Twin Cities Training Part II: Cross-training

I am a runner. I love to run. I generally only run. On my non-run days I’m guilty of being lazy. Just like I have been with blogging lately. I have some many updates from Anderson at a year to moving again, etc. Anyway, back to my exercise laziness. I’ve always start my training plans with the best intentions. I tell myself that I will do some weights, swim or bike. Do something on my off days to keep my body in motion and help use my muscles in a new way. Most of the time this falls by the wayside quickly. I know I need to do it and all the benefits, but life happens.

Since joining a gym here, I’ve been determined to actually cross-train. The gym offered Spinning, HIIT and yoga classes. They were oddly scheduled but with free childcare, I had no excuse to try to get to something before the kids naps. Lately I’ve been taking at least one spin class a week and doing the HIIT class once a week. So far Spinning is my favorite. It gets my heart pumping and offers low impact, really no impact, training. When I’m really looking to wear myself out, I take the class after my long run.

The high intensity interval training is fun too, but I feel like there is little focus on making sure form is correct. Because we bounce from movement to movement so fast, I’ve found myself spending more time trying to see what the next move is when we’ve just started one, than looking at what I’m doing. A few weeks ago this resulting in a sore knee, which is a huge problem for my training. Luckily it was fine by the time I tackled 20 miles last weekend. Now that I have my kettlebells, free weights and Jillian Michaels DVDs back, i think I’ll skipping the HIIT class.

I think cross-training has been really beneficial this training cycle. I’m healthy and feel strong. Though I haven’t done as many intervals as my plan prescribes, I feel like I’m maintaining speed. I find myself having to actively monitor my pace during long runs to make sure I’m not running too fast. The last several miles of my 20 miler last weekend, we all between 8:30-8:50 pace. Some of that I attribute to extra conditioning.

My routine is off ever so slightly right now because we’ve moved to our new house and the gym in now 25 minutes away. Our membership is valid through September, so I’m going to keep trekking down to Minnetonka before we join a gym near home. The marathon is a month from tomorrow! I cannot believe it. I have only two more longer runs (16 and 22 miles) until it’s taper time. I’m getting so excited!

Twin Cities Training Part I

In the midst of the craziness of moving, I decided that it was the perfect time to train for another marathon. I needed something to make me excited to be in Minnesota. I know I said I never wanted to do it again in the last few miles of my last marathon, but I haven’t met my sub-4 hour goal just yet. It’s like a carrot dangling just out of reach.

The runners I know told me how amazing the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon course and crowd support are, so I started to consider it. During my birthday weekend when I was talking to my friend Kirsten about it, she convinced me to stop talking about it and just register. So I did, right then.

That was a few months ago and here I am with 10 weeks until the race. Training is going well – for the most part. I am using the Less is More plan that I used for Nike Women’s. My body responds so much better to three runs a week. My plan includes a tempo, interval and long run every week. I’ve been killing my paces and getting in some hill workouts now that I live in a valley – there is no avoiding them though this chart makes me feel like a wimp. They don’t look so bad.

fav route

Week day runs are easy to tackle. I try to do my tempo runs outside unless it’s too dark or raining. Intervals I typically do on the treadmill so that I can keep my paces where they should be. Unfortunately for me, when I’ve tried intervals the past few weeks, my knee has started pulling. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s uncomfortable enough that it stops me immediately. I think it’s due to super tight IT bands and the fact that I always carry Anderson on my right hip, leaving my hips a bit uneven. I’m taking a few weeks off of intervals and then slowly adding them back in. Luckily I have time to work on speed before the race and the pulling only happens on the treadmill during intervals.

One of the biggest things that I’ve had to get used to is humidity. It is amazing to me how hard a run can feel when it’s humid. It’s like running with a blanket around me. I’m prone to overheating anyway, but the humidity makes it worse. I think it if I didn’t have a group of ladies waiting for me on the weekends, I’d be running inside a lot more.

Speaking of the ladies, I joined a great running group Moms Run This Town. They have runs or walks just about every day of the week. I only make it to the weekend runs right now, but am looking forward to doing some week day runs once we move into our new house in Maple Grove. I look forward to my long runs knowing that I will have some company. A few other women are also training for Twin Cities at similar paces so I’m in good company, even on muggy Saturday mornings.

Mother Runners

A lot of the women live in or near our new neighborhood so that is really exciting. We’ve even had a few playdates for the kids with happy hours planned soon. I need some new friends too.

Long runs are going really well. At conversation pace, we’re still averaging 8:45-9 min/miles, the 9 min pace typically includes a few walk breaks. To get a sub-4 marathon, I need to average a 9:09 or faster pace. Right now I really think it is a possibility. I just need to make sure to take care of my knee so that I’m healthy.

On non-running days I’m cross-training. I finally joined a gym since we have another month before we move again. I went to my first Spinning class which I really liked and am going to try out a few strength classes this week. If I don’t make it to the gym, I’m busy pushing the kids up and down the hills in the stroller and climbing stairs in the building. It counts right?

This week will be my longest run since the marathon over a year and a half ago – 17 miles. I’m thinking about starting at 5:30 am to avoid some of the humidity, as 6:15 was just not early enough last weekend. It will be interesting to do my 18 mile run in Denver when we go home in a few weeks. I have a feeling the altitude is going to kick my butt.

Who else is training? How’s it going?