Tag: training

Tips for the Taper….

caution - tapering runner

caution – tapering runner

In every marathoner’s (and half marathoner’s) life, there comes the dreaded, feared, hated TAPER. Soon it will be that time for many of us. So, I thought I’d provide some resources, thoughts and tips to help you make the best/most of this critical period.

I hear there are some people who love the taper. I’ve never been one of them. Last race I started using a peaking approach (per Greg McMillan) which worked much better for me. I’m using that approach again this time.  Don’t Taper, Peak! You might also like an e-book Greg put out that covers the last few weeks pre-race: Surviving the Marathon Freak-Out. It’s got tips on the last few weeks of training, peaking, preparing for your race, executing your race, and a bit on mindset.

If you’ve got a taper approach that’s worked for you, I suggest you don’t change it because of something you read here! If your training plan has a taper included in it, it might be best to follow that approach and take any tips here that are different under advisement for use next time. If your taper approach hasn’t worked in the past and you’re looking for info or help, then I hope you find something useful here. Please remember, I’m not a coach or expert, just providing information I found and comments on what I’ve learned.

The taper is a tricky beast. The point of the taper is to give your body time to recover, absorb the last few weeks of training, and be prepared and rested/fresh for a great race day performance. In theory, it also gives you a little bit of a mental break, as training can wear you down.

However, reduced training time also gives you a bit more time and energy to worry, fret, etc. I suggest you use some of that that time for race planning/preparation. That helped me a lot for my last race, and I’m doing it again. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you read Sage Rountree’s Racing Wisely and go through the checklists in the book, some of which are also on her site. I also suggest doing some other mental training – visualizations (including watching course videos if available), reading books like Running Within (one of the few running-specific books in this area) and The Champion’s Mind. Other books I’ve read include Elite Minds, 10 Minute Toughness, and The Triathlete’s Guide to Mental Training (by Dr. Jim Taylor, mentioned in podcast list below) which is co-authored by Terri Schneider who wrote the book I’m reading now Dirty Inspirations.

I’ve gotten real inspiration and learned a lot from the book From Last to First by British Olympic marathon bronze medalist Charlie Spedding – I’ve probably read it four or five times. I also read and re-read articles, memoirs and biographies of favorite marathoners (Joanie, Meb, Deena, Billy, Grete to name a few), triathletes (Chrissie) and other endurance athletes (Rebecca Rusch, some ultrarunners), as well as (for Boston) course descriptions and race history. I find this reading relaxing, inspiring, motivating, and helpful.

Do NOT take on big projects at work or at home – it’s not the time to clean out your garage/closets, work 12 hour days, or otherwise load your system as it tries to prepare for race day.

Be prepared for little niggles to make themselves heard, and for you to be convinced you’ve got some injury/illness. Barring some pre-existing issue, it’s likely your body is just behaving a little differently because of the changes to your mileage/training load and that your mind is messing with you a little due to pre-race jitters. That said, don’t ignore anything that seems unusual, really painful or that is causing you problems. Get it checked out.

This is not the time to decide to throw in extra core work, extra stretching or weight work or that Bikram yoga class someone’s been telling you about. The risk/reward approach during taper is much like that on race day – do nothing new or different.

Get some extra sleep if you can while sticking fairly close to your regular routine. For some of us, the body loves routine and will complain about changes, even ones that should be good.

Carry and use hand sanitizer, and stay away from people with colds or the flu (even if you got your flu shot). Do this all the way through to race day – especially if you have kids or work with kids, and if you’re traveling before or for your race.

Know that your taper mileage may vary – literally and figuratively.  Some runners do better on more rest, some on less, some on big reductions of miles, some on reductions of miles but continued speedwork, etc. What taper approach works for you for any given race is part science and part art – and part luck (or lack thereof). Tapers can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on your race, your experience level, and other factors specific to your situation.

To quote a really cheesy but true phrase – the hay is in the barn. You’re about as fit and ready as you’re going to be. No workout you can do once you hit taper is going to have enough of a beneficial effect by the time of your race – as it takes time for your body to absorb the training and adapt – to offset the risk of fatigue or injury.  And no single workout that didn’t go well or that you missed during training will, in and of itself, make or break your race.

Easy rule for this period: when in doubt, don’t.


By now, you’ve nailed down or dialed in what your nutrition and hydration strategy for the race will be since you’ve been practicing it on long runs. (right?) But there’s also the question of how to eat during taper. I suggest looking at the taper section of The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition by Matt Fitzgerald for helpful tips. The book is a worthwhile read for your next training cycle (if you haven’t already read it) to understand more about race fueling and for suggested approaches. You may also be able to find him on podcasts talking about this topic.

If friends/family have a good sense of humor and “get” you as a runner, one of those “warning, tapering runner” signs, tshirts or mugs might not be a bad idea.

Here are some resources to help you have a successful peak or taper!


MarathonTalk – they have taper tips (often the same ones) in their Training Talk segments around spring/fall marathon time, here are some

Episode 169 April 3, 2013 – also has Matt Fitzgerald as a guest

Episode 219 March 19, 2014

As your race gets closer, listen to MarathonTalk “race week” tips

Episode 65 April 6, 2011 – bonus of guest Greg McMillan

Episode 220 March 26, 2014

The MT boys even have specifics for race day!

Episode 227 May 14, 2014

Episode 205 December 11, 2013

Other choices might include Trail Runner Nation podcast episodes with Lanny Bassham on mental management, Dr. Jim Taylor on dealing with pain and fear of failure. Note these are focused somewhat on trail and ultra running.

There are many articles in the running magazines and online about tapering – here are a couple I like.

The Three Most Common Tapering Mistakes

5 Pre-Marathon Mistakes to Avoid

Other useful reads

How to Taper for Your Next Marathon or Half Marathon

The Art of the Marathon Taper

The Art of Tapering Like a Pro

The Art of Peaking for a Goal Race

(like I said, it’s a science AND an art…..)

How to Taper Correctly (not my title)

But in the end, you’ve got to keep a sense of humor about it. (look for tweets with #tapermadness or #eatallthethings to find fellow tapering runners)

The Five Stages of Pre-Race Tapering

One last thing….you can taper or peak exactly per plan and have things not work out. Or you can have a wrench thrown in your taper and still have a fantastic race.

For Shamrock 2014, I was doing well following my peaking plan. Then the Monday night before the Sunday race, I got some food caught in my throat. Not enough to cause me problems, but enough to feel. Tuesday morning, it still wasn’t gone, so instead of my planned run/chiro appointment, DH and I made a trip to the local emergency room, where we waited for 6 hours for me to get an endoscopy (which requires twilight sedation). While we were waiting in the ER cube, I did some of my chiro exercises and Wharton flexibility work. (yes, I AM that crazy…plus it was something to do and helped my nerves) All was ok, and we were home before dinner – having spent about 10-11 hours in a hospital without food or water (hadn’t eaten in 24h), some of that unconscious with a tube stuck down my throat into my stomach. I think the whole incident was so freaky it put a stop to most of my regular taper and worry nerves. (and in theory I could always blame a poor race on the procedure/anesthetic though I would have been pretty devastated)

The next day (Wednesday), I nailed Tuesday’s planned cruise intervals workout, Thursday I nailed that planned run, Friday off for travel, Saturday a short, pleasant shakeout run. And you may recall, I PR’d and beat my BQ on Sunday. So the bottom line is – stay as calm as you can during your taper and roll with things that are out of your control. It may work out just fine in the end!

Wishing you the sanest, healthiest possible peaking period (aka taper)!

Race Nutrition Dilemmas & Decisions

Apologies for the TMI you’ll find below, but hey, I’m among friends and fellow runners, right? We all deal with this stuff at some point. Hoping you can share your thoughts, experiences and perhaps help me with a decision. I’m not crowdsourcing the decision or anything like that, but always looking for data, balance, more objective points of view.

If you’re a past blog reader or follower of mine on Twitter, you may be aware I have some GI issues. GERD (low acid diet & PPIs), hiatal hernia, gluten/lactose intolerance, possible FODMAP intolerance, IBS (“we don’t know the cause or a fix so we’ll name it”), other food sensitivities and GI crankiness from hormone swings or other unknowns.

Pre-race (day before) and in-race nutrition are things I am very careful of, practice in training, and try not to change. Especially 2 weeks before race day of a goal marathon. It’s all about finding what works, repeatability, control, and minimizing variables.


(here’s the TMI part….)

I’m getting pretty worried re GI issues on my runs, specifically, bowel/elimination. There have been several long runs (today’s, at mile 13 of an 18 miler) or long speed sessions where I had to stop my run to sprint to the bathroom. (so glad I train on my treadmill!) Looking back, I see one occurrence in this week and each of the last 3 weeks prior (at least) where I either had to stop or by the end of the run (including this past Tuesday) or if I’d gone further I was going to have to stop. This is in addition to having multiple movements pre-run (and every day), which has been happening over the last few months.

I don’t know the reason for these issues. I don’t know if it’s that I’m trying to get faster, or if it’s something in GU (what I’ve been using this year) that my stomach just won’t tolerate after a certain time/distance/speed. I also don’t know if there’s some other thing going on, but I’m going to address what seems to be the proximate cause, run nutrition.

Background: last year for my Shamrock and Baystate BQs and PRs, I was using EFS Liquid Shot gel, which I loved, and didn’t have any stomach issues (other than regular burp-back, which can happen for me with plain water), and I didn’t have to stop. (I did take about half a Vanilla GU at mile 24 of Baystate, according to my race report, and they will have GU on course if I needed it.) But EFS is only available in flasks, which means carrying it those flasks somehow either in a belt, which my tummy doesn’t love, or a vest, which was prohibited at Boston.

So in 2015, preparing for Boston under those constraints, I switched to GU and carried it in a flipbelt at Boston, and was going to carry it in pockets of shorts and bra at Baystate. If you recall, I had some bowel issues around mile 19 of Boston, requiring a portajohn stop. At the time I put it down to undercooked veggies the day before, and to hormones (which were certainly in play) but now I’m wondering if it was the GU. (I’ll deal with what I do for Boston 2016 later.)

DH says it could be nerves and that I’ve been nervous for my long/hard runs for weeks now. He may be right but I didn’t perceive that today and didn’t feel that way (not a nervous agitated stomach). Today and Tuesday were just one of those “gotta stop NOW” things. Also, I could be nervous on race day, so should take that into account.

In terms of day before race/long speed session/long run:

I have been trying to eat less fiber/more carbs the day before my long runs and my long speed sessions (like Tuesday’s 15 miler with 12 at goal pace). I moved away from my chicken and steamed veg dinners and have had white bread with honey, turkey, rice, soup, etc. for dinner. I’m trying to nail down a suite of safe packaged foods I can buy when I travel to races (soup, GF bread, nut butter, lunchmeat, chips, oatmeal or similar) or things I can cook in the hotel (sweet potatoes). I can see no reason for these changes to cause GI problems, and because I’ve been trying a variety of meals, I’m not immediately seeing a common factor in what I eat the day before these issues.

For in-race nutrition:

I’m considering options (aka changes), of which there are only a few in my mind, and all of which I have limited time to try. But the “nothing new on race day” rule means I DO need to try whatever option I think I’m going with. The race is 10/18, so I’m entering peaking (or taper, for those who use that). Tuesday’s plan is tempo intervals, if I feel my legs are up to it, next Saturday is a half distance run with goal pace miles, the rest of the runs are shorter/easier and might not require gel or be good tests.


  • Stick with GU, load up on Immodium pre-race

Pros: it’s what I’ve been training with; not sure it’s the problem; I like the variety of the flavors and choices for added electrolytes, caffeine, amino acids; I’ve used Immodium in non-race situations in the past without incident and have read of other runners with twitchy tummies taking it pre-race.

Cons: if it’s really something in GU that my system can’t take, the Immodium may not be enough, and the combo might be unpleasant. I don’t know if I have enough runs to know that the Immodium will sit well with goal pace miles or if it might cause other problems during the race.

  • Go back to EFS, whether in hard/soft flasks, carry in the waistband of shorts or go back to my vest

Pros: this worked well for me in PR races last year, the liquid consistency and using the flasks allows me to add water to the gel and not have to take as much water at aid stations, not be gulping a packet and spilling/gulping from a cup which could add to GI distress.

Cons: since I don’t know if the GU is the problem, I can’t be sure this is the fix, and have limited test opportunities; just because it was fine last year doesn’t mean it would be fine now; carrying the flasks is a pain/annoyance/weight, and one that I haven’t trained with in over a year – are a couple of runs enough to test the stomach, the vest and weight/speed effects?I suspect I’d wind up wearing the vest even if I could fit a soft flask in the waistband, as I might want extra gel. Of course, having to stop would be likely to take more time than the weight and the vest would add.

(FYI, I am not considering the cost/waste of shipping stuff pre-race in this decision, as I plan to do it anyway with some food and other items/backups – due to TSA restrictions and wanting to fly carry-on only. Also not considering cost/waste of leaving extra behind, tossing empty flasks…gotta do what you gotta do for a race. #firstworldproblems and guilt, but hey)

  • Go back to EFS and load up on Immodium anyway (belt and suspenders)

Pros: see 2nd bullet, above

Cons: see 2nd bullet above plus don’t know if the Immodium will sit will with goal pace miles or if it might cause other problems during the race

I’m leaning toward going back to EFS, trying flasks in shorts on Tuesday and the vest after that. I’m also leaning slightly toward one dose of Immodium after my first clear-the-pipes at the hotel on race day. I plan to get up by 4:30 for an 8am race, to have plenty of time for use of the hotel bathroom before and after a warmup, and before heading to the race site where it’s just portajohns in the cold. I’m also looking at anything else I changed recently in terms of food/supplements and if possible, reverting whether or not it seems possibly related.

Here’s where I ask for your experience, thoughts, opinions….please share! 

Training Recap Week of July 13, 2015

RUN miles for the week: 40.1

While I’d like it to be more, getting 40 will have to do with everything else going on, and is probably plenty for my body to handle right now anyway.

Monday 7/13

Got up early, but slow, tired and sore – only did my core workout.

Tuesday 7/14

11mi with 3x2mi at different goal paces. Did my walk in Kayanos no orthotics. Ran 3mi warmup (increasing pace each 0.5mi for first 2, then holding a bit faster the last mile.) Shoes felt slappy, feet felt sort of cold/numb. Stopped, took Caramel Macchiato GU, changed to Nimbus w/orthotic. Then 3x2mi at 3 goal paces, increased pace 7s each set. 0.5 recovery between sets 1/2, 2/3, after set 3 did 0.2 at 7s faster, then 0.5 recovery 7:43. Took a sip of Salted Watermelon GU after set 1, rest after set 2.

Pronating more on L (visibly) in Nimbus – may be ok, but both PTTs sharply cranky in calf after. (could also be from wearing Oofos clogs all day yesterday, maybe not enough support) Orthotics push on arches. Big toenails push on Nimbus. R 3rd or 4th toenail feels odd after (Sun too) Still think Nimbus so much lighter, easier to run in (tho made a little noise at start) – is it worth pronation risk? Wonder if even with the exercises, I’m strong enough.

I need to work on foot strength – not been doing toe yoga or Whartons. Need to start those and looking at this AFX “ankle foot maximizer” – anybody used it? It’s not like I need one more device, and one more thing else to take 15min of time at least 1/day – but if it got me into more neutral shoes and made me stronger, it’d be worth it. If you’ve used it, I’d really appreciate it if you got in touch via comments or tweets with your feedback.  

All the usual pre and postrun exercises and drills. However, I did note an interesting difference. I did my usual preruns in Kayanos without orthotics. I did the postrun in the Nimbus with orthotics. The exercises after felt easier, both the leaping ones and the floor ones (balance better, felt stronger) even after a fairly tough workout. I wonder if that means anything. If so, would seem to tilt toward the Nimbus, wouldn’t it?

Wednesday 7/15

2mi recovery pace in the Nimbus, then 20s at a fast pace at the end – one stride.

Got up 545 (late), R knee feels a bit off, woke to alarm out of dream. Put on Kayanos but feel like they’re cutting top of R ankle so switched to Nimbus.  Big blood blister front edge 2nd toe on R in Nimbus, start of one outer R 3rd. Oh boy, blood blisters!

Top of R foot annoyed w/ laces on & off, L PTT at arch a little (arch got better after warmup). R ham, esp upper. Trying to watch form, run quieter.

All the usual pre and postrun exercises and drills. (Part of why I only ran 2mi is that I still did my full walking warmup and pre-run work, and planned time for my post-run exercises.)

Thursday 7/16

10mi with Lydiard hill circuits, Kayanos with orthotics (and bandaids over the blood blisters). Ran 3 warmup miles increasing the pace every 0.5mi. Took part of Caramel Macchiato GU mi 2.5. Then – using a higher end ez zone pace as “base pace”: 

4x (1min 2%, 1min 3%, 1min 2%, 15sec 1%, 30sec 1m20s faster pace, 15sec 1% at base pace, 3min base pace at 0% to simulate downhill, 15sec 1%, 30sec at 1m20s faster pace, 15sec 1% at base pace) then 1mi a bit slower, 2mi a bit slower. Tried to go one more notch (0.1mph) slower but slower felt bad! 🙂 So sped back up. Cardio ok, muscles working HARD. Glutes, hams, hip flexors, feet. Calves after, lower back.

Such a gift when you “need” a run to go well and it does!

All the usual pre and postrun exercises and drills.

Friday 7/11

Skipped core, skipped XT. (My core is just going to heck in a handbasket lately, and every time I pick it up again, I can tell how much I need to do it. Trying to be patient with myself.) Walked to RiteAid and back, about 1.3 miles. I’m sure I got more walking in than that in the rest of the day, but no way to know.

Saturday 7/19

Saturday – 13.1 miles. I really didn’t know what to do for this run. My brain wanted 20+ miles again, but knowing what the next days would be like with the move, how much I had to get done Saturday (and how stressful Friday was), I didn’t know if that would be wise. Plus, I wanted to do more speedwork for Beach to Beacon, and to get a better sense of where I am to start marathon training (next week!). So I decided to try to repeat a workout I’d done earlier in the week – 3x2mi – at a slightly faster pace. Didn’t go quite as I wanted, and I probably knew it wouldn’t. Repeat the speedwork done Tuesday as part of Saturday’s long run, with also having done some hill and speed intervals on Thursday, being tired and stressed and not getting enough sleep? Predictable results, but sometimes you hope you might pull it off anyway, so you try.

I ran 3 warmup miles, increasing pace every 0.5mi. Caramel Macchiato GU mi 2.5. Then 2mi at my goal pace, 5 min recovery and a Blue-Pom Roctane. Then 1 mile at goal pace, felt hard on sore legs, took 5 min recovery after. Then decided I’d switch to 1k reps instead of 1 or 2 miles, but the legs just weren’t there. Did the rest of the run 75s slower per mile than goal pace, which felt harder to hold thatn I’d like. I did push the last 0.1, basically sprinted it. Trying not to be too irked, at least I got some speedwork in, right?

I AM frustrated with the Nimbus, which I love – except for the 2 blood blisters on my R foot and the pending blister on my L big toe that suggests lack of pronation control. I’m thinking that my old orthotics are not enough control in the neutral Nimbus, so I’ve ordered these insoles to try. I really don’t want to give up on the Nimbus – they’re light and springy and they make me feel fast. This run is my longest run in them. I think I’m going to wear them for my 10k, bring the Kayanos as a backup, and maybe start one of the “new/old” pairs of Adrenalines that I found and DH persuaded me to keep and try.

I’ve GOT to nail down a shoe shortly for marathon training. Right now, I’d love it to be the Nimbus, but I’m just not sure with these blisters. Once we’re in the new house, I’ll be ordering the new Adidas Sequence in wide (doubt it will be wide enough but I’ll try). I also need to decide if the Kayano 21s are “good enough” that I want more pairs, as the 22s come out in September. I could just wait for the new model, but that’s risky. I think the Kayanos are fine, they’re tolerable without orthotics for shorter runs (I hope to work toward longer runs that way) and with orthotics for longer runs, but I don’t love them. Of course, usually I don’t get to love a shoe, it’s just the only option that works tolerably, so perhaps I’m setting my sights too high.

Fueling: 5 FRS chews and a Vespa before. 2 GUs, mi 2.5 and 5.5. SOS Rehydrate citrus every couple miles. Water with gel and as needed. 

Listened to the latest ep of Marathon Talk, with “guru” Greg Brock (who’s done IT for the site since the beginning), about his completion of the Bob Graham Round, a tough challenge of 42 peaks in 24 hours….I believe Greg beat Scott Jurek‘s time.

After, 3 SportLegs and 1 scoop of Ultragen within 15 minutes of finishing the run.

All the usual pre and post run drills and exercises.

2 weeks to Beach to Beacon 10k!

Sunday 7/20

4 recovery miles, Kayanos without orthotics. Did mi 3 at 2% as shoes were cutitng into ankle. Decided there was no point in pushing. Yesterday was physically stressful with the move, today will be too and very hot. Walked another mile after.

Listened to part of this ep of Endurance Planet with Phil Maffetone, listened to the rest during walk and drills/exercises.

All usual pre & post run drills and exercises but feel very wimpy. Legs sore, no energy.

13 weeks to Baystate!

Are you counting down to a race? Which one? 

Training Recap Week of July 6, 2015

Training recap for hill module week 2 – I’m combining that with a bit of catch-up on the base workout speed sessions and a bit of 10k/marathon training.

RUN miles for the week: 46.11 Over 45, woot!!

Monday 7/6

Off from work so…

4.25mi ez pace in Kayanos without orthotics. Cranky at the Adrenalines for cutting into my ankle. Skipped core.

All the usual pre and postrun exercises and drills.

Tuesday 7/7

10.66 mi – 3.16 mile warmup then had to stop to put moleskin on R ankle. (think I did this run in my Adrenalines) Caramel Macchiato Gu at 2.65. Then 0.25 at faster pace, then 2mi goal pace-ish, 0.5mi cool and Salted Caramel Gu, 0.5 mi at goal pace-ish. Felt really hard in legs, not sure if I’m pushing too hard or not hard enough! Backed off 0.5mi 13 seconds slower, then 2.75mi at about 1:15/mi slower than goal, then 0.5mi 25s faster, then 0.5 mi cooldown. Trying to find the right balance between pushing and acknowledging the “stress/life pie” including shoe/orthotic changes, how busy work is, the move stuff, being concerned about DH’s health….

All the usual pre and postrun exercises and drills.

Wednesday 7/8

Felt really tired. Poor sleep, lots of trouble getting to sleep, woke up a lot, last time at 445, was slow getting going, didn’t feel like doing anything.

Convinced myself to do the warmup walk in my Kayanos with moleskin, which felt ok. I started my pre-run drills and noted how tired adn heavy my legs felt when doing lunge matrix. Decided not to push, walked 4 miles instead.

Thursday 7/9

Took the day off work as I had a 9AM appointment to get my MRI results, and plenty to do after.

6.2 mi – steep hill reps and leg speed combo – Lydiard set but without downhill (no time). 6 x (30s at ez pace/5%, 90s recovery, 30s at 17s faster than goal pace, 90s recovery) Managed this in Kayanos w orthotics, even though R calf had a knot in it and I was again tired (up 4:45). 

All the usual pre and postrun exercises and drills.

Friday 7/10

I’d planned to do an ez run in the Kayanos, but….while I slept hard 11-3 and woke at 5:45. I was groggy and tired. I stopped taking allergy meds to help with dizziness (and I think it has) but the flip side is my allergies are acting up, congesting my sinuses and perhaps affecting my sleep.

So, despite my tired, feeling wimpy and pretty unmotivated state, I did some planks, part of Sage’s core routine (usually her whole routine is only part of my core w/o) and a couple other moves, then did a 35min ez fast spin on the bike, which temporarily made me feel better. (sometimes it’s like that for me – I feel pretty bad until I’ve been moving for a while)

I could have bailed on doing anything today, but I didn’t!

Saturday 7/11

21 miles! So pleased with this, my first 20 miler since Boston. I’d been trying to get there in past weeks, building up, but having tough runs. This run was about perseverance – to start it, and to keep going when after 5 miles, the Adrenalines were cutting into my R ankle so badly I had to stop and put moleskin/molefoam on, and after another 2 miles, had to stop to change to Kayanos with my orthotics as the ankle was just too painful. I got 14 miles on the Kayanos! Long run pace zone, kept it on the easier side.HR 140 at end, good.

Fueling: 5 FRS chews and a Vespa before. GUs – mi 3 Vanilla Bean, mi 6 Salted Wmelon, mi 9 Strawberry Kiwi Roctane, mi 12 Salted Caramel, mi 16 tried Big Apple for the first time. SOS Rehydrate citrus every couple miles. Water with gel and as needed. Whether it was the pace or the added electrolytes from the SOS (or two stops), I didn’t get hot enough to have to pour water on myself.

Regarding the Big Apple GU – I think I’d describe it as “nasty”. I knew it didn’t have cinnamon in it (disappointing) but was hoping for something like apple cider or like a Jolly Rancher green apple. Instead, it was a strong taste, but a little on the bitter side. After the first taste, I thought about either tossing it and taking another gel or just not finishing it, but knew I needed the calories and figured even if I didn’t like the taste, it wouldn’t upset my stomach (true). However, I won’t be using the 2nd pack I got – DH can try it, or we’ll pitch it.

After, 3 SportLegs and 1 scoop of Ultragen within 15 minutes of finishing the run.

A bit different dinner the night before – BBQ chicken GF pizza from Naked Pizza. I’ve been having so many GI issues lately that I was wondering if too much fiber the night before might be a problem. I read/heard somewhere recently that it can take 16 hours to fully digest a meal, suggesting that I needed to make dinners easier to digest (and that my plan of a pre-race big lunch and snacks is reasonable). Seemed to work well enough that I’ll try it again.

Listened to the latest ep of Marathon Talk, with Mark Berry who ran the South West Coast Path in England, setting a new record.

Then listened to Joe Friel talk about being Fast After 50 (his book) on this ep ofTrail Runner Nation.

Finished up with this ep of Runners Connect, with physio/chiro/researcher Greg Lehman.

All the usual pre and post run drills and exercises.

3 weeks to Beach to Beacon 10k!

Sunday 7/12

4 recovery miles, trying the Nimbus with my orthotics. WOW. SO light and cushy, springy! This was the first time I really understood – from feeling it – what a difference it makes to wear a lighter shoe. I have long legs (levers) but having heavy weights on the end makes my efforts harder, including pulling my leg up behind me, which felt so much easier in this shoe than it’s ever felt. I also noticed that my footstrike was much quieter.

My muscles felt much better than I would have expected after yesterday’s run, they could have gone farther (though my ankle was cranky from the Adrenalines yesterday) but overall I felt tired and low energy, so kept it short. No reason to push right now, lots going on in the life/stress pie, time to be smart about it!

Listened to another Runners Connect episode, with Sarah Russell, who went from being an athlete to not being able to eat solid food for 5 months, to living with an ileostomy (colostomy bag) and adapting to complete a 100 mile, multi-day event in the Himalayas! Here’s a piece Sarah wrote for the Telegraph. Sarah also blogs about her running and the group she started, as well as life with an ileostomy. Her last post on the latter is a good window into how challenging her life can be, and how determined she is. Rethink possible.

(Also, I found it interesting that Sarah uses SOS Rehydrate – gives credence to their claim of being a medically-based oral rehydration solution. I’m finding it helpful on my long runs and for recovery.)

All the usual pre and post run drills and exercises.

14 weeks to Baystate!

How’s your training going? Trying any new shoes?

Training Recap Week of June 29, 2015

Training recap for hill module week 1 – I’m combining that with a bit of catch-up on the base workout speed sessions and a bit of 10k/marathon training. The last bit of June and first bit of July, how time is flying!

RUN miles for the week: 43.7 Directionally correct (up)

Monday 6/29

Core w/o. Walked 15 min in NB 860v5 to try them out. Felt ok (so light and cushy) but I ran 1 min in them and immediately the insides of my big toes were being thrown into the shoe. Nope.

Tuesday 6/30

11mi with 6.2mi at a good steady state pace. Threw in a half mile of 2% toward the end of the run.

All the usual pre and postrun exercises and drills.

I was thrilled to have my chiro tell me he could see/feel muscle development in my glutes! I used to have large hollows, now they’re filling in/out. It’s great to hear someone objective and experienced tell me that the effort is starting to yield results. I think i feel some benefit, but it’s great that there is an actual observable difference.

Thought about and suited up for a 2nd run after work, but walking felt like enough so I did 2.25 miles at my warmup pace, 1% first mile, 2% 2nd mile, 3% last 0.25.

Wednesday 7/1

No workouts as I was doing some medical testing that might get screwed up if I did.

Thursday 7/2

Took the day off work, yay!

7.25 miles with what McMillan calls “Lydiard hill circuits”. 3mi warmup, then 6 x the following: (60s at ez pace and 3%, recover at 1%, 20s Leg Speed at 20s faster than goal pace at 1%, recover at ez pace and 1%, 60s at ez pace 0% (“downhill”), recover at 1%, 20s Leg Speed at 20s faster than goal pace at 1%, recover at 1%) then coldown. I like this workout!

All the usual pre and postrun exercises and drills.

Friday 7/3

A holiday Friday, lovely!

Core workout then a run of 4.25 miles trying out the Kayano 21. Ez pace run, increased pace every 0.5 miles.

All the usual pre and postrun exercises and drills.

Saturday 7/4

14.2 miles. This was again a desired 20 mile day (or even 18 or 16) but I’m getting to the point where I want to maintain form and only inflict so much soreness on my body so I can recover for the next run, the week’s speedwork, etc. Increased pace each mile through mile 7 – my R rec femoris complained a bit in mile 6-7, suggesting my use of my glutes/hams was diminishing and I was overusing my quads. Backed off speed thru mi 8-11, then held to end, still a decent pace though not as fast as I’d have liked (if I am not going to go long, I’d like to get some speed in). I’ll try another “short long run” tomorrow and see how it feels. The rec fem stayed cranky for a mile or two as I backed off pace, then settled down to a tolerable grumble. Glad I put quad sleeves on after my warmup walk.

Took Vanilla Gu mi 4, Salted Caramel GU mi 8, SOS Rehydrate at mi 2,6,10 then each mi to end. Maybe 7oz of that, 6oz water. Not enough in terms of hydration OR carbs I think. After I stopped, I seriously smelled like ammonia.

At beginning, felt pretty good, trying to pull legs/hams up behind, use good form, rotate more. As I tired, got harder, form got off. Shins hurt toward end and after as well as glutes/hams. Calves tight after. In the last few mi, R tongue of shoe shifted, sharp ankle pain from time to time. I also had some odd pre-run dizziness/wooziness that hit me again in mi 8-9 and mi 12-13, where I felt like I was tilting, off balance somehow. (I listed to the side a scary amount at one point during yesterday’s run, not sure what’s up with this.)

Listened to the latest ep of Marathon Talk, which had a LOT on Salazar, Goucher, etc. but also had a really nice interview with Maine runner Michael Westphal, who just ran a BQ despite having Parkinson’s for the last 9 years. Inspiring, rec a listen. (support his efforts for Michael J. Fox Foundation research here) In this ep, we say farewell to Duncan, Boy on the Run. I’ll be interested to see who the MT hosts get to alternate with Tony’s Trials – I’m hoping for a woman, perhaps Laura Fountain, a runner and author who’s guest hosted before.

All the usual pre and postrun exercises and drills.

After, took 3 SportLegs and a serving of Ultragen (1 scoop) within 10 minutes, trying to stay on top of this part of nutrition/hydration/recovery, though it took me 2 hours post-run to actually EAT something – my JSP & NB. I have this problem Tuesdays and Saturdays, and some Thursdays. Something to improve.

4 weeks to Beach to Beacon 10k!

Sunday 7/5

7 easy pace miles listening to Another Mother Runner ep about running in the summer. I enjoyed the “Sarah and Dimity chat” format – have missed it. They made me think about trying acupuncture again. We heard how Dimity’s DH Grant has a great attitude after missing BQ by only 11 seconds – ouch! (but he took 10 min off in 2 months between marathons – want to know how!) Sarah’s ankle is improving, yay. Dimity asks Sarah for advice about a race, and I love the discussion.

I ramped up the pace by 0.1 miles for the first 6 miles, and did half of each mile at 2% incline. Felt pretty good. Wore calf sleeves as well as quad sleeves as my calves have been very tight. Probably time for a fresh pair of shoes as the tongue of the R shoe keeps sliding and cutting into my ankle – started yesterday. No gel today, but some SOS Rehydrate to make sure I stayed topped up. Think I got dehydrated yesterday, and I want to make sure I stay hydrated to recover well and get ready my runs this week.

All the usual pre and postrun exercises and drills.

How’s your training going? When’s your next race?

Training Recap Week of June 22, 2015

Training recap for workout base phase week 4. Not a perfect training week for a few reasons but did what I could and what I thought I should, given my fatigue and stress level. Trying to stay on the right side of that bright line.

RUN miles for the week: 40.1 Lower than I’d like overall, but I made smart decisions along the way this week, so…..

Monday 6/22

Nothing. Took DH to hospital.

Tuesday 6/23

3.1 miles – not the run it was supposed to be or that I wanted. Stopped after a few warmup miles as my R quad was still cranky. HR 148 – too high, overtired from stress of last few days. Room was warm (64) because I got started late. Eye twitching after. Dehydrated? Did Ohnos & UVas after, but kind of a wimpy version.

Wednesday 6/24

7 recovery pace miles – mi 1,3,5,7 at 2% (last 0.2mi at 3%) other miles at 1%. Quad still painful, slightly less so on incline but no speed possible.

Think I need to add Ohnos to pre-run drills to activate lateral glutes. Still doing KR calf raises, hip flexors pre-run. Prerun getting long.

After:  Ohnos, calf stretches, KinRev hip flexor stretch,  UVas. Put magnesium oil spray on R quad (& a little L outer ham) after exercises. Think it helped. R toe/bunion twist cranky. Definitely did not hydrate enough today. Acid flare up late in day. 

Thursday 6/25

Stomach ache from 3am on. Woke 1115, 130, 3, hard to get back to sleep, got up at 545 with light. Tired.

10 miles – 3 warmup miles, the first at 2% to ease quad, then Caramel Macchiato GU & 2mi at about 10-15s slower than goal pace. Quad/hip flexor holding up, feel in glutes/hams, effort – think legs could have held more though complaining loudly (both, muscular effort) but tired, wanted to preserve LR Sat, so pulled back – then ez pace till. HR 144 room 63, hot, poured water on self from bottle multiple times. Quad/hip flexor improving! Glutes much more activated, hurt but working. Lead with the hips, push from the glutes, pull with the hamstrings, head tall and look ahead. Calves tight/tired, esp R – probably compensating for all R side stuff. Need new shoes. Felt ball of bunion toe. Twisting more?

Pre run: added in 2×2 sets Ohnos, more focused high knees, James’ chair stretch, KR calf raises, quick feet, all others.

Postrun: calf stretches, Ohnos (6 as usual, then 4 more!) then drank Ultragen 20 min after run, UVas, really working on them. Need to do the toe yoga, haven’t been. Myrtl stretches, KR hip flexor on chair. Figure 4 stretch.

Friday 6/26

Core, so slowly I had no time for bike before MRI. Was kind of a tough day, I was tired and overstressed. Blew off doing bike or anything else. Probably wise.

Saturday 6/27

15.5 miles. Wanted 18. 2mi recovery pace, then ramped up each of the next 2 mile segments, then 8 miles at a pace about a minute slower than goal pace, then the horrible stitches in my right side were too much to bear, so I cut the speed down for a mile. It only helped a little so I cut it back for another half mile, but it was still very painful, so I called it. Stitches stopped as soon as I walked. I took a Salted Caramel GU at mile 4, a Salted Watermelon at mile 8, and a Blueberry Pomegranate Roctane at mile 12, with water. I used Citrus SOS Rehydrate during the run in addition to my water, taking swigs at mile 2, 6, 10, 14. No idea what was up with my GI tract, it’s been really twitchy lately. Could be GERD, could be the hiatal hernia. Whatever it is, it needs to stop. Now.

Listened to the latest ep of Marathon Talk, more about the Salazar scandal (which I alternately follow and ignore) and a fun talk with a runner training for her first 10k, which I really enjoyed.

I also listened to part of the episode of Endurance Planet with one of my faves Mike Wardian. (who finished 22nd at Western States, woot!)

After, took 3 SportLegs and a serving of Ultragen (1 scoop). Did my Ohnos and exercises from the gait lab after the run as well as calf stretches. Did Myrtl stretches. I’ve added some KineticRev stretches into my pre and post run routines. I’ve also added Ohnos and pistol squats and one of the gait lab exercises to my pre-run routine (it wasn’t long enough! kidding) to try to activate my glutes pre-run and remind them they’re supposed to show up – seems to help!

Sunday 6/28

4.5 recovery pace miles with some incline, as I learned yesterday that Beach to Beacon’s last 2 miles is mostly uphill!

Listened to the rest of the Mike Wardian podcast. Despite getting a bit more sleep, or so I thought, I was tired. Decided to cut the run short. I could have gone longer and wasn’t that sore, just decided not to push. I’d like to get some good speed and hill work in this coming week.

After, did my Ohnos, calf stretches, UVas and Myrtl stretches.

How’s your training going?

Training Recap Week of 6/15/2015

Training recap for workout base phase week 3. Made some adjustments due to the ups and downs of last week.

RUN miles for the week: 43, and I will take it! Saturday and Sunday went pretty well, certainly better than I’d expected.

Monday 6/15

Core. Ran out of time before work, so biked 30 min after.

Tuesday 6/16

10.5 miles – 6 of them at “steady state” pace faster than my current PR pace, but slower than my goal pace. I was able to do the planned workout!! 2 gels during this hot run – I splashed a lot of water on myself.

Pre-run: Added 10 side wall pre-run along with quick feet. Can see how side wall if nothing else could help pre-run by activating glutes a bit – may need to do more.

After: Ohnos, UVas,  Myrtl stretches. Also, waited too long to eat, have to work on that.

Chiro says R quad very restricted, but has been for while, doesn’t think it’s new exercises. Quad dominant, working too hard. He suggested I add pistol squats. Maybe I need even more of the UVa exercises. Saturday and Sunday, I’ll do a few of the wall ones (my faves) before my runs.

Wednesday 6/17

5 miles in the easy pace zone – R quad felt sore and achy, but only complained sharply once, around 4.5 – but it was sharp enough to make me jump and grab for the handle, as I wasn’t sure what would happen next.

After: quad stretch, calf stretch, Ohnos – very good and springy! no idea why, UVas, Myrtls.

Thursday 6/18

4 miles – pulled the plug due to sharp quad pain starting at mile 3. So much for short speed repeats this week. Did my Ohnos (gently) and my UVas after.

Got a 2nd chiro appt for my cranky quad. In addition to e-stim, chiro “decompressed” my spine and hips. Weird experience. Don’t know if it helped my weekend runs or not. He says my quad had likely been carrying a lot of the workload for a while and is now getting loud about it. He assures me that what I’m going through is transitions with the exercises and gait and will pass. I’m going to hold on to that.

Friday 6/19

Core, then 35 min on the bike. Did a few “pistol squats” like chiro showed me. While waiting at urgent care, did some single leg balance drills (stood a lot, the chairs were horrid) and focused on my glutes. Definitely noticed it Friday night and Saturday.

Saturday 6/20

16 miles. Did a “ladder”. Started at recovery pace, and every mile for the first 10, increased pace 0.1mph – also ran 0.5 of each of the first 10 at 2% incline to help me use my glutes and hams more and my quad less. The last 6, I decreased pace 0.1 mph/mile and kept the incline at 1%. I took a Caramel Macchiato GU at mile 4, a Strawberry Kiwi Roctane at mile 8, and a Salted Caramel GU at mile 12, with water. I used Citrus SOS Rehydrate during the run in addition to my water, taking swigs at mile 2, 6, 10, 14, 15. I had some left, which I finished on the porch later. I am really starting to think the drink is helping me with electrolytes and recovery if not performance – this despite me drinking SmartWater which is supposed to have electrolytes, and taking 2 Endurolytes 2x/day every day. I should be fine on electrolytes but maybe I need more than I think based on other conditions and absorption quirks of my system.

Listened to the latest ep of Marathon Talk, part 2 of an interview with Irish running “legend” Sonia O’Sullivan as well as (of course) more discussion of the recent doping allegations and the challenges our sport faces in cleaning itself up and trying to move forward. Some good perspective from Martin & Tom, along with a really good Boy on the Run which isn’t usually my favorite (I like Tony’s Trials). BoTR discussed that the doping stuff doesn’t really change running for most of us – WE run, we just may not watch running and may care less about the professionals and “their” competitions, focusing on our own goals and paths. One of the beautiful things about running is that we don’t have to think about what anyone else is doing if we don’t want to.

I also listened to the newest ep of Runners Connect with guest Dr. Stan Beecham, whose book Elite Minds I’ve been meaning to read ever since hearing him on Runner Academy in 2013. I remember it vividly as I was pool running due to an injury at the time I heard the ep. I think I even have a sample on my Kindle. (or maybe I did read it and it’s time to re-read, since I don’t remember!)

After, took 3 SportLegs and 1/2 a serving of Ultragen (1 scoop). I decided it was important to me to start refueling more quickly post run, before I got into my exercises, to help my recovery. Did my Ohnos and exercises from the gait lab after the run as well as calf stretches. Did Myrtl stretches. Stretching seems to annoy my quad, rolling and trigger point help it.

Sunday 6/21

7.5 miles, recovery pace. Better than I’d have expected given how much I was on my feet yesterday (10 hours from getting up until sitting down except for time in the car to/from stores) and that I got less than 5 hours of broken sleep last night thanks mostly to the wicked storms from Bill passing through (causing me to be online to check our risk) and stress re DH’s situation – not just the current, but what happens next (hospital?) as well as how far behind I/we are getting on the move stuff. I think that having the Ultragen and oatmeal yesterday helped, as did the Epsom salt bath.

Listened to one of the Western States 100 preview eps of UltraRunnerPodcast with two first-time Western States runners: Caroline Boller (marathon fastie, Master, <2 years in ultrarunning) and filmmaker/ultrarunner Billy Yang, of Western Time fame (great movie, go watch it, free). I look forward to following them and the rest of the folks I’m interested in (Pam SmithMeghan ArbogastSally McRaeMike WardianIan Sharman, and Magda Boulet, among others – look at the list, so many amazing runners, and so many who are also fast marathoners) at the “big dance” in ultrarunning via UltrasportsLive and IRunFar next weekend! USL is even covering the medical seminar on Thursday (ooh, dangerous as I’m teleworking) and the runner’s meeting on Friday – how cool! (remember all times shown are Pacific) USL also has a course preview video that I remember being pretty good. During the week, probably Thursday or maybe Saturday (depending on the length of Marathon Talk next week), I plan to listen to Trail Runner Nation‘s episode with Craig Thornley, the RD of Western States, and Andy Jones-Wilkins, a 10-time silver buckle (sub 24hr) finisher who’s now volunteering at the race.

After, did my Ohnos, calf stretches, UVas and Myrtl stretches. My massage therapist said my R glute is tighter than my L, which is the opposite of the “usual” in the past. This may mean some of the work is showing up “back there”, which I’d be pleased about.

I blew off Whartons this week. Probably need to get back on that.

How’s your training going?


Training Recap Week of 6/8/2015

Training recap for workout base phase week 2. A week of down, then up!

RUN miles for the week: 36.5 Wanted 45 (or at least 40), but I’ll take it – got past some stuff, and again, we’ll call them “smart miles”

Monday 6/8

Woke up with weird pull feeling in R quad. Didn’t do anything to it, no idea what’s up.

AM Core and pushups & dips on ball. 15min bike.

PM 20 min on bike, Whartons

Tuesday 6/9

R quad still feels weird, especially when squatting (sitting, getting up). Wearing quad sleeves.

R 2.1 miles. Original R quad pain tolerable at lower warmup speed (present on walk also), when upped speed after mile 2, pain in different R quad loc appeared. Now in middle upper, sharp. (when  pulling foot up too) Stopped run. Now just hurts, when walking, stretching. Tried a few Ohnos then stopped as they hurt too much. Did UVas except for lunge one, even upped reps.

Fortunately had my Tues chiro appt. He said quad & ham tight. He stretched me, e-stim’d Graston’d & massaged the area. He thought it was due to transition w gait exercises, using muscles differently. He said that because it was inline with the running motion, he wasn’t worried and such blips could be expected.

Felt better for a while after, and e-stim’d in the evening.

Wednesday 6/10

Skipped AM core. Decided to try an easy run.

Ran 2mi and pulled the plug again. Ran mostly at 2% and trying to lean to take strain off quad but it still hurt  Still did my UVas. After UVas, found one stretch that helped at least momentarily.

Whartons before dinner. Quad still painful, up and down. Walking, stepping.

Used orange foam roller in the evening, which helped (the first time, the second time it just hurt). Used the purple Yoga TuneUp (harder rubber) ball on trigger point spots in glutes, R upper thigh (OW), R VMO. That was painful. Did a little on the L too.

Thursday 6/11

Woke at 230am with stomach/GI pain which eventually subsided, and I got back to sleep.

Quad seems better. Feel a little pull getting in and out of bed. Top at hip tight (maybe from TP?).  Glutes sore from TP. Decision: take rest/XT day today to allow more improvement, run F/S/S. This was a tough decision, but I thought “if you try today and you hurt, you’re going to need to take off more days, but if you wait another day, you increase your chances of getting Friday, Saturday, Sunday runs” – so all benefit, no downside except the mental….which is pretty big….but I overrode myself and took the day off running. Long-term thinking. Trying to channel my inner Meb. 🙂

Did my UVas anyway AND threw in my usual Friday core workout so I could skip it on Friday.

Friday 6/12

A planned day off work, yay!

R quad better, still tender spot top of R hip when pushed. While putting on R quad sleeve (standing, don’t do that) yanksd something top of R foot/ankle join, feels a little off, some discomfort up into shin and toward knee on up/down movement.Must have tweaked nerve/tendon. Stinging. Ok on warmup. Mid-L ham cranky.

Ran 6.2 miles at easy pace. R quad got cranky after ~mi 3, pulling sleeve up higher helped but still hurt. Glutes v sore. Hams somewhat. Incline helped hip.

Added 10 quick light wall stances from UVa to pre-run, also lateral and f/b quick feet drills pre-run.

Saturday 6/13

13.1 miles – working up through my easy pace zone, for most of the miles did 0.3-0.5 mi at 2% to take some strain off my quad. Of course this just put it on my hams and glutes (which were quite talkative due to my gait exercises). R quad still a little cranky but tolerable. Helps to have my “quad sleeves of wonder” pulled up very high. Room started at 61 degrees, ended at 64, though I’m sure it was warmer where I was.

Took Vespa before the run, and a Salted Watermelon GU at mile 6ish. I’d wanted to go longer, but by the time I figured out I was going to cut it off, I’d already timed the gel to my original plan, so got through the rest without another.

Listened to the latest ep of Marathon Talk, which included part 1 of an interview with Irish running “legend” Sonia O’Sullivan as well as (of course) much discussion of the recent doping allegations and the challenges our sport faces in cleaning itself up and trying to move forward. The guys seem to think there’s further to fall yet.

That podcast wasn’t quite long enough for my run, so to finish off, I re-listened to the most recent Meb interview on Babbittville Radio. It was recorded on his birthday (May 5) – apparently he and Bob Babbitt share the same birthday. I’d actually listened to it Friday during my run (saved it for a treat) but always enjoy hearing Meb.

After, took 5 MAP, 3 SportLegs and started drinking some electrolyte drink. Did my Ohnos and exercises from the gait lab after the run as well as calf stretches. Did Myrtl stretches. Stretching seems to annoy my quad, rolling and trigger point help it.

Sunday 6/14

13.1 miles – faster than yesterday! I was less sore and stiff than I was for yesterday’s run, go figure. I did my 0.3 mi per mile at 2% (while increasing speed each mile) for the first 6 miles, then stayed at 1% after I increased speed again. In the last 0.6 miles, I kept notching up the speed by 0.1, going at a reasonable pace at the end.

Listened to the newest ep of Cloud259 – mostly about the doping allegations, with a bit of track and field results in it, and the newest Another Mother Runner, an interview with ultrarunner/coach/fitness instructor Laura Swenson who’s run the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim multiple times. Also heard a little about Dimity’s tri. Finished off with part of an interview with triathlete Liz Lyles on Babbittville Radio.

Took Vespa before, Salted Watermelon GU mile 4, Lemonade Roctane at mile 8 (a bit tarter than the Lemon Sublime GU…another “I can take it if I need to”, but probably not a fave). Heard GU is bringing out a Vanilla Spice Roctane on 6/15 (same time they release Maple Bacon GU). I’m tending to prefer fruit flavors right now, but still have plenty of Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Caramel Macchiato around. Also occasionally craving a Root Beer gel, which is odd because I didn’t like it that much (true to taste, just seemed odd on the run).

Today, because I knew it would be warmer (room topped out at 66, warmest run this year), I used an electrolyte drink I’ve been trying out – had used it during a run once before and a few times after runs. I used Citrus SOS Rehydrate during the run in addition to my water. It’s pretty good – and no citric acid to bother my stomach. It comes in small stick packs, and the guy at the Boston expo (where I found it) said you could actually just take it in your mouth and swallow it with water at an aid station if you didn’t want to carry bottles (I don’t). I’m going to have to try that.

After, took 5 MAP, 3 SportLegs and started drinking some Berry SOS Hydrate. Did my Ohnos, calf stretches, UVas and Myrtl stretches.

How was your training last week?

Training Recap Week of 6/1/2015

Training recap for workout base phase week 1, adds speedwork on Tues & Th.

RUN miles for the week: 40.6 Wanted 45, but I’ll take it, we’ll call them “smart miles”

Monday 6/1

Core, 20 min on bike, Whartons before dinner.

Tuesday 6/2

10 mi with 4 miles moving up through paces to warm up, then 4mi steady state pace (faster than current marathon PR pace, but not goal pace – messing a bit with steady state range as it’s still early) 2/3 of a Caramel Macchiato GU at mile 3, rest at mile 6. Legs still stiff/sore (exercises). Easier to run with good form at faster pace. Ohnos, UVas after. Myrtls after. Whartons before dinner.

My chiro said today my legs are the least tight they’ve been in weeks. Could be the exercises.

Wednesday 6/3

Skipped core.

3.25 mi recovery/easy pace. Quads tight. Cardio fine tho tired. Legs felt decent during walk tho stiff/sore. UVas after. Myrtls after. Whartons before dinner.

Either need to resign myself to core only 2/wk, doing it at lunch at work, or finding a day other than W to do it (already do on M/F)

Thursday 6/4

10 mi with 6 miles moving up through paces to warm up, then 10x100m/1min recovery, rep pace 15s faster than potential marathon goal pace. Took a TriBerry GU at mile 5. I don’t like the flavor much. Tolerable, didn’t upset stomach, but wouldn’t have it in my rotation. After: Ohnos. Calf stretches. Uva ex. 10 squats with heels raised,  LC #1, Myrtl stretches.

Somehow, in some way I can’t quite explain, I felt a little stronger on this run though still sore. Maybe the exercises are working.

Whartons before dinner and some hamstring “flossing”.

Friday 6/5

Again with the GI & female issues, maybe 6 hours of poor sleep with funky dreams. Not helping.

Core Incl pushups/dips on ball, a little Meb stuff in there. 30 min bike.

Saturday 6/6

Saturday – 11.15 miles, held 5 miles at a higher easy pace. That wasn’t the run I wanted or planned. Was hoping for 13.1 at least, if not up in the 15-16 range. My legs (especially glutes, hams and a bit of quads) were sore, heavy, and stiff, probably from the gait exercises (which are changing muscles, I have no doubt), continuing to try to adjust form on my runs AND adding speedwork back in this past week. It’s a bit frustrating though. Cardio-wise, I was ok. Perhaps I was a little tired, but mostly my legs just hurt and I wasn’t able to keep tweaking my form as much as I wanted. This run hurt from the start – didn’t get worse so I know it’s just the muscles adapting – and at some point, I decided there was no point doing more miles, wearing myself out trom the mental effort and not allowing my body to adapt to the physical stressors I’m putting on it.

I’m trying to trust the process and hoping that all these times I’m making the “smart” choices pay off with a massive PR at Baystate and by making me a faster, stronger, more durable runner in the long-term. Making these decisions and trying to have faith that this approach – slow build, improving gait, strengthening different parts – will get me the results I want is in some ways harder than just sort of bullying my way through and trashing myself.

Took Vespa before the run, and a Salted Watermelon GU at mile 6. I also took a FRS chew at mile 3 and mile 9 (had 3 before the run). By the way, I hear GU is introducing a Maple Bacon flavor 6/15. Suspect it’d work best for ultrarunning, but DH and I may each give a pack a try.

Listened to the latest ep of Marathon Talk, the Comrades special! Martin & his wife Liz (a two-time Olympic marathon runner) co-hosted (some amusing banter). Tom and his wife Helen chime in from South Africa where they were for Comrades. Helen (Hels) beat Martin & Tom’s time from a couple of years ago. She ran 10h 11min to their 10h 48min on an “up” year that sounds like it was quite hot and humid.

Tom talked to some other runners, some who finished (including Brett Larner of Japan Running News), some who didn’t. Seems like almost everyone wants to do it again. I think you get an extra medal – perhaps the second year’s – for doing back to back.

I’m also reading and enjoying posts from runners I follow about their experiences, whether Liza Howard writing about running the race to pace her husband Eliot (the 11 hour bus sounds good!) or Scott Dunlap, who finished 3rd American male and has great photos along with his writeup. I wish American marathons would adopt those water “sachets” – you could grab a couple and carry, less spillage….USA RDs, whaddya think? Scott also did a post for Inov-8 on the race.

I know Comrades is a favorite of Bart Yasso, and Mike Wardian likes it too. Actually, I’ve not heard/read anything negative about the race from anyone who’s done it. Seems like if I had a bucket list, Comrades might have to be on it. I don’t have such a list, but I think I want to do it….and for me to even think about the travel involved, you know the Comrades bug must have bitten me – seriously, the plane travel alone, the food, a hot, humid race….all stressors and not what I prefer. So many reasons NOT to do it. And yet I keep thinking about it  Since (work with me) I think I may be a better downhill runner than uphill runner, I think I’d try it in a down year. I don’t think I could be ready for 2016, and a 56 mile race doesn’t fit in with my quest for faster marathons in general and faster Bostons, so I think the earliest I would try is 2018. Good thing I renewed my passport.

Comrades is such a big deal in South Africa that it’s televised live throughout the country – from pre-start to the 12 hour cutoff, the WHOLE thing. (by the way, it’s gun to gun cutoff for the participants, not chip time) You can watch/find the whole 12 hours online. I want to watch part of 2014 to watch Eliie Greenwood win, and maybe I’ll watch some of 2015 as well. Watch this video from 2014 of the start – Shosholoza is so moving. (I need to learn the words.) The whole start is pretty impressive. Here’s a post (also great photos) from Ellie on this year’s race – an accident affected her training, but she managed to pull off 6th woman! She has a marvelous attitude. Don’t bet against her next year. She’s coached by (and coaches along with) Ian Sharman.

Anyway…..Did my Ohnos and glute exercises from the UVa gait lab after the run, even increased some of the reps of glute exercises. Yow. Did Myrtl stretches.

Sunday 6/7

Sunday – Woke up at 5:45. Decided not to try to go back to sleep as I did yesterday. It takes me a while to get moving, do my kitchen puttering (making tea), online catchup, get my shoes on, etc. so I didn’t even head to the treadmill for my warmup until 7. During my warmup, I had some moments where I got a sharp almost electric shock pain on top of my L ankle, sharp enough I’d pull my foot up and grab the treadmill arms. I retied my shoes and messed with my socks. Almost talked myself out of my run, but decided to at least start it, and stop if I had problems. (my mind was spiraling to all sorts of dark and scary places and well into the future….you know what I mean)

6.2 miles at recovery pace, 0% incline. That helped my hams some and worked my quads a bit. Tried to work on form more. Ankle was fine, so no idea what the weirdness was, but will keep an eye on it. Did my Ohnos, UVas and Myrtl stretches after.

Listened to Jimmy Dean Freeman on Trail Runner Nation. Unfortunately he DNF’d at mile 39 of the San Diego 100 but seems okay with it.

Tried out this new bra from Asics, a Boston purchase (all the stuff I bought from them is now on sale, and of course I’m only just trying it….)

It’s reasonably comfortable and note the gel pocket in front. I only ran 6 miles, but didn’t note bouncing of the gel or any real issues with the bra. (will try 2 gels next time) Between that and some shorts I’ve tried and think I like, maybe I can get away without a belt at Baystate. May buy another of these bras (or two) as backups.

Asics bra front

Asics bra front

Asics bra back

Asics bra back

Asics bra pocket

Asics bra pocket

My massage therapist told me on Sunday my glutes weren’t as tight as they usually are – maybe more input that the exercises are working? Let’s hope. I’m going to keep the faith and keep plugging. Got the UVa exercises (and Myrtls) in 5x this week and my Ohnos 4x!

So how was your training last week? Trying any new gear, fuel, exercises?


Training Recap Week of 5/25/2015

Here’s the training recap for base phase week 4, a cutback week. Still recovery/easy pace runs on the plan.

RUN miles for the week: 33.5

Monday 5/25

I’m grateful to have had this day of remembrance off work.

I “treated” myself to a run on what is usually a XT day. I’m hoping to be able to add a day of running or run doubles to get more mileage, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work at least near term (with the exercises affecting my running some). Gotta be careful not to pile on too much.

Light core workout before run, Standing Hip Openers on the deck in the backyard after, Myrtls inside after that.

4 miles at recovery pace with 2% from x.5-x.8 each mile, then 5x10s strides with rest till the next whole minute. Those were kind of fun.

Tuesday 5/26

Not a great night of sleep, GI issues and awake at 515. Of course, that doesn’t mean I start running any earlier, being the procrastinating champ I can be sometimes. After the run, found out we have to move in the next 2 months.

7.5 miles – 1mi recovery pace, 3 mi increasing “easy pace” then 3.5mi at my fastest “easy” pace since the race. Same 2% at x.5-x.8 each mile. last 2 full miles then did 0.2 at 0%, did last 0.5 at 0%. HR higher, room warmer. Feeling the glutes and hams.

After:  Ohnos. UVa exercises. Side to side squats on board. LC #1 laterals. 10 ham curls on ball, 10 single leg glute bridges on floor – foot farther out, toes up, knee to chest. L arch feels pulled, L heel hurts. Myrtls. Wearing Asics around house. Ball of R foot under bunion hurts. Whartons b4 dinner. Chiro worked on calves and L foot.

Whartons before dinner.

Wednesday 5/27

3.1 miles recovery pace. Good HR. No core. No Whartons. Hams tight.

Thursday 5/28

Surprise – I didn’t run today. On what would normally be a regular longer run day (as it’s a telework day). I was tired, poor sleep again, hormone/female stuff going on and my legs felt sluggish and sore and tired/heavy. I got myself to the point of starting my walking warmup – and boy did it take a lot of coaxing, encouragement, promising myself things, pushing myself to even get that far. Started to walk and thought “nope, there’s no benefit here, you’ll push for a crap recovery run with poor form that does nothing but make you sorer”. So I stopped and decided not to run. (this, in case you can’t tell, is a pretty big deal) I stuffed the mileage and calorie monster back in their bag and went with “be a smart runner, think long-term, don’t make the same stupid mistakes you’ve made in the past and by the way it’s a cutback week”. Truly, I must be trying to be smarter – or I’m just tired and lack the will to even beat myself up.

So, I biked for 35min, did my UVa exercises and before dinner, did my Whartons. And I survived. Not that there weren’t mood moments or calorie-focused ones, but even when I talked to DH during the day, I was just too tired to get to worked up about it. (maybe the moving stress had kicked in)

Friday 5/29

Again with the GI & female issues, maybe 6 hours of poor sleep with funky dreams. Not helping.

Core Incl pushups/dips on ball, a little Meb stuff in there. Felt wimpy, tired. A little better at end momentarily. 30 min bike.

Saturday 5/30

13.1 miles, easy pace. Wondering when does it actual start to feel easy again? Makes sense that it would feel tough though, as adding in the glute exercises from the gait lab and trying to adjust my form makes me sore in all sorts of ways and places. Wore my still-awesome quad sleeves since my hams complained during my warmup. Cardio-wise, my HR showed it to be reasonably easy.

Took Vespa before, and a Lemon Sublime GU at mile 7 to try it out – it’s one of the ones without caffeine. I’m using these less-critical runs to try flavors for the future. It was odd as I got some in my mouth and didn’t really taste anything for a minute – then it tasted just like lemon meringue pie filling (reminded me of my mom, one of her favorites). It wasn’t sticky sweet, but it wasn’t tart, and I was more looking for a lemonade kind of tart. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, didn’t seem to upset my stomach. DH is going to let me try his Lemonade Roctane to see what I think. I think I still have a TriBerry to taste. Then perhaps plain and apple. I’m liking the Salted Watermelon lately, more into the fruits than the Vanilla, Caramel, etc.

Listened to the latest ep of Marathon Talk, part 2 with “North East running legend” Jim Alder. Next week, Martin & his wife Liz (a two-time Olympic marathon runner) will be co-hosting, as Tom and his wife Helen traveled to South Africa for Comrades (run on 5/31). Helen (Hels) beat Martin & Tom’s time from a couple of years ago. She ran 10h 11min to their 10h 48min. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

Also listened to Ken Reiss on this ep of the Runner’s Connect podcast. I was interested to hear about his study of Spira shoes, which have mechanical springs in them. I ordered a pair. I’ll try pretty much anything at this point.

Did my Ohnos and glute exercises after the run. Yow.

Sunday 5/31 – 20 weeks to Baystate

5.3 recovery pace miles, better than I’d been expecting based on my new exercises and how sore I was last night! Wore my quad sleeves again, and this time I remembered to put them on BEFORE my shoes. (was a close call though) Followed up with Myrtls.

Listened to Sarah’s BRF (best running friend) Molly interview Sarah about her recent injury and recovery on Another Mother Runner. Picked up a phrase “pathologically optimistic” – love it! Goes well with the Marathon Talk boys’ “relentlessly positive” and some quotes from Deena Kastor.

Are you training for a fall race yet?