Ottawa Marathon Training , Week 19

This is a journal of my marathon training. It is my second marathon and I am still trying to figure things out. My training plan is loosely  based on Owen Anderson’s “The Science of Running, ” with a lot of input from “Run Like A Champion” by Alan Culpepper.  It is a learning experience for me, and I am chronicling my efforts here to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t. This is how week 19 looks.

Monday – Planned Speed Intervals 9 x 400 meters, 20 minute warm up, 20 minute cool down

windActual : I have been doing most of my speedwork on the treadmill at the gym but decided that I preferred to run outdoors this evening. Gunningsville Bridge has  a nice flat, well-lit pedestrian walkway so I ran there to begin the workout.  The wind was unexpectedly fierce.  Well, maybe I should have expected it, but I didn’t.  Speed intervals with wind resistance is a challenge. I only did 5 repeats instead of the required 9.  I met a fellow runner and we naturally started running and talking together.  Besides, I was quite exhausted from fighting that wind.  The effort was great, and Garmin says I didn’t do too badly either.

Tuesday – CxWorx,  10k Easy running

Actual :  I decided to go early to the gym to do a little bit of cross training before CxWorx. I opted to do 30 minutes on the Elliptical, including several resistance / speed / ramp incline  intervals to compensate for  yesterday’s aborted Speedwork session.

C7eJlFbX0AAxs4KAfter  leaving the gym I attempted to do my 10k outdoors.  By “attempted” I mean that I fell arse over teakettle after tripping on this sidewalk, only 70 meters into my run. Falling hard on my left side, but pain jolted the entire right side of my body.  I walked for a few minutes and then gingerly did 5k. Hamstring,  glute and IT band, and everything in between, are all very tight but I think I gently stretched them during this easy run.

Wednesday – Planned 8k easy

Actual : Still sore after yesterday’s tumble. I attempted to run but my legs felt like they belonged to someone else. Knee felt a bit wonky at first but got better.  I decided to quit after 2k.  My body needs rest more than it needs miles.

Thursday – Planned 20k , Warm Up 3k, Tempo 14k @6:55 pace, Cool Down 3k

Actual : With trepidation, I dressed in layers and started out the door.  Temperatures plummeted last night and it was -28C (-18F) with the windchill when I started out.   A little Blizzard-That-Couldn’t left light snow on the ground. And I wasn’t sure how the body would feel after my tumble a few days ago.  Legs felt good, so I decided to give it my best shot.   I chose to forego the Tempo part of the run and just do what felt good.  It was too cold to bare my wrist to use my Garmin as a pace-keeper, and the underfoot conditions were not favorable.  I ended up doing intervals.. run faster where the ground was bare, slow down on snow. At 16k my right side… lower back, hip, glute, hamstring and knee said.. ” That’ll do. ”   I calculated that I was appox. 2k m from my house, so I stopped running and walked home. Total distance 18.5km.


Friday – Cardio / Strength Training.

Actual : When I review my previous weeks I  realize that Strength is my weakness.  Strength workouts are the ones that I do not give 100% effort. Today was no exception.  30 minutes of biking and 15 minutes of rowing took care of my cardio and I did Cxworx core strength fitness class.  Thank goodness that I have a buddy who goes to CxWorx with me twice a week. We keep each other accountable.

Saturday : Hills 7 x 400 meters.

My Run Club is doing hills tomorrow and I have decided to join them.  Today  is a beautiful spring day so I went out for an enjoyable 6k.

Sunday : Planned Rest Day

Actual : Yesterday’s hills were tackled first thing this morning with my Run Group.  Total distance 9.6km with 7 lovely hill climbs.

Summary:  Total mileage 42 kilometers… 11 kilometers less than planned.  A slight tumble threatened to put me on the injury bench but fortunately I recovered within a couple of days.   Hills were postponed one day, without impacting the training cycle significantly. Long Run was cut short by 2km because some body parts were beginning to get angry. ( only 2 days after my Great Fall)

One thing that I am learning is that by changing one workout, it often impacts other workouts.. much like a dominos effect. As I sit down every Sunday to tweak the upcoming week’s schedule, I am mindful of family and work commitments as well as Group Runs.  By  working my training plan into my life schedule, there is less chance that I will have to postpone or skip a workout.


Marathon Training, A Reflection

This is my second marathon and I am learning that Marathon Training is about so much more than running. When I was training for my first marathon I had to face the unexpected death of my brother and then my mother’s brief but terminal illness.   The training became a coping mechanism for me as I dealt with the grief of losing both of them within a few months.  My runs were an outlet for my emotions, but truth be told,  I skipped / modified a lot of workouts, especially in the final weeks of providing palliative care for my mother.

The training for this marathon is different.  I still carry Mom and Roger in my heart, especially on the Long Runs, but I am able to focus on working hard to increase my endurance. It really is about so much more than running. It is about becoming stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. It is about unfalteringly  putting one foot in front of the other, even when you feel that you just can’t take another step. It is about pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. It is about getting better every day.



Ottawa Marathon Training Week 17

541560_10151321732477461_2014252815_nI hope you have not all been waiting with bated breath for the latest installment of my training schedule.  As I sat down tonight to update it the cat walked across my keyboard and the whole entry disappeared. ! As I scrambled feverishly to retrieve it, wordpress auto saved and I got nothing.  #damnedcat

So, here is the summary. I ran , I recovered, I cross trained, and I hydrated and rested.  It was a good week and I feel like I am in a good place mentally and physically. Longest run was 26km and it was awesome.  Total weekly mileage was a whopping 60km. No wonder I am so tired. ( but in a good way)

Stay tuned for Week 18. It promises to be exciting.

Oh, and I had a birthday and hubby bought me two pairs of running shoes. Yay, me!




When an Easy Run isn’t so Easy.

A couple of years ago I would have laughed at the idea of an “easy” 10k.  At that time  running 5k was possible, 10k was a challenge,  a Half Marathon was nothing but a dream … and  a Marathon.. not even on the radar.

Fast forward two years and I am training for my second Marathon.  Today’s training run was ‘easy 10k.”  I was looking forward to this one.  It is a nice manageable distance and I didn’t have to worry about pace or intervals or anything at all.  Just me putting one foot in front of the other.  I’ve come a long way, baby!

I usually run immediately after work. Today I had to walk home first, 2.5km uphill.  As I plodded along I realized how tired I was.  After arriving at home I rested for a half hour before venturing out for my run.  Immediately I realized that there was not going to be anything easy about this run.  It was a mental battle to keep going and I finally conceded at 5k.

Here are some of the reasons why I stopped at 5k.

  • My quads were like bricks, unforgiving the whole way.
  • I realized within minutes that I forgot to change into a sports bra.
  • side-boob chaff from previous Long Run was sending subtle reminders that it was still there
  • it was windy
  • it was slushy
  • it was cold
  • I was overdressed and got too hot
  • my planned weekly distance is 20 % more mileage than last week,  the upper limit of what it acceptable for me.
  • I ran 3km more than planned yesterday as part of Group run
  • I had already walked 2.5 km today.  Uphill.
  • I was tired
  • I was hungry
  • I wanted to quit at 1km
  • I really wanted to quit after 2km
  • I needed to poop at 4km

Some runs are hard, really hard.  This was one of them.  A few days ago my Long Run of 26 km was fantastic. Today’s 5km was mentally painful every step of the way.  Yeah, I stopped at the halfway point but I don’t feel like a loser.  I rarely feel the need to cut my run short but today it was definitely the right choice.

After an Epsom salt bath, foam roller and a nap, all is right with my world.  Tomorrow there are hills that need to be tackled. 20161231_155050.jpg




Ottawa Marathon Training / Week 16

Has it really been 16 weeks since I started training for this marathon? That must mean that there are only 12 weeks remaining until the race.  I am not sure if I am excited or scared to death. ..?  As always, keeping a journal keeps me accountable and focused.  This is how Week 16 looks.

Monday – Warm Up 5k Running / 60 minutes easy cycling 

Actual : I thought solo Long Runs were mentally challenging, but that is nothing compared to 60 minutes of spinning wheels without going anywhere.  To alleviate the boredom I did some intervals.  Total distance in one hour: 13.62 miles, and no, I was not tempted to Round Up to 14 miles.


After cycling for one hour I traipsed through the woods with my Dad, helping him tap maple trees. It was a great day for a hike.  #bonuscrosstraining.

Tuesday – vV0sMax ; Warm up, 8 x 400m with equal time recovery, cool down 3k easy  / Core Strength (CxWorx)

Actual : Normally I would have done the run in the morning and allowed my body a chance to recover before CxWorx in the evening. But life happened and the run didn’t happen until late in the afternoon.  I planned to meet my friend at the gym for the CxWorx at 6:30 so decided to go early, park in the lot and do the run on a nearby trail.  It had been a gorgeous day earlier but it turned windy and cold.  With the ice and mud on the trail I opted not to do the Intervals there.  Instead I warmed up on the trail then went into the gym to do the intervals on the treadmill. Great workout but I was very fatigued afterwards and struggled through CxWorx.

Note to self : don’t do a hard workout immediately prior to CxWorx.

Wednesday – WarmUp, 4 x400m @ 5:50 pace with equal time recovery, cool down

Actual :  This can’t be right… I scheduled 2 back-to-back speed workouts?  I never schedule two speed sessions in one week, let alone in two days!  This must have been a duh! moment when I planned this.  Either way, it didn’t happen.  With a Long Run scheduled for tomorrow, I did an easy 5k around the neighborhood today just to clear the cobwebs from my brain.

Thursday – 16k Easy / Core strength

Actual : I planned to run immediately after work but was called upon to babysit the grandchildren.  I had time for 6k.  Core strength happened as scheduled, plus 2 miles of rowing.

Friday – Cross Training / Strength Training

Actual : This was the day I planned to make up yesterday’s Long Run.  With the wind, I settled for 10k.  It was definitely a 16k effort. After resting for a few hours I did some strength training at home.

Saturday – 5k

Actual : I ran 5k with a windchill of -28C ( -18F) with winds gusting up to 40 km / hr.  That would be 25 miles per hour for all you non- Canadians.

Sunday – Rest

Actual : Gentle 2k run to keep streak alive.


Mother Nature is trying to throw a monkey wrench into my marathon training plan. The winds have been brutal all week, and then temperatures dropped extremely low later in the week. Training is proceeding more or less as expected, thought the Long Run was cut short. It was just really hard to breathe in those cold temperatures.  Total distance this week 47 km.

Cross training is going well, with a  lot of variety. I really need to focus more on running specific strength exercises. Also I learned a lesson this week about spacing my workouts further apart.  Never ever run 10k immediately before core strength workout.

Ottawa Marathon Planning / Week 15

This is my online journal of my training for Ottawa Marathon.   Looking at this weeks schedule, I realize that this one is going to be intense.  Bring it on!

20170217_092116Monday : Planned  10k Easy running

Actual :  I tried but my body was so tired.  A few weeks ago I started working one hour earlier in the morning.  ( 4 am instead of 5 am.. I am a baker )  It has been really hard to adjust to waking up in the middle of the night to go to work. The previous night I stayed up late to watch the Ladies Curling Gold Medal Game  (Yes, I have heard of PVR…lol)  With only 3.5 hours of sleep I dragged my ass through 8 hours of work, and then met a friend for a planned 10k.  I knew I couldn’t do it, so planned for 5k. She dragged my ass 7k.  And it was so freaking windy, so it felt like 10k.   When I went home I napped for 4 hours.  I guess I WAS tired.

Tuesday -Planned Strength Training / Core Strength  ( Warm up 5k )

Actual : This is the strength training that has been rescheduled from Sunday.  It didn’t happen .  Today it seemed important to add an additional 5k to my schedule to reach 100 miles in February.  I enjoyed a lovely 5k Tempo run on this beautiful winter afternoon, then another 5k later with my Run Group.  The second run was  a nice warm up for the gym.  I was early for the CxWorx class, so had a 20 minute workout on the elliptical. The strength training WILL happen someday soon, maybe Thursday.

20170301_102508Wednesday -Planned Hill Session – Warm Up 5k ,  4@ 5k intensity on 400m hill with downhill recovery . Cool down 3k.

Actual: This went according to schedule, except I didn’t factor in the strong southern wind. I mean, it’s February… where did that southern wind come from?   Gunningsville Boulevard is my hill of choice, with a nice 500 meter section that has a 5-7%  grade. It’s a nice hill, and I have learned to embrace it.  The headwind was brutal going uphill today.  I didn’t even come close to matching my goal pace. My all time PR  on this segment is 3:06 and today’s effort was 4:26.  I’m ok with that.

Thursday -Planned 8k Easy / Core Strength

Actual : Ooops! This was supposed to be 8k?  I should have looked at it more closely.  I did 5k. But I did 20 minutes on the bicycle, so that makes up for it, right? The Core Strength went ahead as scheduled.

Planned – 24 km  with a 6:50 Tempo in the middle

Actual : Bahaha…6:50 /k tempo on a windy day like this?  Ain’t happening. This was a really tough run and I didn’t even get in the groove until at least 10k.  I managed a few km’s with a 7:10-7:20 pace.  The hardest part about running solo is ignoring that voice in your head that keeps telling you to quit. There were good moments, there were bad moments  but I kept going.  Average pace 7:30.  Did I mention that it was extremely windy? It would have been so easy to quit but I didn’t.

Saturday – Planned 2.5k warm up/ 12 @single leg lunges with 10 lb weights / 20 @ bench dips / 15 @ snap ‘n taps / 12 @ walking lunges alternating legs/ 8 @one leg hand walk to tricep pushup / 18 @high knee explosion / 15m sideways walking with strength band/ 5 x 30 seconds running in place. / Repeat each step one time.  / Cool down 6km

Actual : The Flu bug hit me hard today.  I was feeling better this afternoon so tried to run 2.5k to warm up.  Fueled only by popsicles,  I aborted at 2k and spend the rest of the day napping. Tomorrow is a scheduled Rest Day… I’ll wait and see how I feel before committing to trying this workout.

Sunday – Rest Day

Actual : I rested.

Summary: This week started with fatigue and ended with fatigue, with a couple of brilliant days in the middle.  Cold temperatures and strong winds added an extra challenge to the Hills Repeats and the Long Run.  I didn’t reach the desired pace for either, but am happy with the effort.  As this week concludes, I am feeling a bit under the weather ( nausea, fatigue)  Hopefully it will sort itself out quickly.

February in Review

Only 28 days in this month, but I managed to pack a lot of activity into it.

Cross Training- We have been blessed with snow, and lots of it, and I took advantage of that and did some snow shoeing.  Whew! That is tough work.  I have also been focusing on core strength training a lot this month. A friend and I attend CxWorx at Goodlife Fitness twice a week.  It is great to have  an accountability buddy.  The abs are shaping up nicely, but you can’t see them because they are still covered with some nice soft padding.

Other cross training has included rowing, stationary bike, and elliptical, plus some running specific strength exercises.

Run Streak –  Despite the unsettled weather in February, I ran outdoors every day except one.  On that day the streets were not runner friendly and the trails had not yet been cleared, so I did some intervals on the treadmill.

Marathon Training –  I took one week off because I needed the mental break.  I don’t think this harmed my training, as I was able to regain my focus easily the following week.

Races –  Hypothermic Half Marathon.  My goal was to run the entire distance without stopping to walk.  Goal achieved.  This is the first time that I have not stopped for a walk break. My “A” goal was 2:22, my finish time was 2:29.  I am not totally devastated by this time.  For one thing, the distance was measured wrong at 21.6km. #bonusmiles

-The other event that I did was the Coldest Night of the Year.  It is not a race, but is billed as a Walk, to raise awareness and $$$ for at-risk youth. I ran / walked with a friend. Sometimes its nice to just enjoy a social run.

Mileage – As every month draws to a close, I keep one eye on my stats to make sure that my running mileage totals more than 100 miles. February is a short month so it was no surprise to realize that I was going to have do some longer runs in the final days.  On February 28 I needed to run6 miles to total 100.  Two 5k runs took care of that.. or so I thought.  As I was rechecking my totals the next day, I realized that a snow shoe workout was accidentally counted as a run.  Total running mileage 97.4 miles.  Ooops !

Here’s hoping the March will be gentle with us.  Is anyone else training for a Spring marathon?  How do you manage the training in winter months?