AMT :: Week 3

Because I get a lot of “off-line” questions about my marathon training, because I like the idea of keeping a training journal (especially with such an exciting race season ahead!), and because I’m all about finding ways to create accountability and incentive myself to stick with the program, I intend to provide – at least – weekly updates of my training for the Boston and Big Sur Marathons this Spring.  This one is a little late, but better late than never . . .

Last week, we entered Week 3 of Advanced Marathon Training class.  I’m happy to report that, overall, it was a great week of running!

Before I dive into my training runs, I should point out that two major changes happened this week:

First, instead of running as one massive 20+ person group, our head coach split us into four smaller groups, each with its own individual coach.  As a result, each group seemed to stay together much better, which means I am no longer running alone.  (P.S. I’m not in the slowest group, which is a compliment with this experienced crew.) 

Second, thanks to our lactate threshold test, our training runs are now written in “Zones” that are based solely on your individual heart rate, rather than pace.  I’ve tried to train solely by HR for the last year, but when you’re the only watching HR while everyone else is obsessed with pace, this just isn’t feasible.  Why am I head-over-heels for HR training?  It’s the only truly consistent way to train.  Depending on a whole host of factors (e.g., recovery, nutrition, stress, and sleep, just to name a few), your pace at a specific HR may change from day-to-day, some days faster and others slower.  This is particularly problematic when you are building the base mileage needed to sustain 15+ weeks of marathon.  If you force your body to train at a specific pace, instead of keeping your HR in an easy training zone, then you are running too hard and won’t get the benefits you need.  I still look at average pace at the end of the run, but I’ve almost completely weened myself off of looking at “current pace” on Garmin screen.  Try it.  It’s incredibly liberating.

With my new group and HR zones in-hand, here’s what my week of running looked like:

Sunday (1/16) :: An easy 12 mile run.  And, given that everyone ran an all-out effort in the Hot Chocolate 10k the day before, I mean really easy.  It was greatness!

Monday (1/17) :: Rest.  I love these days.

Tuesday (1/18) :: 8 miles in Zone 1.  Another easy, base-building run.  What a different the HR Zones made!  We had a real warm-up mile, and, overall, the run was at least 30-45 seconds per mile slower than the group had been running in the previous two weeks.  Welcome back easy pace; I’ve missed you.

Wednesday (1/19) :: 3.5 miles in Zone 1.  Our schedule called for 7 miles, but I couldn’t bring myself to get up early because I desperately needed more sleep.  Instead, Brad and I ran a loop in our neighborhood after work.  It was the perfect way to “celebrate” the two-week anniversary of his Brad’s ugly ankle sprain.  I’m so glad that it’s finally healing so that he can get back to marathon training and mountain-bike riding; for a gimp, he’s been a real trooper!

Thursday (1/20) :: 10 miles — 3 in Zone 1 + 5 in Zone 2 + 2 in Zone 1.  This was, quite possibly, the most miserable run ever.  About 4 miles in, the temperature dropped from a lovely 50 degrees to 35, bringing with it a gale-force headwind and torrential downpour.  And, when I say “torrential” I mean vertical pellets of rain that were strongly considering turning into ice.  Needless to say, my pace for our 5 miles in Zone 2 was pitiful.  Yet another reason training by HR is a good thing.  Had I been trying to run my usual tempo pace, I would have killed myself out there!

Friday (1/21) :: I took the option of another rest day.  I don’t want to pile on the mileage too quickly, so at this point, I’m sticking with 5 days of running instead of 6.  As long as I get in at least one or two days of cross-training (whether yoga or cycling), I may stick with this schedule throughout the entire class.  We shall see.

Saturday (1/22) :: 4 miles in Zone 1.  One of the great things about marathon training in the Winter is that you can sleep in and run later without overheating.  I took full advantage of this and didn’t roll out of bed until after 9:00.  Then, Brad and I ran another loop in the neighborhood (again, no ankle pain!) before we started a full day of errand-running and house projects.

Total mileage :: 37.5

So, there you go.  This is what a typical week looks like, in the running part of my world at least.  If you’re still with me, thanks for caring.  🙂

This coming week, we have 45 miles still mostly in Zone 1. It won’t be long until virtually every run includes some tempo or speed work, so I am savoring every second of these base-building runs!


About Beth

Wife, daughter, big sis, aunt, friend, attorney, runner, cyclist, amateur chef & aspiring photographer. Thanks for keeping up with my life on the run!
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