My first month of Marathon Training has been a complete success!
Monday started of with five miles at an average pace of 8:44 per mile. The snow had started melting and it turning in a giant glob of slippery mush. Every time you stepped on a pile of snow, it turned into a muddy slurpee. It was pretty gross out, and I was ready for the snow to completely melt away. Quickly after my run, I did an hour of strength and HIIT training at my Crossfit box.
Piles of slushy snow
The treadmill has definitely become my best friend, and while at one point, anything over a 5K on the treadmill seemed daunting, I now feel comfortable running anywhere from 8 – 12 miles on it. Sometimes circumstances like a spouse working away from home often forces you to befriend the treadmill. My runs usually happen when my younger daughter is napping, and there are times when she just refuses to nap. I’ve had her come in my bedroom with me where my treadmill is stationed and play music while I’m running and she’s lying in bed. She seems to enjoy taking naps while listening to the sound of the treadmill and music in the background. Anyhow, Tuesday was eight miles with 6×40 seconds at 10k pace. My overall average was an 8:54 for all eight miles. My 10k pace was an average of 8:13. This run made me feel powerful, not only because this was the first time I have done a fartlek run in over 16 years, but because there was never a point during my run in which I doubted myself.
A little stretching following my strong eight miles. I wish I spent more time doing yoga. I know it’s great for the body and good for running.
Did not run today, but I did an hour of Crossfit. I’ve been trying to do Crossfit at least three times a week consistently because I do not want to lose any of the strength I have been working really hard to build over the last year. Crossfit has really helped me become a stronger runner, and it has truly transformed my physique, so it’s definitely a part of my training I don’t want to give up. I understand I will have to consider less weight once the weekly training mileage goes into a 6-day running week, but for now, I am still making an effort to lift heavy. It’s made for some sore running on certain days, but nothing that impedes from finishing my runs.
Because of the heavy weights from Wednesdays Crossfit workout, my seven miles started off very slow due to sore arms and back, but once my muscles warmed up, I finished really strong. Because I failed to run while my daughter was napping, thoughts and desires of wanting to skip the run made their way across my mind a couple of times, but I did not let them win. My average per mile was 8:52, and once again, it was another solid run.
Looking forward to days with longer daylight. It was only 4:00 pm and it was already dark out.
Crossfit at 5:30 am. Man, is it painful to open one’s eyes and shift from the horizontal position to the vertical position when it’s pitch black outside. Because there were no runs scheduled for Friday, I had peace of mind knowing I could shower once done and move about the rest of the day without worrying about dirtying more workout clothes.
I’d have to say I am not enjoying the amount of laundry I’ve been washing, and folding, and using again when working out twice a day. My hair has also been suffering tremendously because of the amount of showers it has endured the past month. I’ve been washing my hair almost every day, which may work for some individuals, but because we are in the middle of Winter and I live in a very dry climate, my hair does not get enough moisture as it is. My skin is also suffering, and I am constantly moisturizing my hands and feet to keep them from being so dry due to all the scrubbing.
Have you heard of the 2015 miles in 2015 challenge? Two friends and I are doing the challenge as a team, which is actually a lot of fun. I asked them if they were interested in running eight miles with me on Saturday, and one of them agreed! While I enjoy running, having someone to share that passion with makes it twice as fun. It makes the miles not only go by faster, but you also tend to see the pace pick-up as well because you feel the pressure of not wanting to slow down the person you are running with.
My Garmin had a very weak battery, and I was hoping it would survive until at least mile 4, which was the summit of a long hill. I had not run this route that includes the long hill in almost five months, so I was curious to see if there was any improvement since the last time I ran it back in August. This particular hill gradually climbs for 3/4 of a mile. The first half mile is a gradual climb, but the last 1/4 mile is really steep, and it makes your lungs, calves, quads, and hamstrings burn.
A picture of my friend, Sarah, making her way down the hill.
My friend and I started the hill strong, with an occasional exchanging of chit-chat here and there, but once the climbing got serious, there was not enough oxygen to spare for chatting. My breathing got heavier, and my legs were doing everything they could to keep the pace and get the darn climb over with! My friend, who had not run the hill was doing fantastic!
When we reached the top to catch our breaths and pose for pictures, I noticed that my Garmin watched was barely alive and recorded a time of 11:38! I had managed to shave 35 seconds off my time! That may not seem like a whole lot of time, but when it comes to climbing over 700 feet of elevation, I’ll take 35 seconds less of climbing.
All smiles once I reached the top.
Rest day. There was nothing but smiles all over my journal and all over my face! This was the first time in all of my training (or lack thereof) in which I consistently nailed every single training run without skipping a beat and ran a total of 28 miles! In fact, I wanted to say that I’ve NEVER been an individual who has followed a training plan. I’ve actually resisted, telling myself that running should be enjoyable and I should not be enslaved to a running regimen. I’ve defined myself as a runner who likes running but hates training. I thought I knew myself, but I have discovered that I LOVE have a training plan. It has made my runs so much more enjoyable. I’ve approached every single run with the idea that I can do it, and even if for a second I question my abilities, I’ve gone into my runs with an attitude of at least giving it a try. And as crazy as it sounds, a training plan has helped reduced the anxiety I have experienced in the past about running. I no longer go into a training run “winging” it, and trying to figure out in the middle of a run how far I should go. I’ve discovered something completely knew about myself. A training plan is exactly what I need to not only be a faster and more disciplined runner, but to also enjoy running. Kristen Yax, thank you, because I did not make this discovery until after I read your post.
Do you use a training plan and journal? Are your hair and skin suffering from the harshness of Winter training and the Winter weather?