11-01-2016

New York City Marathon Training Recap

Guys…it’s here. It’s week 20 of training and 5 days until the marathon. Just writing that sentence is giving me butterflies. I’m so nervous!!

Last week we ran 26 total miles. We had a longer tempo run (7.5 miles total) and a shorter tempo run (6 miles total). Today we have our last speed workout (1ks) and then it’s all downhill from there. If you’re wondering why repeat 1Ks the week of the marathon, don’t worry, I found out from Jason himself. Here’s his answer:

The week of the marathon is all about eliminating fatigue and maintaining fitness. So I included one workout at AT pace to maintain fitness, but kept the volume of the workout low so it doesn’t cause any fatigue.

Then I asked, why 1Ks as opposed to 400s? His answer was simple: 400s at threshold pace would be too easy. Which is true…400s at 9:50 pace would probably feel super easy…not that I would mind ;)

Oh, who’s Jason? Well, for the past 20 weeks I have been following the intermediate plan in the Running a Marathon For Dummies book by Jason Karp. It honestly doesn’t feel like 20 weeks have gone by. Here are some thoughts I have about training and the plan.

My Training

  • I think I am ready – but I will always doubt myself no matter what. But in looking at my training for the 2013 NYC Marathon (recap), we ran as much if not a little bit more. Our weekly averages were probably around 35-40 miles. I don’t think we ever skipped a long run, tempo run or speed workout (though we might skipped an easy run here or there). I’m trying to tell myself that I AM ready…we did the training. But I’m still doubting myself and thinking, “Did we do enough??”
  • I’ve never gotten through a full training plan without skipping multiple runs due to shin pain. In 2013 I couldn’t run the last 3 weeks of training because of major shin pain.  This time around, I am running mostly pain free! I have been going to physical therapy for the past 2-3 months, and got custom orthotics. Why didn’t I get those sooner???
  • I stuck to 18 miles being my longest run. I liked that when I used Hansons Marathon Method they explained that the long run shouldn’t be longer than 3 hours. We did a few 16 milers that took us 3 hours, and one 18 miler (3:20ish). I agree with their premise that anything longer than that takes a toll on your recovery and body. HOWEVER, this works for Hansons because they have another longer run during the week (8-12 milers). We didn’t go that long during the week but had regular 7-8 milers…so we’ll see.
  • Jason’s plan had tempo runs behind run at threshold pace or 10 seconds faster (as opposed to running goal marathon pace). This really challenged us and pushed us but I think it will mentally help because we’ve been training at 9:50-10:00/mile pace, and are goal is at least a 4:45 marathon which is 10:52 pace. So it SHOULD be doable :)

Running a Marathon For Dummies Training Plan Review | http://reach-yourpeak.com

Running a Marathon For Dummies Training Plan

  • This plan starts at 4-5 days of running, and ramps up to 6 days of running. Although 6 days of running can be mentally tough, the last time I PRed was when I was running 6 days. This plan is a gradual build up of miles and intensity. I remember in the first few weeks of training I could barely run 2 continous miles at threshold pace (9:50) and now we ran 7-8 continous miles at that pace. The book does a good job of building you up, and of explaining the science behind everything.
  • While the name says “Dummies,” it provides very detailed plans for beginners, intermediates and advanced runners. Like I mentioned above, everything is explained throroughly as well.
  • If you start a plan and aren’t at the level it’s at (i.e. first week was 10 miles but I started at 7-8 miles), you can adjust it. I spoke directly with Jason about this. The key is to build up your time running every week. So if you can’t do 2-3 continous miles at a certain pace, start with 5 minutes, take a break, repeat. Then next week, 6-7 minutes, take a break, repeat. Does that make sense? That made workouts much more doable for me and also helped with not forcing my body to do something it wasn’t ready to do yet. I remember in the beginning we had 1K repeats and it felt IMPOSSIBLE. So I shortened it to 800 meters and built up to the 1Ks (which we ended up doing 8 of a few weeks ago no problem). 
  • If you are looking for a custom plan, Jason also offers customized training plans

Marathon Goals

Ok time to talk goals…

  • Realistic goal: 4:45. My mom and I have talked about our goals and we would be happy wtih 4:45. We think this is doable, and would be a 5 minute PR. Our easy run pace is 11:15-11:30ish, so I think a 10:52 average pace should be doable…right?? :-P
  • Ultimate, awesome, rock my socks off goal: 4:30. If we got anywhere near the 4:30s, we’d be ecstatic. However, that is a 10:20ish pace…and I’m not sure we can hold that the whole way. SO we’re starting with the 4:45 pace group and seeing where things take us.

I’m so nervous guys!! I was talking to my friend about all of this (she’s a therapist and is working in sports therapy too) and she was asking me why I put so much pressure on myself and time goals. I should view it as a fun experience, and run for fun. But I just can’t stop thinking this way! I want to PR. I just feel like, if I don’t OR if I have a horrible race, what were those 20 weeks of training and sacrifice all for?? Can anyone relate to this sentiment or have advice?? 

Anyway…we’re heading to the expo on Thursday, so if anyone else will be there, let me know!

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07-06-2016

6 Marathon Training Tips For All Levels

This week is week 3 of marathon tranining and I can’t believe we just ran 10 miles yesterday. It’s amazing how fast your body can get back in shape. Just a month ago I was struggling to run 5-6 miles. Shooting to run anywhere from 3-6 miles today depending on how I feel. I want it to be a longer recovery day but I can only run at 2pm so it will be HOT. 95 degrees and 50% humidity. And I just do not want to run on the treadmill, so we’ll see…

Anyway, today I’ve got some great training info for you from the author of Running a Marathon For Dummies (and many other running related books), Dr. Jason Karp. I am following his intermediate plan in the aforementioned book. 

I sent him a few questions related to training that I thought might benefit other runners as well. Let’s get into it!

Training for a marathon? Check out these tips and insight from Dr. Jason Karp! | http://reach-yourpeak.com

1) What are your suggestions for adjusting pace in tempo runs or track workouts when it’s hot/humid?
Adjusting pace is okay as long as you are still running at the correct pace given the conditions. For example, if you’re doing a VO2 max interval workout on the track and it’s hot and humid, you still want to run at your VO2max pace whatever that pace may be on that day. It’s hard to know exactly by how much the weather will affect someone. Your VO2max pace may be a few seconds per mile slower on a hot/humid day, so adjust the time for your reps. If someone has a heart rate monitor, the pace can be adjusted by heart rate. For example, if on a cool day, you’re running at 7:00 mile pace at 100% max heart rate, but on a hot/humid day, you reach 100% max heart rate at 7:10 pace, then run at 7:10 pace that day.

2) I’ve seen you mention that exercising 250 min. per week and watching your nutrition will easily help you lose weight. Do those 250 minutes include easy runs? Or just hard workouts? What other tips do you have for getting to your race weight WHILE marathon training?
The number 250 is based on the 2009 position statement from the American College of Sports Medicine. It includes aerobic exercise. My next book is all about running for weight loss. Even though the subject tends to be made complicated, it’s really easy€” — to lose weight, you must expend more calories and consume fewer. So, when marathon training, don’t replenish all of the calories after long workouts. Only replace the calories you need to fuel your running and recover from workouts.

3) What do you think of cross training? Your plan has 1-2 days of rest. Do you think adding a day of cross training like cycling or swimming is beneficial? What about cycling in the AM and running in the PM, to get more cardio in but less impact on the legs?
I promote cross training for runners who aren’t running a lot of miles. In that case, cross training can definitely help with cardiovascular improvement. However, if you want to be a better runner, you must run. Swimming won’t make you a better runner.

4) Can you explain the running science behind the tempo runs and track workouts, and how they can help one achieve their marathon goal pace?
This can take a long time to answer. I’ve written entire books on this subject! Briefly, tempo runs help your endurance by training you to hold a faster aerobic pace by raising your lactate threshold, which is your fastest sustainable aerobic pace. Track workouts can help a variety of things, depending on what it is you’re trying to accomplish with the workout. For example, VO2max intervals can help improve your heart’s ability to pump blood and oxygen because you’re running at the maximum capability for your heart to do its job. Anaerobic workouts can recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers, improve your speed and the ability of your muscles to generate energy anaerobicall, without oxygen.

5) If you had to pick the ONE thing that I MUST do in training, what would it be? (i.e., long runs, tempo runs, sleep 8 hours per night, nap, etc.)
Train consistently and progressively from week to week and month to month and year to  year.

6) I know many people in the same boat as me, trying to BQ and feeling it is impossible. They are also in the same boat as me in terms of time goals. Dropping from a 4:30ish marathon to a BQ marathon time of 3:30ish. Do you think that is realistic?
It depends on the person’s genetic ability and the commitment he/she makes to train. With adequate training, most runners can run much faster than they are. Can someone go from 4:30 to 3:30? That depends on how much training went into that 4:30. If the person ran 20 miles per week without any other types of workouts, then I’d say probably. But if that person ran 60 miles per week and did tempo runs and interval workouts, and is still running 4:30, then a 3:30 is probably out of reach.

So there you have it folks! Some great info from Dr. Jason Karp. I’ve been stuck around 4:30-5, but I know I still have a lot I can do. Like running more, running more consistently throughout the year, doing more tempo runs, strength training, etc. So we’ll see what happens for NYC Marathon!

Who else is running a fall marathon?

What is your biggest running related question?

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08-20-2015

How To Prevent Black Toenails (Besides Bigger Shoes)

If you’re a long distance runner, you know black toenails are common. We all joke about it.

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black-toenails

But hey, it happens.

My mom has suffered from black toenails/toenails falling off since we started training for longer races. No matter what, it would happen. She tried sizing up in shoes…and sizing up again. But nothing helped.

Then we went to the local shoe store, and a new guy was working who gave us THE ANSWER!

Do you get black toenails? Here's a tip for stopping that from happening!

The sneaker store employee told her to rub BodyGlide or Vaseline on her toes and toenails before the run.

She has been doing that since, and has not had throbbing toenails or black toenails. He told us that sometimes black toenails happen because of the friction between your toes and socks. It is similar to getting blisters.

So now you know…

Other tips for preventing black toenails include:

  • Trying a bigger shoesize. You should have about a thumb’s width space in the front of the shoe (from your biggest toe).
  • Trim your toenails regularly.
  • Wear wicking socks so your feet are dry. Wet socks (as with any wet clothing on your body) can cause chafing and blistering.
  • And a tip for your feet in general: don’t get rid of your callouses! I hate that part of pedicures anyway so I have no problem asking them not to do it. But yes…leave your callouses alone. You need those to prevent blisters :)

Do you get or have you gotten black toenails? Or lost toenails?

What other things would you say are “runner probs?” :) Hmm…I’d say chafing in general. Despite using BodyGlide I still chafe around the outlines of my sports bra…so attractive!

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