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Marathon Training Week 8: When I Learned that Speed work Works

Posted Aug 16 2011 9:19am

Last week was a bit nuts.

I got back from Seattle , was jetlagged for the better part of the week, jumped right back into work and my internship – and continued my marathon training.

Monday: 3 mile easy run

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Spin, 4 mile easy run

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 3 miles speedwork

Saturday: 14 mile long run

Sunday: 90 minute yoga class at Yogaworks

My run coach had an extra day of hills on the schedule but Tuesdays and Thursdays are turning into 14 hour days for me, and I needed the extra hour of sleep both days.

I think my favorite thing about training, especially now that I have workouts laid out by my coach, is that each run has a purpose and I’m learning something from each one. This week, my easy run taught me that it’s hard for me to run slow. Easy runs for me right now are supposed to be at a 10+ mile pace, and on shorter runs I have a hard time slowing down below a 9:30. I think this is especially mental – it’s hard for me to feel like I’m working hard when I’m not going fast, especially on short runs, but now I’m learning that I’m not supposed to be working so hard during these runs – that’s the point. Duh.

Speedwork is becoming my new BFF. So funny when I remember that even a month ago I was intimidated and had no idea what to do during a speed workout. Thanks to these awesome ladies , I figured out that I don’t need a treadmill or a track (at least not yet), and that even two or three speed workouts can make a difference. After only a few weeks, I’m getting faster. I’m learning to push myself a little harder for a little longer. Last week I ran a 7 minute mile, this week I ran an 8 minute mile during my speed workout. This week my average pace on my long run was a 9:02, compared with a 10:12 last weekend. While it wasn’t totally by choice /my own motivation (last week’s run was solo, and this weekend I was a little hurried on my way to meet people and then ran the last 6 miles with a group), it definitely showed me that I can push myself to run faster, and that my sub 2 hour half marathon is within reach. In fact, I ran 13.1 in 1:57 this weekend. Bronx Half here I come Smile

hot bird

Don’t know what that face was about. ( source )

Point is, if you are scared of speedwork, don’t be. Do as I do (or as my coaches taught me): Run 1 mile easy to warm up, 1 mile as fast as you can sustain, and then do 1 mile cooldown.  I try to do mine on a relatively flat surface without too many turns – the bridle trail was perfect for this.

photo 4 (2)

And then take sweaty self photos.

Here’s something I didn’t learn this week: how to properly fuel my long runs.  This weekend, I took 3 shot blocks after mile 8 and stopped for water probably every 45 minutes (obviously wasn’t paying super close attention). I seemed to have this better under control last year,but for some reason my stomach has not been happy after runs where I really push myself and I spend the better part of the rest of the day rehydrating and trying to figure out what kinds of bland, carby foods I can eat the rest of the day that won’t upset my stomach.

How do you refuel on long  or hard runs?

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