Marathon training

Race Ready? I think so!

My marathon training in the past has been very different. Usually it was 16 weeks with several longs runs throughout. My coach Jen, takes a different approach to training for a marathon especially since we are balancing triathlon training on top of it! The big difference is I don’t run as much as I used to. For some this might be a bit unsettling but Jen hasn’t steered me wrong in the last three years so I am sure she has this figured out! I recently had two chance test my fitness. I did the Wings for Life World Run where I tried to run my goal marathon pace (8:27) for the race. Nailed it!

Then yesterday I needed to run 2:30 hours at zone 1/2 heart rate. I picked a loop to run that was a change of scenery for me but allowed me to circle back to my car for supplies if needed. My goal was to run at least 9:30 or faster but really pay attention to how I felt and keep it easy. At the end of the run I was supposed to be able to keep going if needed. Nailed it again! I managed 17 miles in 2:32:07, average pace of 8:57. And yes, I totally could have kept running!

So I have entered a bit of a taper until the race on May 29. I am doing my best to not mess anything up and just keep following my training. I am working to eat well so I can show up to the race at a good-for-me weight. I am making sure to stretch and keep my body happy. And I am doing a lot of positive self talk. It is going to get dark on race day around mile 18; but I know I can push through. I have done it before. On race day it will be time to trust the training and believe in myself. 3:43 or bust!!!

Back At It!

A couple weeks ago I did a number on my back. I didn’t have much time to fix it because I have an upcoming marathon that I am hoping to qualify for Boston at. So I made a call to a fellow athlete since I knew she had a guy. Enter Dr. Chris at Complete Performance Center. After checking me out we did some treatment for the next 2 1/2 weeks. Treatment included stim, stretching, and a couple of adjustments. By my second visit I was already feeling better! Now I am happy to say, my back is better and the stretches he gave me a doing wonders for me! Look at the data from my last two Yasso 800 runs.

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These 800s were all run in the same place. Only real difference was a headwind for the run back.  I was faster this week. Not a ton faster, but I will take any improvement I can get. Also, after the Wings for Life Run last weekend I got a notification from Training Peaks that my threshold run pace had gone down 2 seconds to 8:10. Once again, not a huge improvement but considering I wasn’t running at max effort and actually had a very reasonable HR this is great news!

So this has me VERY hopeful of running my goal marathon of 3:43 in two weeks. That is a pace close to 8:27 per mile. One more week to put a bit more hay in the barn and then I get to burn it down!

Motto right now is fear the training, not the race!

Touch wood!

weekly running

I made a plea a couple weeks ago about the need for a plan for my next marathon in March.  I got some great feedback from some friends (Thanks Jill and Taryn!) and so far things are going well.   I have suffered in the past from IT band and peroneal issues so I am treading very lightly while ramping up my running.  The one thing that I am doing differently is that I am taking the time after every run to stretch.  I know you are thinking “Duh Becca!” but I have never been good about this part of training.  I want this Ironman next year and I want it bad.  I will only get there if I get serious about my training.  I hope to keep steadily increasing my weekly mileage and staying injury free over the next month.  Then it is time to get my marathon training going.  Wish me luck!

HELP!!! I need a plan!

I am currently working on getting my base mileage back up and I need help.  I plan to run the Los Angeles Marathon in March and I need a training plan.  I am currently running very little and I don’t think I will be able to handle the FIRST plan for this marathon.  I only want to run 3 times a week (maybe 4) and I will cross train on the bike (and maybe swim).  Goal marathon time is 4 hours.  Suggestions?

Boston Marathon Week 4 of 16 Training Update

Two weeks ago I went out to do an 18 mile run in training for the Boston Marathon.  After 10 miles I was having a lot of pain in my left knee from a problem with my IT band/peroneal muscle.  I stopped after 13.1 miles (I was doing a half marathon) and my knee locked up. I decided to cut the run short and skip the last 5 miles.  I ran easy the next week and then went out to try and run 15-17 miles on Saturday.  After 7 miles my knee hurt and by 10 I could tell I was altering my gate to compensate for the pain and that was going to mess up my other side so I stopped again.

Boston has been a dream of mine for a very long time.  I have already given up on the thought of a PR at Boston this year.  All I want is to have a solid comfortable run.  At this point, I am not sure even that is possible.  If this progresses like my other IT band did last year I just don’t see how I will be able to run the marathon in April.

So here is my plan.  For the next 4 weeks I will do all the activities I know I should to try and rehab the IT band.  This includes a lot of pelvic girdle strengthening exercises, foam rolling, and stretching.  I will keep trying to run until the pain is too bad I have to stop.  If at the end of the next 4 weeks I can run 18 miles knee-pain free, I will keep training for Boston.  If I get to that point and I can’t, I think I will pull out.

I know some of you may not agree with this but here is why I might do that.  I know I will/can qualify again for Boston.  I truly believe that.  I really don’t want to spend all my time and a bunch of money going to a race that I know will be very painful and disappointing.  I really hope that in four weeks I can report that I am ready to finish the training, but for now I am not so sure…

A Few of My Favorite Things – for running

While I was out on my tempo run this morning I was thinking about a few things that I love for running.  The first one is my SPI belt.  I got it at the Portland Marathon expo in 2011 and there isn’t a week that I don’t use it when I run.  I have the original one but it is water resistant and has the loops to put gels/gus on.  I also have the thingys that you can add to attach a race bib.  I would be lost without it!  It sits in place and holds my iPhone, key, and iPod nano perfectly while running.  It never bounces around regardless of what I am wearing.


My next favorite things is my running back pack, the Wink by Ultimate Direction.  If I have to go run for more than an hour I prefer to take this because it helps with all the food and water needs.  It fits like a dream.  Holds everything I need and I have never had any problems with it.  I used it on my first 50K trail run and I am using it for all my marathon training.  It allows me to have everything I need while running and to carry it comfortably.

Getting ready to start the day!

Getting ready to start the day!


My last favorite thing is the book Run Less Run Faster.  I have been using this book to train for running races for the last two years. I bought it over three years ago but was intimidated by the workouts; they are hard!  Once I got more confident in my running ability I used this book to qualify for Boston by running a 3:34 and set a half marathon PR of 1:41.  The book is easyish to follow (some of the workouts can be hard if you don’t own a Garmin or have access to a track).  But it works!   That is what counts in my opinion.  It also works great for triathletes since it requires cross training.


To compress or not compress…

Before I ran my 4th marathon in San Diego back in June 2010 I bought my very first pair of compression socks, 2XU (two times you for some of you) to be specific.  I loved them.  I wore them for so many long runs.  They were fantastic.  I really felt like they helped me run long distances as well as helped me with recovery.  I am sure many of you feel the same way about compression socks/sleeves.  When I was struggling with my IT band issues back in May my physical therapist told me not to run in compression sleeves when doing my Ironman.  Part of my problem at that point was pointing to a muscle on my lower leg called the peroneus.pernoeusMy physical therapist thought that wearing compression socks wasn’t good for that muscle so instead we taped it with some KT tape and that was how I ran.  Amazingly during Ironman St. George I didn’t have the crippling IT band pain I had been suffering from while training.

Time has passed and I no longer have the same problems in my right leg but now I have some pain in the same location of that muscle on my left leg.  I still think it is all related to the IT band and the peroneus.  On Sunday I went for my second long run for my Boston Marathon training and I decided to wear some compression socks since I was running long.


Tres sexy no?

Mind you I haven’t used compression socks to run since before Ironman St. George.  After 6 miles my knee/IT Band/peroneus started to hurt, much worse that it did the prior week  during my long run.  After chatting about it with my running partner I decided to roll down the socks so they weren’t pulled all the way up to my shins.  SO MUCH BETTER, and almost instantly!

I thought is was interesting that something that had worked so well for me for so long, was now a problem.  I know that compressions socks are pretty cool looking (I say that sarcastically and seriously both at the same time), but they might not be for everyone.

Week 2 of 16 Boston Marathon Training

**Yes there was a video here earlier… I apparently messed up the audio, so instead of making you watch me talking like a silent movie, I removed it.  I will re-record tonight…after I swim… Now back to the post…

Week 2 went to plan which is a great way to start a training cycle.  I am still beyond excited to be running the Boston Marathon that I really want to nail this training and show up ready to kick some butt on April 15th.  I feel sorry for my friends because I keep saying how excited I am for Boston.

This week I finished up the Tour of Sufferlandria which I had to take a DNF on.  It was much harder than we expected and I just ran out of time for another day of trainer riding.  Boston is the goal so I have to keep my eyes on the prize!  I managed two swims this week and I was really pleased with my swim on Saturday.  First swim of 3000 yards in a really long time and I did really well on the main set.  Very consistent and a decent pace for me.

The runs this week went great.  My interval run was done at a park near where I work.  It is a mile from my office and the loop at the park is over 0.25 and kind of squishy.  It was great to have this as an option for doing short interval runs near work.  My tempo run went well even though I felt pretty tired still from the all the trainer riding the weekend before.  I left for the run thinking there was no way I would do it and ended up nailing my five miles at marathon pace.  I have been most nervous for the long runs lately because I just haven’t been running much over 10 miles for the last several months.  This week was 15 miles at MP + :45 which equates to 9:45/ mile.  That being said I wanted to do 9:30 if I could…and I managed and average pace of 9:23!  Lucky for me Stuart was there to help push me to keep my pace.  It always helps to have someone to chase but it isn’t quite as helpful to find out his max HR at the end was 70 BPM less than mine!  Oh well!

I am a little anxious about this week since my kids go back to school and life gets a little more hectic.  I am very excited to be chatting with Barb, Kelownagurl tonight for her podcast.  Look for a link soon…  Links below are for the run data.

Interval run data

Tempo run data

Long run data

26.5 miles run this week.  9:35 total training time.

Pacing Myself


When I tackle a training plan for a race I usually find that I can’t attack 100% of the plan details.  For instance, when I did the FIRST plan the first time (no pun intended) I really only watched my pace on the long runs.   I found the paces for the other shorter distances just too hard.  I guess that is why I do better at longer races versus shorter races.  Now that this is the second or third time (I am losing count) that I will be using this plan, I am really going to make an effort to hit all the paces in all three workouts.  I am basing my paces off a 24:00 5K (which I sort of ran back in October).  Here is what I should be running…

400M – 1:46

600M – 2:42

800M – 3:36

1000M – 4:32

1200M – 5:30

1600M – 7:27

Short Tempo – 8:00

Mid Tempo – 8:15

Long Tempo – 8:30

Easy – 9:35

Half Marathon Pace – 8:33

Marathon Pace – 8:53 (I want a sub 4 hour marathon time)

I truly believe that I can train at these paces for all the interval and tempo runs.  I am a little less confident for the long runs.  It has been a really long time since I have run more than 12 miles so the first four weeks of the plan will be very telling. The weekly long runs start like this: 13, 15, 17, then 20.  You end up doing five 20 mile runs over the course of the plan.  You get right to it!

Week 1 Has Begun – Boston Marathon Training


My wall of motivation in the kitchen

My 16 week plan for the Boston Marathon started this week.  I am really looking forward to training for a marathon.  Originally my goal was to PR in Boston and hopefully run 3:30.  I just haven’t been running that fast lately and I don’t think I can get too much faster in the next 16 weeks.  My goal for Boston is to have a controlled run and do it in 4:00.  I think this is achievable so my goal marathon pace will be 9:00 min/ mile.

I am using the FIRST plan which is good for me because it is only three runs a week and allows for cross training.  The general weekly plan is:

Monday : Swim

Tuesday: Run (speed work)

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Bike (trainer ride)

Friday: Run (tempo)

Saturday: Bike (trainer) and Swim

Sunday: Run (long run)

I will need to find a way to get some longer bike rides in as well so I can start ramping up for Challenge Penticton training which will start shortly after Boston is done. I have very limited time for running so this will be interesting.

**And week one will be a little interesting because I am doing this on Saturday and Sunday!