Sunday, May 7, 2017

Training Update: Springing Ahead

It's been awhile since I posted a training update. My current focus is building speed for shorter distance races. To recap, I set a PR in the 5K in mid-April (20:44), and then beat that PR a week later (20:38). Over the next two months, I plan to run three 5Ks and two 4-mile races. I really enjoy
training for speed, and in many ways it's more challenging than marathon training. The time commitment is less, but the effort level of the workouts is more intense. I'll write more on that idea in a bit.

Springtime in DC
The weather has been all over the map (typical for the Washington DC metro area) and oddly, it hasn't impacted me much. When I ran the back-to-back 5K races, I observed that I felt stronger and more energized during the warmer race: 70 degrees and sunny as opposed to 50 degrees and windy. This is a first for me. Historically I have felt drained by the heat, as most runners do, and I had always viewed it as my #1 running obstacle. It's premature for me to say that the heat is no longer problematic for me, but over the past several weeks, my best runs have been in the warmest and most humid weather. On the cooler days, I have struggled a bit. SO ODD!

One thing's for sure, I absolutely love how early the sun rises. It gets me out the door earlier and I don't have to rush as much in the mornings.

One of my goals this year is to be included in the RunWashington Runner rankings again. I was ranked 6th in 2015 and 5th in 2016. To qualify, I need to run 3 "ranked" races in the first half of the year and 3 in the second half. After my bout with mono last summer, I struggled to get 3 in the second half, but I managed to squeeze them all into November and December. Currently, I have already met the requirement for the first half of the year: For the Love of It 10K, Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, Crystal City Friday 5K, and GW Parkway Classic 5K. But they only use your best three times to determine your rank, so I have an opportunity to run a faster 5K to influence my ranking.

I've decided that by the end of 2017, I would love to run a 5K in 20:17 or faster, and for the summer, I'd like to get it down below 20:30. Here is a snapshot of my training for the past month. I've run every day since April 1st (at least 3 miles) so I am on a 37-day streak.

Week of April 24th: 52.3 Miles
Because I had run a 5K race on Sunday, I didn't have a track workout on Tuesday. Instead, I did a medium long run. Whenever I race on a Sunday, I typically use that as the following week's speed work and then run long and slow on the following Tuesday.

Monday: 5.9 miles @ 8:28 average. I was amazed at how recovered my legs felt from the 5K. It didn't feel like I had raced at all. I think this could be because the headwind was my biggest obstacle, not my legs. In Crystal City, my legs were dead afterwards.

Tuesday: 10.5 miles @ 8:35 average.

Wednesday: 7 miles @ 8:31 average.

Thursday: 10 x 300m with 2-minute recovery jogs + warmup and cool down. This workout was fun, as I am not used to running 300m intervals. My splits were: 1:06, 1:06, 1:03, 1:03, 1:02, 1:03, 1:02, 1:02, 1:03, 1:03. This was much faster than expected; these paces are in the 5:30-5:45 range, which is the same pace I run my
Thursday, April 27th
200m intervals at. I think it may have to do with the fact that I am much faster on the straight portions of the track, and with these 300's, I had 2 straights and one curve. Whereas with a 200m interval, 50% of the rep is a curve. But who knows, maybe I could be running faster 200's. I'll also note that it was a "soupy" morning with 98% humidity.

Friday: 5.8 miles @ 8:31 average.

Saturday: 12.4 miles @ 8:30 average. This was the magical run! It was 67 degrees and very humid, and yet I felt extremely energized. The entire run felt peppy and refreshing, and I felt like I could have kept going and going. My paces even dropped below 8:20 during the last few miles, unintentionally.

Sunday: 3.6 miles @ 8:26 average. This was supposed to be my recovery run after the medium-long run on Saturday. And typically I am very good about keeping those super easy. But for some reason I inadvertently kept speeding up. It didn't feel that fast but my paces said otherwise. I ended up with 52.3 miles for the week.

Week of May 1st: 50.6 miles

Monday: 5.8 miles @ 8:38 average

Tuesday: 1600m, 1200m, 800m, 400m, 200m, all with 400m recovery jog, + warmup and cool down. I set some track PRs! I ran the 1600m in 6:35, which was right where I wanted to be. I then ran the 1200m in 4:49, which was a PR. I don't run 1200's often, but I think my PR had been a 4:58, so I was happy to see something much faster. I couldn't believe my eyes at the end of the 800m: 3:06! I was amazed! My previous fastest had been 3:09, and I definitely wasn't trying to beat that. I ran the 400m in 1:29, and the 200m in 0:41. I was very pleased with how this workout felt, and once again, it was really humid and 65 degrees. When thinking more about this workout, I realized that because it was so much shorter than my workouts during marathon training, I pushed harder during the intervals than I otherwise would. During marathon training, my focus was to ensure that I would be able to complete the entire workout, whereas now, my focus was to run really fast.

Wednesday: 7 miles @ 8:35 average.

Thursday: 1600m, 1600m, 6 x 300m with 1-minute recovery jogs, 1600m. This workout started strong but didn't end well. I ran the first two 1600's in 6:44, 6:40.  My plan said to run them at "slightly faster than 10K pace" which was difficult for me to interpret because my 5K pace is only 4 seconds faster per mile than my 10K pace at the moment! So they ended up averaging 10K pace. Then came the 300's. I was supposed to run these at 1-mile race pace. I don't know what that would be, so I tried to shoot for a 6:00 pace. I ended running 1:09, 1:08, 1:06, 1:07, 1:06, 1:06. Then I realized that I didn't know if I should recover for 1-minute or 3 minutes, so I ran for 200m, which ended up being 1:38. So, after not having had much recovery, I went into the next 1600m and went
Saturday, May 6th
way to fast. I think the point of this workout is for the last two 1600m's to be faster because the 300's turned on another gear. But because I started out so fast on the first two laps, I pretty much crashed during the final lap, and my split was 6:44. After that, I was toast and decided not to run another 1600m as prescribed. My legs were dead and I was completely wiped out. Ironically, it was "perfect" running weather- 50 degrees and low humidity.

Friday: 5.1 miles @ 8:34 average. When I woke up, I realized I wouldn't be able to run outside because of the thunderstorms. So I had to wait until the evening. By then, it was 73 degrees and sunny. But low and behold, the run felt really good!

Saturday: 13.4 miles @ 8:38 average. This run was very blah. My legs were tired from Thursday's workout and having had run the evening prior instead of the morning before. I also slept poorly on Friday night. I had a packet of UCAN before I started and so my energy level ended up being decent. But my legs didn't have their usual pep. This run wasn't nearly as glorious as the warm and humid one from the weekend before.

Sunday: 3.7 miles @ 8:40 average. A true recovery run!

Overall, my training has been going well. I'm looking forward to some challenging track workouts and seeing how I perform in my upcoming races.


  1. I love how you train in the 8s but your speedwork is blazing fast! I cannot wait to get my speed back. Fingers crossed it finds me again.

    1. That's right. I keep it easy and save all of my energy for the two hard days each week!

  2. I follow you on instagram and strava and see a lot of your training but you're doing a great job. No doubt that when the weather is cooler, you will see some faster 5K times. You have such a strong base from marathon training and the speedy track workouts will really work. Plus I still remember when you were sick with mono and had to DNS a few races and dreamed of MB... you've come such a long way in the last few years and it's really fun to read about.

    1. Yeah, those mono days were not fun. I am looking forward to hot weather running because I missed it last summer. I can't believe I am actually saying this! But I really like how cute my warm weather wardrobe is. LOL.

  3. this will be a fun summer for you! i am looking forward to following your progress!

  4. I am excited to see what other races you do and your track workouts. They're not my favorite but I know they will only help me get faster and get that BQ!

  5. Oooh you will be smashing that 5k time I don't doubt it! Sub-20 FOR DEFINITE. Solid training girl!

  6. You are so strong on the track! I'm just terrified of 5ks. I've only run 2 in the past year. One was because I ran by default since Jacquelyn was racing. Just love how precise your data is....I only wish my records were so accurate.