Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Training Check-in : Halfway

It's hard to believe, but I'm already at the halfway point of my marathon training!  This is week eight on my schedule, which means I have eight weeks to go!  I wanted to check in today to share how my training is going, including a recap of my mileage and workouts, what's working, and what needs to change in the second half.



Recap of Mileage


Total Miles: 184.95

Long Runs: 79 miles, ranging from 5 to 17 miles.  Average pace 9:22


My long runs were all on the river trail or at North Park.


Easy Runs: 72.7 miles, ranging from 3 to 6.2 miles


My easy runs are all over the place- Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Roads, Trails, Treadmills - basically anywhere and everywhere!


Speed Workouts: 33.25 miles, ranging from 4.5 to 6.75 miles


Some of the speed workouts that I did include:
- Mile repeats (average pace of 8:00)
- Tempo runs (average pace of 8:10)
- Marathon pace runs (average pace of 9:00)
- Ladder workouts (average pace of 6:51)


Cross Training: Usually twice per week


I've tried a lot of different classes for cross training, including:
Group Centergy
Group Power
Swimming
Spinning
Group Core
Yoga


Races: None.
I was signed up for two races, but I chickened out with the weather on both.


What's working for me


Listening to Podcasts:
I love listening to podcasts at the beginning of long runs, or during my warm-ups for speed work.  This helps to keep my pace slower when I start out.  Once I start to get tired (or start my speed work), I switch on music and that helps to give me a burst of energy when I need it the most!  You can see a list of podcasts that I love in this post.



Recovery:
I've been focusing on making recovery a priority.  After every run, I stretch out (doing a lot of my favorite yoga moves), foam roll (I have this one), drink tart cherry juice, and hydrate with an alpha amino acid drink.  Whenever I have issues popping up (this time around it's been my back that's giving my problems) I also use a heating pad.  This is great for large muscle groups that are really tight and sore.  For smaller areas or more acute pain, I'll use ice and compression socks.



Believing in myself and getting support:
A marathon is a huge challenge, and coming into this training cycle I was really nervous.  My previous two full marathons were both disasters, so I thought I wasn't cut out for the distance.  After really great training cycles for two half marathons last year, I decided to give it another go, and so far it's been great!  I realized that I need to believe in myself and forget about the mistakes I've made in the past, and focus on being stronger in the future.


I've also gotten a lot of support from fellow runners.  I think that we can all relate to having those negative thoughts, or feelings that we can't do something.  My friend Sokphal gave me some great advice the other day after my 17 miler, including this gem- "You are always stronger than you think you are".  That's going to be my mantra for the rest of training- so simple and powerful.


Cleaning up my eating:
I talked enough about the magic of Whole30 enough, so I'll keep this short (if you want to read more, make sure you check out my Whole30 recap!).  Changing how I eat has completely transformed my life and my running for the better, and I think it's a big reason why my times are getting faster and my recovery is better than ever!




What to improve


Longer mid-week runs:
So far, I've been shortening my mid-week runs.  There's been a lot going on in my life lately- from house hunting to wedding planning- so most of the time I'm just trying to squeeze in a few miles before I have to head off somewhere.  I'm hoping that most of the hard work is behind me, and I can start to add miles onto these easy runs.  I'm also able to start running before work now, which should help free up time!


More consistent cross training:
I've been all over the place with cross training.  Some weeks I'll do an activity pretty much every day, and other weeks I completely skip it.  I would like to get into a routine for these final eight weeks, and hopefully include swimming and core as my main activities.  I also see huge improvements when I go to group power, so I want to prioritize that as well!


Races:
I mentioned above that I skipped my two races that I had scheduled so far this year.  Of course, the worst weather days happened to fall on those days, so I'm trying to not beat myself up about missing.  Heading into the second half of training, though, I want to make sure I get in some races to practice race-day fueling and paces.  I have a few scheduled right now, so I'm hoping nothing catastrophic happens!

linking up with Tuesdays on the Run and Training for Tuesday
post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for your support!

How is your training going?
Does anyone else have a mantra when they're running?
What can you improve for the rest of your training cycle?

35 comments:

  1. I'm making slow but steady progress, but I think that we are still a few weeks off from running over land. Which is beyond frustrating, but I have to listen to my body. I am capable, I can do this and wait and do the right thing for my body.
    You are kicking ass and taking names!

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  2. Love posts like this, Gretch! And so impressive to see how much you've accomplished in so little time! Particularly appreciate your "what's working for me" as those are great tips for me to try. Best of luck in the coming months - keep being amazing!

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    1. Thank you Emma! And I'm glad that these tips work for you as wel!

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  3. Yeah, you're killing it right now. I have NO doubts in my mind that you are going to majorly PR and I'm so excited for it! That 30k sounds really fun too you're going to have to tell me more about it! I still use my mantra from high school track and cross country which is "I'm fit, I'm strong, I'm tough" and it's less about the actual words and more about a distraction although it does remind me of the work I've put in and that my goal time is based on what I am in shape to accomplish!

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    1. Aw you're making me blush Margaret! I LOVE that mantra..I can picture myself repeating those three phrases over and over as I slam into the wall during my race ;)

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  4. Oh My god! I was telling my fiancé we are 8 weeks away! and all of the sudden we wanted to just run and do nothing but running.... but then we realized we were hungry and needed some sleep.

    I think my new mantra has become "I can do this!" I feel that only positive thoughts will do from this point forward.

    Great work on all your training!

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    1. HAHA hunger does get in the way of running, huh? Love your positive thoughts! Keep it up!

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  5. Love everything about this! You are killing it! I'm really impressed with your dedication to recovery and cross training. These are areas where I always need improvement.

    I can't believe you are already half way through your training. You are going to have an amazing race, I just know it.

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    1. Thanks Heather! I can improve on that as well!

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  6. You are rocking your training so far! You've got this!

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  7. It's halfway already?!? Crazy! You're doing SO well. I can't believe how nice your tracks are down there. Canadian tracks are sad, pathetic things.

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    1. Yes, I am definitely spoiled. This particular track is less than a mile from me, and was turfed (is that a word? They laid down turf over gravel) about 5 years ago, so it's still in amazing shape! In general, all of our tracks are great which is surprising with our unpredictable weather!

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  8. Your first half of your training went great, congrats! It sounds like you're well on your way. Juggling running during the week has been tough for me too, but I just take things one week at a time.

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    1. That's a great way to look at it! Keep looking forward.

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  9. Glad to hear your training is going well so far! I'm not currently training for a race so focusing on my strength training. When I do start training for my marathon, I need to work on keeping up the strength training. I know it makes such a difference to my running when my whole body is stronger, but in past training cycles I've struggled to incorporate strength training. I'm determined to be stricter with myself this year!

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    1. Thanks Michelle! It's always great to focus on weak areas when you're not training. I hope you can keep it up..I bet that will make a huge difference in marathon training!

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  10. That's some awesome mileage!!! I'm so glad I read this about the podcasts too - I'm about to go for a nice long hike today and needed something to listen too. Thanks!

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  11. Ooh I love the format of this post! And basically everything about it actually. The what's working/what's not sections are so crucial. It's SO hard to get in those midweek, mid-distance runs. I feel so accomplished when they're done, but man do I dread them. I'm running Big Sur the same day as your marathon - I can't believe it's getting so close! It will be here before we know it!

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    1. Thank you Tracy! I'm so happy you liked this :) I dread them too..either I have to wake up super early to run before work, or have to go out after working all day. Kind of a lose/lose situation! Good luck with your training!

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  12. The past few weeks have flown by - I can't believe you're already halfway through training! You're doing so well and I'm excited to see how the next several weeks go for you!

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    1. I can't believe it either! Thank you Laura!

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  13. ugh sorry about the weather making you miss those 2 races. not much you can do there so definitely not worth it to beat yourself up over it. if you wouldn't run it, it must be bad, because you are always running in weather i'm too chicken to run in haha.
    i hope this marathon is better than your last 2! sounds like you're pretty confident so i am sure it will be.
    i really need to get my eating in order. i don't exactly want to do the whole 30, but you have inspired me! i wish i could just make myself eat better lol. my next half marathon is just over 2 months away. i should probably start running more than 3 miles...

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    1. Thank you for all the support Kristen! I just emailed you about an eating challenge :)

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  14. Looks like you are doing well with your training. I love listening to podcasts on my long run. It really makes the time go much faster.

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    1. I completely agree. Can't believe it took me so long to do that!

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  15. It sounds like your training is going really really well! I am the same way when it comes to midweek runs, I feel like anything more than 5-6 miles just stresses me out because I feel rushed to get to work or get dinner ready, etc. Wishing you lots of luck with this 2nd half of training :)

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    1. Yes I completely agree with you! Thank you Amanda :)

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  16. Wow! Race day will be here before you know it! Keep up the momentum and great work!

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  17. You have such a great support group Gretchen! You're such a rock-star! Keep positive thoughts and your potential will just shine through! I'm with ya on being more consistent with cross-training! I have a barre class that needs to be used up (Groupon)...core work is so hard. Would rather run 10 miles. (I know this sounds crazy).

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    1. Thank you so much Sokphal! And thank you for being part of that support group. You're always so helpful!

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  18. WOW, I love the way you organized this and broke everything down. Looks great! I'm really glad to hear this time around seems to be working better for you, and i hope that momentum continues for you well through to race day. By the way, I'm totally with you on podcasts. When I was in marathon training I would always queue up about an hour, sometimes more, of podcasts to start my run so I wouldn't get bored and then kick in the up-tempo music to bring it on home :)
    Good luck in the next 8 weeks, and thanks so much for linking up!

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