Air Force Marathon Training…So Far

I can’t believe I have already completed 4 weeks of marathon training! There have been some ups and downs, but overall things have been pretty good! The miles are low-volume (no more than 25 per week), but by adding one day of speed I still feel that they have been quality runs.

Since I’m breaking down my 16 week plan into four 4-week cycles, I thought it might be fun to evaluate these last 4 weeks – kind of grade myself and see where I can improve (everywhere!!), and what I did well. 

Running : A. Even if I couldn’t run on the planned day, I still managed to fit in all but 4 of the planned miles. I may have been kind of stupid about it *cough* running 5 days in a row *cough*, but they all got done. I was also really diligent about hitting the hills and even tried to work in some fartlek’s and a tempo.  The schedule is only going to get harder, and it may be difficult to get the runs in but I think these 4 weeks have set a good precedence.

Strength: D- . If my sticking to my running plan was a good example of my training, then strength training was the worst example I could have set. I only managed 1-2 times per week (2 is being generous), and that makes me mad. I know how important it is, and how much I’ll have to rely on my physical strength in the last miles of the race but I just don’t do it. I’ve been saying that life has been getting in the way, and things are just really stressful and crazy, blah, blah, blah; but, the reality is – if it’s important to me (which it is) I will make it a priority.  It’s not even that I don’t want to do it – I do; but I’m not making it a priority. I’m letting everything else come before this. If I can make running a top priority, I can make strength training a priority too.

Nutrition: B. I haven’t been tracking my DQS score like I planned, but I am making a conscious effort to make sure that my meals and snacks are real foods – lotsa veggies and fruits and good, lean, protein. I’ve been trying to keep my cheat meals to once per week and eating out to a minimum with decent results; we’re still going out to eat more often than I’d like, but I’m at least making smart choices when I’m out.  I’ve done a decent job avoiding the “candy drawer” at work, and monitoring my junk food at home, and all of that is paying off because I’ve almost shed my “injury pounds” (the 6-ish pounds I gained when my legs were being jagoffs)! I also mentioned in last weeks recap that now the heat and humidity is rising it’s time to start carrying some hydration and fuel with me, at least on my long runs.

Injury Prevention: C.   I’m doing…ok here.  I’ve made sure to ice after every long run, but icing during my mid-week runs has not been the best.  I try to get it done, but in the morning after a run,  I’m already rushed and 20 minutes is kind of a lot to set aside. BUT, just like the strength training it’s something that needs done; so I’ll make the time to do it.  There are also ways to give myself more time in the morning – I can pack most, if not all, of my lunch the night before, eat a make ahead breakfast or eat at my desk when I get to work, etc.  I have been doing a really good job stretching! I’m also really happy that last week, I made the smart choice to skip a run to give my legs a chance to rest. It doesn’t sound like much, but I normally have a “must run all of the planned miles OR ELSE” mentality that can be hard to break. 

I’d say that so far I’m doing well…obviously there is a lot of room for improvement, so for the next 4 weeks I’m going to:

Maintain my running “grade”. Stay away from junk miles, make every run count and if something hurts…back off. Missing a day here and there is always better than missing weeks or months.

Maintain or improve my nutrition grade:  As the miles increase, so does the temptation to eat the junk, or sweets because “I just ran 16 miles – I can have Chinese takeout, Dairy Queen,  AND a Twix Bar”. Not so much. I think having treats here and there, and designating a cheat meal during the week will keep those temptations to a minimum.

Improve my strength training. This is a no brainer. I need to make it happen.  I’m thinking that the answer here may be as simple as doing it in the morning before work, so I don’t have a b.s. excuse when I get home from work. 

 Am I missing anything? Are there any glaring holes that I’m overlooking?

Air Force Marathon Training – Week 4

Wow! 4 weeks in already? Those went by so quickly – I feel like I just started!

If you’ll recall, last week was pretty rough for me. I was hopeful that I could turn things around this week, and looking at things from an attitude standpoint – I did. I took Sunday off, and used that time to clear my head. It was seriously needed.

I was back on track this week – until this happened.  I stuck to my plan and took Friday off – used the extra time to stretch, ice, and use my new Tommy Copper Compression Socks. It worked, because I was able to get my long run in on Saturday and the pain didn’t get any worse, and has actually subsided. I’ll still be getting my Graston treatment Monday, and seeing the foot specialist the following Monday.

Here’s how it all went down:

Monday

Planned: 4 Miles

Actual: 3 Miles 35:06 (11:41 pace). I usually run 3 on Mondays so I just assumed that this was another 3 mile day. Woops. Anyway, it was hot!!!

sweaty

I made sure to hit some good hills, and boy did that heat suck the life out of me.  I was relieved to not feel any pain during my run (which these days in unusual), but after I could feel the pain setting in. I iced as soon as I got in the door and hoped for the best.

Tuesday

Planned: Strength

Actual: Strength! Wahoo!  My legs were really tight, so I did my weights but took it easy on my legs so I wouldn’t aggravate them even more. Then it was more ice and compression after dinner.

Wednesday

Planned: 4 Miles

Actual: 4 AM Miles 46:05 (11:31 pace).  I was hoping to make this a speed day, but I was trying to take it as easy as possible on my legs. They were very angry with me, but once I started running they didn’t hurt at all. I picked it up for the last mile and had no problems.  It was sticky, and humid and even though it slows me down I loved it! I was even super responsible and iced as soon as I came home.

Thursday

Planned: Strength

Actual: Strength! 2 in a row – I’m on a roll!! My legs were killing me.  I kept stretching, and icing, and hoping that it would magically disappear by morning. I knew that it wouldn’t so I decided not to run on Friday in the hopes that I could still get my long run in. If I have to miss a run, I’d rather it not be my long runs. And, not running meant that I could sleep in. 🙂

Friday

Planned: 4 Miles

Actual: Rest. Ice. Compression. Repeat.

Every time I ice my legs, Shooter is right there "helping".

Every time I ice my legs, Shooter is right there “helping”.

Saturday

Planned: 7 Mile long run

Actual: 7 miles 1:22 (11:49 pace). Overall, I was pretty happy with this run.  I think I’m still trying to get used to the heat/humidity (that, or I am just a major wimp). Just like last week, I felt like I had a really hard time getting myself to move. I think it’s finally time to start taking fuel/hydration with me. Normally, I don’t take anything with me if it’s under 10 or 11 miles but now that conditions are changing it’s time to be smart. My next long run is 10 miles, so I will definitely be packing some liquid and gels.

Even though I was happy with the day’s effort, I have to say I was a little bummed when I finished.  I usually don’t pass too many runners on my route – I don’t know if it’s because I start early, or it’s a tad dangerous (narrow road, fast cars, etc. ) but I can typically count on being out there alone. Not Saturday. I saw not one, but two other ladies out running. Awesome. Until they both blew past me like I wasn’t even moving (let’s be honest, I barely was), and I lost sight of them before it even registered that they passed me. Not going to lie, it was a little discouraging.  I felt like I was busting my ass and they both smoked me (on uphills, no less) like it was nothing and just kept cruising. Instead of being upset about that though, I know I need to use that as fuel; use that as motivation. One day, I WILL be able to cruise up those hills.

Overall, I’m happy with this week. I didn’t let outside factors have a negative effect (affect? I typed both and couldn’t decide which to use.) on my workouts and actually made a smart decision to skip a run by keeping in mind the bigger picture. Baby steps, you guys!

Dealing With a Setback

I was going to do a WIAW post, but, yesterday’s eats were pretty embarrassing. I knew that I was getting low on groceries, but I failed to realize how bad the situation was until I went to make breakfast/pack my lunch Wednesday morning.  I was out of just about everything. I made do with what I had, and The Tall One was nice enough to drop lunch off at the office for me.  As soon as I left work, though, I went right to Giant Eagle to restock.  Whew.

I was able to get my 4 miles in on Wednesday morning, and 3 in Monday afternoon (with minimal foot/calf pain), but by Wednesday night my legs were screaming at me.  My calf muscles are crazy tight, and I’ve been icing and compressing like crazy. I skipped the 4 miles this morning and as much as I haaaaaate skipping training runs, I decided that missing one day of running is better than missing 4 weeks worth of running.  Look at me being all responsible and stuff. The legs are feeling better today, so I’m going to try for my long run tomorrow (it’s my 4th week and a step back so it’s only 7 miles). If the pain/tightness starts to come back, I’m prepared to back off but hopefully I won’t have to. 

I’m getting a tad frustrated with the entire situation – running in the morning is no problem; running at night leaves me in pain and causes me to miss days (and sometimes weeks) worth of running. The first thing I’m going to do is go for a Graston treatment Monday evening. I’ve also decided to visit  Foot & Ankle Specialist in the hopes that they can give me some answers; whether it’s physical therapy to strengthen my feet and legs, custom orthotics, or something else (crossing my fingers that it won’t be an extended break from running). I’ve maintained for some time now that since it only happens at specific times, it must be something that I’m either doing or not doing…hopefully they will have some ideas for me. Or at least point me in the right direction.  In the meantime, as long as my legs don’t get worse, I’m going to continue with my running (AM only for now) until I’m told otherwise. I’m not calling this an injury (it feels to wimpy to call it that), so for now I’m just calling this a setback in my training.

How do you deal with “extended breaks”, “setback”, or…..injuries?

And, because I feel like this is a bit of a downer, here is a picture of my blog “editor”. She’s kind of awesome.

My editor. She takes her job very seriously.

My editor. She takes her job very seriously.

 

Air Force Marathon Training – Week 3

There is no nice way to put this…this week was bad. It was an emotional roller coaster full of all of the things that you normally refrain from sharing with a bunch of internet strangers. I did what I could to get the runs in when I could, which led to me running 5 days in a row, culminating with what could probably qualify as one my Top 3 worst long runs.

Let’s just get this over with, so we can start fresh tomorrow 🙂

Monday:

Planned: 3 Miles

Actual: Nothing. I guess I would classify this as a rest day. I planned to run these 3 when I got home from work, but while I was at work, plans changed and I didn’t get home until much later than normal.

Tuesday

Planned: Strength + Cross Training

Actual: 3 Hilly AM Miles 34:24 (11:21 pace). This time I knew in advance that it would be another late night, so I made sure to make up Monday’s run first thing in the morning. This was probably my best run of the week – I hit as many hills as I could and felt strong despite the crazy humidity.

Just a little steamy

Just a little steamy

This gave me high hopes for the rest of the week.  I didn’t have time for strength that morning, and we didn’t get home until well after 9. Way past this granny’s bedtime.

Wednesday

Planned: 4 Miles w/ Hills

Actual: 2.77 awful, miserable miles 36:52 (13:19 pace).  You can read about it here. No idea what happened. Maybe it was a combination of the heat and not stretching well before I went out, maybe it was just an off day (more bad news was delivered). I don’t know, but it was bad. I had to stop to stretch more times in 2 miles than I can count, and finally I just decided to call it a day. I walked another mile with The Tall One, and stewed about it. <—–  This is bad. I can’t let one bad run ruin the week for me. I’m not usually like this either; I think I’m just a little overwhelmed with the current situation and am having a hard time coping with it. Hopefully, I will get better at managing my emotions. Soon.

Thursday

Planned: Strength + Cross

Actual: 3 PM Miles 34:40 (11:33 pace). This was stupid, but I had to do it. I was still holding onto Wednesday’s run, and doubts were starting to creep in. “What if I really can’t run in the evening? What kind of doctor do you see for this? WHY do I have so much trouble running after work? If I can’t run at night, how am I going to do the last 6+ weeks of training?!?”   Yeah. Welcome to the inner workings of my brain. It’s a strange place. I ran this for peace of mind, which would normally be fine, but then that meant that I would be running 5 days (almost 22 miles) in a row. A little later in training, 22 miles will all be done in 1 day and (hopefully) no big deal…but I’m nowhere near that yet.  In continuing with my streak of brilliance, I also did my strength training that night where I added some weight to my lunges and squats (again, brilliant timing on my part).

Friday

Planned: 4 Miles + strength

Actual: 4 AM Miles 45:45 (11:26 pace). My legs were feeling the added weight to those squats and lunges, but I still managed to make my last mile my fastest (11:07). So there’s some positive. This also popped up on my phone while I was running to help give me a boost.

3 Month To Go!!

3 Month To Go!!

No PM strength like there should have been; and even more bad news delivered that evening that was sort of expected, but still awful to hear. I think the kitties knew I was upset, and were doing extra cute things to make me smile.

He is SO proud that he got up there all by himself.

He is SO proud that he got up there all by himself.

If it fit, it ships!

If it fit, it ships!

Saturday

Planned: 9 Mile Long Run

Actual: 9 Miles 1:50 (12:15 pace). I could not make my legs move – no matter what I did, I couldn’t go faster if I tried. Every time I looked at my watch, I couldn’t believe how slow I was going. I felt like I was going my normal pace (normally 11:30-11:45 min/mile), and a couple of times I actually thought maybe my watch was broken.

My legs were sore when I started (probably courtesy of those squats and walking lunges with extra weight) and  I didn’t realize it at the time, but it also could have been that whole 5 days of running a row thing. Call it a hunch.  There isn’t much else to report here – it was a crappy run and I need to put this behind me and focus on next week’s schedule. There’s no point dwelling on this; all it’s going to do is hold me back.

Sunday

Planned: Rest

Actual: REST. My legs are tired and so sore. I’ll be icing and stretching and spending some time in my compression sleeves (hopefully on my new hammock, that I STILL haven’t used!!!).

Any tips for overcoming a bad week? Share your worst long run story – we’re all in this together!

What I Ate Wednesday

That has a much nicer ring to it than, “What I Shoved Down my Gullet, Wednesday”. Don’t you think? Anyway, I’ve never done one of these and: are you really a blogger if you don’t do this at least once? That’s what I thought.  Never mind that it’s Thursday – I promise all of these items were consumed yesterday.

Moving right along.

First things first. Coffee. Don’t even look at me until I’ve had some of this sweet, delicious nectar from the gods. Yes, I use fake creamer. No, I’m never, ever giving it up. You’ll have to pry it out of my cold dead hands first. ( I love my coffee to have cream and sugar in it, but I try really hard to limit my dairy, of the cow variety, consumption to just a little bit of cheese, so I stick with the non-dairy version)

coffee

Don’t you judge me!

For the first part of my breakfast I had an un-pictured, too yellow banana. It was gross. I’m not big on bananas to begin with, but they are good for you so I choke them down. My one requirement is that they be green. Once they start getting too yellow they start tasting too….banana-y. Nasty.

I took the rest of my breakfast to work, along with my snacks and lunch.

Sandwich, Soup, Instant Oatmeal, Fruit, Veggies & Hummus

Sandwich, Soup, Instant Oatmeal, Fruit, Veggies & Hummus

I normally have a whole wheat English muffin with peanut butter, a smidge of preserves, and chia seeds but I neglected to take a new package of muffins out of the freezer the night before. Derp. So I made do with instant oatmeal – not the best option. Not the worst, either.

I wasn’t really hungry after the banana, and didn’t have my oatmeal until almost 11. It had absolutely nothing to do with this.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

mmmmmm, sprinkles!!

Swear.

I also drink green tea and water during the day – I try for at least 2 servings from the pink water bottle while I’m at work (64 oz). It doesn’t always happen, but I try!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Lunchtime was homemade veggie barley soup, and a turkey and one-slice-of-swiss-cheese sandwich with Dijon. Oh so good. And filling! I had a few bites of my veggies (mini cucumbers and bell pepper) with hummus, but was so full I put those back in the fridge for the rest of the week.

Snack time took me to the sliced pineapple and strawberries. YUM.YUM.YUM.

Dinner was the best – an egg scramble with sautéed mushroom, zucchini, bell pepper and turkey served on top of goat cheese, so it melts and gets all creamy (that’s what she said). Oh Mylanta, is that the best. I’ll spare you a picture of the finished product because, honestly, it looks like something that the cat hacked up. But trust me – the goat cheese makes this amazing.

 

Mushrooms, Zucchini, Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese. YUM!!!

Mushrooms, Zucchini, Bell Pepper and Goat Cheese. YUM!!!

 

I also needed to get in 4 miles yesterday – I had good intentions of doing that first thing in the morning, but rumbling thunder and flashes of lighting kept me in bed. I don’t mind running in the rain, but getting zapped by lightning isn’t very high up on my bucket list. So, I ran when I got home. And it was bad. Temps were high, and since I usually run in the AM I wasn’t exactly prepared for it, but I did stash a water bottle along my route so that part wasn’t awful. But, oh, my legs and feet! After about a mile, they felt like concrete. Every step felt heavy and tired and my Achilles and calves started to tighten up again! I was so frustrated. I thought I had finally beaten that problem, and it popped right up again. I had to stop so many times to try to stretch them out, and walk, and finally, a little shy of 3 miles I just bagged it. I walked another mile with The Tall One and his mom (no pain while I was walking…even more frustrating!!!!), and was just irritated.  It’s hard to figure out when to suck it up buttercup, and when to be smart and say “there’s always tomorrow”.

I was able to run once last week in the PM, without much of a problem so it gives me some hope that I can do this. I also ran 3 “redemption miles” tonight, without any problem, so I am lost.   It’s obviously something I’m doing wrong since I never feel this way when I run in the morning -only when I run after work. I sit for most of the day, and wear flat, practical shoes so I can’t see it being any kind of fatigue. I still need to look into salt sticks to see if that helps. Normally, I wouldn’t see this as a big deal – just run in the morning; unfortunately though, once I get to a certain point in my training plan I’ll have to run after work. The sad fact is that I’m just too slow to get more than 4 miles in before I have to get ready for work (I would love to start running at 5AM, but, I have no street lights in my neighborhood, and the park that I run in has a large coyote population, so I have to wait until it’s light out to get started. Getting mauled by coyotes? Also not high on the bucket list). If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears.

 

What’s your favorite meal that look gnarly, but is freaking delicious?