NJ Marathon Training + The First Three Weeks

Surprise! Actually, it’s a surprise I’m writing too. I’ve been meaning to pop in, and this day off/sick day is the perfect opportunity. The first three weeks of my training for the New Jersey Marathon (save $5  off the full/half/relay with the code 17njmBibRave) are complete. I thought I’d share how I’m training for the race, in case anyone is curious!


– Jeff Galloway intervals: Running using run/walk intervals has kept me running healthy for 7 months now. While it took some time to get used to, I do actually enjoy the intervals. On easy/super easy days, I run 60 seconds, walk 30 seconds. On medium-effort days or days when I’m doing more race pace running, I’ll run 1:30 or 2:00 and walk :30 seconds. This plays along with my next point…

– Heart rate based paces: I also have been using heart rate as an important piece of my training since June. It tells me how hard my heart is working, and helps me recover more quickly. I no longer come in dying from runs, and I don’t spend my days completely drained. I use the Garmin zones (which I set manually for my age/weight/activity level) and stay in certain zones for certain runs. Super easy runs are in zone 3 (135-155), easy runs are in the lower level of zone 4 (155-168), and moderate/hard runs are at the top edge of zone 4 and zone 5 (168+). This is especially helpful after hard days and when keeping it super easy during the first half of a long run. I always try to keep the first half at SEE, then bump it up to EE/moderate for the second half.

This was an easy effort (EE) run. Guess I took it a little too easy!

– November Project: NP is my one day a week I let myself run whatever pace, and I also get in strength training. Last training cycle I went almost every week. Right now I’m going every other week, due to work demands and other conflicts. I’m hoping after February I can go every week again!


– My own training plan: I loved working with a coach last fall, but when things got crazy with work, I felt bad for not following my plan completely. I feel that I’ve run long enough that I can make a decent plan on my own, especially since I’m not gunning for a certain time (but yes, a PR). I’m able to consider races I have planned, and switch runs around for work and boyfriend/friend time. I’m aiming for 5 running days a week, but I’ll be happy with 4 too.



So, how’s it going??

So far, not as planned. My first week involved last-minute changed travel plans, and a trip down the stairs on New Year’s Eve that left me in a lot of pain (before I started indulging, thank you :P). My second week involved a cancelled race, and therefore, skipped long run. The third week was an improvement

Week 1: 2 runs: 5.3 + 10 mi, 15.3 mi total (Tripped on my skirt fell down the stairs on my a$$ after 10 miles. So much pain.)


Week 2: 4 runs: 4.14 + 3.15 + 4.14  + 3 mi, 14.43 mi total (Disney Half Marathon CANCELED, but walked 13.6 miles that day)


Week 3: 

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 4 miles (treadmill) with hill intervals. 3 intervals at super easy effort (SEE), then three with hills at 2, 3, 4%.

Wednesday: 2 miles at November Project with strength training and stairs, 2 miles after.

Click for photo cred.

Thursday: It would have been a perfect day to run, so sad I couldn’t get out!

Friday: 3.75 miles with my roommate on the hills around our house!

Saturday: Off – I had planned to run, but was nervous about too much of a mileage leap between two weeks.

Sunday: 13.1 miles – the inaugural (and only) Cockeysville Disney World Half Marathon. Now I’ll feel like I “earned” my medal when it comes in the mail.

Medal shaped luggage tag, haha.
Medal shaped luggage tag, haha.

Weekly total: 24.85 miles <– much happier to be here, finally.

Total this training cycle: 54.58 miles

Despite only running 4 days this week, I feel much better after this week. I was legit worried about making it 13 miles, but it wasn’t an issue. Planning for 5 days and a 15 mile long run for week 4, hoping I can get it all in!

What’s one of your challenges of getting your runs in? 

How are you training for your next race?



Weekly Training Recap: 3/28 – 4/3/16

How am I already at the week of the Vermont Half Marathon Unplugged. The time since my last race has seriously flown. I’m thankful for two great weeks of running. I’m going to do a small “taper” this week, hoping to get at least a course PR on Saturday. This week I hit my second 20+ mile week in a row for the first time all year, and aside from some soreness from lifting, I feel great – even though most of my runs this week weren’t.

Monday: 5 miles. This run was a struggle. My legs felt disconnected from my body and I simply couldn’t get into a good stride.

Tuesday – Wednesday: Rest. I was planning to run on Wednesday but I was flat out exhausted and slept all afternoon/evening.

Thursday: 4.25 miles. This run was plain sucky. I planned for a 5 mile run with 3 HMGP miles, but it didn’t happen. I planned my route wrong, my legs were heavy from sitting all day, I couldn’t find a steady pace, and I dressed too warm. I’d say this run was a huge mental victory though – I could have easily called it at 2.75 miles but I kept going for my whole planned loop.

Friday: 3.5 miles. 3 progression miles from 10:40 – 10:00, and .5 miles walking cooldown. My left hip/quad was really tight (my right was the one bothering me before). I had planned for this to be 5 miles, but I was smart and listened to my body. + :30 plank


Saturday: 5 minutes jump rope, full body weight workout with 8 + 12 lb dumbbells. It was supposed to be with a kettlebell, but they were locked up at the gym. I was sweating so hard after this and I’m still super sore. +1:00 plank

Sunday: 10 miles. I broke this into 3 + 7 due to changes in plans, a few too many beverages Saturday night, and a craving for bagel bites. Regardless, this easy paced run (11:05/avg) felt great. +:45 plank

Weekly miles: 22.75. 

At the end of Sunday’s run, my legs were dead. I planned that to happen, treating this last week as a mini “peak week”. This week will be easy leading up to the half marathon, but I’m making sure to keep my miles at 20 for the week. I know my recovery week will be low but I plan to keep my miles above 20 while training for Zooma Annapolis, so I might as well start now.


Today I’m linking up with Tricia at Miss Sippy Piddlinand Holly at HoHo Runs for the Weekly Wrap, and Megan at Run Megan Run for the Weekly Workout Recap. Head over to their pages to check out some other great posts! Thanks for hosting, Ladies!


Half at the Hamptons 2016: Training Recap + Race Prep

On Sunday I finally ran my first half marathon of the year, the Half at the Hamptons! I had been really looking forward to this race as it was my first half marathon (in 2010). I was ready to go back fully in love with running and properly trained.

Half at the Hamptons 2016Training Recap + Race Prep

The training plan: I set up my own training plan, borrowing a basic framework from Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 plan. I added in a speed work/tempo day that alternated each week and had 4 scheduled runs a week. I know my body runs great at 3 runs a week, but I wanted to challenge myself more to make those gains.

Everything was great for the whole month of January, then it wasn’t. I don’t know what it was – the increase in yoga (did I maybe pull/strain something?), or increasing my intervals to 800’s from 400’s (very new to me), but something started feeling wrong in my right quad and increasing ITB pain. After an awful long run the first week of February, the leg kept feeling worse and worse.

Three weeks before the race I took a really easy week. It honestly didn’t change much with the quad pain that eventually spread to my hip, and my ITB pain has gone through ebbs and flows since high school (even when I did marching band). The quad bothered me when sitting at work all day, but once I started to run it didn’t hurt at all. I cut out the speed work to keep my leg from getting worse while I monitored it. My longest long run for the race ended up being 9 miles. The last three weeks I ran easy, knowing if the pain got worse while running I’d stop and make a Dr.’s appointment.

I ran a total of 132.55 miles while training for this race. I wish it had been at least 150, but I was smart and listened to my body so I could make that start/finish line.

While it wasn’t the perfect build-up, I’m still proud of that first month – sticking to the training plan I made and having a month of fantastic runs.


The weather for race day was a high of about 40 degrees. In New Hampshire there can be a warm 40, and a cold 40, especially by the ocean. I had no idea what to pack. On Friday I set out my Flat Sam and packed up, but also brought two other shirts and a vest with me.


Since the race was on Sunday and it was about 2.5 hours from where I live, I left Saturday and spent the night with my uncle in nearby Newcastle, New Hampshire. My mom was coming for the race too, and we spent the afternoon shopping and seeing Eddie the Eagle at the nicest movie theater ever.

When I got to my uncle’s he had beer ready for me as we got ready to go to dinner at the fanciest place I’ve ever been (I didn’t even dare to take my phone out to take a picture, can’t find any online). After a dinner of chicken and potatoes (HOLY DELICIOUS), citrus sorbet and prosecco, I was in bed and ready for the morning ahead of me!

Half Marathon Training: 2/8 – 2/14/16

After last week’s training recap, I was really hoping to come back this week with a better one. Spoiler alert: I’m not. This week really wasn’t great, which could have been for a multitude of reasons. With only three weeks left until my first half marathon of the year, I’m trying not to get too down on myself.


Monday: Yoga, 60:00. This was “heart opening” yoga this week, and there were many poses I’d never done before. It was mainly core and upper body stuff. Man, was I sore after!

Tuesday: 3 mi, 10:20 average. I ran in my new pair of Launch 2’s, and despite the fact that I forgot to put in my Superfeet insoles, they felt pretty good. My ITB felt better than it had over the weekend, which I was happy with. Foam rolled after.

Wednesday: Speed day, 4.75 mi total. 4 x 800 w/ 800 recovery, + wu/cd. My 800s were 4:25, 4:18, 4:25, 4:25, which I was happy with. They felt much easier than the last time I did them, but it probably helps that this workout was done indoors instead of in the cold + wind like the last time! I was aiming for 5 repeats, but it was getting pretty late and I had work stuff to do. Iced and foam rolled after.


Thursday: Rest day – I unfortunately didn’t even get in yoga. During Wednesday’s workout, I got some nagging pains in my right achilles and right quad (about 2/3 the way up the leg). I was freaked out with the quad pain, and decided to rest to see if it would calm down.

Friday: Skiing – the best cross training there is. My legs felt great, but it may have been because they were freakin’ frozen!

Saturday: 9.3 mi. I was determined to get my long run in even though it was -20 with the windchill outside. I decided to break up the run to break up the pounding from the treadmill. I had my Zooma Run Love Challenge 10K to run, as well as my Hogwarts Running Club Molly Weasley Ugly Jumper Run 5K, so I did each separately to do 15K for the day. I felt okay during the first run (10K), but the 5K was downright painful. Average pace for the two was about 10:35.


Sunday: Rest, epsom salt bath, foam rolled.

Total weekly miles: 17.05.

I was really bummed to miss out on my Thursday run – as that would have put me to 20+ miles for the week. In this point in my training I’d love to be hitting those miles. This week just wasn’t it for me. I was extremely stressed with some personal stuff, to the point where I lost my voice (not good for a speech pathologist) and had zero appetite, which without a doubt affected me. There were days I probably didn’t even drink 4 glasses of water or hit 700 calories. (Not cool Sam, not cool.)

Struggling to find the discipline in listening to my own body!

So where do I go this week, after two “bad” training weeks? It’s hard to say. I need to focus on my nutrition this week, but I also need to let my body heal. My ITBS flare-up isn’t getting any worse, but it’s also not getting better. The weird pain in my right quad doesn’t hurt so much when I run, but I’m surely being cautious that it doesn’t turn into anything than a muscle (hopefully) knot or ache.

While part of me hates to do it, I know I need to give my body a break with all that’s going on. If Tuesday comes and my quad is still hurting, it’s to the elliptical I will go. I need to focus on eating and drinking better again, because I haven’t been fueling my body well lately. While I know my fitness is great right now and I feel good with that three weeks from my race – I’m not sure my legs would make it through at this point in time. A few days on an elliptical won’t kill me in order to let my legs heal up a bit. I know my goals for this race, and it’s not a huge PR. I want to get through it with a course PR (sub 2:27) and be healthy for my other spring races.

In other news, I won a free entry to a half marathon in Baltimore in December through last night’s Run Chat! I’m really excited, because the race is really flat for a Baltimore race and it’s right near my birthday. Plus, it’s free! I’ll be rethinking the latter half of my fall race schedule to make the most of the opportunity.

Have any of you dealt with random pains just three weeks out from a race? Anyone else run the Zooma Run Love Challenge this weekend? 


Half Marathon Training 1/18 – 1/24/16

And just like that, week 4 of training for my first half of the year is DONE! I’m still struggling a bit with some ITB pain some days, but for the most part it’s going really great. I feel so different training now than I did a year ago while I may not be any/much faster.

HBHalfTrainingwk4 (1)

Monday: Yoga class, 60:00

Tuesday: 3 mi, 31:30. I was rushed to get this done, and didn’t leave enough time after eating a heavy dinner. I regretted it and almost upchucked on the treadmill, but I made it through in time to watch (of course) Pretty Little Liars.

Wednesday: Tempo day, 5 mi total. 4 miles @ 9:41 with .5 mi WU/CD. The last mile was so tough, but I pushed through mentally and was so proud of myself for it.

Thursday: I planned to run, but my stomach was wonky after dinner. I waited until almost 9, and within a minute my IT Band was really not happy with me. So I was smart and got off.

Friday: 3 OUTSIDE miles (10:20 avg pace). It was sunny and 25* with a wind chill of 15* and it was glorious. My knee felt the best it’s felt in weeks, and my easy miles were evenly paced.

I always walk this “swinging” bridge, and it makes a beautiful picture spot.

Saturday: 45:00 fitness class. It was supposed to be slow flow yoga, but there was a sub and she was just plain wonky. I tried to be open to it, but it was weird. Instead of leaving relaxed and stretched, I left with a headache and a pissy attitude. I would have rather stayed home and done yoga by myself. BUT then we got a new family addition…

I have a friend in NH now! But actually, Penny is 8 years old and is the sweetest cat. She’s warming up to us very quickly!

Sunday: 7 mi (1o:40 avg) on the treadmill. I wish I didn’t have so much going on, becuase if I had been able to wait two hours I would have ran outside. I followed up the run with an hour on snowshoes volunteering at Special Olympics practice. I totally lost a 25 meter dash to a kid and almost fell on my face.


Weekly total: 18 mi.

This week was tougher mentally than physically. During my long and tempo runs I struggled in the last couple of miles, but I was really able to reign in my thoughts and stay strong. Normally thoughts of it being “hard” and me thinking I can’t keep going cause me to run short, but not this week. I feel really proud of my runs this week. It’s funny, my week was almost exactly the same as it was a year ago mileage wise, but my body is feeling much healthier. I’m really starting to accept my body’s limits so I can do my best without hurting myself.

I’m linking up with Megan today. Head to the link to see how other people did with their training last week. Thanks for hosting, Megan!

How was your week? Were you able to run without getting snowed in?


Half Marathon Training 1/11 – 1/17/16

Last Monday, I was ready for another incredible week of half marathon training. While the week started off strong, it ended off being pretty challenging. I ended up having a run that I somewhat regretted running. Let’s see how it went.


Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 45:00 Zumba fusion class (zumba + some strength), 3 mi run in 30:08 (10:02 pace). This was a tad faster than I like to run on an easy day, but I had to be off the treadmill by 8 for PLL! I made it off with 30 seconds to spare.


Wednesday: Speed day! Total = 4 mi, 10:00 avg pace. 6 x 400 at 8:50 – 8:40 pace, with 400 active recovery and .5 WU/CD.

Thursday: Rest. This was unexpected, but my stomach was NOT HAPPY after dinner, so I decided to hold off.

Friday: 3 mi, 10:43 pace. This was my slowest run in a while. Thursday’s nights stomach troubles must have been a warning because throughout the day at work on Friday I got sicker and sicker. Aside from a runny nose and sore through, the run wasn’t horrible.


Saturday: 45:00 flow yoga. Yoga isn’t as relaxing when you can’t breathe. Thankfully I made it until class was over without having a sneezing fit!

Sunday: 2.5 mi, 11:08 avg pace.

I thought that like on Friday, I could muster through a run although I was feeling horribly. With every single step my body ached and breathing was painful. When I look at my pace, it wasn’t horrible for what should have been a “long run” of 6 miles, but instead I feel failure. Failure when I probably should have just stayed off the treamill to let my body get over this sickness. This is the first time I’ve tried running while feeling sick, and lesson learned  – sometimes rest is what your body truly needs.

source: gojorunner.com

Weekly miles: 12.5.

While I’m bummed with how my last two runs went, working in a school means I’m going to get sick. In the grand scheme of things, missing out on a 6 mile run isn’t the end of the world. I’m spending my extra day off today focusing on feeling better so this week of training can be great again!

I’m linking up with Megan today in a weekly workout linkup. Thanks for hosting, Megan!

Do you run when sick? Any tips?

Always Moving Forward – New Goals

One of my favorite mantras while running is “always moving forward”. One step at a time, I will always get to where I’m going. That’s how I have always been as a person, and I think it’s a quality of runners in general. I get what I want. I may have to work for it, but I achieve whatever I set my mind on.


Now that I’m (mostly) past my brief injury that felt like forever I’m already looking forward to goals for the rest of this year and 2015. I always do better when I have a plan, so I’m planning on doing a half marathon on January 1, 2015. Crazy, right? I love it. It’s very tentative because who knows what the weather will be like that day, but I love the idea of starting out my year with a half.


That means that training starts now. I will be following the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan pretty closely. In fact, I started this week, but failed to run last night (my exam left me braindead and needing beer) and I don’t know how this weekend will be. So I may be re-doing the first week/skipping the 4 mile long run week. I know I’m perfectly capable of starting with the 5 mile week next week.

What’s after January 1st you ask? More halfs. I want a 2:10 half, then a 2:00 half. I know a 2:10 is attainable next spring, I know it. There’s also my little problem called marathon fever. As long as I stay healthy, I will do a marathon in 2015. Part of me wants to do it in the spring/early summer. A more rational part of me thinks I should wait until the fall. I plan on keeping up my half marathon training once January 1st hits, and to start working off a marathon plan. If I feel healthy come April, I will likely sign up for the Vemont City Marathon. It’s already taking all I have not to sign up now.

For the next few weeks, I’m going to work on doing my shorter runs faster than I normally would for my normal runs – I have one, maybe two turkey trots in my near future and I think I have a 5K PR in me.

I’m so so excited to be over my little speed-bump and can’t wait to share this next round of training with you all!

Fun fact: This post is brought to you by Amtrak wi-fi – I’m on my way to MARYLAND! (I’m also trying not to hurl so I can study…we’ll see how that works)