It’s time for a training recap! I’m five weeks into my 16 week One City Marathon training plan and feeling great. I was a little bit nervous kicking things off because the mileage of this plan is higher than I’ve ever faced before early on. Even with the extra miles each week, I feel fresher, stronger and more ready to run than this same time last year. Here are the lessons I learned between crossing 2016’s finish line and starting to work towards 2017 that are making all the difference.
Run easy. I have a hard, hard time taking it easy. I can run faster, so why aren’t I? Running hard or medium hard all the time really hurt my training last year. There’s a definite struggle on my recovery runs to keep the pace as gentle as it should be but I’m learning to like it. Joining multiple weekly group runs and slowing down to chat has helped me immensely.
Eat more. After reviewing last year’s early training recap with a focus on what I was eating, I realized I was probably not eating enough. Based on the higher intensity of most workouts at that time, my caloric intake was lower than it should have been. I definitely paid in soreness and exhaustion. This cycle I’m doing a much better job of getting the types and numbers of calories I need.
More salad. A big part of those extra calories is more veggies. I talked about cleaner eating earlier this year and it’s paying off. Crappy food isn’t even mildly appealing anymore (mostly). There’s always cake or pizza for a treat. And beer, of course!
Lift less. Last year’s training recap feature some pretty heavy weights a little too often. Since I still love my time in the gym and won’t give it up, I’ve compromised with myself. I’m lifting based on last year’s numbers and not going for any power or Olympic lifting PRs. Lots of variety is keeping me challenged, and sore, so I know it’s helping me out without hindering my ability to perform on quality running workouts.
My legs feel great and my recovery is faster than ever before. I’m feeling very positive about how the rest of this training cycle will go.
How often do you do a training recap? Do you find it helpful?
Performing well at anything, whether it’s a test in school, a race on the road or an off the cuff speech, takes mental preparation. While planning is an important part of each of those instances, you also need to be ready for the unexpected. I’ll be going more in depth into this idea on the East Coast Run Project blog next week (sign up to get it here!) but right now I’ll tell you how it helped me rock Week 4’s long run.
My fourth week of marathon training called for a long run of 18 miles. With my client training schedule my morning, when I prefer to do long runs, schedule have me two options. Thursday or Saturday. Either day, the weather looked nasty and my body would be tired. Thursday would be chilly with temperatures in the mid-30s and winds over 20mph with gale warnings. Saturday would be significantly warmer, mid-50s but still be windy (no gale warning) and, to step it up, a 90% chance of rain.
Naturally I opted for Thursday. With only one bridge to cross I much preferred a strong headwind to soaking wet shoes. A finish fast long run, I was concerned the wind would take too much out of me to really have the high quality workout I was looking for. So I started my mental preparation. I steeled my nerves for a cold, challenging run. I visualized an average pace somewhere between my 8:10 goal and my ‘this sucks and is really hard’ pace of anything below 8:40. Over and over on Wednesday I said to myself that I could do it no matter how tough it got.
And you know what happened? IT WAS AWESOME. Aside from almost being blown into traffic on that aforementioned bridge. I was plenty warm in my layers. The wind was mostly quieter than predicted. Instead of the constant struggle I prepared for the wind was gusty. Thanks to that big tailwind my finish fast was actually extremely fast!
I felt amazing the last mile. The run I had expected to be brutal was, in fact, fantastic. I’m so glad I took the time to do my mental preparation. It really paid off and was great practice for race day.
What’s your mental preparation routine? Do you have a positive mantra and what it is?!
It’s Week 4 of marathon training but instead of basking in the lovely miles I’ve been ticking off I’m celebrating my job. As you know, I’m a running coach, personal trainer, otherwise motivator and I love it. There are lots of advantages to loving the work you do. Less stress, more excitement and more satisfaction on a daily basis are just a few. There are plenty of other things I could do and I’d probably even make lots more money but I wouldn’t have nearly as much fun. Settling for something tolerable and being unhappy for 40 or more hours a week just doesn’t sit with me.
Yes, it’s hard getting up before the sun most days of the year. Standing out in the cold and 20 mile an hour winds isn’t always awesome either. Figuring out how to build and run a business without any full time help is a challenge all its own. At the end of every single day, however, it’s worth the cold toes and horrible sock tans. Here’s why:
Improvement. I have clients with all different backgrounds and abilities. It really doesn’t matter where they start. Seeing them want to put in the work it takes to be better is all it takes. That’s why Team ECRP‘s motto is #DestinationFaster, not Destination 5 Minute Mile. Who cares how fast you are right now if you’re ready to work hard and get better? It’s pretty much everything when I receive an email from a newly faster runner that reads “If I never run again, Meredith, I want you to know today’s run was the best run ever and it would not have happened without your help…Thank you!”
If that doesn’t make you think you’re doing the right thing, I don’t know what will. I am so proud of my athletes when they find success. That’s why I’m celebrating my job this week. An email like that gets you through the challenging sessions and is a great reminder that so matter where someone starts they can always try to be better. It’s an honor to watch people work hard for their goals and even better to guide them on their journeys.
Do you celebrate your job and what’s your favorite thing about it?
It’s Week 3 of marathon training and things are rolling along nicely. I’m feeling good after two weeks of increasing mileage and have two more to go before a down week. One thing about this year’s most ambitious training plan yet is that I’m tying it to my Unbeatable Mind training. While I am far from unbeatable yet, I am seeing and feeling some big differences from how I felt last year early on.
Even with more miles on the calendar each week I’m more relaxed and flexible about what’s coming my way. I’ll get the miles on the treadmill if I have to, in the middle of the night if I have to and at the end of the day, it’s all going to be fine. Unless, of course, I get injured.
Which I might be on my way to but hopefully not. I’ve had some funkiness going on with my right ankle or glute or Achilles that I warm up out of some days. It’s definitely muscular and I’m trying different things to see what shakes it out the fastest. Extra glute activation during my warm up, extra stretching of the calves and sometimes just loosening my shoe lace for a minute all help. I’m making a big effort to listen to my body and figure out what it needs.
That’s how I can tell my Unbeatable training is making a difference. I’m not freaking out. There’s no desperate search for a quick fix. I have a long way to go in both marathon training and mind training. I’ll get to the finish but I want to be injury free when I arrive. For now I’ll pay close attention to what works best to get me going on each run and stick with it.
Do you ever over reacted to or ignored to a potential injury and what helps you be Unbeatable?