Marathon Training IN THE WINTER …..

How hard is it for you to stay motivated thru the winter?  If you have a spring marathon on the calendar like the Garmin Marathon or the Flying Pig Marathon, then you don’t have many options other than to keep yourself moving.  But that doesn’t mean you have to pound out the same hard miles, in the same hard way that you would do in the spring and summer months.  Maybe change it up a bit and try something new?  Something that might get you out of the cold and onto the treadmill or indoor track when the wind chill slips below zero or the snow is flying so hard that those oncoming cars can’t even make out your reflective vest?

  Kara Roy (black jacket) and Jennifer Lee (blue jacket) run down Mountain Avenue in a snowstorm.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my snowy runs but I can’t run a quality workout when I have to worry about my footing.  So I save my easy, fun, social runs for outdoors when the snow is flying.  Then I take my hard, fast runs inside where it’s safer.  I also shorten my training cycle and lower the number of days I run each week.  I focus on power and speed and strength.   This does a few things.  1)  Helps me to avoid burnout.  2)  Makes me FOCUS on the runs that I have on the schedule each week.  3)  Allows me some free time for cross training and/or weight work.   Winter workouts are important.  This is the time to work on the areas of your fitness that need extra attention.  Strength?  I need more of this and it’s definitely something I’ll be focusing on this winter.  My goal is 2 strength workouts each week.

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Nutrition?  How is this going for you?  I was doing GREAT before the holidays.  I had lost 12#s, then I got sick, did the holidays, ran a 50K & a couple marathons, now I’ve gained 5 of those lbs back and am facing down 16#s which I need to lose before I crush the Garmin Marathon in April.  So part of my winter marathon training is focusing on my nutrition AND making sure I am getting adequate water intake each and every day.  Lean proteins.  Fruits & veggies.  Healthy fats.  Whole grains.  Water.

salad & protein  water

Rest?  You betcha!  I’ll be honest; I’m tired.  So freaking tired.  I know I’ve ran a lot of miles lately but I’m also just a poor sleeper.  And I’ve been sick.  I’m definitely run down in more than one way.  I’m good about getting my vitamin c and other vitamins that help strengthen my immune system but nothing makes up for sleep.  Maybe the winter nights are longer for a reason?  Take advantage of the darkness and get some extra shuteye.  Sleep repairs your muscles, helps build your immune system and makes you feel better!  Don’t skip the sleep or you’ll pay for it later.  This week I’m dragging.  Do I need to swim in the mornings?  Yes.  Do I need to rest more than I need to swim this week?  Yes.  So I’m sleeping in and I’ll worry about how fast (or slow) I swim next week.  Priorities. 

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Marathon training is about so much more than the miles you log.  As you age, you may also notice that your body just can’t take the pounding that was once the norm.  That’s when you start to develop aches and pains that lead to injuries OR you can shuffle the deck and change the way you train.  Change can be for the better.  I’m mixing things up this winter.  I’m going to step back on my miles a bit and focus more on quality.  One long run, one tempo, one speed.  I’ve mentioned it before but I use the FIRST Run Less Run Faster app on my iPhone to plan my workouts.  It was a $2.99 download but I’ve used the program so many times that it’s paid for itself.  This certainly won’t replace a coach if you can afford one but a coach isn’t in my budget, a $2.99 app I can justify.  Smile  I’m looking forward to picking up the pace this winter.  It’s always hard for me when I start this plan.  I can never hit the numbers initially but as I build strength, speed and confidence, I’m always amazed at where it can take me. 

** Happy Running, All! ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Running, “What’s the Plan?”

I haven’t talked much about running as of late but if you know me, then there probably wasn’t any doubt about whether I’ve been logging miles.  The run is my first fitness love and to be honest, if I gave up everything else, I probably wouldn’t be able to give up the run. 

That being said, there is a reason as to why I haven’t been talking about it much.  I’m currently running a “do as I say, not as I do” training plan so haven’t wanted to say too much about it.   I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.  No need to tell me it won’t work.  I’ve done this all my life in some shape or form long enough that I’m okay with trial and error since I don’t get paid no matter how fast I run.  If doesn’t work out, then there are a billion races down the road for which I can revise a plan and try something different.  No worries! 

When I returned to running last fall after rehabbing the tendon in my foot, I had a lot of disappointing races.  I had somewhere along the way either lost my speed or my guts drive to run as fast as I could when I toed the line.  So I backed off.  What’s the point of going to a race and being disappointed?  I mean really, I pay to race, so it should be fun.  I want to walk away happy.  So I backed off and kept things social and fun for the last six months.  I focused on biking and triathlon and not so much running hard.  I had a lot of races hit my calendar on which I hadn’t originally planned.  I knew if I attempt to “race” them all then I truly would end up racing none.  So I picked a goal race, which just so happens to be where I’ve ran my fastest half to date, the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon in Fort Wayne, IN.  This is my “hometown” race, if there is such a thing.  I get to go home, spend time with my family, see lots of high school run friends and it just generally makes me happy to be there.  The race is always at the end of September and I haven’t been able to go for the last couple of years because of conflicts with Aby’s Cross Country schedule.  No conflicts this year!  We are heading to “The Fort” next weekend to race!!

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When I realized we could go this year, I immediately started to think about the fact that I’m ten pounds over race weight running fast .  I fully acknowledged to myself that my full race/training schedule, along with Aby’s schedule, life/home, work/commuting created a bit of a conflict with my goal to run a fast half marathon.  I needed a race plan and I needed one fast.  I was TRI training and eventually had to give in and start marathon training but still needed to focus on some speed.  So I improvised.  I’ve been using the FIRST (Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training) Run Less Run Faster app on my iPhone since the dog ate the actual book.  I was using the app for a marathon training plan but quickly revised it to a half plan and tweaked the numbers to hit my goal pace.  Not the way it’s supposed to work.  The app (or book if you own it) spits out a plan tailored to your CURRENT fitness level based on recent race times.  I knew my recent race times were not truly indicative of my fitness or ability level.  So I improvised.  And I kept it quiet.

Once a week I’ve been working on speed, from the training app.  Once a week I’ve been running a fast tempo, from the training app.  Once a week, I deviate from the plan and run long and slow to ensure that I’ll be ready to tackle 26.2 miles at the Chicago Marathon on October 13th. 

It’s almost time to see if this little experiment will work.  I’ve got nothing to lose.  I know that nobody will be disappointed if I don’t “run fast” but I’m ready to run with my heart on my sleeve and TRY to push the pace for 13.1 miles.  As insurance, I went out on a really long and shaky limb and contacted someone who will be running and gunning for the same goal pace (1:50:xx) as myself.  This will keep me honest and hopefully if I start to cry slack, I’ll get a reality check and sharp “suck it up, cupcake” to kick my ass back into gear. 

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I haven’t ran fast for a long time.  I’m scared.  Yet I’m also excited.  The fast tempo runs have given me just enough confidence to believe that I might, just might be able to do this  ….  but only time will tell.  8 days and the results will be written in black and white.

First I have to get thru this weekend!  I have a crazy double, which I’m mentally telling myself will be good prep for the Dopey Challenge in January!  Women Rock Chicago Half on Saturday.  F’N 20 Mile Run on Sunday.  I plan to run both slow and relaxed.  Then it will be mostly R&R next week so I will be rested and  READY TO RUN my ass off at Fort4Fitness.

** Don’t Let Fear of Failure Paralyze YOU  **  Amanda – TooTallFritz  **

Fitting It All In ….

Life is busy.  For everyone.  For some, more so than others.  I won’t bore you with the details of how crazy busy I am but will give you an idea of how my week looks on the “Finish It” type marathon plan, with a little “extra” added in to finish out my TRI season.  I know that many of you are aspiring for BQs or definitive finish times but I’m not at a point in my life where I’m able willing to do what it takes for those results.  I encourage everyone to take a step back, be honest and look at their individual circumstances before making a definitive goal or training plan.   If your honest with yourself, usually the path is clear.

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In a typical week, I follow the plan below.  That being said, there are weeks where it doesn’t happen for a multitude of reasons.  Plus, if I have a twinge of pain or I know a muscle is tweaked, I play it safe.  I don’t get paid to run or TRI, these activities are hobbies in which I participate for fun and fitness.  There is nothing fun or fit about being injured.  In fact, I speak from experience when I say that injuries suck.  So for me, the answer is to listen to my body.

MondayAM – Rest.  Weekends are hard and getting back to reality is even harder.  I plan to sleep in on Monday mornings so that I don’t feel guilty about skipping a workout.  PM – Speed work on the treadmill.  I use the iPhone app for the FIRST training plan that is associated with the Run Less Run Faster book.  I plug in my numbers and it spits out a training plan based upon a three day run week.  Perfect amount of run days with TRI training.  Plus the app is much easier to comprehend than trying to read the torn up hard copy of the book that my Weim ate last spring. 

Libby_pillows_Aug 2013

TuesdayAM – 5 am CrossFit. PM – Swim (goal is to swim 1 mile or more)

WednesdayAM – Tempo Run.  PM – Bike.  If life gets in the way, the tempo moves to evening and I skip the bike.

Thursday – AM – 5 am CrossFit.  PM – Swim (but this usually gets skipped.  Time is always an issue).

FridayAM – Long Bike

Saturday – AM – Long Run

Sunday – Rest.  If all is well with the family and I feel decent then I go out for  recovery ride on the bike.  It’s a REALLY good day if I get to fit in a recovery ride.  Makes me super happy.  Smile

Yes, I’m obviously on a finish it plan.  I won’t be winning anything by spreading myself out like this but I’m doing my best, with my schedule to balance the family, the job, the commute, the swim, the bike, the run & making an attempt to get stronger with CrossFit.   Don’t ask me about training bricks because they don’t exist only happen a couple times a year.

Look at your schedule and plan your week.  When you have a plan, it’s easier to make it happen.  Is it necessary to check everything off the list, each and every week?  No.  But it’s easier to make adjustments when you have direction. 

** Finishing IS Winning ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **