Monday, September 5, 2011

Marathon Training: Week 6

I'm running my second half-marathon today — the Labor Day Half in Woodinville, Wash. My marathon training up until now has been more focused on training for this half and for the super-sprint triathlon that I'll do on Saturday. After these races, my thoughts will be all about the big, bad marathon!

P.S. I'm hoping to break two hours in today's half. Look for my recap soon to find out if I did it!


Monday: Rest

I had a date with the lap pool on my schedule, but I rested instead. The weekend's 11-mile run, 15-mile bike ride and lake swim really pooped me out. I rescheduled the pool date for Thursday, watched the sunset from my hammock, ate a healthy dinner and relaxed while watching Bachelor Pad instead. (I'm not sorry.)

Tuesday: 3-mile run + strength

I didn't really feel like running on Tuesday and decided to only run two miles — one to the gym and one back after strength-training. But as soon as I started running, I felt great and decided to do the scheduled three miles. Oftentimes all I need to do is start!

I'll miss running to and from the gym when it gets too cold and dark, or when I get too wimpy. Whichever comes first.

Wednesday: 5-mile run — hills

When I trained for my first half-marathon, the DetermiNation team alternated speed workouts and hill workouts every week. Speed workouts help you get faster, of course, and hill workouts help increase your endurance when running uphill. I threw this hill workout in at the last minute in anticipation of some hills on the half-marathon course, and I'm pleased to say I nailed it. I also did it in the dark, which made the residents of this hilly street think I was even more crazy as I ran back and forth, up and down, 11 times.

Many people don't even try to run up hills (I passed several walkers as I ran up a hill during Seattle's Best 15K), but it's really more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Don't let hills defeat you before you even try to conquer them!

Tips for running up hills: Shorten your stride and swing your arms for more power. Don't try to run as fast as you do on the flats, but focus instead on keeping good form and powering up the hill with the momentum from your arms. Running slowly and steadily up a hill is better than trying to storm the hill and tiring yourself out!

Thursday: Pool swim

I felt a lot stronger at the beginning of this swim than I have in previous swims! I'm starting to put together all the things I've learned, and I'm realizing that it's much easier to swim when I do all those things (keep my body straight, look at the bottom of the pool, remember to breathe, etc.).

I swam for a full hour, during which time some of the lanes were dismantled to make room for a water aerobics class. The instructor was a boy who looked to be about 17, and he jumped, lunged and danced all over the pool deck as he taught the class. This hilarious scene alone was well worth the $4.75 price of admission!

Friday: 3-mile run

My last run before the half-marathon was supposed to be an easy one, and I'm happy to report that this was actually easy despite the fact that it was on the faster side for me.

I was a 10:00-10:30 min/mile runner for a long time. I ran my first 3.1-mile race a year ago at a 10:47 pace and was dying at the end. Part of why I love running is because it's very easy to measure your improvement, which is a lovely reward for all the hard work that goes into training. There are no shortcuts!

Saturday and Sunday: Rest for the half-marathon

And the hammock continues to be the best $40 I've ever spent.


Miles run: 11
Miles biked: 0
Swims: 1
Strength-training sessions: 1
Rest days: 3
Tablets of nuun consumed before and after workouts: 6
Glasses of wine consumed after last run: ...inconclusive


Miles run: 98.5
Miles biked: 58.5
Swims: 5
Strength-training sessions: 10

See you on the other side of 13.1!


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