It's been awhile since I've posted a training update. I blogged regularly about my Boston Marathon training, and it helped me see the bigger picture of my hard work.
After the marathon, I took a few weeks of recovery. I did not run at all during the week following the marathon, and I took it extremely easy the following week, logging just a few very easy treadmill miles while on vacation. I eased my way back into things the third week after Boston, culminating in the Mother's Day 4-Miler. And then, "operation get Elizabeth speedy" kicked into full gear.
The plan is to keep the mileage relatively low (like in the 40's instead of the 60's) and to run two interval sessions a week. No tempo runs, no marathon pace runs-- just really fast stuff. This means spending a lot of time at a sub-7:00 pace. Ultimately I hope to run the Army 10-miler at a sub-7:00 pace, so that work starts now. And of course, building this fast base will only help me when it comes to training for my fall marathon in November. On top of it, all of this work is happening in the heat and humidity of northern Virginia, which is great for both physical and mental strength.
Here's a snapshot of my training from the past five weeks:
I don't anticipate that my long runs will get above 12 miles for at least another six weeks. Running for an hour and 45 minutes is plenty to keep my endurance up without tiring my legs for the speed work. Let's dive into a few workouts.
I ran this workout about 10 days prior to the Twilight 4-miler. It was three sets of 1600m, 1-minute recovery jog, 400m. In between each set was a 3-minute recovery jog, which equated to just over a lap around the track.
I always start my track workouts conservatively and I find that it's hard to go fast for the first rep of anything. But this was different. I run my track workouts by feel (I don't use the Garmin pace) so imagine my shock when the first 1600m clocked in at 6:38. Oops! The good news is that it felt like a 6:50. The bad news is that the humidity would catch up to me, making the rest of the 1600's slower. My times were:
The fact that I ran a 1:29 (5:56 pace) for the last 400m means that I still had plenty of energy at the end, despite the speedy start.
Onto another workout. On Thursday of this week, I ran a workout that was really challenging to commit to memory! I had to look at it several times and remind myself that the ladder climbed up (not down) for the interval parts.
The photo above just shows one rep. I've recently started using Instagram to share my workouts and I'm never sure how to quickly represent a complex interval workout! This one combined 10K effort with mile-race effort. It was 4 x (1000m at 10K effort, 200m jog) followed by a bunch of really short/fast intervals. I think I may have done this workout once before, but I'm not sure! It was 72 degrees and 99% humidity, threatening thunderstorms. Definitely tough. Here's how it went:
1000m: 4:23 (7:03 pace) -- too slow. I was being overly cautious about going out too fast!
1000m: 4:12 (6:45 pace) -- too fast. I was overcompensating for being too slow on the first one.
1000m: 4:17 (6:53 pace) -- just right!
1000m: 4:15 (6:50 pace) -- just right!
Then I had the three-minute recovery jog. Then I did this:
200m: 0:42 (5:38 pace) followed by a 200m recovery jog
300m: 1:06 (5:54 pace) followed by a 300m recovery jog
400m: 1:28 (5:52 pace) followed by a 400m recovery jog
600m: 2:23 (6:23 pace)
I wish I had given a bit more effort on the 300m and not completely wasted myself on the 400m. It was a challenge to run the 300m hard because I finished around the curve of the track instead of the straightaway, and usually the straight finish is where I pick up most of my speed. That 400m in 1:28 was a PR for me (or at least tied with my PR) so by the time the 600m rolled around, I didn't have much left. I would have loved for that 600m to be about 3-4 seconds faster. But, it was so hot and humid! Overall, I was really pleased with my effort level, and I think that this workout will help me immensely in my upcoming 5K.
When I'm not at the track, I'm taking my easy runs really easy. Those are typically 50-60 minutes in duration, but can be as short as 30 minutes. My pace is typically 8:50-9:10 depending on how my legs feel and how hot/humid it is. This week I have a workout that's so challenging that my coach told me to stand still during the recovery period to catch my breath. I've never done that before (I always jog) so I'm excited to see how it goes!
My next race is the Firecracker 5K on July 4th, which I did last year and the year before. It will be great to see the year-over-year progress.
Special thanks to Greg for taking all of these photos of me! I love being able to share these workouts on Instagram.