Sunday, April 29, 2012

Back to business

First, congrats to everyone who raced today! Big Sur and Eugene marathons were this morning, as well as a couple of others. It was perfect weather and lots of PR's were set. We are sending up lots of cheers from Wyoming for you!

Next - did anyone else watch the Penn Relays on TV yesterday?? I watched with the little kids because Josh was gone coaching at a track meet all day and the big kids weren't home. There were so many incredible races and the U.S. teams dominated over and over. I was so inspired by Leo Manzano, Maggie Vessey, and others (Carmelita Jeter is a rockstar!) I love running and I can not WAIT to watch the Olympics this summer.

It has been almost two weeks since the Boston Marathon, and I have six weeks now until the Utah Valley Marathon. After two weeks of very easy, no schedule, low-intensity running, I am very carefully/gradually start adding back in some intensity and building my mileage. We are being very cautious to make sure that I don't do too much too soon, but I am feeling really good.

One of the things that I have learned as a runner is how important it is to find what works for you. You can read every book and every blog, and talk to every other runner out there, but you still won't know what works for you until you figure it out by trial and error.

I know runners who can eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich two minutes before they walk out the door for a run and can eat all sorts of things during their runs, and I know runners (myself included!) that can't eat any solid food for hours before a run without having major GI issues.

There are many elite runners who run 120+ miles a week at their peak training, and there are runners who race competitively peaking at 50 miles a week. If I tried to run 120 miles a week right now I would surely end up over-trained and injured, and if I only ran 50 I wouldn't be training to the best of my ability. Every runner has to find their own training mileage "sweet spot".

Recovery is like that too. I know runners who regularly run several (fast!) marathons a month with very minimal recovery (or taper) and never are injured, and I know runners who take weeks or longer completely off from running after a marathon. Everyone is different.

I am lucky that I do recover from tough training runs and from races quickly, and yet I want to be able to train hard and race even harder for years to come, so I very much want/need to avoid injury and over-training.

After my fall marathons last year and after the Goofy challenge in January, I found that taking a two week break from training after the race and doing whatever I felt like worked very well for me. I still ran, but I did not have a training plan so I could go by how I felt. I kept the mileage low, I ran without a Garmin or watch, and I avoided intensity. I just ran for fun.

This is what I have done since Boston as well. The training break has been good for my body, my soul, and my mind. I have run with friends, I have run with my running club, I have run with Josh, and I have run alone. I have run with music and without my Garmin. I paid no attention to my pace. It has all been fun, stress-free, worry-free running. It is rejuvenating! After the first couple of days the little bit of post-race soreness/stiffness was gone, and after a few more days, the overall tired feeling I had was gone too. 

As has been the case in the past, the last few days of this break, my body has been itching to run faster. My legs are ready/wanting to "go" again, and my brain is getting bored with running easy and for fun every day. I have been good and have waited, but physically and mentally I am ready to get back to training.

This week will be a transition week and I will be carefully monitoring how I feel as I start adding miles and adding back in some intensity.

This morning the plan was 7 miles with a one warm up, five miles @ 7:30 pace and one mile cool down, with 5x100m strides at the end. My splits were 8:27, 7:24, 7:18, 7:21, 7:26, 7:21, 8:18. It felt good to run a little faster and the strides were fun.

So, I am slowly getting back at my training and feeling good and excited about what is ahead.

What are you training for? Happy Sunday!

“The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you.” – Unknown

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t”. – Unknown


Jen@runfortheboys said...


Fantastic post - you are such a great encourager and you make even slow newbies like me feel good about what we're doing :) so thank you.

Excited to see what your next race holds....I have my money on a 3:0X!!!!!

MCM Mama said...

Sounds like you are ready to start working hard again!

Right now, 25 miles a week seems to be my sweet spot. I'd like to get up to 30, but I struggle with it. And with this weird foot thing, I'm worried that I'm heading back to no running. Fingers crossed it's something simple my chiro can fix on Tuesday...

Elle said...

Erin, really enjoyed this post and so excited for you to start training again, with your Coach Rick a the helm.

I just finished my last LSR during my training for my first half, and will be starting taper now... the race is on Mother's Day, May 13th.

Best Wishes to you with your training. I will be following your posts, for sure.

Ugly said...

I'm 51 years old and I don't feel like running too far....Usually go 4-5 days per week and about 40-55 miles per week....

My half-marathons are almost always under 1:21....not too bad....

But have never conquered a sub-3 last marathon was 6 years ago....

Jogged 20 miles the other day and it felt better than I thought....will do a few more and then maybe consider another marathon and try to break the 3 mark....probably Pocatello in September?

Anyway, running is what you put into must enjoy your workouts, or a runner may quit.

Good luck to everyone and their goals for 2012....

SWMom said...

I'm building my mileage and still eyeing my first half in September. I'm getting my knee checked out this week and I hope to start training with our local running club next week! Best of luck as you build your training for the next marathon!!!

Mark Matthews said...

Amen on finding what works for you. It's all an experiment of one, and I did more damage and hurt more of my races by following other's training plans, but then again, it has to be done to learn what makes your body tick and what makes it crumble. I'm one of those who needs to eat a lot before a long run, and in fact, have found that about 700 calories of bland food an hour before works great, and have done better with a protein/carb mix the night before. I ran my last boston qualifier maxing out at about 35 miles per week, with even a couple of 12-15 mile weeks in between. (but, of course, with lots of long runs in there).

Elyse said...

I'm currently getting back into training (Chicago RnR Half Marathon) after a stress fracture. Good for you for listening to yourself and keep tabs on your body. Best of luck on the next marathon!!

Jill said...

I'm training for my first marathon and I'm sticking to around 40 miles per week (4-5 days of running). We'll see how it goes, but it feels good to me and I don't want to run any more than that. I spend 2 days a week weight training and I'm not willing to give that up to fit in more miles.

Raina said...

Hi Erin! What you say about each runner being different is so true. It's tricky finding out how much we can handle and which workouts serve our running and racing needs best.
I really like your recovery plan - and I check my heart rate each morning too, but forget to do it in bed sometimes.
Have fun with your transition. After Eugene, I can't imagine any running for a while :)

Yolanda said...

I hope you do extra well on your next race!!!

Saturday I ran two 5k's and was within 6 seconds of pr'ing the first one. The late afternoon I was only 20 sec off per mile from my morning race. I was ecstatic over this as I've never raced twice in one day. Also on Friday I sent off my registration for my second half marathon.

monicac2 said...

I love your blog and am awe of your running talent! When I am in training mode, I'm a work-hard-never-miss-a-run person, too, but after 4 marathons my PR is still only 4:14. Oh well, I'm going for the big 4 hour mark at my next marathon, Miami (end of January). :)

Until then, I am enjoying the "off season," with only a loose goal of 20-25 MPW for now.

Annette@(running)In the Right Direction said...

Agh..I just wrote a long comment and lost it all. Let me see if I can remember.

I agree that everyone has to find their own solutions and that everyone is different. I think trial and error is definitely a must. I also feel that your blog for myself and many others is a safe haven/starting point. I love reading your posts on what you eat, drink, run, the sneaks you run in...etc. I love it because it is a great starting point for gives me a point to start off from. I like mulling over what people say...I try some out...others not so much. An example..that oatmeal you concocted. I automatically I assumed I would hate it...but it is now my go to meal after a long run. What did that? the chocolate chips. Period. When I saw you threw chocolate chips in it...I was like...WHAT?! AWESOME...i'll try it. lol

Rest-I'm working on that...I'm feeling like anything over 15 I'm needing at least two days to fully recover. This is down from the body changes.

Thanks for all the awesome are some of our "coach ricks"... ;)

Beth said...

In the past I have been an injury prone runner, so this last year I have been paying attention to recovery and not pushing too hard. That said, I'm running the Ft. Collins Marathon this Sunday and hope to PR and BQ. I've only hit one week over 50 miles this training block, but at least I'm getting to the start line healthy, and hopefully I can pull the BQ!

Becky at Prairie Runner said...

Thanks for this post - I needed the reminder that we have to do what is best for ourselves - find our "sweet spot!" I have been better at doing that and am finding more happiness in my running. Less injury, more time feeling satisfied! Good idea to check heart rate - I need to add that one to my list of "to dos!" After the ultra run I plan to conquer a marathon again - your posts inspire me!

Julia said...

I really enjoyed reading this post...I love that you share your experience and what you have learned in a way that makes it easy for us readers to relate but still be able to apply our own experience...I think I will start trying the heart rate check in the morning to see where I am at.

i just finished the race with my bro and am going to run the provo city marathon this weekend. i haven't mentioned it much because i have been really nervous about it. i got really burnt out after Vegas which resulted in an injury so I really wanted to come back strong by listening to my body and running when and how i wanted to...I have enjoyed running more the past few months than I have in a long time and running finally feels carefree and relaxing again...I havent pushed the pace much but I feel strong and I am excited to run a marathon again! I would love to break 4 hours but i also know I have not done a lot of speed work the past few months. so my number one goal is just to appreciate running, practice pacing consistently and running strong. Then I really want to experiment with what works best for me recovery-wise because at the end of May I am hoping to start training for the ultra :)

so glad you are back to training and feeling good and strong!

Samantha said...

I'm training for the Green Bay full in a few weeks. I am one of those people who takes FOREVER to recover. I have to take off at least two days after a long run. But it doesn't stop me from doing it. Great post!