Last week was a great start to my Shamrock training! I definitely realized I’ve gotten a bit out of running shape, so my runs were slower than I wanted, but I felt great that I got every workout in. Doing all my runs up in cold, snowy Syracuse with holiday fun mixed in, I was fairly certain I’d be making some excuses for taking an extra day off, but instead just got out there and did it!
Here’s the day-by-day breakdown:
Monday: I put in just more than 3 easy miles followed by a P90X ab workout and a leg workout that included lots of lunges, squats and single-leg work as well.
Tuesday: Today I hit the hills working six 1/4 mile hill repeats into my 4+ mile run.
Wednesday: Similar to Monday, I got in just more than 3 miles followed by a tough leg workout. Then I enjoyed Christmas dinner!
Thursday: Rest Day.
Friday: I was back at it today for a tempo run close to 4.5 miles.
Saturday: After doing battle with various tech projects in my parents house all morning then watching the ‘cuse game, I managed to sneak in a quick 3+ miles around the old neighborhood.
Sunday: I somehow got myself out of bed before daylight and put in about 9.5 miles. With temps in the mid-30s and no wind/snow, this turned out to be one of the best days of the week for a run!
I got back on track last week after being slowed by some blisters the week before and felt like it was a great week of training. I also got myself a deep tissue massage midweek, which left my legs feeling recharged and ready for the rest of the week. I ran 27.38 total miles this week. Here’s the day by day training breakdown…
Monday: Spin Class in the morning followed by a strength workout.
Tuesday: Today’s speed day included hill work. I put in 6.1 miles total with 8 sprints up the hill next to Arlington Cemetery by the Iwo Jima Memorial and Netherlands Carillon Bell Tower.
Looking down at the first part of the hill – MCM finish line hill
Arlington Cemetery – certainly puts things in perspective running past this
second stretch of the hill up to the bell tower
View from the top of the hill
Wednesday: I hit up an early endurance spin class at Revolve followed by a strength workout. I had a snowday today since the federal government closed and tried to go to my gym at the apartment after calling into a conference call only to find it too was closed even though we hadn’t gotten any actual snow. I guess you can’t be happy about getting out of one things and upset about another being closed over the same reason though! I don’t think the 30 or so minutes I planned to spend on the elliptical will make or break my training!
Thursday: After last week’s disastrous tempo run I was a bit nervous about this one. I also just really didn’t feel like working out. I almost got back into bed even after getting into my gym clothes, but instead dragged myself to the gym and figured I’d see how far I could get. I’m sure glad I did. I ran 7.31 miles starting out with a mile warm-up at an 8-minute pace, then started the tempo portion at a 7:35 pace working my way up to 7:30 before cooling down back at my 8-minute pace. I left feeling great and ready to take on anything that day. You’ve gotta love workouts like that!
Friday: Rest Day.
Saturday: I got up bright and early Saturday to get my long run in before the day’s festivities started. My parents were in town and we had tickets for the Syracuse – Georgetown game which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment, but I knew I’d have to get that run in before the drinks started pouring at the noon game! It was an absolutely beautiful day for a run. It was still in the 30s when I set off, but the sun was shining and it felt warmer. I ran through Georgetown onto Rock Creek Parkway and looped around Hains Point before heading home over the Memorial Bridge. I came in just shy of 11 miles at 10.72 miles in 90 minutes for about an 8:24 pace and felt great the whole way.
Sunday: I only had a 3-miler on tap today, but I ended up splitting it up around my personal training session. I ran 2.5 easy miles up to my client’s house and then 3/4 of a mile back to a bike share dock to ride the rest of the way home after our session for a total of 3.25 miles. I did this as a progression run making each mile a little faster than the next, but it was mostly an easy uphill run.
Week three on my training schedule for the Nike Women’s D.C. Half was a fall back week so it was a bit easier than normal weeks and it came at a good time. I came down with a little bit of a cold so I wasn’t feeling great and I also had travel plans over the weekend, so it was nice not to have to worry about a couple tough runs over the weekend. I ran 12.43 miles last week. Here’s the day by day training breakdown…
Monday: Spin Class in the morning followed by a strength workout. Those early morning classes sure are a lot easier when you have the day off and can come home and go back to bed afterwards!
Tuesday: I was up early to get in a speed session running hill repeats before an early morning personal training session with a client. Fortunately it wasn’t too cold out as I charged up the Wilson Boulevard Hill from Rhodeside to Four Courts seven times in the middle of my 5.25 mile run.
Wednesday: Today was supposed to be a cross training day, but I had another personal training session planned for Thursday morning that was going to get in the way of my tempo run so I gave back-to-back speed days a shot. This was tougher than I expected and I struggled through just a 30-minute tempo run mid-afternoon at the office gym. I got in 4.08 miles starting at an 8-minute pace and reaching a 6:58 pace by the end. I usually don’t count my first 8 minutes at an 8-minute pace as part of my tempo pace, but just wasn’t feeling it today and let it count as part of the 30 minutes. I followed the run up with a strength workout.
Thursday: My PT session ended up getting cancelled, so instead of biking there and from there to work as the day’s cross training, I decided to hit my apartment gym early and put in 30 minutes on the stepper.
Friday: Rest Day.
Saturday: 30 minutes on the elliptical in my parent’s basement. This made me crave a treadmill in my own apartment even more – so nice to not have to go elsewhere to workout especially when you’re not feeling great.
Sunday: My Mom got me a guest pass to the Y she belongs to. It’s an awesome gym just down the road from their house and I’m always bummed that it wasn’t there until after I left for college. I was planning on 3.1 today and knew I couldn’t go as fast as usual since I was still a tad congested, but got a pretty good run in starting at an 8-minute pace and working my way down to 7:19 by the end. I’m ready to get back into the full swing of things next week after a good recharge week.
My February focus is all about getting my speed back, so I’m getting two speed sessions in a week as part of my half marathon training. When I think of speed workouts I immediately think track and tempo workouts, but my Hal Higdon training plan alternates each week between a track workout and a hill workout for the first month and a half. In a sick kind of way I actually enjoy running hills and love that they make me faster and stronger.
Earlier this week I did my first hill workout after a few mile warm up near the Iwo Jima Memorial running the hill next to Arlington Cemetery up to the Netherlands Carillon Bell Tower. My fellow Marine Corps Marathon alumni know this hill as the finish line. I like using this hill for workouts because it reminds me of finishing my marathons there (although that race turns right half way up this hill), and will hopefully give me confidence to charge up it and finish strong when I tackle the marathon there this year. I took on the MCM hill six times before a short cool down and returning home to start my day. I was beat but also felt great at the same time.
When I run hills I focus on what’s right in front of me instead of looking up the hill at what I have ahead. I try to shorten my stride a little and lean into it. I love this Runner’s World video where Bart Yasso says to think about running with your “nose over your toes” so that you don’t lean too far back or too far forward. I also pump my arms to pull myself up and really focus on engaging my glutes as I crank out the repeats.
Check out this great RunWashington article on hill training for some more advice on how to use hills to improve your speed.
I tackled the MCM hill six times this week and am already thinking about my next hill workout. If you’re in the DC/NoVa area, do you have any good hills I should try and run? Do you use hill workouts as part of your race training?
I ran out of time after my morning workout, so I tried to get some pics after work yesterday. I got out later than expected and ran out of light so these aren’t the greatest shots, but here it is…
Bottom of part 1 of the hill – much nicer when construction isn’t happening.
Looking up at Part 2. For the first 5 I ran in the street and headed up the slightly steeper path for number 6 to lead right into my cooldown.
Looking down from the top of the 2nd part of the hill.
Wow, how is the first month of 2013 already done? I still haven’t gotten used to writing 2013 instead of 2012 yet…I have a feeling this year is going to fly. With the start of a new month, I figured it’d be a good time to check back in and see how I’m doing with my New Year’s resolutions.
My big January focus was core and I had a goal of completing my P90X Ab Ripper workout five times per week. I beat my own expectations on this one, getting through the Ab Ripper workout every day last month. Going back to December I’m up to 34 straight days beating my previous longest streak of 31. It’s becoming a normal part of my daily routine now, so most days I just get up and do it without thinking or stressing too much about it. I’m hoping to keep this up as I know a stronger core will only make everything else I do easier.
Getting healthy was another resolution for the year and I’m off to a great start. I’m officially done with physical therapy, and am on my way to getting stronger. I’m sticking with my strength and stretching routines so I give myself the best possible chance to not end up injured again.
Drinking less soda was also on the list and I’ve had good weeks and bad weeks on this one. I started out the year strong telling myself I wouldn’t drink any soda Monday through Thursday. I made it through the first week and all the way through Wednesday of the following week. It probably hasn’t helped that I’ve been getting up much earlier than normal and exercising in the morning a lot more than I used to, leaving me a bit sleepy when my midday craving for a caffeine boost hits. After several early mornings that second week, I was up even earlier for a 4:30 wake up call to make a group run that Thursday morning, and I caved at lunch giving into my soda craving and falling back into my soda-a-day routine for the most part after that. I’ve tried drinking diet soda since I hate the taste so much thinking that I’d stop drinking it if I didn’t like it, but I just started to get used to the taste…yuck! Oh well, I’ll try again this month!
I obviously can’t realize my big goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon until my October marathon, but getting back my speed is going to be my big February focus. I’ve built a great base of fitness over the last five weeks or so completing mostly easy paced runs and a lot of cross training. Now it’s time to crank it up a notch. My goal for this month is to complete two speed sessions a week whether it’s at the track, running hill intervals or tempo runs.
Smiling after getting home from last week’s track workout – need to remember that post workout feeling so I keep getting out there for speed sessions!
How are you doing on your resolutions? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!