I talk to God on the road. And He talks back.

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Hanson’s Marathon Method: Week #5

This weekend was almost a repeat of last weekend; I went kayaking with a co-worker on Friday, and grabbed more cup-pies from Pie Sisters to bring to dinner at a friend’s house on Saturday.  I did the usual running and eating; highlight of the weekend was this Fig and Pig pizza from Pupatella – seasonal white pizza with figs, prosciutto, brie, and balsamic glaze. Fuel for the long run!0823151250
I also spent a lot of time napping on Sat and Sun (really unusual for me) because I think I’m coming down with a cold :( Can’t have that during marathon training, so I’m stocked up on zinc and echinacea tea…

Hanson’s Marathon Method: Week 5

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Well, I survived the mileage jump last week! I ran nearly 37 miles – my first 30+ week of the YEAR.  My legs are sore for sure, but thankfully, my body feels strong and healthy.  I’ve been rolling out my shins and calves daily with The Stick and stretching my feet regularly to prevent old injuries from flaring up.  Ignore what it says for week #5 on the graphic, BTW – I originally added in a race and decided to take it out, so my runs below are a little different from what’s written above.

Mon: 4 easy miles outside on a hilly course (10:19 pace), short core workout indoors.

Tue: 12 X 400 meters (with 400 m recovery in between) on the T/M. This was my first speed workout of the training cycle, and going in I wasn’t sure I’d be able to complete all 12 intervals, but I just kept focusing on completing each ~ 2 min interval without thinking about the next one, and somehow that got me to the end. 1 mile warmup, intervals averaging 1:59 (7:56 pace), and 1 mile cooldown for a total of 7.75 miles.

Wed: Rest day

Thr: 4 tempo miles (8:46 pace) on T/M at 1.0 incline, 1 mile warm-up. This workout was supposed to be a 5 mile tempo, but I felt exhausted and ill and stopped to walk at 4 miles and couldn’t start back up. Considering this was my first tempo of the training cycle, I think it’s fine I only completed 4 miles – I have two more 5 mile tempos in the schedule so I’ll just try again this week.

Fri: 8 easy miles outside (10:14 pace) – probably my best run of the week. My legs felt strong and it felt awesome to be outside.

Sat: 4 easy miles on T/M (10:29 pace) – I was supposed to run 8 miles back-to-back, but I had a bad head cold and opted to swap Saturday and Sunday’s runs.

Sun: 8 miles on T/M (10:30 pace) – I felt terrible when I woke up on Sunday, but felt a lot better after a 2 hour nap in the morning. I fueled up with pizza for lunch, and got on the treadmill to finish my last run of the week. Two episodes of Heroes (I’m re-watching the series) got me through the run :)

My goal this week is to nail the 5 mile tempo and to start increasing my pace on the long runs (my target long run pace is closer to 9:46, so I’m going to need to push a little harder!).


Hanson’s Marathon Method: Week #4

This is the summer of my water sport obsession apparently; last weekend was my 3rd (nearly) consecutive weekend going kayaking or SUP. Mel and I met up Saturday morning at the Key Bridge Boathouse and spent over 2 hours on our stand-up paddleboards – I definitely felt it in my arms and back the next day. No pics on the water, but we grabbed mini pies (called cuppies, like cup pies – get it?) at Pie Sisters in Georgetown afterwards. I tried samples of the triple berry pie and chocolate bourbon pecan pie, and ended up getting the lemonberry pie for myself and Mel and the chocolate bourbon for Mike. All SO good – I’m already plotting to go back ;)

Hanson’s Marathon Method: Week 4

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Well, I’m done with week 4 and I’m pleased to report that I’m still having no issues with my knees, feet or any other body part. Well, some chafing from a pair of running shorts…but that’s neither here nor there. All my runs were completed on the treadmill because I was very sluggish after coming back from vacation and ended up running in the afternoons, but I’m just pleased I got them all in.

Mon: 5 easy miles on T/M in hotel (10:33 pace), subbed 2 hours on a ropes climbing course for weight lifting. I think it was a very fair substitution since my arms were sore for days afterward

Tue: rest day

Wed: rest day

Thr: 4 hilly miles on T/M (10:18 pace, did 5-6 min with no incline and then increased incline slowly to 4.0/ 5.0 over 4-5 minutes, repeated cycle 4x) and weights (squats, lunges, deadlifts, and some arm exercises)

Fri: 4 easy miles on T/M (10:23 pace) and core workout

Sat: 5 easy miles on T/M (9:53 pace) and 2 hours of SUP

Sun: 6 easy miles on T/M with 7-30 second strides at end (9:40 overall pace, strides around 7:55 pace) and Intense Core Yoga video

I have a BIG jump in mileage and training coming this week – we’re introducing speedwork, a tempo run, going from 5 to 6 runs a week, and ramping the mileage from 24 to 39 miles a week (ignore the plan, I’ve adjusted week 5). The mileage increase far exceeds the 10% rule, but I’m trusting that the Hanson brothers knew what they were doing when they wrote the plan – and I’ll switch to pool running or other cross-training if I notice any issues. I’ve never run 6 days a week before, and I’m nervous about trying a 5 mile tempo so early, but I’m just going to take it a day at a time and not think too far ahead!

Are you training for a fall race? How’s it going?


5 Things We Did in Charleston

I spent an amazing couple of days with my college girlfriends in Charleston last weekend! I was really excited for this vacation because I hadn’t seen my friends since my wedding several years ago.  We picked the city because it was relatively cheap to fly to and a good central location for us to meet (coming from Boston, Atlanta, Texas, and of course, DC).  We’re all active and adventurous, so our vacation was a great mix of fun activities, good food, and lots of catching up.  Here’s 5 things we did:

1. Obstacle course at Wild Blue Ropes
This was my first time on a ropes course, and I was surprised by what great exercise it was! My arms were shaking after the first 5-6 obstacles from hanging onto ropes and pipes and logs for dear life.  We were safely supported by full-body harnesses the entire time, but I started to feel a little dizzy after two hours – maybe I have a slight fear of heights? Or maybe not, because I’d do it again :)
20150810_15404620150810_154115 2. Went running everyday
My friends are all runners – in fact, they’re the ones that got me to sign up for my first half marathon – so we naturally we went running together. The streets of Charleston are nice and flat, and we were less than a mile from the waterfront. We always went running around 7 to avoid the heat and humidity, and it was a great way to work up an appetite and start the day.
20150808_080509 20150809_065411 3. Marsh Kayaking
The 3 hour marsh kayaking tour near Folly Beach was by far my favorite activity! We saw several dolphins, many different kinds of birds, and enjoyed the beautiful day on the water.
20150809_094922 4. Ate lots of good Southern food
Starting with biscuit beignets at Another Broken Egg Cafe…
IMG_20150808_100436I ate grits almost everyday…
0808151741 Lots of fried seafood!0809151401a And we couldn’t skip Chick-fil-A :) Loved this chicken salad.0810151630a 5. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
We also drove up to North Charleston to tour Magnolia Plantation, which has been converted into a beautiful garden.  Unfortunately, we were long past the blooming season, but we took a boat ride on the former rice fields and saw lots of wildlife – birds and alligators.
20150808_132029_HDR0808151350a 20150808_150129 And no summer vacation is complete without ice cream, cards and games every night, and beach time :)20150809_155345 Steph, Grace and Nasly, I miss you all already!

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HMM: Week #3

It’s a little late in the week for a workout recap, but so it goes! I came back from a fun-filled weekend in Charleston with my college friends, so I’ve been busy trying to catching up on sleep :) Short recap of our trip coming soon!

Hanson’s Marathon Method: Week 3

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 8.32.38 PMWeek 3 went fine – I went from 4 days to 5 days running, and had no issues with the increased mileage. I even managed to run every day on vacation! My paces slowed from previous weeks, but my easy run pace is still well within my desired pace range (for easy days).

Mon: core video (this one here – it was insane)

Tue: 5 hilly miles outside (10:28 pace) – I picked a hilly route near my house and managed to run the big hill on the route without stopping for the first time :)

Wed: core video at home

Thurs: 3 easy miles on the T/M (10:24 pace) and weights at the gym – squats, lunges, bicep curls and a few other exercises

Fri: 5 easy miles outside (10:03 pace) and core workout

Sat: 5 easy miles outside in Charleston (10:36 pace)

Sun: 3 easy miles outside (ran without watch)

I’m currently in the middle of week 4, which is going fine – but I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty nervous for next week (week 5).  It’s a big jump in mileage (~60%), and it’s the first week with planned workouts – speedwork on Tuesday and a 5 mile tempo on Thursday.  I plan to keep the easy days really easy and aim to hit the slower paces for my workout days.  I definitely won’t be racing on Sunday given all the changes from week 4 to 5, so I’ll just do the 5 miles that were previously prescribed, and I might even do those miles in the pool.  I still have 13 weeks to go, so my #1 rule is to stay healthy and uninjured!


HMM: Week 2

This weekend started off in the best way possible:
0731151828 We hadn’t had a cheese and wine night in a while! All of my favorites together: Cambozola, Brie, pate! And a random hard cheese that was also really good.  It’s hard being a lactose-intolerant with a love for cheese…

Hanson’s Marathon Method: Week 2

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 8.32.38 PMThis week went pretty much exactly as written, which is good considering I’m still only two weeks in :)
Mon: yoga video and some core exercises

Tue: 4 easy miles on T/M (10:24 pace), played with incline up to 5.0

Wed: Body Pump and core workout at home

Thurs: HIIT on FitnessBlender (loved this workout!!)

Fri: 4 easy miles on T/M (11:00 pace) and weights

Sat: 5 easy miles outside (9:38 pace) and core workout

Sun: 4 easy miles on T/M (10:45 pace)

I did most of my runs on the treadmill this week, and I definitely prefer doing my easy runs outside – it’s much easier to run by feel, and I think the treadmill is a little tough on my knees and feet.  Since this summer in DC has been relatively mild so far, I’m going to run outside more often in the coming weeks.  Cross-training will also slowly come off my calendar as my running days and mileage increase.

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Hanson’s Marathon Method: Week 1

I meant to get this training post up on Monday, but have been recovering after a busy (but awesome) weekend with my family in town. Just one pic from the weekend:


My sporty sibs on paddleboards! We went stand-up paddleboarding at the Key Bridge Boathouse on Friday – a perfect activity on a hot summer day.  It was my first time and I loved it – no surprise, because I love water sports in general (the ones that don’t involve any swimming!) and the water was quite calm. It was easier than I expected to maintain balance on the board and I only fell in at the end because I decided to attempt tree pose and subsequently toppled into the water, lol.

Anyway, onto my training recap from last week:

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Mon: Body Pump

Tue: short core workout in hotel (traveling for work)

Wed: 2 easy miles on T/M (10:13 pace) and 30 min on stairmaster

Thr: spin class

Fri: 3 easy miles outside (9:35 pace) and SUP!

Sat: 4 easy miles outside (9:34 pace)

Sun: 3 easy miles outside (10:40 pace)

Not especially exciting, but I’m incredibly grateful to be running without any toe or knee pain, and I’ve been working to keep my paces slow for all these easy runs. I know the fastest path to re-injury is to push myself too quickly upon returning to training, so I’m avoiding hills and any speedwork for the first couple of weeks in this schedule.

My goal for this week is to continue to run easy and keep up with “prehab” activities like core work (3x a week), strength training (2x a week) and stretching. Like last week, I’ll be replacing two of the “off” days with cross-training activities to maintain fitness during these low-mileage weeks.


Marathon #3, Here We Go

Hi friends!! I sort of fell off the face of the earth there – sorry.  It’s been a busy summer – I’m studying for the GREs, tutoring my BIL for the SATs, and I’ve started a new project at work.  On the running front, last I wrote I was training for the Wine Country Half.  Well, I didn’t end up running the race.  I injured my big toe during a run the week before – I think I bent my toe too much while running up a hill because the first joint hurt to bend afterwards – and it was much too painful to run on.  No idea what the injury was, but it took a good month for the toe to feel normal again.  I cross-trained on the bike, did some Tae Bo, and started using the stairmaster once my toe could handle it, so I feel like I’m still in decent shape!

And this week, I’m starting to train for marathon #3.  I spent some time contemplating what training plan to use, and ultimately decided to give the Hanson Marathon Method a shot.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the plan that’s notorious for maxing the long run at 16 miles (vs. the usual 20 or 22).  My main motivation for using HMM is because I’ve struggled with injuries throughout training cycles and during races, and HMM has a more balanced approach to weekly mileage that’s supposed to help build running economy/ strength while minimizing injuries (read: they make you run a lot during the week).

I’m using the beginner plan (the advanced looks too high in mileage for me) and modifying it slightly so that I can do my long runs on Saturday vs Sunday.  I moved Friday’s easy run to Sunday, and moved the other two days forward.  Here’s what my plan looks like:
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Orange days are either speed/strength workouts (on Tuesday), tempos done at marathon goal pace (on Thursday), and long runs done at 45-60 seconds slower than goal pace.  Paces for the speed and strength workouts are also determined by your goal pace using a table in the book.  I’ve added in two shorter races to help me gauge my performance and fitness level along the way – and also because I have some race deferrals from last year ;) Other than that, I’m going to try to run it exactly as written.

My thoughts going in: the mileage for this plan is higher than I’m used to, and I’m definitely nervous for those longer weekday runs – AKA 5AM wake-ups.  HMM is a tough training method, and its philosophy is to tire you out for the long runs to simulate the last 16 miles of the race instead of the first – in other words, it trains you to push through when you’re very tired.  I honestly don’t know if I have what it takes to run the plan as proscribed, but to me, that’s the point of training for a marathon – finding out what I’m made of.  So let’s begin :)


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