Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #13

Marathon Day is 18 days away! Coursing through my body is a mixture of excited and nervous energy anytime I think about it.

Last Friday, Nick and I were talking about our plan for our long run on Saturday. I wanted to get a 21 mile run in. I was feeling nervous about it and asked him if he was nervous too and he said no. I was shocked that he didn’t feel nervous– maybe because he’s already run a marathon so 21 miles didn’t seem too bad. Every Friday is a little torturous for me because I know my long run is coming up. I’m always anxious about attempting to do something I’ve never done before. I think that’s pretty common to feel that way. But I try to focus on the feeling of accomplishment rather than the voice in my head that says you can’t run 21 miles. And then once it’s done, I feel so damn good about myself. And the next time I set out to run 21 miles it’s waaaaay less daunting because I know I’ve done it already!

Anyway, last week I rounded out the week with 40 miles which is the most miles I’ve ever run in a week! Wednesday- 7.2; Friday- 4.6; Saturday- 21 and Sunday- 7.2. I felt good on most of the runs; however, the 21 miler was rough. Every part of my body was hurting that day for some reason. I’m not sure if it’s just all the miles I’m putting in, the water backpack which adds weight and pressure to my back, or if my running sneakers are on their last legs. It was a mind over matter run. I wanted to run 21 miles and there was no way I wasn’t going to do it. Our mile splits were pretty good. And by pretty good, I mean we were consistently running 9:10-9:30 for most of the miles. And at mile 17, we busted out a mile in 8:38 (probably because we were on a track). We finished in 3 hours and 17 minutes. And you know what that means? That means that if I run exactly the same way on race day I’ll have 73 minutes to run the last 5.2 miles… which would be about 14 min/miles. Basically, what I’m saying is that I think I’ll be able to reach my goal of completing the marathon in 4 hours and 30 minutes!

21 mile run with splits

This week I’m starting to taper my miles off a bit. I plan to run about 32 miles this week with my long run being 15 miles. I need to let my body rest and recover with lots of foam rolling and stretching.

Until next week… 🏃🏽‍♀️💨 ✌🏻

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #12

The whole year of 2022 has been the busiest I’ve been in my entire life– between my kids, work, personal goals, and all the many things out of my control, I feel like I’m drowning at times. And as much as I’m enjoying training for a marathon, I’m looking forward to the race being over because it’ll be one thing knocked off my priority list for now. I didn’t post an update after Week 12, so today’s post will cover Week 12 and Week 13 runs. Here’s what’s been happening in my running world…

Week 12 was great! I clocked the most miles I’ve ever run in a week- 37.9 with four runs and I felt really good. My runs looked liked this the week of March 21st:

Wednesday– 8.2 miles; Friday– 4 miles; Saturday– 19.2 miles and Sunday– 6.5 miles = 37.9 miles

Extremely proud of this weekend of training- 3 hours of running on Saturday, followed by 1 hour of running on Sunday. Never imagined I’d be doing that… but I did.

Week 13 was good, as well. However, I decided, after a 137.7 miles in March, to back off the total amount of miles for the week of March 28th, which looked like this:

Wednesday– 8.4 miles; Friday– 4.1 miles; Saturday 13.1 miles and Sunday– 7.1 miles = 32.7 miles

I’m using my non-running days to do a lot of stretching and foam rolling. All together, it’s about 90 minutes for the week. And that doesn’t include my stretching before/after my runs. I think taking the time to really focus on releasing my tight muscles is making a difference so I’m sticking with it. I’m also getting in some ab work and glute activation work if I’m up for it. I would like to get back into more traditional strength training but I am hesitant with my shoulder still not being right. I’m going to reevaluate everything after the marathon and see where I’m at.

The next few weeks are a crucial part of my training. I have 4 more Saturdays until race day. My plan for long runs looks like this:

April 9th- 21 miles; April 16th- 15 miles; April 23rd- 10 miles; April 30th- 2 miles (easy jog the day before the race)

The rest of my runs will likely be the same length that they are now- give or take a mile or so. I’ve been doing two runs a week outside and two runs inside on the treadmill. As it gets nicer, I’ll do all my Sunday runs outside unless it’s raining. I enjoy the treadmill runs for the opportunity to push my speed a bit but it gets a bit boring after 60 minutes.

That’s all I have for this week’s installment. Nothing too exciting going on. Stay tuned for next week’s update!

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment # 12

Eleven weeks down, six more to go! It’s so hard to believe that the marathon is less than six weeks away. It’ll be game day before I know it!

This past week was my best training week yet. I focused on stretching, foam rolling and ab work on my non-running days- Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were my run days. I think that worked well for me, although I do miss working with weights. Maybe I’ll add it back in at some point, but for right now I want to stay consistent with this routine so I can see how my body responds to it.

Wednesday’s run was a 7.1 mile run on the treadmill. I enjoyed this run and worked through some bursts of speed. I use the word speed loosely, because it’s really just faster than my expected marathon pace. Friday was a short 3.6 mile run. I did this run at the park around the corner and did some hill repeats at the end.

Saturday, though, was the best run of the week. I had a goal of 16 miles. Up until Saturday my longest run was 15.2 miles and I wanted to get past the 16-mile threshold. I was excited because Nick said he’d run it with me. My alarm went off at 5:45 AM and I’m pretty sure Nick cursed under his breath for making him get up so early, but we both got ourselves up and ready to run. We set out at 6:35 AM and we ran, and talked, and talked, and ran. I was overdressed for the occasion- it was 50 degrees and I was wearing a tank top, a long sleeved shirt and my light vest. I used the water backpack and we started out super slow. I was a bit uncomfortable with the backpack and my lower back was bothering me but having Nick with me kept my mind off of the discomfort most of the time. At the start of mile nine we ended up at my old high school track. When we got there I took of backpack and instantly felt lighter and less warm. It was a marvelous feeling. We ran two miles at the track before Nick grabbed the backpack and we headed back. As we got to mile 15 I looked at him and said, “I feel like we need to do 17.” And we did it! Together. (-:

One of the things I love most about running is that it’s something I can do alone. But there’s some comfort in knowing that there’s someone out there as crazy as I am that will get up at 5:45 AM on a Saturday morning to run for 2 hours and 39 minutes with me. Nick and I have a lot of common interests, but being able to run together has been super special. We’ve created such a special connection through running. We push each other, support each other, and believe in each other… and we understand all the aches, pains and chafing that comes with being a runner. As we were running he said to me, “you should be so proud of yourself. You have a full-time job, you’re a single mom, you can come up with every excuse not to do this, but you make time for it.” It was super sweet. ❤

Just over here showing off my headband. 💁🏻‍♀️

I followed up my personal record breaking 17-mile run with an 8.1 mile run on Sunday. I figured I’d round out the weekend with 25 miles so I could say I ran 35+ miles for the week. It was a nice morning for a run and my legs were feeling good so I went for it. I’m still amazed at how much our bodies are capable of doing. I’ve heard it so many times but I don’t know if I ever believed it until I started running these super long distances- our minds give up way before our bodies do. Meaning, our minds tell us we can’t do something and then we stop. We have to be mentally strong enough to fight our mind and say “you’re wrong, I can do this.” It’s not always easy but with every additional mile I run, I feel that voice getting weaker and weaker.

This week it’s the same as last- stretching, foam rolling and ab work on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Runs will take place on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday will be a 19 mile attempt. Wish us luck! See you next week! ✌🏻

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #11

Less than seven weeks until Marathon Day!! I’m really glad I decided to document everything I’m doing. It’ll be fun to look back at all these blog posts one day– maybe 10 years from now when I’m crushing my 10th marathon. Even though I am planning out each step of my training, there’s been changes and pivots along the way.

this is obviously what I think of every time I say the word pivot

The next five weeks I’m focusing on increasing my total mileage per week. Last week I got 30 miles in over a four-day period. I don’t know if I’ll get to 35-40 miles per week on four days, but I’ll try. Here’s the breakdown of last week’s runs:

Wednesday- 5.3 miles on the treadmill; Friday- 3.2 miles outside (did some speed intervals); Saturday- 12.5 miles on the treadmill; and Sunday- 9.1 miles on the treadmill. I am really happy with my progress of being able to do back-to-back longer runs. Doing 12.5 and then 9.1 the following day is something I never even would’ve dreamed of attempting two months ago. It just goes to show that consistency pays off… but also, when you’re not given much of a choice of when you can do your mid-long runs, you make it work regardless. My body may try to tell me I can’t, but my mind is saying, “but you have to!!” And, of all the runs last week, my favorite was the 9.1 miles on the treadmill. I got in the zone, I was playing with the speed and I got through 9.1 feeling like I could’ve done another mile or two easily.

The next few weeks are going to be a little different because I am pivoting off my original plan of strength training 3 days and running 3 days. I’ve been dealing with a shoulder issues for many months that I keep ignoring. I figure if there’s ever a time to ease up on lifting weights, now is the time since I’m training for a marathon. That doesn’t mean I won’t do a full-body weight workout once a week until marathon day. It’s just not going to be a major part of my training right now. I’m focusing on running, stretching, and core work. Another thing I’m working on is starting slower. My runs have been a little faster than they probably should be- if I can slow it down to 9:30 pace for my long runs, that will help. I notice that my runs are always better when I give myself time to get into it. I’ve always been that way. I like to start slow, let my body warm up and then I’ll fall into a good pace. The goal is to finish- I’m not winning the marathon so the time is irrelevant. (However, if you’re a runner, you can’t help but have a goal in mind. And, if you’re wondering, mine hasn’t changed since my training started- I want to finish in 4:30:00- four hours and thirty minutes).

My goal for this week is 32-33 miles with a 16-17 mile run on Saturday. I am getting a little nervous because I only have four to five more long runs left before the big day. I’d like to do 16-17 miles once; 18-19 once and then 20-21 once. If I can make that happen over the course of the next four to five weeks I will feel really good going into race day. I’m hoping that giving myself more active rest days (i.e. stretching and ab work) it’ll give my legs a break and I’ll feel good on all my runs.

Other things I’m thinking about… 1) what am I wearing on race day? I think I know which leggings but I have to decide on my upper half. I will probably work out a couple of different options based on the weather. 2) How am I going to handle eating before the race? I usually don’t eat before I run but I’m typically not up for more than 45-60 minutes before I run. On race day, I will probably be waking up a good 2-3 hours before the race starts. I’m thinking a banana on the drive over and my pre-workout about 20-30 minutes prior to race time. That’s what I’ve done when I’ve run half marathons and it’s worked out OK. I’ll also be using the water backpack and the chews that I got on race day. I know there’s water stops along the way but I want to limit my stopping at least through the first 15 miles or so.

Wish me luck as I start ramping up my mileage!

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #10

It’s hard to believe I just wrapped up week nine of training. I am happy with my progress so far, although I had a not-so-great long run this week. The plan was 3-4 miles on Thursday, 16-17 miles on Saturday, and 6.2 on Sunday. I ended the week with a total of 25.5 miles over those three days.

I really want to make it possible to train (successfully) for a marathon by running three days a week; however, I’m not so sure that’s enough. I’ve read tons of different plans and some suggest getting to 30-40 miles per week; while others suggest upwards of 50+ miles per week. Getting 30-40 miles of running in on three days is a serious challenge . I’m already been having some tenderness in my right shin after I run so I’m hesitant to run more but I might give it a try to increase my total mileage for the week. Here’s what my training schedule has looked like since day one. This week I’ll start planning the last seven weeks.

Back to last week: I did a short run on Thursday which was relatively uneventful. Saturday’s run was a different story. I started at 6:45 AM with the goal of 16-17 miles; however, my body had different plans. The first 7-8 miles I felt really good. I was just cruising along thinking about work and enjoying the run. Then mile 9 came and my entire body tensed up. My legs and back were aching. I just felt so tight and uncomfortable. It became a lot of work just to keep my legs moving. I forced myself to keep running even though all I wanted to do was stop and walk the rest of the way home. I kept myself moving and told myself that as long as I did a little more than the week prior, I’d be happy. When I got to 15.2 miles I called it a day. It wasn’t the best run but it was a completed run and for that, I’m happy.

Sunday, on the other hand, was magical. It was 48 degrees, my hands were not in gloves, and my legs felt great. Even though I’ve been hitting the treadmill on Sundays I couldn’t pass up a 48 degree day, especially on a Sunday. Sunday mornings will always be my favorite time to run. It’s so quiet and peaceful and you can hear your feet hit the ground and the sound of your breathing over your music, instead of cars whizzing by you constantly. I am hopeful that I can do more of my Sunday runs outside and that I can freeze my Planet Fitness membership soon!

On a gear and accessories note… This week I remembered to grab the chews that Nick gave me to try and I ate two of them at miles 8, 11 and 14. It definitely took my mind off running for the few minutes it took me to eat them. I bought a variety pack so I have them for all my long runs up until race day. On cold days, I use my thick vest and it has pockets with zippers so I put my phone in there. On more mild days I use a different vest and I’m forced to put my phone in the pocket of my leggings. I think the impact of me hitting the ground causes the music to skip though and that’s kind of frustrating me. I’m debating whether to use my arm band or find a lighter vest with a pocket for race day. I like the idea of having my phone in my pocket rather than on my arm because it’s more accessible. I know you’re dying to find out what I end up doing so don’t worry, I’ll keep you informed.

As for this week, I’m going to attempt to squeeze in a fourth day of running and see how I feel. On Saturday I’m going to attempt 17-18 miles so let’s hope for a mild weather day. Until next week… ✌🏻❤️ 🏃🏽‍♀️ 💨

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #9

Week 8 is in the books! It’s crazy to think that it’s exactly two months until Marathon Day. Overall I’m feeling pretty confident; but I’m still really nervous about it. Here’s a recap of last week plus some playlist info that I wanted to share (and get recommendations to add)!

Wednesday’s run was a short 4.3. Each week, I find one day to run before going into work because I need my body to get used to miles. A lot of marathon runners end up running 25-30 miles per week, which is hard to do in two days over the weekend. Or even three days. A lot of runners run 4-5 days per week. For me, not only is that impossible because of my schedule with the kids, it’s also not ideal for my body. My body loves to run, but only so much. It needs other cardio and strength training to supplement it.

Friday morning I spent some time mentally preparing for my long run on Saturday. I mapped it out on MapMyRun, I made sure my most comfortable running clothes were clean and I took out my water pack, gloves and ear band.

It was 20 degrees when I began my 15-mile trek. However; it wasn’t super windy so that made it bearable. I was feeling pretty good for most of the run. Towards the end my legs started getting tired and I started to rethink my strategy for taking a rest day the day before a long run. It’s customary to run a couple easy miles the day before a big race so would it make sense to do a light workout- like cycle- the day before my long run? I’m not quite sure. I don’t think I’ll change it up this week but we’ll see for the future.

It took me just under 2 hours and 20 mins to run just over 15 miles. I averaged 9:15 mile pace. And I must say, I’m pretty damn impressed with myself. It took my hands about 10 mins to stop hurting after I walked in my house and about an hour for my entire body to warm up but seeing 15+ miles on my watch made it all worth it. I accomplished something I’ve never done before and it felt great! (Side note: My goal is to run a marathon on May 1st; however, all the little accomplishments along the way, like running 15+ miles, can and will be celebrated. It’s just as important to enjoy the journey and celebrate small wins, as it is to celebrate the accomplishment of the big goal at the end. It’s good to be proud of yourself!)

Sunday I went to the gym to do my 10k run on the treadmill. After my long runs my right shin tends to hurt a bit so I like to lay off the road on Sunday. Plus it was cold and I could do without two days in a row of freezing cold running.

Before I jet, I wanted to share my favorite long run playlist. For some reason I enjoy this 80s & 90s mix that I created on Spotify. It’s my go-to for my longer runs. Anything I should add to it?? This is only 2 hours and 17 minutes and I need about 4 1/2 hours worth of music for race day so suggestions are welcome!

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #8

I’d be lying if I said I wanted to be writing this right now. It’s nothing against running. In fact, it’s one of the few things giving me peace at the moment. I’m just stressed and overwhelmed with life. There’s just so much shit going on right now and I’m pretty sure I’m reaching my breaking point. I know my shit isn’t any crazier, or more difficult, or dare I say smellier than anyone else’s shit. (Sorry, I had to!). And I am super grateful for all the good things that are going on. But still, I’m absolutely, 100% maxed out right now and it’s exhausting, it’s stressful and it’s putting me into full anxiety mode.

But you’re not here to hear me bitch and moan. So I’ll stop. But before I move on, I think it’s worth mentioning that even though now would be a really great time to throw in the towel on the marathon training, I will not sacrifice my goals and desires for someone else’s. And I mean that in the best possible way. I can’t be my best for anyone else if I’m not happy. And I won’t put myself on the back burner for anyone, or any job, or really… anything. My number one priority is making sure I can the best version of myself. And I sure as hell can’t be a great mom, a great employee or a great leader if I’m maxed out and drowning in anxiety.

And while my anxiety won’t disappear over night, it helps to workout and run. 🙃 So back to training …

I ended up treating last week as a recovery week. I backed off my mileage, I took an active rest day to stretch and foam roll, and I took a full rest day. My strength training workouts were the same but I logged the following miles on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday: 4.2, 10.1, and 4.2. It’s pretty common to plan recovery weeks into training programs. Although they’re not always popular, they’re really good for muscle recovery. Your body cannot be pushed to its limits every single day. It needs time to recover.

But now this week we’re back to increasing mileage!! The goal: 4-5 on Wednesday, 14-15 on Saturday and then 6.2 on Sunday. The plan is to do the Wednesday and Saturday run outside and finish up the week on Sunday with a treadmill run.

I’m excited to report how my long run goes this week. And hopefully by this time next week I’ll be in better spirits.

Until then, I’ll metaphorically run away from my problems. 🏃🏽‍♀️💨

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #6

Week 5 is in the books and it was a great week overall. I started a new strength training program that I’m doing on Monday/Wednesday/Thursday. Monday is lower body, Wednesday is upper body and Thursday is full body. I’ve done this program before and I really enjoyed it. The workouts are about 35 minutes long so it’s right in my sweet spot time-wise. It’s fast-paced, a lot of volume, and it gets my heart rate up. I decided that Tuesdays are going to be a cardio day- usually HIIT or some sort of callisthenic-type training. However, after this past week, I realized I might need to use Tuesdays as a second rest day (if I feel my body needs it). Thursday, Saturday and Sunday were my run days.

Let’s start with Thursday. Thursday has been a shorter run because I have to wait until after I drop the kids at school. I like to get it done as quickly as possible so I can get to work and get on with my day. This past Thursday was a little rainy but not too cold. I’ve been staying in my neighborhood for my Thursday morning runs. I have a big loop I can do twice to get me somewhere between 3- 3.5 mile depending on how big I make the loop. It’s been working out nicely.

I like having my rest day on Friday (well, not really. I’m not a fan of rest days from a mental standpoint, but I know my body needs it from a physical standpoint). My point is, I like having my rest day the day before my long run day. It stops me from coming up with an excuse about why my legs are tired during my long runs. I try to minimize the amount of things my brain can use as excuses. Even though I enjoy running and training, I don’t always want to do it in the moment.

I woke up Saturday with a GREAT attitude about my run. I was ready to take on 11 miles. When I went outside, I was hit with that 21 degree air and I wasn’t happy, to say the least. The rain turned to ice the night before so I knew it was going to be an interesting run the minute I started trotting down my street. I figured it wasn’t the worst thing in the world considering I was trying to keep my pace a little slower. The first 6 miles weren’t bad. I was trying out a new route which took me a long ways from home (on foot, in icy conditions). In hindsight, it probably wasn’t my smartest move, but I had to do what I had to do. I turned on Whiskey Road around mile 6 and the air felt like it got 10 degrees colder. I wasn’t happy. I continued until I reached my next turn where I spent almost 3 miles cursing– the wind started up and was cutting through my gloves, my shirt, my sweatshirt. I was freezing. I was miserable. I wanted to cry. I wanted to stop and call Nick or my dad to pick me up. But I knew my hands probably wouldn’t even work to make a phone call. By the time I got back to my house my watch said 10.75 miles. On any other day I would’ve ran past my house and made it an even 11; but I was so cold and frustrated that I just stopped at 10.75 miles.

It took my hands hours to warm up. Frostbite, maybe? I don’t know. They were red and not too happy with me. I decided at that moment that I wasn’t going to torture myself with running in conditions like that- especially for runs that were longer than 3-4 miles. After running some errands with the kids, I ran into Planet Fitness and reactivated my account. I knew that Sunday was going to be cold again and I didn’t want to run in 17 degree weather.

What I looked like on Saturday’s run vs. Sunday’s run

Sunday’s run was A LOT better considering I did it on the treadmill at Planet Fitness. I haven’t run on a treadmill in so long. It felt good to be back in a gym and it also felt good to utilize the treadmill for training. I was scheduled to run 5 miles on Sunday but after missing my goal on Saturday by 1/4 mile, I decided to go for a 10k (6.2 miles) on Sunday. It was good. My breathing felt so much easier inside rather than outside in 20 degree weather. I’m still going to try to do the bulk of my training outside. But on super cold or super windy AND cold days, I’m going to the treadmill option. There’s no need for me to be miserable. I want my training to be enjoyable. And while I understand that it’s not always going to be unicorns and rainbows, I don’t want to put myself in situations where my hands will get frostbitten.

On the docket for this week: a 3-4 mile run on Thursday; a half marathon (13.1) on Saturday or Sunday and 5 miles the opposite day.

In running gear news… I purchased new socks. I prefer no-show, ankle socks but sometimes when I run outside I get a piece of gravel or a pebble in my shoe and then I end up with cuts on my ankles (happened on Saturday). So I bought some news socks on Amazon that will go up over my leggings a couple inches, which will prevent gravel/pebbles from getting in AND will cover the 1/2 inch of skin that is usually exposed to the cold. A two-fer! Nick also let me borrow his water backpack thingamabob. I am not much of a water drinker while I run but I’ve never run more than a half marathon. I know for longer runs I’m going to need water. I want to try it out this weekend when I do the half and see how it goes. I will provide my thoughts next week. (-:

welcome back!

Welcome to my blog reboot. It’s the morning of December 26th and I decided, rather abruptly, to reboot my blog. Well, if I’m being honest, I’ve been thinking about coming back to my blog for a while now. I just wasn’t sure how or when I wanted to dive in.

Welp! Today is the day. So for those of you that are new here, welcome! And those that used to read my blog, welcome back. I’m excited to restart this journey. When I stopped it was because I was, just like a lot of people, going through stuff (my last post was May 2020). And even though I’m still going through stuff (that’s life), I am in a slightly better place than I was 18 months ago.

My blog posts will be different this time around. I’m not going to just focus on the two things that I think most people know me as– a mother and/or someone that loves fitness. While those are still the biggest parts of my life, those are only a couple sides of Lauren. There’s a lot that you probably don’t know about me. Like the fact that I get twitchy when my routine gets disrupted (ok, maybe you did know that). Or the fact that I am a complete book nerd (my dream house has a room covered wall to wall in books). Or that my favorite channels are Food Network (hate to cook) and HGTV (my walls are completely bare). Or that I listen to the sweet serenading sounds of Louis C.K or Chad Daniels or Tom Segura to fall asleep at night. Or that the flame I’ve held for running was reignited in 2021 and that I will add more fuel to that fire in 2022. Or that I lose my shit when people write the word lose as loose because they don’t understand the English language but it’s cool when walk around saying the word frustrating as fustrating because I too, don’t understand the English language.

Basically what I’m saying is that we’re all complex. We have different sides of ourselves. And weird idiosyncrasies that make us who we are. But (hopefully) we’re always learning and growing and becoming a better version of ourselves than we were yesterday. So my blog is going to be about anything and everything that I feel like sharing- what I had for dinner last night, or things I’ve learned, projects I’m working on, books I’m reading.. who knows! Because it’s my blog and I can do what I want with it.

So welcome back!! 🙂

❤ L