Thursday, March 21, 2013

Revamping Training

After finishing the NYC Half, my honest thoughts were, "shit... I'm doing this again, twice, in April and May???" The race had just felt so hard. The idea of doing it again seemed crazy!

These space blankets make you feel so freaking hardcore, I can't lie.
I'm going to use these pictures a lot. You've been warned.

But of course, now that I'm a few days removed, I'm feeling much less satisfied with my 2:00:00 and much more eager to hop back into half-marathon training. I have a goal to crush! I'm going to use the Nike DC Women's Half as my last long training run then go for a PR at the Long Branch NJ Half-Marathon on May 5.

Despite my renewed enthusiasm for training, I can't quite start up again because my left hip flexor has been feeling tender and slightly painful. Womp womp.

As annoyed as I am with my body for not cooperating, I need to listen to it. So for now, I'm going to focus on what cross-training I can do without pain (trying the elliptical today or tomorrow), strength training, and of course yoga.

But I can still be thinking about training and what I want to do differently over the next 6 weeks, right?

More Strength Training
I generally got in two sessions a week, but one of them was often slightly lackluster. I want to aim for three if possible and make sure that I have at least two good strength workouts a week. I think this will make my legs and core stronger and will hopefully keep me from having two straight weeks of minor leg injuries like I had right at the end of training in March.


Strength training can be a Nike Training Club workout, a Refine Method or Uplift Studios class, a training session with Amanda, or a workout I put together for myself that is 30 minutes of straight work or 45 minutes with some cardio thrown in (see: any of the strength workouts on my workout page).

Much More Yoga
I really failed on the yoga front during NYC Half training. That's a mistake I don't want to repeat since I'm sure it contributed to some of the tight muscles that caused some pain. I also love yoga and relish that calm, centered feeling I get after a good class.


Now that my trainer, Amanda, is teaching close to my apartment, I'm going to have at least one class on my schedule every week. I'm going to try for two classes, but if I can't make a second class happen, then one class and one at-home practice using my yoga for runners flow or Tara Stiles's Relax download. I might even try to participate in Tara Stiles's month of yoga in April -- it seems like a cool idea!

Fewer Runs, Higher Quality
Some weeks I'd have up to six runs scheduled, following Hal Higdon's intermediate plan. While I think it worked out ok, I also think I might be slightly injury-prone, so I'm going to try to concentrate on 3-4 quality workouts a week. I'm thinking long run, tempo run, speed work, and an optional recovery run.

Those faster runs are also going to, hopefully, be with faster people. I've found that I can push myself a lot harder when I'm running with someone, so I think I'll be able to see greater speed improvements the more I run with speedy people!

Hey speedy friend! Please get better quickly so I can chase you through Central Park! 
Clearing out some of the "junk" miles on my calendar should make more room for strength training and yoga, and hopefully keep me injury free all training cycle this time. It was such a bummer to have a great training cycle right until the last three weeks!

Fuel More Intelligently
I'm going to make good eating a priority leading up to the NJ Half-Marathon on May 5. Obviously, there will always be fun nights of Mexican food or drinks out with friends. I'm not going to limit those since they happen once a week at most, typically.

But I am going to limit the other indulgences, like eating half a bag of tortilla chips because I just finished a long run or having a City Bakery chocolate chip cookie because I just finished a spin class (whyyyy is the UWS Flywheel right by City Bakery's UWS location???). I need to work on discerning "I deserve this!" from "my body needs this as fuel."

For example -- had soft serve fruit for dessert Tuesday night instead of dessert at the Thai place we ate. 
I've already been working on this by changing my breakfast from two pieces of toast with nut butter and a banana to one piece of toast (still the full banana, though!). The change doesn't seem to affect my hunger level going into lunch much so clearly I didn't need that extra piece of toast. I'm going to work on making similar changes and paying attention to what and why I'm eating things.


How do you change your training in between races? What are your training goals right now?

21 comments:

  1. Strength training is SO important as a runner. I make sure to do that twice a week and run 3 times a week (as of now, I'm sure when I start marathon training it'll be a different story). I figure having a long run, speedwork, and a short run in there is good enough for me right now. Strength training has helped me so much!

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    1. I think strength training is so important, too, and I let it fall to the wayside against my better judgment but following a plan. I'm going to recommit to it now!

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  2. I'm 6 weeks out from a marathon too and definitely looking at how to revamp my training over the next 6 weeks! These are all great points!

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    1. Thanks, Christy!! Really rooting for your marathon training. Injuries suck, but mid-cycle is probably better than at the end, right?

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  3. Beth @RxBethOnTheRunMarch 21, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    This is great! I think it's well thought out and very achievable. I'm right on that train with you. Trying to re-clean up my diet again going into the last 6 weeks of training and commiting to 2 quality strength training sessions each week. Watch out NJ...here we come! :)

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    1. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one on the train ;)

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  4. I love strength training, and I think it gets overlooked too much. I've been following my coach's plan since November-ish, and the results are definitely noticeable, especially in terms of my swim. I also totally agree with you about yoga. As athletes, we push ourselves so much, but the practice gives us a chance to step back and listen to our bodies.

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    1. Yes! I love how much more body-contemplative yoga is, and strength training as well to a degree. If I'm doing basic weights it's a lot easier to listen to my body than if I'm doing cardio, I think.

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  5. This is a great plan! I am not much of a yogi, but I love Tara Stiles and I hope to see you at Uplift soon. I wish you a quick recovery.

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    1. Thanks, Melissa! Hope to see you there soon as well :)

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  6. I didn't add strength training and yoga to my workout routine until I suffered with an IT band injury. Now, I sometimes think I like yoga better than running! Don't tell my running shoes that... I am going to have to check out this month of yoga challenge. Good luck on your upcoming races... excited to follow your journey.

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    1. Thanks for reading, Elizabeth! I think having a focused yoga practice could be terrific because I have specific strength and running goals, but yoga less so. I don't want yoga "goals," but direction helps me stay committed.

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  7. Love it. I think everything you have planned out is a recipe for success. And building this all in now is great for when you start marathon training.
    I love my training plan at the moment I'm logging the miles + strength. Need to do more stretching though and core work.
    But my biggest is really focusing on not eating so much. Simple as not bringing it into the house for me - mindless munching must stop!

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    1. Rather than mindless munching I'm a "can't stop post-meal" and "puts too much on my plate" person. Working on the portion control and stopping myself from eating more post-meal and I feel like it's going ok so far!

      And yes, I want to have the best base possible for marathon training so that I don't have any injury problems!

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  8. I am so on board with so many of those things! Strength training for sure helps prevent injuries. I also really really need to get better about nutrition and fueling, lately I've been realizing how big of a difference it makes. Lastly, I usually run (well, when I'm not injured) about 3 or 4 days a week. That's what works for me so here's to hoping a "lighter" load helps you feel better!

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    1. Thanks, Kara! I'm hoping so as well :)

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  9. Quality runs over quantity of miles. You're going to rock it!

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  10. I keep skipping strength training. Excited to run with you, only a little over a month!

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  11. Great plan, Jen! My body has definitely performed better with 3-4 workouts, more strength training and yoga (well, I wish I could say I did yoga regularly). I'm excited for you! For now, rest. :)

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