Tuesday night I got a nice round of PT exercises in while watching the Westminster Dog Show (do you really think I could pass up an opportunity to watch dogs on TV??).
Wednesday morning I went down to the gym and did 15 minutes on the elliptical. Because I go crazy working out inside this much, I’m pretty much doing some kind of intervals every time I get on the elliptical now. Yesterday I did 2 minute intervals with the resistance, increasing from a level 6 to a level 9, which is the highest level I’m allowed to do right now. After my 15 minutes were up, there was another woman on the bike but I could tell she was close to finishing so I just hung out a few minutes before jumping on the bike to get in the last 15 minutes of my workout. I was able to cover 3.29 miles on the bike and 0.9 miles on the elliptical. I didn’t bike commute since Matt and I had a date night last night, but after we got home I did some of my core exercises before heading to bed.
I slept in this morning knowing I’d be going to PT this afternoon (update tomorrow) and I had pool running on the docket for tonight. After work, I headed up to the pool next to the track our training group runs on and had a chance to update Coach T really quickly with my knee. Then I dashed down to the locker room to change and covered 400 yards in about 31 minutes. I really feel like pool running is becoming more and more natural each time I try it, and it’s definitely keeping my heart rate up around 140-150 bpm! I skipped my PT exercises tonight because I did a bunch during my appointment today and I wanted to give myself a chance to let my muscles relax before jumping back in tomorrow.
Cherry Blossom Training with Mr. Running On Waffles
Mr. Running on Waffles is back with some more info on my Cherry Blossom training. Although Amanda is undoubtedly working harder than me and putting in more hours of training/recovery with all of her biking and elliptical work and PT exercises, she still can’t run . So she asked me to fill you all in on what my weekly running schedule looks like as I prepare for Cherry Blossom (and the RnR half). Here’s an overview of what I’m doing most weeks.
Monday is a rest day. After running over the weekend, I like to take the day off to give my legs a chance to recover before attacking the next week of training. However, that doesn’t mean I’m inactive. I bike commute to work every day that the weather and my schedule cooperate. It would probably be best to take Monday off entirely and really let my legs rest, but I’m so used to biking my commute route that it doesn’t seem to put much stress on my legs. Plus, my wallet appreciates not getting a workout on the bus or the Metro. I also go to my office’s gym over lunch to lift weights and do some hip and calf exercises to help strengthen my legs and ward off another injury. These can tire my legs a little, but I’m happy to trade a little rest for injury prevention any day! Additionally, every night (when I have time!) I go through a foam rolling and stretching routine to keep my legs feeling loose.
Tuesday is my first run of the week, and it’s a tempo run. I know that “tempo run” can mean different things to different people, so let me explain a little more. For my tempo runs, I try to warm up at an easy pace, then gradually build to faster than race pace, hold that pace for a while, and then gradually back off to finish at an easy pace. As an example, here’s what I did for a tempo run this week. I started around a 10:00/mile pace and warmed up for a little less than a mile. Then I tried to slowly build my speed (although I’m really struggling to keep the build slow and gradual!) over the next half mile or so, trying to reach a pace a bit faster than 9:00/mile (my goal pace for the RnR half). I ended up holding it around an 8:45/mile pace for about 1.5-2 miles. Then I tried to gradually slow it back down to finish up my 4 miles at a pace of 10:00/mile.
I have two goals with this tempo run. The first is to get a couple miles on my legs at a pace faster than my race pace. Running at this pace provides both physiological and psychological benefits, not only helping your legs and your fitness level but also building your confidence about hitting your goal pace on race day.
The second goal is to increase and decrease speed in a gradual and consistent way, and this is what I’m really focusing on because it is still a struggle for me. I don’t want to just jump from a 10:00 mile to a 8:45 mile and then back to 10:00; I want to be able to control my body through every pace between them. Increasing speed in this way is great training for negative splits during a race, teaching your legs to smoothly increase your speed from the start line all the way to the finish. Additionally, being able to make these fine-tuned adjustments to your pace can make you a more efficient runner. Imagine running a race (say, Cherry Blossom!) at a 10:00/mile average. You could do this by simply running every mile in 10:00, or you could alternate between 11:00 miles and 9:00 miles. Think of all the energy you’re wasting by speeding up and slowing down in the second case. Being able to control your pace can help you avoid this problem and save extra energy for a strong finish.
Like Monday, I also bike commute whenever possible, and I do my foam rolling and stretching. I also use a resistance band for some hip strengthening exercises.
Wednesday is an easy run. For this training season I started at 3 mile easy runs, and I’m working up to 5 miles as I also build my long weekend runs. I’ve been using 10:00/mile as a good benchmark for this run, but it’s really more about feel than actual time. If my legs are feeling good and I go a little faster, that’s fine. If I’m dragging and have to slow it down a bit, that’s fine too. In the end, it’s just about getting in some more miles and keeping my legs loose between the tempo run on Tuesday and track work on Thursday.
I also bike commute if I can, do the same gym work as Monday, and then do the foam rolling and stretching in the evening.
Thursday is my track workout. The actual workout varies from week to week, so I just show up and do whatever Coach T. tells me to do. Tonight we did mile repeats. Just as the name implies, we ran a mile, then recovered for 2-3 minutes, and then repeated. I did four miles, plus some warm up and cool down. I know some (maybe a lot?) people hate them, but I’m really enjoying these track workouts. It feels good to get in some faster miles, and it helps build confidence that I’ll be able to kick it up a gear during the race if I need to.
I don’t bike commute on Thursday, because I go straight from work to the track, and I want my legs to be fresh. But I do go through my foam rolling and stretching and use the resistance band for hip strengthening.
Friday is exactly the same as Monday. After three days of running, I like to take a day off for a little recovery, so I’m ready for my weekend runs. However, I do bike commute whenever possible, do my gym workout, and foam roll and stretch.
Saturday is another easy run. It’s basically just a shake out to make sure things are loose and ready for a long run on Sunday. Like Wednesday’s easy run, I started at 3 miles, and I’ll work up to 5 miles for this run. Again, my general goal is 10:00/mile, and I really try hard to make sure I don’t push it harder than that. A fast run on Saturday makes for a harder long run on Sunday, and nobody wants that. I haven’t gotten this run in every week (Last weekend got a little busy. Oops.), and if I have to miss a run, I think this is the one to skip. But a few extra miles are helpful if I can squeeze them in.
I usually don’t bike commute on Saturday. For me, Saturday = day off! But sometimes I’ll go in to work with Amanda, and occasionally we’ll bike commute, although that might happen a lot more often now that she is cleared to bike outside! I also do my foam rolling and stretching, but I don’t do any leg exercises so they don’t get overly tired before Sunday.
Sunday is the most important run of the week, the long run. This is where I build up my mileage to get up to the distances I’ll be racing. The plan is to get up to 12 miles at the peak before the RnR half. I do my long run with the Cherry Blossom training group, and there are a few of us who are running (relatively) faster and longer distances, So we’ll just naturally settle into a pretty good pace for us, and so far it’s been in the 10:00-10:30/mile pace range. You really want to keep your long run at least 60-90 seconds per mile slower than your goal race pace, so I’m really glad to run this one with the group so we have a better chance of pacing ourselves well. It’s also really fun running with the group, and I’m sure I’ll be making another appearance to talk about the group long runs. So stay tuned for that!
I don’t do any biking on Sunday, so I don’t overdo it with biking on top of the long run. But especially after the long run I make sure to do my foam rolling and stretching, and I also use do my hip exercises with the resistance band.
So there it is, my weekly training plan. It might not be for everyone, especially if you are newer to running or new to the 10 miler distance. But it’s been working out well for me so far. I’m already feeling faster with the tempo run and track work, and I’m looking forward to seeing if I can carry that over to a successful RnR half and Cherry Blossom.
Your Turn: What does your training plan look like for your next race? What kind of cross training/core work are you doing? Do you love or hate (or both) your foam roller??