Ottawa Marathon Training Plan / Week 25

I am nearing the end of this awesome journey.  It is my second marathon and I am looking forward to running the Ottawa Marathon in less than four weeks.  This plan is developed by me, for me. The backbone of this plan is Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 Marathon Plan with liberal input from Owen Anderson’s “The Science of Running” and Alan Culpepper’s “Running Like A Champion,” with solicited advice from a running friend. It is a learning experience for me and I am blogging to keep myself accountable and to keep a record of training for future review.

20170501_143426Monday: Explosive Strength ( as last week )

Actual:  Postponed until tomorrow because of inefficient use of my time today.  I enjoyed a lovely run in the rain with a buddy though.  Garmin had technical difficulties but I think I ran 5k.

Tuesday : 7k Easy Run

Actual: Group Run 7k, followed by 3k walk with injured runner.  And of course, yesterday’s workout had to be done today.

Wednesday : 60 minute cycling

Actual : My bike needs to be tuned up as the gear box doesn’t work. It’s ok on a flat route but the hills are killer.  So I did this workout  on a stationary bike.  Warm up 2k run, 10 minutes easy cycling, 30 minutes @90-95RPM, cool down 10 minutes easy cycling.

Thursday : 5k run / Core strength

Actual : Done, and Done!

18268557_10154432999915913_5340173812604229281_nFriday: Rest Day

Actual : Today is Run Streak Day #888 and my Run club planned an event to celebrate my addiction.  The Start / Finish Line was at the local pool hall and we played a game of 8 Ball afterwards. It would have been rude not to run, so I did 8.88k.  Tomorrow I shall rest.

Saturday: 7k Easy Run

Actual : After yesterday’s unscheduled 8.88k I decided to forgo today’s scheduled run.  With heavy rain in the forecast, I did 2k in the gentle morning rain to satisfy my requirements for my run streak.  This is a better plan anyway as I have a 10k race tomorrow.

18360689_10154379451577461_1572207127_nSunday:  10k Shoppers Run For Women

Actual :  It was hot and humid and it was my 3rd fastest 10k.

Summary:  This was a Recovery Week. Weekly mileage was a mere 40km,, considerably less than the 50-60 that I have been logging.  Next week will be my final Big Week Before Tapering begins. I have mixed feelings.. on one hand I am glad to be nearing the end of this journey… on the other hand I will miss the structure of this training program.  Mostly I am glad that it is almost over.  Lawn bowling season is nigh upon us and I don’t have time to do both.

Cheers, y’all. !

Eight Eight Eight

It seems surreal that I have run 888 days in a row.  Eight. Eight. Eight.  That is huge!

… but it is also No Big Deal.    Running is just something that I do every day.  It has become a habit and my day is not complete until I have completed my run.

18300831_10154432999960913_6291063913904635067_nI didn’t plan to become a chronic Streaker.  I only planned to run every day for the month of December ( 2014) . It was hard!  Really, really hard!  I was counting down the days until I could take a day off.   A few days before my streak was scheduled to end, a work colleague challenged me to run every day in 2015.  We have a competitive relationship, so I couldn`t say No. And that is how it started.

There were several times when I should have quit as I was plagued with chronic minor injuries at first. If I had been doing this on my own, I would have gladly quit and been proud of myself for the effort.  But I couldn’t quit and admit defeat to my coworker.  So I kept going.  He eventually had to stop after a few months due to injury so I won the challenge but I didn`t have a good reason to quit so I kept going, and going, and going…..

18268311_10154432999970913_136473842119246876_nAnd that bring us to Day 888.  My Running Group has been wonderfully supportive of my addiction and they often plan special events for milestone days.  On May 5 we met at a local pool hall and did a little run, followed by pizza and 8 Ball.  They even presented me with some cool 888 Bling. I love this crazy bunch of runners.

What`s next?  Who knows?  I am just taking it one day at a time, one step at a time.  Running every day is a habit and literally has become No Big Deal for me.  I will keep running every day until the day that I decide that I am not going to run that day.

Cheers, everyone!

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?

 

Ottawa Marathon Training, Week 14

Spoiler Alert: I took the week off.

20170219_160106.jpgEvery Sunday evening I sit down and review my training plan , check my work schedule and family commitments and fine tune my plans for the upcoming week.  On Sunday February 12 I also kept one eye on the weather forecast.   A blizzard was expected to start in the wee hours of Monday morning and continue for more than 30 hours. Another severe weather system  was expected to move in mid week.  It wasn’t going to be a good week for running outdoors.  I have been doing a lot of my quality runs on the treadmill at the gym but knew that it might be  hard to make it to the gym this week.  Besides my body was fatigued from previous week’s Hypothermic Half Marathon, combined with snow shoeing and hard training……. so I decided to just take the week off.

Upon the advice of a friend, I had started my training plan two weeks early so that I would have that extra cushion of time in case of illness / bad weather. . The most challenging part of training for a Spring Marathon is that you have to train in Winter Weather.  On the east coast of Canada we get a few good snowstorms and on this particular week, we got one blizzard and one nor’easter. It seemed like a good time to take a break.

 

Not sure what Reduced Visibility means?  These two photos were taken seconds apart from my doorstep.  Where did my daughter’s truck go in the second photo?

In hindsight, taking the week off  proved to be a good idea.  During Monday’s blizzard the streets were declared closed except for emergency use only.  Ditto for Thursday’s nor’easter. If you live in snow country then you know that it takes several hours ( days?) to clean up after storms like that.  It is harder to run outdoors the day AFTER a storm because of the slushy snow on the streets combined with high snowbanks that limit visibility. My municipality does a great job of clearing walking trails after a storm and often have them cleared within 24 hours, but in the meantime it can be challenging to find a safe place to run.

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I should mention that I didn’t take the week off from physical activity, but I only did what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, instead of what my Schedule dictated.  The previous week I had  missed one key workout on the treadmill so I did get that done. .  I did make it to the gym twice for cardio. Snow shoveling is a good cardio workout too. And I went show shoeing which was very intense.  And of course I still ran every day because that is  what I do.

20170217_091821.jpgJust a side note regarding my Run Streak:. I still ran every day , even during the storms, but I only went as far and as fast as I wanted.  In case you are wondering I have a plan for stormy days.  My street is a court and it just over  400 meters around.  All I have to do is run around my street 4 times and I have my mile done and I am never far from home.  It is a quiet street with little traffic so it is a good option. On Monday I was able to get out before the storm was too bad, and on Thursday the storm was expected to wane by late afternoon so I just waited it out.

Though I enjoy the discipline of training, it was nice to take  a mental break for one week.  I am glad to be back at ‘er this week though.

Cheers, my friends!

777 Consecutive Days of Running

20170114_203520My run group is pretty amazing.  The name of our Run Club is Riverview Running Idiots.  I have written before about some of the fun and silly things that we do, all in the name of Running.  It is great group and I am thankful for the encouragement and support that I have received from them.

 

When I started my Run Streak, a few of the club members cautioned me about injury  caused by overuse.  They insisted that Running Every Day could not be done safely. Only a couple of them supported my endeavor and wished me well.  I kept running every day but kept quiet about it  because there were so many Negative Nellies  that kept telling me I shouldn’t be doing it.

Fast forward 500 days.   I proudly and publicly ran my 500th Day on a regular run night.  The naysayers could not argue with the success of my run streak , especially as I was fortunate enough to remain uninjured.  Since then most of the run club members have  embraced my streak and are eager to help me celebrate milestones.  Day 666 was especially cool.  ( a run in the graveyard at night, dressed like a demoness… how could it NOT be cool . )

15940331_282598315488234_107995805885787348_nJan 14 was Day 777 of my Run Streak.  A couple of people in my run club used the milestone as a good excuse to participate in  some shenanigans.  We met at the local Casino to start our run at 2:07 pm. .   It was cold that day , about -12C ( 10F) and windy.  We have a lot of fair weather runners who only come up when the temperature is above freezing but a few of them came out that day to show support.  That was very cool and I really appreciate it.

This is picture of the 5k and 7.77 k’ers.  There were 12 others doing a longer distance.

 

 

15966271_10154029331776916_1146345180209245319_nDistance was 7.77 km.  A few people opted for 5k .  Some  people wanted to incorporate this into their Long Slow Run so they started  earlier and met us at the designated time.  Kudos to them for running 20k or more on this cold day.

Afterwards we enjoyed a lovely meal at the casino restaurant.  My run group presented me with a bottle of wine and some 777 Bling. They are already talking about 888. .. if I am still running then. Oh, the pressure!

It was  a great day and I was glad to share it with this crazy bunch of Idiots.

Cheers!

20170114_193813

50,000 Push Ups

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about my Resolutions and Goals for 2017.   Since then I have added a couple of additional challenges/ goals.  A coworker challenged me to do 50,000 pushups in this calendar year.  This is the same coworker who challenged me to start Run Streaking 780 days ago and we all know how they went. (Only one of us is still running every day, and it ain’t him! )

At first it seemed mind boggling… 50, 000 pushups!  But then I started thinking about it and realized that it is very achievable, and the benefits are going to be huge. It is an average of 143 pushups every day, and they don’t have to be performed all at once. The first week was hard!  My fitness level at this point allows me to do 20 at a time. ( only a few months ago I struggled to do 5 ) After the fifth day I was sore all over.  Even my boobs hurt! By day 6 I could only do 10 at a time. On Day  7 I did Zero. I just couldn’t do it. The Rest Day did my body good and I returned on Day 8 and have been going strong since.  Right now I am doing reps of 20 several times a day and it feels good.

You probably noticed that I said a “couple” of challenges at the beginning of this post….

The second goal is to be able to do a 10-minute plank by the end of December.  Crazy, huh?  This was also the brainchild of that same coworker.  We take colleague wellness to new heights. Or maybe we are just competitive. .. ?  Currently I can plank for 2 minutes so I will need to work hard to achieve this goal. My longest plank ever was 4 minutes but that was several months ago.

There ya have it, folks. Two new challenges, both achievable but both will require hard work and dedication.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Cheers

Treadmills Runs are Runs too.

This is the 9th week of my Marathon Training program and as I review the last few weeks I see one recurring theme.  My workouts are being compromised by the weather.   The weather is not a surprise. I live on the East Coast of Canada after all.  The only thing predictable about Winter is the unpredictability of the weather.

I should backtrack here and remind you that I am a Run Streaker.  Today marks the 773rd consecutive day that I have run at least one mile.  Within that streak is another streak, a streak within a streak you might say.  Until yesterday I ran 495 days outdoors regardless of weather.  There is something exhilarating  about running in a blizzard and I have embraced the Bad Assery of running in cold, heat, rain, wind, ice, etc. Sure I have done some training runs on  a treadmill ( like maybe two) but always got outdoors for a one mile run  too. Until yesterday.

Yesterday’s Training Plan called for   a 10k Tempo run.  The streets are slushy/greasy/slippery.  There was no way that I could do a Tempo run safely or efficiently.  My options were to

  • take my training indoors .
  • reschedule
  • cancel the workout

c12_-kaxuaivhmkI decided to take my training indoors.  I run occasionally on a treadmill but it has been several months since my last session. To my surprise I loved it.   My treadmill tempo pace was slower than my outdoor tempo pace but it felt like the same effort and I worked up a good sweat.  I did cut my run short because I didn’t want to overdo it my first time. ( I did 7 instead of 10k,  my longest treadmill run to date)

I was glad that I chose to run indoors.  Currently I am reading “Run Like A Champion” by Alan Culpepper.  I doubt if I will ever BE a champion but there are a lot of insights in the book that have been helpful.   Culpepper speaks of the Flow of your training and how important it is to stick with your plan to maintain Flow. ( while still balancing other aspects of your life. ) The eye opener for me was when he spoke of the Weather . It is his belief that your training plan should be challenging enough  that you don’t need to be fighting the weather as well. And he is right!  For the last couple of weeks I have been fighting the weather. It has been getting tiresome running in the relentless wind and my hips are getting sore from shuffling through slush and snow.

It was a mental struggle for me to ditch my outdoor run in favor of the treadmill.   For over a year I have done my running outdoors and am proud of the mental strength that allowed me to accomplish that.  My Run Streak is still intact at 773 days but my outdoor Streak is over.  It was the sensible thing to do, and I ended it on my terms.

Last night when I left the gym it was a lovely evening with the stars shining brightly and mild temperature and I just stood there for a few moments enjoying it. It was one of the nicest evenings that we have had for awhile and I was tempted to go for a one mile run to enjoy it.    Then I looked down at the ankle deep muddy slush and got in in the car and drove home.

The End.