Welcome to marathon training season

It’s that time again! Marathon training season has begun.

You might remember that I signed up for the Long Beach Marathon a few months ago. I was so burned out on running after Chicago 2011 but I am pumped to take on the challenge of a new marathon. I picked Long Beach because it’s close to home and has a beautiful course. Long Beach runs the same day as Chicago so I have the added benefit of an identical training cycle.

Because I can’t post this photo enough.

Well not exactly. I decided to hold off on starting training until after my 4th of July vacation. I was in South Dakota eating and drinking for a long weekend and knew there was no way I would want to run while on vacation or in the humidity. I had the never ending cold from hell for the entire month of June. I am a bit concerned that I started my training late this cycle. Based on my vacation and how I felt for the entire month of June I know my training would have been crummy. I’m trying to remind myself that where I am in July matters a lot less than where I am in September. Let’s just say I have a healthy level of concern about my training.

South Dakota: big open space, lots of beer.

For my training plan I ended up combining a couple of plans. Last time I used Kelley’s team in training plan. This time I’m combining a bit of what I did for Chicago and also incorporating workouts from the Nike Chicago plan (for 2013) as a guide. I didn’t want to fully commit to an intermediate training plan however I wanted to step up my training a bit this time around. Last time my goal was just to cross the finish line. I used a run/walk method (10:2) for all of my long runs, didn’t time many of my runs or pay attention to pace, and managed to cross the finish line in 5:22. I also didn’t do any speed work. This time around I plan on incorporating speed work, paying attention to my pace on long runs. I want to trounce my prior time and set a big PR this time around. Any PR would be awesome but I would like to run sub 5 hrs.

A few weeks ago I put my time from Rock n Roll Pasadena last February (which I barely trained for) into the McMillan Running Calculator…

Oh McMillan, you seductive temptress… putting ideas in my head.

I would love to run the full that fast and do think I am capable of it, but I’m going to hold off on setting specific race goals until at least early September. I also want to see what kind of pace I settle into for my long runs before making any grand declarations.

As for training: I am currently splitting my time between two jobs (one where I sit all day and one where I stand all day). I also have wonky weekends that run Sunday – Monday unlike the usual Saturday – Sunday that most of the plans are tailored to. As such, I’ve planned to do my long runs on Monday and I have planned out all my long runs leading up to the race. The long runs are critical and I do not want to miss any. I started last week with 6 and I will peak in mid September with my 20 miler.

The only runs I have physically in my calendar are my long runs. All other workouts for the week will be planned out on Monday’s in light of my work schedule and other life things I have going on. While some love a strict calendar, the idea of knowing how many miles I am going to run on a random Wednesday in late August freaks me out and I want flexibility.

Here is how I am breaking down my workouts

Running:

I have decided I will run 4 times a week. I already have my long runs planned for Mondays. I also will be doing one speed work run per week on the track near my house. Finally, I want to get in two more runs, which will be done at an easy pace. For these runs I want one to be on the longer side and one will be shorter. I know this sounds vague. The longer one will be at least 5 miles and build up to 9 miles. I can’t make it every week but I imagine that some of the “longer easy runs” will happen with Run Club. I wasn’t able to go last week or this week but I am going to make an effort to be more regular because I feel like the group pushes me to work harder. The shorter runs will be 3 to 4 mile shake out runs just for fun.

I am going to get into the habit of running with my watch. This way I can watch my pace and have some idea of how I can perform on marathon day. I reread my Complete Book of Women Running from Runners World last month and brushed up on some Hal Higdon advice regarding pacing for long runs which should help.

Swimming:

I’ve been swimming weekly since May and I’ve really enjoyed the diversity that it’s added to my workouts. Plus, I live in Southern California walking distance from a pool and its summer. I plan to continue to swim weekly. Usually I do somewhere between 1500 and 2000 yards per workout and I plan to keep this up as cross training. I can build lung and arm strength and hopefully take some pressure off my it bands and knees

Weights:

I almost never do weights despite owning them. Last week I did an arm burner from Fitnessista in addition to my swim workout. I’d love to incorporate weights once to twice a week. Last time I trained for a marathon I didn’t do any weights. My legs felt strong but the rest of my body didn’t feel strong if that makes sense. Specifically, I felt like my arms were totally lacking any strength. I want that to change this time around. This Nike Chicago plan calls for once a week strength training.

Soul Cycle:

As you know if you follow me of social media, I am addicted to Soul Cycle. Because it is expensive I only go once or twice a month. I’ll probably continue this practice as a form of cross training. Plus, it incorporates weights, which goes along with my goal of keeping my entire body in shape. In addition, I am going to be buying a bike in the next week or so. I plan to do some casual biking just for fun as the summer goes on. Not training really, but still time spent being active.

So how did last week go?

Monday: 6 mile run at 9:23/mile pace

It was hot and I tried to take it really slow but I had new running songs and somehow slow just didn’t happen

Tuesday: Arm burner, 1500 yard swim

I did the arm burner before work and the 1500 yard swim after work. The burner kinda kicked my ass. The swim was great. I did a kick set, a pull set, and then alternating 100 yards easy/hard. Love swimming in the summer time. I’ve found that it’s hard for me to run and then spend 8 hours at my standing job so I’m altering my training plans accordingly.

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 3 mile run, 10:00/mile pace

I’m still getting to know my neighborhood so I just ran for 30 miles on a new to me random route. So. Many. Hills.

Friday: 3 mile run, with sprints every 1/4 mile.

Short speed work, didn’t time it. Will next week.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Soul Cycle

I took Joe to his first Soul Cycle class. I’m definitely competitive and pushed harder because he was there. The weight routine was easy so I stepped it up to 2 lb weights which makes me feel like I can never go back to 1 lb-ers. Sunny is an awesome instructor and you should take her class if you haven’t already!

Weekly totals:

Miles: 13 (including swimming)

Workouts: 6

Overall I felt like last week was solid considering I didn’t workout the week before. This is not an ideal training week and after searching the #LongBeachMarathon on instagram I got concerned that I was too far behind. Trying to remind myself that it’s only July, I have the advantage of not feeling burned out, and I know (reasonably) what I am doing.

If you want to follow my training, I’m going to try to consistently post on Daily Mile and I’ll probably blog about it a little bit too.

ETA: I went on my 8 mile run on Monday and despite being slightly fatigued from Soul Cycle managed to pull a 9:08 pace out over 8 miles, even splits! I am quite pleased with this progress.

I believe that is about it for now. I plan to update the blog with some notes about training. Not sure if I want to do weekly posts or what. I’ve been slowing down on the blog, as you may have noticed. I just have other things that are taking my attention. I’d rather write when I feel like it and not feel compelled to keep up with some self imposed schedule. I have a good food post going up soon and I have an event at Pinkberry on Thursday that I will write about.

Seasoned marathoners: any advice? I’m always game for more.

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Victory Lap

So as you could tell from my last blog post, I PASSED THE BAR EXAM!

Finding out that I passed was the proudest career moment of my life thus far. I worked really hard, twice, to achieve this goal. I had a huge smile of my face for several days after finding out the results and I still look at the screen shot I took of the screen telling me I passed because I can’t believe I really did it. I checked my scores with my boyfriend, drank a bottle of prosecco in celebration, and then went out for drinks and dinner to celebrate. It was probably one of the best nights of my life!

I also made a baller thank you breakfast for my boyfriend.

Behold:

This is my breakfast special: a layer of hash browns, with an egg scramble with onion, pepper, cheese, bacon and sausage topped off with avocado and more bacon on the side. I made a variation for myself that was the same but instead of scrambled I had mine sunny side up which is my new favorite way to eat eggs.

Last week my Dad was also in town on a stopover before going to the Grand Canyon for Memorial Day so we continued the celebration with several meals out at Circa in Manhattan Beach and Pecorino in Brentwood. When I was in high school if I made the honor roll my Father would take me out to dinner. Food is the best incentive ever for me so I obviously strove to make the honor roll every semester of high school. He declared our dinner at Pecorino to be the “final honor roll dinner”. It was nice to be around my old stomping grounds. We even popped into Tavern for a drink.

I was very anxious about bar exam results in the weeks leading up to May 17th. I started to work out more in order to distract myself. In addition to running I expanded my cross training. I start marathon training for Long Beach the week after the 4th of July. My working out hasn’t been focused since February and I definitely haven’t done a “long run” since then. Here is a rundown of what I’ve been up to.

Spinning

Thanks to hanging out with Gillian, I’ve been spinning more than usual. The week I got bar results we met up for a #SoulDate and went to Huckleberry after.

I could not love their brisket hash more.

Over out matching orders of brisket hash we decided to expand our spinning horizons and check out Fly Wheel. Fly Wheel is similar to Soul Cycle in that it’s a very expensive spinning class. However, the first Fly Wheel class is free! Obviously, we were in a Fly Wheel class about 10 days later.

Source

The Fly Wheel studio was very open and bright. The shoe rental is always free which I appreciate. When you arrive at the studio you sign in on computers and there is both cold and room temperature water available.

Gillian and I were attracted to Fly Wheel because of the torq board element. Basically, each bike has a little computer. You can control your “torq” or resistance and you also can see your RPM’s while you bike. The instructor tells you about where you should be in torq and RPM as you progress through the class. At the end of class you can go online and check your stats. There is also a leader board at the front of the room. At various times in class the instructor told us to sprint and put the leader board online.

As a competition junkie, I loved the torq board. It made me push way harder in class. Gillian loves competition as much as I do and for the class we went 1 and 2 on the torq board. Gillian got the number 1 spot. Unsurprising because she is a total badass and just ran Rock n Roll San Diego yesterday (her first) in under 4 hours.

Overall, I enjoyed Fly Wheel. I like that I can track my stats and I loved that the shoe rental is complimentary and how open and welcoming the studio is. The price of Fly Wheel and Soul Cycle are the same but Fly Wheel comes with more free “extras”. Let’s be honest, if I’m spending that much on a spinning class, it’s nice for them to throw in the shoe rental. I loved being able to track my distance and calories. On the whole, I think I like Soul Cycle more than Fly Wheel but I’ve also been doing it longer and have my favorite instructors etc.

Swimming

I’ve wanted to get back into swimming for a while and I finally bite the bullet and bought a swim suit online. I managed to find one at SwimOutlet.com for only $22. I decided to jump on it. Living in Manhattan Beach and South Bay there are tons of open pools with cheap lane swimming. Going into marathon training I want to have plenty of cross training options lined up for myself. Luckily it is pretty inexpensive to swim laps at the pools near my home (think $4). Way cheaper than Soul Cycle. Clearly, I need cost effective cross training options.

So far I’ve checked out the Hawthorne pool and one of the public pools in Manhattan Beach. I’ve loved both! Both are clean, there are always open lanes and they have kick boards readily available. I’m starting to look up beginner swim workouts. I’m not technically a beginner. I swan club at Northwestern when I was in middle school and I played water polo my freshman and sophomore years of high school. I wasn’t super talented, but I enjoyed being in the pool and spending time with my friends. I liked the occasional two a day work outs a lot less. I haven’t swum in a long time so I’m easing back in and looking up workouts online.

Today in fact, I went to the pool and completed an even 2000 yards. I did a warm up, alternating sets of kicking and pulls, a ladder, 200 yards of kicking and cool down. I realized I was going to be 200 yards shy of 2000 so I tacked on the kicking workout because I was so close to 2000.

Anyone out there swim? Any workouts you want to share?

Running

On the running front, I finally went to a running group in Manhattan Beach last week. I ran a mile to the store, 5 miles in my group and a mile home. Holy hills. My legs were DEAD the next day. I usually do not run in groups but I really dug this run in particular. I’ve been struggling to stay motivated, especially on the hills in my hood.

On Saturday I partook in a running and yoga class on the beach with the same running group. We did the run on soft sand which was more challenging than my usual run.

And finally, I am putting together my marathon training plan which will start in July! I’m taking this month to base build. Basically, I don’t want to feel dead after the first few weeks of training and I want to be able to hit the ground running next month. I’m piecing together a plan based on Hal Higdon and Nike. I want to do plenty of cross training and allow of rest days that will work with my schedule. What marathon training plans have you used? Any suggestions?