Tuesday, March 31, 2015

RnR San Diego Half Marathon Training Log: Week 3

I was dreading writing this training log on Saturday, in the midst of my hill repeats workout sucking ass. For most of the week I felt like I had lead for legs.

Then I ran 9 miles on trails in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park (see above, yes that's the Pacific Ocean gleaming out there) that were crazy difficult and also crazy amazing, and now I'm so excited about the rest of this training cycle. I think I'm still riding the post-run high. I've already made a list of other parks where I want to run on the trails and started mapping out routes. And I might have to become a trail runner and start drinking craft beer. (Not really. Despite my best efforts, all beer tastes disgusting to me. The sad burden I have to bear. Don't despair, though, a good crisp, dry hard cider is still delicious to me.)

Oh, and writing out my 2015 race calendar shamed me into signing up for the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon, so these training logs are now officially in prep of RnR San Diego! Now let's just hope I don't injure myself or get staffed on a crazy deal right before the race...

RnR San Diego Half Marathon Training Log: Week 3

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: 6x800m on San Diego Creek Trail.

This speedwork session was the beginning of the suckfest that dominated most of this week's runs. Behold, some stats:
  • 1 mile warm-up
  • Dynamic stretching
  • 6x800m (400m recovery in between): (1) 3:37, (2) 3:47, (3) 3:52, (4) 3:51, (5) 3:53, (6) 3:50
  • 1 mile cool-down
I don't know if I went out too fast on the first repeat or what, but I was struggling just to maintain my 5K PR pace. Yes, you read that right -- I was struggling to maintain a pace for 1/2 a mile that I sustained for 3 miles. It made no sense. I tried smiling while running to make myself feel less awful, and that actually did help, as cheesy as it sounds. But no matter how hard I willed myself to speed up, I just couldn't seem to power through these repeats.

Oh well. Win some, lose some. Really curious to see how this coming week's speed work goes. 

Wednesday: Strength training with Melanie.

Focused on a lower number of reps with increasingly heavier weights. I always love these kinds of workouts because I leave with shaky legs, and I relate that feeling to getting stronger.
  • 1/2 mile warm-up on the treadmill and dynamic stretching
  • Three sets of decreasing reps / increasing weights for two upper body exercises
  • Three sets of 12 reps of two supersets (so four exercises total) targeting hamstrings and quads
  • Three sets of 12 reps of a Russian twist with a medicine ball
  • Static stretching focused on quads and hamstrings

Thursday: Easy run at Back Bay.

This run felt awful. Normally it's the first mile or two that sucks, and then I ease into a groove and everything comes together. It was gorgeous out and the temperature was perfect, but each mile felt like an eternity (I know, so dramatic, but this felt like the longest 5 miler ever). Was just glad to finish and head home.

Friday: Rest day.

Saturday: Hill repeats + strength training with Melanie.

I had hoped my legs would feel fresher after a rest day, but both my legs and lungs were toast after the first 200m repeat. I like to run fasted in the morning, but usually that's at 6:30 a.m., not 9:30 a.m. I ran on a killer hill in Fullerton, mostly in the sun, and I really should have fueled better. There were awesome mountain views at the top of the hill, but not even that could motivate me.

The hill in question, at the intersection of State College Blvd and E Bastanchury Rd in Fullerton. It was suggested to me as being great for hill repeats and did not disappoint.

  • Dynamic stretching
  • 1.75ish warm-up run to the bottom of the hill from a nearby park.
  • 4x200m uphill sprints, 4x200m downhill sprint, with 2-3 minute recovery (honestly maybe longer, I was heaving on some of these). 
  • I did a 400m sprint in the middle, mainly to finish the sprints faster, and I literally could not finish the 400m sprint. Memo to self: when running hills in the future, make sure I'm properly fueled. 
  • 1.25ish cool-down on the way back. 

Final tally: 8x200m uphill sprints, 8x200m downhill sprints, 1x400m uphill and downhill sprint.

Also note -- these repeats were slightly different from my normal ones because there was an additional focus on sprinting downhill. I've read that this kind of a workout helps your body better take advantage of downhills and strengthens different muscles.

After an actual meal, I headed to the gym for another training session with Melanie. We'd had to skip a week so we did two sessions this week to make up for it.
  • Three sets of 15 reps of six exercises, done three at a time, focused on total body
  • Two sets of 15 reps of core work
  • Stretching focused, again, on my tight hamstrings and quads

After training, Sourabh suggested we walk Mason on the hilly side of Back Bay. We ended up walking five miles and discovered the other side of the loop. I normally run on the paved, flat side of the preserve, but now I want to try doing the full loop.

Sunday: 9 mile long run in Quail Hill and Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

I had to wake up at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday because I was assisting at the volunteer tent of the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation's race day. I was excited to help out, but obviously couldn't do my long run before volunteering. I was working at the volunteer tent, coordinating where volunteers needed to go. It is crazy how many logistics go into race day. It's easy to forget when you just show up and race, but there are so many people working so many different aspects of race day, and almost all of them are volunteers.

Anyway, I spent six hours on my feet, after 5 miles running and 5 miles hiking the day before, and I was exhausted when I finished at 11:00 a.m. For a couple hours midday I figured I would just skip that day's long run. Then I realized that this was the perfect time for me to log miles on fatigued legs and work on my mental toughness.

So I drove to Quail Hill and headed up the trail that brings you into Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. I knew I'd be running slowly anyway, so I thought I'd run on a trail where I wouldn't let my pace get into my head as much. Also, I'm trying to run a lot more hills during this training cycle. I think I've read four or five articles in the past week alone on how beneficial running hills is to your strength as a runner.

Initially I figured I'd run 3 miles in, 3 back out, thinking that's all I'd be able to handle. But as the miles ticked off, I found myself enjoying the run more and more, and I decided I'd run the original 9 miles as planned.

I power-hiked the steepest sections of the hills, but tried to run as much as possible. Based on the Garmin logs of others I found, it looks like I probably covered about 1,000-1,200 ft. of elevation gain.

And the VIEWS. The trail goes along a ridge and gives you sweeping views of Orange County, the Santa Ana Mountains to the east and the San Gabriel Mountains to the northeast.

By the way, while volunteering, I ate a bagel and mini muffin, and later had a protein smoothie. So the whole "carbs help you run" thing? I think it might be true!

I still plan to do more glycogen-depleted runs for my early AM runs, but if it's after, say, 7:00 a.m., I need to have something to eat before I run. Lesson learned.

The long run totally turned around how I thought of my week of running and two days later I'm still feeling excited, both about the rest of this training cycle and the prospect of checking out more trails. So, expect even more mountain pictures on the blog...

Also, the trailhead where I had parked was a 2 minute drive from an Albertson's, so I could grab cold post-run beverages (I always get at least two if not three) and some cut-up watermelon.

Me, after consuming said beverages and watermelon.
So to recap: shitty week of running capped with the Most Amazing Run Ever, I need to fuel for hilly runs, and TRAIL RUNNING IS OMGSOAMAZING.

Total Mileage = 25.5 miles


  1. I need those trails in my life! I agree with what you said about shaky leg workouts - in my head I always think that means I am actually getting stronger.

    1. I love the feeling, although it makes driving after interesting...

  2. BEST MEME EVER!! And yaya (again) for officially signing up for San Diego! I wouldn't get too bent out of shape over a few not-so-great runs. It's tough, but remember it's about consistency--and how many of your runs have been consistently good?

    1. At this point I think I'm close enough to my last training cycle that I feel like I should be at peak fitness already, but of course I'm not because of where I am. And YES, Tina Fey is the best.

  3. glad running is going so well! i'm jealous of the trails and sun!! and good luck with your training cycle!

    also love the gif :)

    1. Thank you!! And yes, a little Tina Fey makes everything better :)