Happy belated holidays! Time off with family and friends is always wonderful, but I’m always a little relieved when it comes time to get back to my normal routine. After Halloween and Thanksgiving, December was filled with my birthday celebrations, my boyfriend’s birthday and his graduation, Christmas, numerous holiday parties and a last-minute vacation (which was awesome!) for New Year’s. I’m not complaining — I’ve had a great time — but I’m ready to get back to training, eating right and detoxing my poor liver.
[Photos taken from New Year’s trip to the Dominican]
I wanted to give a quick recap of what I’ve been up to with training. I started marathon training on December 14th. I’m following Hal Higdon’s advanced marathon 2 training plan (with a few tweaks), except due to scheduling, I’m starting with week 2, 4 and 5 instead of 1, 2 and 3. The goal is to run either the Queen City Marathon (which was my first DNF last year, when it was 10 degrees and miserable out) or the Charlottesville Marathon, and then The North Face 50K the first weekend of April. Having run long distances for a few years now, I am making a few changes at the start of this year that I haven’t done in the past. Here are the following top 3 changes I’ve been making:
- Training log: The biggest change I’ve made in regards to training is that I actually purchased a training journal to log my mileage, times and relevant notes such as conditions during workouts and factors that might affect my performance. I bought it from Picky Bars, and I have to say, I am loving it so far. Somehow, logging all my workouts helps keep me accountable, and I can already see small glimpses of progress. If you don’t currently have a system of keeping track of your training, I highly suggest starting!
2. Hard vs. easy days: I’m becoming a little more smart (finally) in regards to making hard days hard and taking it easy on easy days. In the past, I kind of disregarded this and basically went as hard as I could as often as I could because I’m a stubborn buffoon. I remember last year, I would go to November Project and run up and down stairs in the morning and then go trail running up and down rocky hills at Great Falls with my running group the same evening. This year, I’m finally seeing the benefit of taking it easy on easy days so that you can really reap the greatest benefit and perform your best during your hard workouts. Nothing’s worse than trying to go out for hill repeats or a tempo run, only to find that your legs feel like lead.
3. Nutrition tracking: I’ve started using My Fitness Pal to track what I eat. I always thought I ate well, but I’ve noticed that I don’t eat enough, and I often don’t get enough protein. Lately, I’ve been trying to plan ahead by preparing meals and snacks on Sundays. I can go in and put in what I plan to eat the next day, and if my macros/nutrients aren’t matching up to where I want them to be, I can adjust accordingly AHEAD of time.
There’s always so much to improve upon — I’m working on making changes to my strength and flexibility routines, but above are my top 3 focus areas at the moment.
As we said bye to 2015, I reflected on my big races last year, which were the Reston 10-miler, Queen City Marathon (DNF), The North Face 50K, Big Elk Marathon, Rosaryville 50K and The Bear Chase 50-miler. Overall, it was a great year. It went from not being able to finish a marathon because I couldn’t handle the 10-degree weather to suffering through 50Ks in 100-degree, horribly humid weather in the middle of summer. My year culminated with a failed-100K-turned-50-miler(read about my missing the time cutoff last year here). I also mentioned in a previous post that following the Bear Chase, I began training for the 10K distance. While I didn’t become super fast over the course of those 12 weeks, I did cut my time by about 5-6 minutes, and I think the “speed” training really helped shake up what my body was used to and helped prepare me physically and mentally for this year.
Now looking ahead to 2016! This year, after marathon training ends in early April, I will have a brief recovery period and then begin training for either a 50-miler or 100K. The rational part of my brain is telling me to work on the 50-mile distance, so naturally, I’ll probably attempt the 100K distance again (read about my missing the time cutoff last year here). Will share my training program when that time comes! In the meantime, check out my 2016 race lineup (some still tentative), and I hope to see some of your faces there!
Other exciting happenings in 2016:
- I was accepted as an assistant coach for Potomac River Running’s Distance Training Program! So I will be helping lead Saturday morning runs in Reston starting this weekend through early April, as runners train for half- and full-marathons. Very excited about this.
- Last year I received my coaching level l certificate from RRCA. This year, I’ve signed up to earn my level ll.
- In February, I’ll start online classes to receive a certificate in sports nutrition from Shaw Academy, which I’m also very excited about.
- I hope to officially launch my running company, Venture Running, this year! It’s been a lot of hard work already, and I have SO much to learn and work on, and many anticipated challenges to overcome, but I’m really looking forward to getting it off the ground and sharing the journey with you all.
- This year, for this blog, I will be starting to post some videos (product reviews, top tips, easy recipes to make, that fun sort of thing). It will be fun to deliver fun information in a more personal way!
Thanks for your support throughout a terrific year — I’d love to hear what you’re looking forward to in 2016!