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Marathon Training Update: Brought to you by the Letter B(e)

Posted Sep 20 2013 7:16am

Today’s Toronto Waterfront Marathon Training Update is brought to you by the Letter B(e).

Merida--she's one smart cookie!

Merida–she’s one smart cookie! Source

Last week, I ran my first ever “track workout.” What’s a track workout? Basically it is running for speed around a track. My coach had me down for a 5×800 at 5k pace with equal recovery for a total of 8-mi. In English—one time around a track is 400-meters (or roughly ¼-mile). So I was to run 800-meters (twice around the track) at my 5k race pace 5 times. In between each of those 800’s I was to run a recovery 800m at a slower pace. So that amounted to 5-mi (800 (or ½-mi) fast + 800 recovery=1600m or roughly 1-mi). To get to my 8-mi overall I was to run a warm-up and cool-down each 1.5-mi. This is a HARD workout. The first few times around I felt great, but as my splits (time it took me to run 800m) showed, I was slowing down with each round. At some point a couple who was walking on the outside lanes decided to race me…not sure why considering they were not out there to run—the man was in flip flops. They took off running and as I approached on the inside lane at my 5k pace, the man veered towards my lane and caused me to change my gait. Nothing felt off at the time but when I got home upon completion of my workout complained to The Hubs that my hamstring on my right leg hurt. I iced it and stretched, hoping it would go away.

The next day I ran 6-mi recovery and after that it was not pretty. There was significant discomfort in not only my hamstring but my right glut as well. After talking to my coach about it and exchanging emails we determined that I likely pulled my hamstring and that all bets were off and I needed to take things very cautiously until we figured out the severity of the situation. I iced (a lot), used biofreeze, and took an ibuprofen or two as I was out of Tylenol. I rested on Friday and received an email form my coach cancelling my Saturday general aerobic run too late—I was already out the door and on the road. I took the pace slow and would feel a twinge. I’d stop and stretch and then start running again. The first two miles I thought to myself: “Well, about that “B” plan…” I started to think of all the things that “B” stood for other than “Plan B”:







Buh-Bye Boston!

I suddenly saw my dreams of running a strong race with hopes of qualifying for Boston begin to fade away. But something happened after feeling sorry for myself. I’m not sure why but around mile-3.5, I decided to look at the positive. I needed to stop seeing the world as though the glass was half empty—the glass was in fact half full. I needed to be grateful that I was actually able to run. I needed to not let this hiccup consume me. I needed to not give in to my negativity. “B” didn’t have to be a bad thing…just like a Plan-B isn’t a bad thing. My mind was instantly flooded with positive thoughts and imagery. “B” stood for:

Be Badass:

Be Badass: Source




“Bitchin’ Focus” (the slogan my running buddies run with)


“Be” Positive

“Be Fierce”

“Be” Epic

“Be” Strong

“Be” Flexible

Joan Benoit-Samuelson (one seriously epic woman! Hello 1st ever women’s Olympic marathon winner, Boston Marathon winner, and former women’s world record holder)

Boston Qualifier!

With a new attitude and perspective on things I made it through the rest of my run with minimal issues with my hamstring. The next day I was able to complete a long slow distance run of 22-miles—the longest run of my training cycle—at a 9:23 pace, right on point for my target long slow runs. A perfectly placed Dropkick Murphy’s “Shipping Up to Boston” right at the end of my run made for an epic finish that left me with lots of confidence! I followed up with stretching and an ice bath and crossed my fingers and waited….


Believe: Source

Where am I today? Today, one month shy of Toronto, I’m not so sure. I ran on Tuesday and was fine, completing a 6-mi easy run with an 8:54 pace. The first 3-miles felt like snot, but not because of any hamstring related issues…but I warmed up and finished strong. Yesterday, well yesterday I was supposed to be doing another track workout and my hammy was barking at me again. I’m not sure if it was real or if it was psychosomatic, knowing that this is the workout that hurt me last week. I iced it while at work and took an acetaminophen to help…and then I pondered…should I be “brave” and do my workout and hope this isn’t real? Do I “be” flexible and trust that my training has been enough thus far and just do a regular general aerobic paced run and bail on the speedwork? We will see—I sent an email to my coach to see what I should do. But one thing I am trying very hard to not do is “Be” pessimistic… because being a pessimist certainly won’t help me! But “Believing” that I can do anything in the face of adversity will help me!

UPDATE: After talking with my coach we changed my work out to be 9-slow miles; I need to trust my training…be brave, be fierce, be epic…believe!

What about you?  Are you training for a race right now?  How is it going?  What hurdles are you overcoming?  Do you fall prey to negative self-talk too?


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