I felt during training for Lake Wobegon, either I’m romanticizing it, or I was in way better shape.

Going into this weekend, I needed a solid long run. I warned my friends that I was going to pick up the pace. Though I’d stay at conversation pace, I wasn’t going to dilly dally. Saturday morning was COLD. It was about 6 degrees with a windchill bringing it down to about -8. Needless to say I had lots layers on and was thankful that Amy was willing to brave the cold with me for 10 of my 21 miles. It was exactly the run I needed. I felt GREAT. Even at conversation pace and tackling hills, I was hitting low 8s. After I dropped Amy off back at her car, made a pit stop to refill my water bottles, I was off for the last 11 miles. I still felt great, singing along to my music and shouting out to the other runners on the trails. Much to my surprise, my average pace for the run was 8:09. Obviously this doesn’t count my two bathroom/gel stops, but those was brief. Hopefully I will feel this good in 32 days.

Over the next few weeks, I’m trying to make sure I get more sleep, stay better hydrated and watch my eating a bit. With the onset of Lent, sweets were eliminated which is really tough for me. I crave sugar. I love sugar, especially after a savory meal. We will see how it goes. The peak of training can be hard and maybe it’s just that I’m ready for taper.

Week 11:

Monday – 7 miles w/ 5 at Tempo
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Orangetheory (2.79 miles of hills)
Thursday – 7×800 @ 6:40 min/mile + 2 mile WU/CD (9 miles total)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 17 mile run
Sunday – Rest

Week 12:

Monday – 8 miles w/ 6 at Tempo + body weight exercises
Tuesday – Body weight exercises, but mainly rest.
Wednesday – 5×1200 @ 7:03 min/mile w/2 mile WU/CD (8.75 miles total) + BW exercises
Thursday – Orangetheory (1.87 miles)
Friday – Body weight exercises, but mainly rest.
Saturday – 21 mile run
Sunday – Rest

Boston Marathon Training {Week 10}

Monday morning I knew I still wasn’t ready to run again. Truth be told, I should not have done my long run on Saturday. I was sick, really sick. Would missing a long run have broken my opportunity for success in Boston, probably not. Mentally, it would have totally screwed with me. So I waited until Tuesday to get back on the horse, or treadmill as it would be in this case. It was worth the wait. I’m still coughing and a bit stuffy, but feel human again. My tempo miles felt good, easy even, indicating I probably could have been running a bit faster than I was.

So, how sick should you be before you decided to skip a run? I don’t think there is really a specific measure. Everyone’s tolerance is different. Being stubborn, I’m a horrible example of knowing when I’m too sick. I mean, I did run a marathon with strep. Never again. Anyway, here’s my thoughts on when you should skip a run, or two, however many it takes for you to get better.

  1. Do not run if you’re vomiting or have diarrhea. If you cannot hold down liquids or food, you risk complications from severe dehydration.
  2. Don’t run if you have a fever. Your body temperature naturally rises when you exercise, which can make you more sick.
  3. Don’t run if you have body aches or symptoms below the neck such as chest heaviness.

A rule of thumb to remember, if your symptoms are from the neck up, you’re probably ok to run unless you just don’t feel like it. From the neck down, or includes a fever, skip the run and get some much needed rest.

One more note on last week. I hit the big 4-0 for the first time ever. It meant running less than a mile on Sunday night, but I couldn’t be that close to hitting 40 miles and not do it. While some think the  key to marathon success is running all.the.miles, I don’t. Quality over quantity for me. This won’t be the last time I hit 40 or more miles before Boston, but the first time was pretty exciting.

Weekly Wrap-Up:

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 9 miles w/7 at Tempo
Wednesday – Orangetheory (2.09 miles)
Thursday – 3×1600 @ 6:58 min/mile with 2 mile WU/CD (8 miles total)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 20.1 miles
Sunday -0.81 miles