My marathon training plan only has me running three days a week. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
I take that back; I know exactly how I feel about it: it both thrills me (bc I still don't love running all that much, especially when I'm doing it) and worries me (is it enough?). I'm using the Runner's World Smart Coach plan, and I'm choosing to trust in it.
My goal paces are based on my last 10k time, which wasn't a stellar performance, possibly due to running half marathons (well, one half marathon and one 20k) in each of the previous two weeks. I have definitely run faster than the paces the speedwork intervals call for...but that was when I was training for the half; I haven't trained consistently since October. I seem to do better if I set realistic (if not downright cautious) goals and work to exceed them than if I set ambitious goals...and then fail to meet them.
This was my first week of official marathon training, and here's the scoop so far:
Goal: Easy run 3 miles at 11:22
Actual: 3 miles @ 10:12 pace
Every time I run, I'm reminded to respect the distance. "Ah...'only' 3 miles..." and then I get out there and remember that no matter how short the run is and how easy the pace is, running does NOT come easy to me! The other thing I'm always reminded is to keep going. After the first two miles it felt much better. Note: took the hillier route in our neighborhood and concentrated on "float up the hill". I'm not sure what that means, but it helped.
Goal: Tempo run: 1 mi w/u, 3 miles @ 9:45, 1 mi c/d
Actual: w/u (10:05), mi 1 (9:24), mi 2 (9:24), mi 3 (9:27), c/d (10:48)
This was another one that started off rough. If I quit running as soon as it felt unpleasant, I'd never make it past my driveway. Halfway through the warmup mile, I was telling myself it's ok...just run the 5 miles...it's ok if you're too slow... Once I finished the second mile it was much better, and mile 2-2.5 actually felt good. I need to remember at the beginning that it'll get better. Mentally I'm always stronger on the back half of a run. Hopefully that'll hold true for the marathon, where I'll really need it! This ended up being a really good run.
Goal: easy 8 miles at 11:22
Actual: 8.8 trail miles @11:03 pace
This was my longest run since the River Road Race. I ran it on a trail loop. I'm triple dipping...getting in my marthon miles, taking it easier on my knees, training for the Castlewood Cup 15K and Quivering Quads half marathon (both trail events). I've been woefully unprepared for my last two trail races, and that isn't going to happen again. This way I got to add in some hills, and my hill running definitely has room for improvement.
It was cold this morning. Weather.com said 12 degrees with a -3 wind chill the first time I woke up, so I said forget that (or maybe some other f word...I'm not sure...) and went back to sleep. I dragged out the waiting process all morning and finally took off around 1. By then, the temps had warmed to a balmy 20 degrees/5 degree windchill. I wore running tights under another pair of pants, a long-sleeved compression top, a short-sleeved technical t, a fleece sweatshirt, and my jacket. Last time I wore the jacket, my fleece was soaked when I took it off. This time I used the pit zips and actually had the jacket unzipped most of the way for a lot of the run, but after the first 2.2 mile lap I ended up being too warm and taking the fleece off.
Once again, the fleece was wet on the outside. I ran the remainder of the run with the other shirts under the jacket, and it was much better except for the sweat from the jacket. So. I think I've pretty much figured out the way to go for cold weather runs. No fleece with the jacket. I'll say, though, that the REI website says the jacket is breathable, and it sure doesn't seem to be. They may get an email from me. Is it possible that I'm doing something wrong? If I can't wear a jacket right, that's just sad.
It was pretty quiet out today. I saw a total of two bicyclists on my way to the trails and two lonely cars at the (normally packet) parking area for the paved trails. There was one older couple out on "my" trails with me as well as three or four deer. Because it was so cold, the majority of the trail was nice and frozen. Most of it was clear, but there were a few spots that still had a light cover of snow.
I loved doing my long run on the trail. Granted, it was physically harder and slower than I would have been on the road or paved trail, but it's so much more interesting. The loop I run is around 2.2 miles. To break it up, I ran two loops counterclockwise (my normal direction) and two clockwise. The big news of the day is that I conquered* the hill! Ever since I started running out here in the fall, there's been a hill that I haven't been able to run the entire way up. Today, for the first time, I did--twice! (On the other hand, I have a slower time on the loop when I "run" the hill than when I walk it, but that'll get better.)
|Not actually "the" hill|
The hill above is steep enough that you can actually see its steepness in the picture, which is rare, but it's not "the hill" (though I did run this one twice as well). "The" hill is a lot longer and I've always worn down. Not today! :) Part of the loop passes along a ravine of sorts. It's interesting; on the counterclockwise loop I was able to run the whole way along the ravine. When I ran it clockwise, there was one spot where I had to stop and step across; it was too scary going in that direction.
|Narrow spot in the trail|
It's hard to tell from the picture above, but the trail is about as wide as my foot in this one spot with a fairly steep (though not overly long) drop to the right. I stopped to take this picture, put away my phone, and almost lost my balance. Nice. Then, about 4 feet further along (thankfully on a wider spot in the trail), I slipped and fell. My first fall of 2011...and not the last, I'm sure. Landed on my butt, so plenty of padding. :)
None of my 2.2 mile splits were particularly impressive. Lap 1 was 23:54, Lap 2 was 23:49, Lap 3 was 24:46, and lap 4 was 24:50. I did stop a couple of times to take a quick picture, but the time lost was negligible. I'm interested to see if I pick up some speed if I run my long runs out here regularly. I did take a GU (Vanilla Bean...mmmm) halfway through. I would have been fine without it (never did any fueling during any of my HM training long runs), but I figure I'll be needing some sort of fueling strategy when I run the marathon and had better start figuring out what works for me.
|Still smiling, no body parts lost to frostbite. :)|