Bring It! (Twin Cities Marathon 2011 Training Recap)

It’s that time of the training cycle again.  Time for my marathon training recap!

What’s the point of doing a training recap, you ask?  Many marathons ago a running friend suggested that I do it as a way to prove to myself that I’m ready and that I CAN do this thing.  He suggested that I do a recap, looking back over the miles I logged, workouts I did, how my paces have improved, etc.  Sure, this information is in my runningahead log entries.  But there is something about putting it all together in one nice neat little place, not only because I can then reference it during future marathons, but also (and mostly) because the act of putting it together makes me really reflect on how much work I’ve put in and how ready I am.

So here goes.

The details:

  • The training plan:  provided by Coach MB from Lifetime
  • Weeks of training: 14* (including last week of taper next week)
  • Miles run: 588.7
  • Long runs: 14 miles (2 times); 15 miles (2 times); 17.5 miles (1 time); 16 miles (3 times); 20 miles (2 times); 21 miles (1 time)
  • Quality runs: each week had hill/tempo AND intervals
  • Tune up races: 10k (2 times, 1 PR!); HM (1 time)
  • Extra stuff:  weights (1 – 2 times a week); pilates (2 – 4 times a week); cross (1 – 2 times a week); Rest days (1 time a week)
  • Injury:  tweaked right hamstring in early August, set me back for about 2 weeks, but now it’s all good.
  • Weight:  started at 122, ended at 117.

So those are the numbers, but how do I feel about it?

Honestly, I feel like I am in the best physical shape of my life.  I have improved my speed a ton.  It’s hard to compare it from beginning to end because our workouts were all so different (even when we did same distance, like 800’s, they were different each time because sometimes we would try for 10k pace, sometimes HM pace, etc.).  But I think looking at where I was with a workout before Grandma’s in May of this year, versus the same workout a couple weeks ago will show how much I’ve improved my speed:

The workout was 12 x 400m, w/ 1 minute rest in between. With the pre-Grandma’s ones they were all .25 b/c when I trained by myself I would stop right at .25; when i trained with the group the track always measured .26 – .27, so I think looking at the paces, not the time, is more reflective of my improvement!

(pre-Grandma’s May 2011 on left; pre-TCM September 2011 on right in bold):

  • 1:38  (6:35)     1:36 (6:11)
  • 1:36 (6:27)      1:37  (6:15)
  • 1:41 (6:46)      1:37  (6:14)
  • 1:40 (6:40)     1:35  (6:24)
  • 1:37 (6:32)      1:35  (6:07)
  • 1:38 (6:34)      1:32  (5:58)
  • 1:40 (6:41)      1:34  (6:05)
  • 1:38 (6:36)      1:35  (6:21)
  • 1:43 (6:37)      1:33  (5:59)
  • 1:40 (6:44)     1:33  (6:02)
  • 1:37 (6:47)      1:34  (6:04)
  • 1:38 (6:35)     1:36  (6:27)

It’s not just intervals like this that my speed has improved.  It’s with all my workouts.  My easy pace has gotten faster (but feels just as easy).  Same with tempo and marathon pace.  The legs and lungs just feel really really good!  Even though I love me my high mileage plans (I LOVED the 60 and 70 mile weeks I was doing before Grandma’s), I do think that the lower mileage, which enabled rest days and cross training and weights  this time around, has made me a stronger, better runner.

Even though this new and improved physical me is fabulous, there is even better news this time around.  If you’ve been following my training, you know what I’m talking about.  The new and improved Mental Edge that I found.  Really, this has been SO MUCH more important to me than improving the physical speed and strength.  I now really, truly do believe in myself.  I have a confidence that I didn’t have before.  I know that I can not just cover the distance, but cover it at a pace and  in a manner (race strategy) that makes sense and will get me to the finish line with the goal that I want.  I now know that I need to (and can) push negative thoughts aside and replace them with positive thoughts that will propel me to the finish.  I know I can race well.

So the physical training and mental training have both been better than any training cycle I’ve had so far.  But I think the best thing about this training cycle has been that I’m not alone anymore.  Training with a group and having the guidance of a coach has been SO motivating and inspirational for me.  It’s given me an element of my running that was missing from the previous 7 marathons.  In those training cycles and marathons, it was all about me.  It was me motivating me.  It was me that I was accountable to.  Now, it’s not all about me.  There are a dozen other runners and a kick-ass coach that I am honored to now call my friends.  It is these people that are now motiving me, inspiring me and making me accountable.  And I know that when things get tough during the later miles of the marathon, I’ll think about these new friends and how inspiring each of them are and will channel that into pushing myself even harder to reach my goals.

Bring it!

*But, don’t forget that really, I’ve been in training since January, since this will be marathon #3 for the year 2011.  I’ve done 12 – 14 week training cycles, followed by 2 – 3 week breaks since January.  So coming into this round of training, I had a really strong base.

2 thoughts on “Bring It! (Twin Cities Marathon 2011 Training Recap)

  1. How exciting! I can’t wait to track you. Keep the positive thoughts constantly flowing, it makes a difference!!!!

    You are going to have a wonderful race!

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