How is June already almost over? This month flew by and it's hard to believe that I'm already a month into marathon training. I'm happy to report that things are going well so far and I'm feeling good about my progress.
I decided with this marathon cycle I'll share my progress and what's been working - and not working - in monthly recaps like this. I'll also be posting on my instagram a more real time recap too!
Table of Contents
Marathon History and Race Goals
Since this is my first recap I'll share a little background first (you can read more in this post). Originally I was planning to run the TC 10 Mile, however after 2 10 mile training sessions this spring I was looking for something a little more. So after a few weeks of thinking about it, I decided to sign up for the marathon and sign up for personalized coaching by Run4PRs.
This marathon will be my 5th marathon (2nd TC marathon), but I'll be honest and say that the previous 4 weren't the best so in many ways this upcoming race is almost like my first marathon.
As of now I'm not focused on race goals for now but instead I'm working on understanding my current fitness level (I'm 9 months postpartum as well as haven't really raced in almost 4 years!). I'm sure as we get closer to race day my coach and I will come up with some goals, but for now I'm really focusing on getting my base miles down and relearning pacing. I would love to be able to say a BQ was my goal, however I know I'm not there yet and it's going to take a few races to get there.
Mileage and Runs
I started this training cycle at about 20-25 miles per week from my previous 10 mile training schedule. I did have a trip to Greece early this month so really started training for the race about the 2nd week of June.
Running has been going great. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts on strategy and have been embracing keeping easy runs easy. In doing so, I've been running a good 2-3 minutes slower per mile on my easy and recovery runs compared to what I was running in my 10 milers this year.
I've also started learning more about heart rate training and have actually been using that more the base my efforts. I try to keep my heart rate in the easy and aerobic zones for most of my runs (except speed workouts) and already I've noticed it's made a big difference in my running. I haven't noticed any pace increases, but I have noticed that I'm not as sore the next day after these training sessions which has allowed me to increase my weekly mileage.
Heart rate running has also taken off so much pressure on me when I run. I set my garmin screen now to my heart rate and it's made me love running again. I just run based on how I feel and no longer focus on my pace. To my surprise, my pace has been pretty consistent in these runs too.
Workouts and Speed Work
For the most part I've been doing easy runs to build up my weekly miles, with 1 or 2 speed workouts mixed in. I'm finishing the month at 37 miles a week, and a long run of 13 miles.
I haven't changed too much yet with my nutrition, but as my long runs increase I'll be adding more. I've been doing a lot of reflecting on my past races and realized one of my big issues in the past has been my nutrition and fueling so this is something I want to start practicing.
Currently I'm doing the following for nutrition:
Pre-run (and really, every morning): Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin with 5g Miyokos Butter, coffee with a Premier protein shake added
Long Run - 45-60 min before I'll drink UCAN energy
Fuel - 60 min into my runs I'll have a UCAN Edge gel, and sip water every mile
So far my fueling has been working for me, but as the distance increases I know I'll need more fuel before and during. I'm going to begin experimenting with additional gels, as well as adding in a caffeine gel and possibly some electrolytes like Tailwind.
Im continuing to work with my coach (and registered dietician) from Stronger U to dial in my nutrition.
One of the biggest focuses I've had this month is figuring out how to approach mental training. This has always been an issue for me and is something I want to work on in addition to my physical training.
A few things that have been helping me:
Podcasts - I've been listening to a lot of podcasts about running which has helped me a lot - both accepting running slower and the benefits to it, but also how to deal with mental training. The biggest takeaways I've learned is that I can't run with music anymore - I need to run with something a little more distracting, like a podcast (my favorite to run to is Ali on the Run) or Audiobook (I'm currently listening to Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor).
Youtube - Someone on Reddit recently shared with me a Youtube channel, Running with Jane and have found it super helpful. She has a ton of videos about running and tips. I really liked this video she made about 5 Mental Tips to Help You Get Through Long Runs.
I'm also working on shifting my thoughts from I have to run xx amount of miles, to more bite sized workouts. For example, a 12 mile run became 2 5-mile loops with a 1 mile warmup and cooldown. Somehow breaking it down like that makes it easier for me to mentally work through and less daunting.
I'm really pleased with my running this month and where I am at. I've been feeling good, no injuries, and have increased my mileage without any issues. I'm feeling like I'm in a really good spot for this upcoming race and am excited to see what next month's training has in store!
Update: Month 2 is now done! Here's how my second month of marathon training went!