November 18, 2014
by Jen
5 Comments

The Richmond Re-cap!!!!!!!!!

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What weekend!!!!! Spoiler alert…… I am pretty sure that it could not possibly have gone any better :) !

Even though our anniversary is in Sept, my husband and I got each other the Richmond Marathon as a present and decided to make this weekend our anniversary weekend :) .

We got the kids packed up to stay at a friends house and headed out on Friday around 11.

Leading up to the race I was trying really hard to just stay calm about the whole thing. I didn’t want to go into this race all nervous and worried about my time (this is typically when I seem to have a bad race). I was really just wanting to enjoy the whole weekend spending time with my husband no matter what happened in the race.

As the race got closer it seemed like the the race day temperature kept dropping.This led to me packing several options for what to wear race day.We actually laughed when we were bringing our stuff to our room at the hotel because it looked like we had packed for the week!  I actually considered pants as an option in my it is so cold what am I going to do frenzy. I am SO glad I did not go with this option….I would have been way to warm!

So, after we dropped the kids off we headed right to the expo. We got our packets and had a lot of fun just spending too much time at the expo :) . I left the expo with a new pair of headphones (the salesman won me over), and my husband left with a new pair of sunglasses. From there we went right to our hotel. Instead of going out to eat we got a hotel room that had a mini kitchen and it was perfect!!!

I never sleep well the night before a race…I just know it’s not going to happen.

Race morning!

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A man at the expo told us to get to the race at 6 am…the race started at 7:50…this seemed insanely early to me. I decided to quickly ask a friend who has run this race before if it was really necessary to get there that early and she said no (thanks Emma).

Our plan was to leave the hotel by 6:45 to get there about 7, but we were running a tad bit late (probably in part because we…mostly me…couldn’t decide what to wear) and ended up leaving around 7. By the time we got parked and walked to the start area (about 6 blocks away), it was 7:30. I wasn’t too terribly worried…but I was slightly panicking because I wanted to find a porta-potty! It turned out that right near the start line was a hotel that was allowing runners to stay warm and use their restrooms…AWESOME!!!

We used the bathroom and got outside about 2 minutes before the start! This is WAY closer to the start than I am comfortable with…but it worked! Honestly, we probably didn’t even need the throw away clothes, but oh well.

Start temp was right about 30 degrees.

The race started and neither my husband or I were in our wave, but I just kept telling myself that it was no big deal…just run your race.

The night before we both worked on race plans. I had 2 plans. Plan 1. was actually different than I have ever done, and I have never actually heard of anyone doing this. I was thinking that because my last 22 mile training run had gone so well and in that run I ran 6 faster tempo paced miles that I might try to add tempo miles into my marathon. I was planning to do mile 6-9 and miles 12-15 at about a 7:30 pace and hope to keep all my other miles at a 7:48 pace. Plan number 2 was to run mile 2-20 at a 7:48 and hope to pick it up after that. I did neither of them.

My husband’s race plan was a little uncertain because his training was not what he wanted it to be. He of course wanted to PR 3:52, but if that was not possible than he wanted to break 4 hours. I should mention that he is Superman because he ran this marathon with his peak mileage being in the mid 20′s!!!!!!! He did have 1 week that was 31, but that was including a long hike that he did so I don’t actually count that as running. I do not know many people who can break a 4 hour marathon with so little training!!!

Here is how my race broke down mile by mile :) …and some thoughts as I remember them.

1. 7:55- I actually stopped to fix my shoe that was tied too tight in this mile…which is probably a good thing because it slowed me down

2. 7:37- a little fast, i just kept telling myself to relax

3. 7:39

4. 7:33

5. 7:27- Oh boy…I am not sticking to my plans!

6. 7:34

7. 7:05- AH! What have I done!!!! This mile was down hill, but I had a minor panic when I saw the time…too fast!

8. 7:26- Just decided to forget plan 1 and 2 and find a comfortable pace…it is what it is.

9.  7:18

10. 7:32- The gloves come off :)

11. 7:37- I took my only gel. I decided to try a new gel and LOVED it!!! I would never recommend trying something new on race day to anyone, but I did it. It was a Powergel Double Latte that I got at the expo. I got 2 and tried it to see if I liked the taste the night before. If I did I was going to replace my GU. I did and I actually wished I had one more to take around mile 18!

12. 7:31

13. 7:36

14. 7:27

15. 7:21

16. 7:33- Powerade

17. 7:35

18. 7:33

19. 7:27

20. 7:43- I LOVE that this race has water stops every mile from 20 to the finish! I just kept telling myslef to get to the next water stop.

21. 7:52- I stopped at this station and drank a Powerade and water.

22. 7:50

23. 7:42

24. 7:32- I was really struggling here and then a girl went running past me at a pace that I couldn’t hold, (probably a 7:20) but it motivated me and I just tried to hang with her for as long as I could. I have to also add       that as she was flying by me she was whipping off her nice gloves and arm sleeves. I couldn’t believe she throwing them off this late in the race! I was totally thinking “oh boy, the gloves are coming off”.

25. 7:52

26. 7:28

.2. my watch doesn’t say but I figured it out to be a 6:30 pace…..This .2 was also totally downhill which at the time was great, but I think that has contributed to some pretty sore legs!

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3:19:09!

An 11 minute PR and 32 minutes faster than my 1st marathon!

So, there it is! It may not have been perfect, but I am THRILLED with it! I went into this race knowing that a 3:20-3:25 was a very realistic goal if I got through the last 6 miles ok. I was really thinking it would probably be closer to 3:25 unless it was a great day…..but breaking 3:20 was not really on my radar! I didn’t negative split, but it was close enough for me. I also brought skittles to use as fuel because that worked for me on 2 of my long runs (one being my 22 miler), but they were nearly impossible to chew because they were so cold!

My husband also had a great race. Although he didn’t PR, he did break 4 hours!!! 3:58! AMAZING….3:58 on no more than 26 miles a week (and this was only a few of the weeks). His Garmin also didn’t find a signal until mile 16…I can’t believe it! That would have sent me into panic mode!

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The fleece blankets that they passed out to finishers were the BEST idea ever!!!!!!! That is probably the coolest thing I can think of to do!….and there was no way I was taking it off  :)

We both had such an amazing time and the course was beautiful…we already signed up for next year!!!!

Have you ever had a race go better than planned?

Anyone run races with their spouse? :)

 

 

November 11, 2014
by Jen
9 Comments

3 days!!!!!! Race week is HERE!

I have been terrible about posting here the last few weeks….basically, my blog has just taken a back seat to life.

First of all, we went on such an amazing vacation…

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Magic Kingdom for a day :) !!!!

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Dolphin watching :)

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Fishing!!!!

 

…and then my husband and I got to be a part of a great conference, and now here we are…..3 days out from Richmond!!!!!

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It is amazing to me how fast time just flies by! When you start a marathon training program 18 weeks seems like such a long time, but then by the time you get to end of the cycle it seems to have gone by so fast!

I have been looking forward to this weekend for a while. My husband and I turned this weekend into an anniversary weekend :) . We head for Richmond on Friday!!!!

Tomorrow I am going to go to the Goodwill to look for throw away clothes for the start….30 degrees is a bit chilly for me!

Then all that is left to do is pack and we are ready!

I really think this training cycle has been a good one for me…we’ll see how race day pans out! I have learned that good training cycles do not always guarantee a good race, but I also know that the outcome of the race is not all that matters!

So, Happy Race Week!

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Definitely EXCITED!!!!!

Who else is racing this week?

What are some of your favorite workouts in a training cycle?

Anyone else amazed at how fast training cycles go by….okay, maybe not during them, but after?

 

October 27, 2014
by Jen
2 Comments

Last long run….an update from FL!

Happy Monday!!!
Congratulations to Jeffery on the PRO Compression win!!!
We are having a great time in sunny Florida!
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We did a day at Disney last week ….SO much fun! I only have the pictures from my phone right now…..
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We also did a dolphin watch boat ride and got to see the cutest baby dolphin :) !
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I was a little worried about my last long run. My runs have been ok since we got on vacation…I have been able to finish the miles and do a decent pace, but it has felt harder than I want it to. So 22 miles with 6 at 2-4% faster than marathon pace definitely had me nervous! but it was a workout that I really wanted to finish!!!
I was SO happy with how it went….
Mile 1- 8:19
Mile 2- 8:11
Mile 3-8:04
Mile 4- 8:00
Mile 5- 8:01
Mile 6- 7:20
Mile 7- 7:28
Mile 8-7:23
Mile 9- 7:20
Mile 10-7:21
Mile 11- 7:22
Mile 12- 7:55
Mile 13- 7:55
Mile 14- 7:51
Mile 15- 7:53
Mile 16- 7:59
Mile 17- 7:46
Mile 18- 8:00
Mile 19- 7:55
Mile 20- 8:05
Mile 21- 8:08
Mile 22- 7:55
This run felt good and the almost 8 minute pace after the tempo miles felt easy. This is the longest I have ever done a long run in a training cycle and I was nervous about it…but I am glad I did it. I told myself if the workout was not going well that 20 would be fine, but I felt good enough to finish. This was a good run to end my hard training with…now taper time! I will start to cut back, probably by about 20%, this week! this week.
Hope you are having a great start to your week!!!

How far do you go on your longest run of your training cycle?
Have you ever been to Disney?

October 17, 2014
by Jen
4 Comments

How to handle a “bad” workout & vacation!!!!!

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The dreaded “bad” workout. I had one of these on Wednesday. It was going to be my last really tough speed workout of this cycle. I had planned to do 3×2 miles around a 6:30-6:35 pace. After my warm up, I knew this was going to be a hard day, but I have also had some of my best workouts on hard days. Not this time. First set was 6:40 and 7:04, at which point I decided to stop the scheduled workout and just run at an easy pace. This has really been my first failed speed work of this cycle, so I can’t complain, but these runs are disappointing. They leave you questioning your training. Am I ready? Am I overtraining? Do I need to push harder or take a day off?
In marathon training it can be hard to find a balance between the right amount of miles, speed, and rest that works for your body, and helps you continually make gains.
In the quest for this balance, it is inevitable that in your typical 16-20 week training plan there will be off days. There are a few reasons why these days occur.
First, there is always life factors. Illness, lack of sleep, and stress are just three things that come to my mind.
There is also accumulated fatigue. Basically, this is just small amounts of fatigue that carry over from one workout to the next until your body says enough!
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Then there are just “those” days. There seems to be no real reason for why you can’t complete the workout other than your legs just won’t.
While these runs can be disappointing, it is important to remember that they are just part of it. They are part of what makes the great runs so great.
When you have these runs, the best thing to do is to take a step back and look at your training. If you notice that it could be from accumulated fatigue or illness then have enough confidence in your training to take a day off….your body will thank you!
If there is no rhyme or reason that you can come up with for the off workout, then consider it a small bump in a long road. Don’t dwell on it, don’t look back at it, just look forward and focus on what lies ahead!
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One thing that made it easy for me to take my mind off of this workout was vacation!!! We left Wednesday night and drive part of the way to FL and finished the drive Thursday.
This mornings run with beautiful views of Palm trees was amazing!!! Monday we are spending the day at Disney and I am have a few other fun So here’s my advice….when you have a bad workout, take a vacation :) ….or better yet spend a day at Disney!!!
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How do you handle a bad workout?
Where do you go for vacation?

Don’t forget to enter to win PRO Compression socks here

http://milesandblessings.com/2014/10/12/training-week-fall-favorites-and-a-giveaway/

October 12, 2014
by Jen
45 Comments

Training Week, Fall Favorites and A Giveaway!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am now just under 5 weeks away from marathon day and getting SO excited, especially after seeing pictures and posts from Chicago Marathon finishers!!!

This week my workouts came to 61 miles with 1 speed day, 1 long run and 4 easy run days. I almost did not do my speed day just because I was coming off of my half marathon, but I felt great and don’t have too much longer before the taper!!!!!

Mon- 9 miles- 8:04 pace

Tues- 9 miles- 8:01 pace

Wed- 6×1 mile repeats on the road with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down- 6:18 average (6:16, 6:13, 6:15, 6:21, 6:22, 6:20)

Thurs- 8 miles- 7:58 pace

Fri- 8 miles- 8:11 pace

Sat- 18 miles- 7:52 pace

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The cooler temps have felt so nice and the Fall colors and just beautiful!!!!

I thought it might be fun to share with you some of my Fall marathon training favorites :) .

My first is one of my absolute favorite running tops. It is the Breathe Hoodie top from Gap Fit. This top is beyond comfortable! It is a thing long sleeve top so it is perfect for those in between weather days. I have worn it a few times already this fall. I would say it is best for upper 40′s and 50 degree temperatures for me. They are reasonably priced (especially when you have a coupon). I had a 50% off coupon code for the Gap too so I bought this in several colors!!! In my opinion these run big so I would size down….I needed an XS and I don’t wear an XS in anything (usually a small, sometimes a med).

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Next up is my Oiselle hat! I am not a big hat wearer because I seem to have a hard time finding hats that fit my head right. This hat is a perfect fit and perfect for the rainy or drizzling days!!!!

Number 3 are my Oiselle arm warmers. These are perfect to pair with a short sleeve top on those days when you just don’t know whether to go short or long :) . They are also super comfortable!

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Number 4 that has been working for me is my Nathan handheld water bottle. I hate fuel belts or pretty much anything around my waist. This little water bottle has been working out great for my long runs. I usualy pass my car half way through a long run and get a drink and pick this up to carry for the second half of my run.

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Last, but DEFINITELY not least, on my list on my list are my PRO Compression socks. I LOVE these socks. The marathon tall socks are amazing for recovery. They are not impossible to put on and they have the perfect amount of compression (which is great for marathon training and recovery). The trainer low socks are so comfortable. These are the only socks that I wear that is how much  I love them!!!

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AND……

I am SUPER excited to give you the chance to win your very own pair of PRO Compression Marathon socks or sleeves. Yup, that’s right, A PRO Compression giveaway! You can never have enough running socks, and these are the best! Simply enter via Rafflecopter below. Giveaway goes from Sun 10/12- Sunday 10/19. Winner will be announced Mon 10/20!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also have a discount code for you to use to stock up on some socks with:

USE THE CODE BLG14 TO GET 40% OFF YOUR ORDER OF MARATHON SOCKS OR SLEEVES!!!!! (these socks would make the perfect gift for anyone who is training or just loves running. They are also great stocking stuffers if you do early Christmas shopping :) )!

Who ran Chicago?!!!! How did you do?

Who is training for a marathon? How many days/weeks do you have left?

Do you have any fall favorites?

October 6, 2014
by Jen
9 Comments

Freedom’s Run Half Marathon Re-Cap

What a GREAT race! It is always easier to say this when you actually have a good race :) , but this was really a very well run event!

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Here are a few of my thoughts…

1. It was very well-organized and put together.

2. Plenty of porta potties and no lines :) . It was a smaller race so that helped, but there were also plenty of volunteers.

3. Speaking of volunteers… GREAT JOB! There was plenty of super friendly volunteers :) .

4. Great medals. The medals were handmade from a local pottery shop…I love that :)

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5. Really nice shirts with your choice in color. (Choice is based on a first come first serve basis. Since we didn’t get our packets till race morning, I only got to choose between blue and yellow, but I love the yellow :) !

6. This course is BEAUTIFUL, but in my opinion hilly. Miles 3-8 were full of straight up and down hills. These hills were through Anietam battlefield so that was neat! I would not necessarily go into this with a PR mindset. The first few miles were on a trail and there are a bunch of turns in the very beginning, but it is such a historic and scenic course!

7. This race was only sort of chip timed….basically the chip recorded your finish time. The start time was the start of the race for everyone. This didn’t bother me too much because I was pretty close to the start line (within a few seconds)…my husband got stuck a little farther back though.

8. There is an event for everyone! There is a kids run, 5k, 10k, half and full. The runners of the full were amazing! The full meets up with the half so that some of those hard hills were coming for them at mile 16-18ish (I honestly can’t imagine). I heard great things about the scenic views for all the races.

9. Lots of great food after from pizza to bagels. If I had to make a suggestion it would be to add chocolate milk :) .

Here are some pictures of the course that my husband took while he was running:

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IMG_0353 It rained all morning before the race and stopped just in time! :)

IMG_0363 Notice that hill there in the background…..not fun on tired legs!

Now that you know all about the race, here is how it went for me. I went into this race with no real-time goal. You know though whenever someone says that they must have some number in their head. I was hoping for somewhere around 1:35-1:38. I have been running some longer tempos in the 7:10 range, but I also knew this was a hilly race and I wanted to go out conservatively.  My main goal was to end fast and to try to stay pretty even paced. I did not want to get caught up in super fast race mode in the beginning and then feel defeated by the end.

Before the start picture :) …..

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Mile 1: 7:02

Mile2: 7:15

Mile 3: 7:12

Mile 4: 7:37

Mile 5: 7:01

Mile 6: 7:10

Mile 7: 7:46

Mile 8: 7:42

Mile 9: 7:10

Mile 10: 7:23

Mile 11: 7:25

Mile 12: 7:08

Mile 13: 6:44…..This mile makes me so happy!!!!!!

I am terrible at reading elevation charts and everyone has different definitions of what hills are hard or not. Sometimes I don’t think a course will be that bad until I am running it and other times I think it will be so hard and it doesn’t seem as bad. On my husband’s Garmin it said in mile 4 there was 169 foot elevation gain, an 86 foot gain in mile 6, and a 75 foot gain in mile 7. I know that the 75 foot gain in mile 7 must have been in a very short span because I remember looking up that hill and thinking you have to be kidding me. I just kept telling myself not to think about it too much, just put your head down and put one foot in front of the other (for some reason looking down when I go up hills is easier for me…maybe it has something to do with not seeing how hard it looks). Apparently mile 13 had a decent amount of elevation (119 feet), but it really didn’t feel nearly like mile 6 or 7 because it was so spread out. I handle gradual hills way better than the straight up and down stuff.

All in all though, this was a GREAT race. We are pretty sure we will try it again next year too!!!! If you are in the area and looking for a beautiful race, FREEDOMS RUN is a great choice!!!!

My final time was 1:35:06….maybe a few seconds less just because I wasn’t right at the front, but I am very happy with it. It really actually makes me want to race a flat course half again. The first half I did was a totally flat-out and back Chicago course and I got 1:32 and I feel like my fitness is better now than it was then.

I am getting super anxious for Richmond and now I am really wishing it was closer. I am making a few adjustments to my training per some advice I received, but I am very excited for November and I am already praying for a nice day!!!!

Marathon season is in full swing, who raced? How did it go?

Did you long run? how far?

October 3, 2014
by Jen
0 comments

ZOOMA & Freedoms Run

I am super excited to announce that I am a ZOOMA Annapolis ambassador!!!!

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I don’t usually ever have races planned out this far in advance…but I do for this one. I ran the Zooma Annapolis half this past May and loved it. I knew I wanted to do it again next year, so I applied for the ambassador program and….I’m in!

This is a BEAUTIFUL race and I would love to see you there!!! You can use the code JEN15 to get 10% off either the half marathon or 10k!

AND……

Tomorrow is the Freedom’s Run 1/2 Marathon for me :) . This was a last-minute add-in to my Richmond Marathon training. It is raining now…but I think (I am praying) it is going to end tonight. From the pictures this looks like a very pretty and historic (although quite hilly) course.

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I am going for a strong well run race to give me a better idea of pacing for my full. I REALLY want to negative split this race. I keep telling my husband that I am not going to go out too fast…although I am not sure that he believes me :) .

Because I have this half tomorrow I laid off of the speed after my tempo run on Tuesday.

Tues- 8 miles 7:11 pace with a mile cool down

Wed- 9 miles 7:58 pace

Thurs- 9 miles 8:03 pace

Fri- 6 miles 8:19 pace

I have been using my new watch and I LOVE it!!!!!! …it is charging up for tomorrow :)

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Anyone else racing this weekend? If not are you running a long run?

Hills…love em or hate them?

September 29, 2014
by Jen
6 Comments

14 Reasons Why I Love My Husband

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On this day, 14 years ago, I married the perfect husband. Is he actually perfect in real life?..No of course not, but to me….he is! Here are 14 reasons why I think so :) .

1. He loves the Lord with all that he is. His knowledge of and love for God challenges me to grow closer to God everyday.

2. The way that he preaches the Gospel with so much passion.

3. The way that he loves me and how I know that he is praying for me.

4. His love for our girls. He is such an amazing dad!

5. His genuine kindness toward others.

6. His generosity. He is such a giving person both to others and to the Lord…not only giving of money, but also of time.

7. He is always hard-working

8. His faithfulness. He is a faithful husband, father, Pastor and friend.

9. He always sees the best in things and people. (including me)

10. The way he listens to me and wants to know what I have to say…(and even if he doesn’t want to know, he listens anyways :) ).

11. He is always trying to better himself, which encourages me to better myself.

12. He always puts others before himself

13. He loves the simple things in life and he loves to share them with me! Whether it is simply spending time with me, or doing simple things like a walk or seeing beautiful trees.

14. He really is just so very handsome :)

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My husband is God’s greatest blessing to me. Everyday he encourages me in everything I do and challenges me to want to be a better person. He loves me and makes me feel so very special. He is my best friend and the most special person in my life. There are so many times I wonder what I ever did to deserve such an amazing man for a husband.

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There are WAY more than 14 reasons why I love him and my list grows longer by the minute :) .

This is just kinda funny :) …..

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Matt, I love you more than a blog post could ever say and look forward to seeing all that God has for us in the future :) . Happy 14 year Anniversary!

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If you are married, how long have you been married?

When is your anniversary?

What do you like to do for your anniversary?….This year we got each other a marathon :) that we are running together in Nov!!!! We also got each other new watches!!!! YAY!!!!!

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September 28, 2014
by Jen
6 Comments

In the trenches of marathon training!

I am now just under 7 weeks away from marathon day….in other words right in the thick of training!

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This past week was another higher mileage week for me with another 20 mile run. I have always gone with the training philosophy that 1 20 miler was good, if not best for marathon training. No need to risk injury trying to do more. This is the first training cycle where I am going to try for 3. I now have 2 down, 1 more to go!

I really don’t think there is a magic number of miles to run or 20 milers to do, and it is going to be totally different depending on the person and their goal.

For me, personally, I am wanting to (and really feel like it is in my ability) shave another 10-15 minutes off of my time. I think adding in a few more 20 milers, to get my body used to running that long, will help.

It is important when you are in “the trenches of training” to pay attention to details

Trying to be careful not to overdo it, making sure to stretch, adding in some strengthening exercises, nutrition, foam rolling, keeping some of my easy runs at an easy pace, and running some on a trail are some things that I am trying to do.

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I am doing my own training plan based on a combination of several plans and just my own experience. This week I was a little worn out from last week so I did 1 stress workout on Tuesday and my long run on Friday.

Monday- 8.25 miles 8:03 pace

Tuesday- 9 mile tempo. I really didn’t have time for a warm up and really want the tempo to be 9, so I just did the 1st mile a little slower and then did a 1 mile cool down for 10 total.

Wed- 8 easy miles (8:23 pace)

Thurs- 8 easy miles

Friday- 20 miles 7:56 pace. While this was a hard run because any run that is 20 miles is hard, it felt good and my last mile was my fastest at 7:29.

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Sat- 8 miles on a trail while the girls rode bikes :) . I LOVE these runs!!!!

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Sun- off

Another week of training in the books! The weather has been absolutely perfect!!!!

I have been struggling with my fueling for runs, and for Friday’s 20 miler I decided to go a little unconventional. Peanut Butter m&m’s. I realize that this is not healthy (please don’t remind me), and I am sure not the best fuel choice, but it worked better than what I have been trying. I was able to get fuel in without feeling sick and finish strong. I am still not convinced this is what I will use, but it has worked the best so far :) .

Next weekend is my half……FREEDOMS RUN! If you are in the West Virginia/Maryland area come run it!!!! There is also a 5k and a 10k…and a marathon if you are the kind of person that can just do that without planning!

What race are you training for? How many weeks to go?

How many 20 mile runs do you do in a training cycle?

Who takes their kids on runs with them :) ?