Monday, August 22, 2011

Marathon Training: 4 Weeks In!

I can't believe I've completed four weeks of marathon training! I didn't even realize it until I saw the evidence (click for larger version):

The blue cells are workouts I've completed, and the crossed-out red parts indicate where I've deviated from the original plan. Although I'm ultimately training for my first marathon in December, you'll notice that my next half-marathon is coming up in two weeks, and my first triathlon is just a few days after that! I'm feeling in pretty good shape for both.

I started my other blog, Dev on Running, because I wanted a place to document my running progress without making Answering Oliver too running-centric. Running is a HUGE part of my life, so it's great for me to have a place to nerd out about things like pace and running gear. Also, members of the Tumblr running community are very active (in real life, obviously, and online) and supportive of each other.

That being said, I thought it'd be fun to do weekly recaps of my marathon training on Answering Oliver. I only became a runner last year and I'm already gunning for 26.2, so if I can do it, anyone can! Here's how I've been training so far.


Monday: 3-mile run
Tuesday: Strength training (free weights)
Wednesday: 3-mile run
Thursday: 3-mile run + strength training
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 7-mile run
Sunday: Rest

I kicked off Week 1 with a few easy 3-milers (including the Do Life 5K at Green Lake) and strength training at my gym, which is really important to me during this training cycle. I want to be strong all over, not just in my legs! This was my first time hanging out with the sweaty, muscular guys in the free-weights section of the gym, and I was happy to discover that I can hold my own.

The 7-mile long run was tough for me (see: me on the floor), and my running buddy/BFF Carly helped me realize I need to eat more — and, specifically, eat more protein. My body needs more fuel to keep me going now! I happily obliged, and have not felt weak like that since.

I also bought a lovely road bike during Week 1, plus all the fun bike accessories that I needed, like comfy butt-pad shorts. I have a triathlon to train for, too!

Miles run: 16
Strength-training sessions: 2
Rest days: 2
Minutes spent on the floor after long run: 30
Amount of money spent on bike stuff: Holy crap


Monday: 8-mile bike ride
Tuesday: 3-mile run + strength training
Wednesday: 3-mile run
Thursday: 1.5-mile run + strength training
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest (traveled to Vancouver, B.C.)
Sunday: 8-mile run

I kicked off Week 2 by taking my new bike out for a (very slow) spin. It quickly became clear that it was a HUGE step up from the little mountain bike I had been using, and that cycling would now be much more enjoyable!

I meant to do my 8-mile long run on Friday after work, since I'd be traveling by bus to Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, but I found myself exhausted and called it a rest day. I'm so glad I did, since I squeezed it in on a beautiful Canadian Sunday morning instead! The route I ran around Stanley Park was absolutely stunning, with incredible views of the water, mountains, bridges and the city itself. I was so happy to be able to sightsee and check off another long run all at once.

I failed to stretch after that run, though, and tried to "catch up" on stretching later in a Vancouver park. It doesn't really work like that, as you can see...

Miles run: 15.5
Miles biked: 8
Strength-training sessions: 2
Rest days: 2
Borders crossed: 1
Number of excessive tips given due to inability to count foreign money: Numerous


Monday: Rest (traveled home)
Wednesday: 4-mile run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6-mile run

The first big milestone of  Week 3 was that I ran my first sub-8:00 mile (7:43)! My gym is almost exactly a mile away from my house, so I usually run a quick mile there, do my strength training, and then run an even speedier mile back. On Tuesday night, I flew home. It felt amazing.

On Wednesday, I still had some speed in my legs and set a nice PR for 4 miles (34:41). The next day, I took my new Brooks Ghost 4 shoes out for their first run to start gradually breaking them in. By the time December rolls around, my current Ghost 3 shoes will be too worn out to actually run the marathon, so I thought I'd try to transition gracefully over the next few months of training.

Sunday was a big day! I learned how to clip into my new clipless bike pedals and went on my first real ride with Aaron and his mom. I didn't fall, which was my biggest fear, but there were tears of frustration at one point when I couldn't clip in while going down a scary hill. I also hit the pool that same day for my first stab at swimming. The great thing about preparing for a triathlon during marathon training is that it's forcing me to do (very beneficial) cross-training, which I would normally be too lazy to do!

Miles run: 15
Miles biked: 13.5
Swims: 1
Strength-training sessions: 2
Rest days: 2
Number of times I thought I was gonna die on my bike: Numerous
Shape of my head in a swim cap: Egg, definitely


Tuesday: Rest
Thursday: 2-mile run + strength training
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 10-mile run

I kicked off Week 4 with a very sweaty 3-mile run (it's getting hot in Seattle), followed by laps at a community pool with a friend I met via The Interwebs, Vicki! She is an experienced swimmer and gave me tons of great pointers. I felt myself improving, but I definitely learned that running fitness does not necessarily equal swimming fitness! That's my fancy way of saying that swimming is hard.

Tuesday was an uplanned rest day — I was exhausted and felt the beginnings of a sore throat. I'm proud of myself for being flexible with my training plan and doing what was best for my body. I took it easy and my throat felt fine the next day.

Wednesday's run was the first time I programmed my Garmin Forerunner 305 for speed intervals (here's a great how-to). The watch was ever-so-helpful with its beeps signaling when to begin and end each interval. The workout went by quickly, and I hope it'll help me achieve my sub-two-hour half-marathon goal in two weeks!

Saturday's long run was a great 10-miler at nearly half-marathon race pace. Carly and I will just have to push a little harder on race day to break two hours for 13.1 miles. Sunday was my first solo bike ride, and I did 22 miles along the Burke-Gilman Trail. This was huge for building my confidence on the bike and for preparing for the 9-mile bike portion of my triathlon.

And last, but not least, I took my own advice and bought a hammock! I found a great 14-foot one, complete with hammock stand, for $40 on Craigslist (they retail for $150+ brand-new). I relaxed and snoozed in it after the 10-mile run. It was nothing short of glorious.

Miles run: 19
Miles biked: 22
Swims: 1
Strength-training sessions: 1
Rest days: 2
Number of hammock naps: 1
Number of hammock naps to come: Countless


Miles run: 65.5
Miles biked: 43.5
Swims: 2
Strength-training sessions: 7
Exhaustion I feel after looking at everything I've done: Moderate
Excitement I feel after thinking about everything I'm about to do: Infinite

I'll be posting weekly recaps of my training each Monday, so stay tuned for more updates and what I hope will be new levels of badassery!


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