Training since CIM

After CIM, I needed some down time.  The month leading up to that marathon was stress-filled and running, for the first time in a LONG time, wasn't fun.  Workouts were no longer a "let's see how fast I can do this, how much I can hurt", but "work".

So, the last 3 weeks have been without any sort of plan - just doing whatever the heck I felt like.  After Zoom Yah Yah, I'll jump into a defined Jerry plan.  I look forward to it, but know I don't need it now (and am better off without it).

Week 1: 18 miles!
I did my typical reverse-taper after CIM. My legs recover quicker in the long run if I do.  So, Monday after the race was a day off, Tuesday was something like 4.5 miles, Wednesday was off, and Thursday was another 4.5 miles, and Friday - probably not the best post-marathon easy run - was the VO2 max workout at the U of MN.  I think I capped off the week with a 6 mile run on Sunday.  Woot, woot - 18 total miles for the week!  Nate did a great job of holding me back.  If not for him, I'm sure my second run would have been 6-7, and the weekend runs would have crept closer to 10.  I'm so glad he reigned me in.  It's just so easy to think, "well, 6-7 or 10 isn't that far - and it's what I "should" do", when really it doesn't matter what I do at all this week.  It's all about re-setting myself mentally, enjoying down time, and just running for fun.

Week 2: 82 miles, all easy.
The next week I decided to just run easy miles.  My goal was to get out every day, start running a couple of doubles (I love doubling), and do my first long run since I know I have ZYY marathon at the beginning of January.  Basically, my goal was to run as long as I wanted to run and enjoy the miles I was putting in (instead of having a training plan that specified workouts each day).  Turns out, that meant 82 miles for the week (on 7 days).  It was surprisingly easy to log that many miles, and it didn't even feel like much.  Guess it really isn't that high, especially since there wasn't a day off, but I was still surprised at the number when I added up the week. 

I also started on a new strength program from Runner's Connect, which so far I've liked.  It's just nice to switch things up.  The program has 3-4 routines per week, and some you can easily do without weights and within 15 minutes or so.  I like that.  Toward the end of the last training cycle I'd often skip strength if I was running short on time or thought I couldn't find 30-45 minutes in my night.  I miss the more exhausted feeling of a good quality 30+ minute strength session, but think the shorter and more frequent sessions will be a good change.  Plus, I'd been doing the old sessions for about 2 years now... the routines were just getting a little dull. The new program has more leg and hamstring work than I've done before.  The hamstring work is much needed.  On my injured side, I can't do a reverse plank and hold weight on the injured leg.  Something I need to work on, definitely!

Week 3: 86 miles, one day off.
This week marks the end of my third week.  I did my first harder workouts this week, which went surprisingly well.  The first was a track workout (on an actual track - whoa!).  I wanted to get my lungs moving.  I proposed several different workouts to the guys I met (yeah, company!!), and we chose a 12x400m workout in the Hansons' Marathon Method book.  We did 12x400 in 1:23 (I came through consistently in 1:22.8 - yeah for pacing ability!).  We didn't allow ourselves any standing rest after each, just jogged the next 200m until we started another 400.  It was a perfect first workout back.  My lungs had to work a bit, but it wasn't anything they couldn't handle.  It's always nice to nail that first workout back, too - great confidence booster!

The second harder workout was a tempo workout (10-8-6) with a runner I used to coach (now runs D1 for Portland).  I was amazed at how strong my lungs felt.  I ran along fairly comfortably, which was great because then I could "coach" her to push as hard as she could.  The last 6 minute tempo segment we started slower & then picked it up throughout.  She passed me with a minute to go like I was standing still.  Oh, great!  I thought to myself.  But, I picked up my tempo, straightened up my posture, and went for her.  I passed her with about 40 seconds to go.  YES!  Granted, she was much more depleted from the earlier tempo segments than I was, but still.  I'm happy to take pride in anytime I can change tempos & find a little bit of speed!  [Note to self: very good idea to have defined pace changes/get faster in the tempo segment.  I'll try to do this for most of my tempo workouts from now on)]

Week 4: upcoming (and 2 weeks before ZYY).  Low 90s, one day off.

I'm thinking that early in the week I'll try a long progression run.  I've never done a workout like this, but think it could suit me well since you basically ratchet the pace down until you get to around MP or HMP.  Instead of thinking "Oh, gosh... still 20 more minutes at marathon pace!", you're thinking "Can I hold another mile at this pace"?, giving yourself the option of stopping at any point.  I'm excited to try.  Perhaps Jerry and I will add these into the next cycle.

I'll also do some longer VO2 max repeats on the indoor track at Olaf on Friday with Slaine (Portland runner) - excited about this!  Normally I'd probably do something MP or HMP 10 days out from the marathon, but since I have the ability to go hard with someone, I'll gladly take it!  Plus, ZYY isn't a focus race for me, and without it I would be starting to hit up the track for intervals.

So, there you have it.  A whole lot of blogging on my training of late that isn't exciting or noteworthy :).  I'll finish this by wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!  Enjoy the time with family & all the wonderful food!!


Nichole Porath

Nichole is a blogger, elite level runner, and coach. She ran professionally for Brooks for two years after qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. During that time she founded TNC endurance, where she coaches and motivationally speaks to organizations large and small. This blog details her rise to national-level racing, and continues to follow her as she gets back into racing after starting a family. Read on, friends!

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