A Change of Pace


I am so stiff and sore today.  Like, 95 years old. My Achilles tendons, hamstrings, hips…they’re all telling me that the real marathon training has begun.  Thank goodness I love it.  I ran a total of 45 miles this week – a personal record, for sure!  I blame the Olympics.  Did anyone else watch Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia win the Olympic marathon in only 2:23:07?  It was a new Olympic record.  That’s only like 21 1/2 minutes longer than my half marathon time. Wow.

It made me think about how, relatively speaking, it’d be so much easier to pick up the pace and finish in just a couple hours than to torturously plod along for over 4 hours.  Still, easier said than done, right?

Before hitting the gym this morning, I threw together a lazy breakfast:

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2 tortillas (I love Mama Lupe’s light tortillas!) – one with peanut butter, chia seeds and agave, the other with 1/2 banana, more pb, and cinnamon.

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Liza sat there and looked depressingly deprived until I shared my banana with her. Seriously, the girl acts like nobody ever feeds her.

Then I was off!  As the heat wasn’t too unbearable this morning, I walked 1.5 miles to the gym and mentally geared up for the millionth run of the week.  On one hand, running every day has become normal.  I just do it, even though I’m sometimes tired or achy.  Even on vacation!

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Every day I feel a little more like a “runner.” On the other hand, though, when I really think about it, it’s like, “Seriously? Me? A runner? Psh.” Gosh, I used to hate it so much.

I also thought about how much my workouts have changed in a year. This time last summer I was gobbling up group fitness classes by the handful – step, kickboxing, Zumba – up to sometimes 4 in a day. For a good 8 months, I took Body Pump twice a week at 5:30 in the morning.  Loved it. I started getting into races, and probably ran about 7 or 8 miles a week.

Then, at the start of 2012, I found bodybuilding.com and dove into Jamie Eason’s Live Fit Trainer.  The program was heavy on weight training, and almost completely devoid of cardio, which was weird for me.  Still, I gained a ton of strength and confidence in the weight room. Meanwhile, I stopped taking most group classes, as they’re so cardio based (and not part of the Live Fit program) and didn’t take BodyPump nearly as often because I was already doing so much weight lifting.

By mid-March I was ready for something new and found myself looking into half marathons.  On a whim, I signed up.  After just a few weeks of training, I ran the Go!St. Louis Half Marathon.  I knew I was in trouble as soon as I crossed the finish line.  Racing is so addicting.

Now, only two months remain until my first full marathon.  My focus has shifted from fun exercise to training with a purpose.  I used to avoid the treadmill at the gym because it was “boring,” but now I really don’t mind it at all.  I have to get those miles in, and I’m certainly not doing it out in this heat! Do I miss classes?  Of course!  Heck, I’m certified to teach them, and I miss the community.  Thinking about it, I really need to get back into yoga at Gold’s – it’s so good for runners!

So currently (sorry for the looong explanations) I’m doing mostly running, weight lifting 5 days per week, and doing some other random things here and there, like plyometrics, yoga, core work, and biking for cross training.  I also like to hit up the elliptical on occasion because it feels so good after pounding my joints to death on the treadmill. My goals are to improve my endurance (obviously), ramp up the speed just a bit, and continue to build and maintain muscle, which tends to get destroyed by too much cardio.

Here’s how I used to work out, and here’s a pretty normal week:

  • Sunday: Long run.  13-18 miles.
  • Monday: Active rest: Yoga and stretching at home, and2-3 miles at an easy pace.
  • Tuesday: 2 miles in the morning; 3 miles in the evening, + biceps/triceps.
  • Wednesday: 4 miles a.m.; 4 miles p.m. + legs (high rep, low weight)
  • Thursday: 6 miles a.m.; 6-8 miles p.m. + shoulders
  • Friday: 30 minutes elliptical or plyo +biceps/triceps heavy and hard!
  • Saturday: 5 miles a.m.; 5 miles p.m. + chest/back

Breaking up the runs into 2-a-days helps me build mileage without taxing my body too much at once. As the race creeps (speeds!) closer, I’ll start combining morning and night runs. I can’t tell you how much I wish I could schedule massages into my weekly schedule.

So there you have it! There’s no messing around with marathon training, but I’m still having a lot of fun.  I love watching my progress throughout the weeks – mental and emotional progress even more so than physical progress. Running doesn’t scare me anymore!

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