Week 7 Boston Marathon 2015 Training

I am almost halfway through my 16-week training program, and I am sore and tired. Marathon training is exhausting both mentally and physically. I have my training program that I follow everyday, never questioning whether or not I want to do it, I HAVE to do it if I want to perform well in Boston. If you put the work in, you will get the results you want...most of the time. (you never know what issues may arise on race day) I train so I can run a good, comfortable race without killing myself. The training is hard, long and grueling. I push myself beyond what I thought I could do, but on race day, I reap the rewards. 

Boston is a special place, there is no marathon quite like it! Everyone, and I mean everyone, comes out to cheer on the runners. Runners come from all over the world to take part in this legendary race. When I run, I pray for Boston and I pray for all those involved in the bombings in 2013. I remember it well, my very first time running Boston and it ended in terror. I returned in 2014 to an incredible outpouring of love and a huge "welcome home" party for those returning. I run for Boston, I pray for Boston, and my heart will always be with the Boston Marathon.

This is why I train hard, this is why I drag myself out of bed every morning and run with all my heart.


MONDAY: Recovery and Cross Training

I was really sore after my long 20-mile run on Sunday. My left calf had tightened up during the last six miles of my run and my Achilles tendon was really sore. I decided to take it easy today and allow my body more time to recover. I iced my calf, stretched and did a lot of foam rolling and massage. I noticed a knot in the muscle so I tried to massage it out, talk about painful! Ouch! Then I put on a Feetures! Compression Sock to help it recover. Find out more about compression socks and how to use them HERE.

I needed to get some blood flow to the legs to help with recovery, so I decided to do some non-impact cross training/swimming. When I say swimming, I mean kicking with the kick-board for 35 minutes without resting. I try and remember to keep my legs straight and use my hips and glutes to propel my body instead of bending and kicking my legs. In doing so, I don't splash because my legs are completely under water and since I'm not using any upper body, it is very slow moving through the water. It's important to work hard enough to get the heart rate up for some cardio training. This is also a great way to stretch and strengthen the feet and ankles.


TUESDAY: Resistance Training and Speed Work - Half Mile Repeats

Upper body and lower body resistance training with 5lb. and 10lb. dumbbells and core training. I have a client that I train on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, so I get a good workout in with her. I like to incorporate some upper body moves with the lower body exercises for a total body workout: squats with biceps curls to overhead press, reverse lunge with front shoulder raises, side lunge with lateral arm raises. We did some upper body moves: kick backs, rows, biceps curls (21s), chest press, push ups. That was followed by some core work: up down planks, leg drops, V-sit with lateral twist, and finished with total body stretching.

 Speed Work/Half Mile Repeats x6:

  • 2 mile warm up, easy pace

  • 1 half mile at 3:27 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 half mile at 3:24 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 half mile at 3:26 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 half mile at 3:28 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 half mile at 3:33 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 half mile at 3:24 (90 second recovery)

  • 1 mile cool down, easy pace

The two-mile warm up was at a very slow, relaxed pace to warmup the body so you are ready to "bring it!"  The idea is to try to hit the same pace with each repeat or get faster, not slower. My issue, I am on a trail and I try to pick a flat area, but there is always a slight elevation change, and due to our warmer weather, we have heavy winds. So I had a few challenging repeats where wind resistance was involved. This is when you can't worry too much about the numbers and just concentrate on doing your best and getting the work in. The hardest part for me is still VO2 Max: maximal oxygen consumption. Current evidence supports a 10% per decade decline in VO2 Max in men and women regardless of activity level. The older I get, 47 years old, the harder the cardio training.


WEDNESDAY: PiYo (Pilates Yoga) in the morning and a spin class in the evening. 

Tough decision this morning; should I rest more and let my calf recover, or should I go to PiYo and work that calf and stretch it out to help with the recovery. I decided to go ahead and do the PiYo. It is so important to listen to your body and do what is right. Believe me, you don't want to end up injured because you tried to push yourself. I have had my share of injuries over the years. 

Spin class went well. I tried to keep my heel down and toes up so as to not use my calf too much and keep it in a stretch position. If you are doing spin class, make sure you do it on your non-run days. It is an excellent form of non-impact cross training. Think of it this way, if you ran you already got your cardio in for the day, if you didn't run, then go ahead and do spin class. I would also suggest you get spin shoes, they completely change the way your foot works on the pedal and you will get a better benefit from the class.



I began with a warm up of one and a half miles at an easy pace, then completed six miles at 8:02 average pace per mile without stopping and finished with a one-mile run at an easy pace for a cool down. Here is how it went: 

  • Mile 1 @ 8:01

  • Mile 2 @ 7:39

  • Mile 3 @ 7:50

  • Mile 4 @ 8:25

  • Mile 5 @ 7:58

  • Mile 6 @ 8:18

You can tell that my numbers were all over the place! I chose my trail with the mostly flat span of two miles, however there is a gradual incline and decline depending on which way you are running. This coupled with the heat/full sun and wind resistance made it for a challenging tempo run! I guess God decided I needed a little more resistance training today, hence the wind resistance! He is my coach after all, so I try not to let the numbers upset me and do my best. At one point, the wind resistance was so strong, I had to just go ahead and turn around and run in the opposite direction knowing it would only be for a short distance then I had to turn back into it! I know this is nothing compared to those training in the snow and freezing temps, so I am not complaining.


FRIDAY: Cross Training: Row Machine

I was feeling pretty exhausted and ready for my day of rest, but I needed to get my non-impact cross training (cardio) in for the day. Off to the gym for 35 minutes on the row machine. I have met an Iron Man athlete that is also training for the Boston Marathon, and she has been rowing at the same time, so it is fun to compare training strategies with her. Plus it is also fun to have a workout buddy! Make sure if you decide to use the row machine that you are doing it correctly. Click here for demo.


SATURDAY:  Day of Rest.

Yes! It is part of the plan, and make sure you take one day off a week. This does not mean that you can go out for an "easy" run because then you are not resting. Your body and mind have trained hard all week and you need to let them recover and repair so you can do your best on your next training. Rest and recovery are vital if you want to perform at your peak. If you never rest, you are always breaking down your muscles and never allowing them them to repair and grow. Take your day of rest! You earned it!


SUNDAY: Long Slow Distance

Today I was scheduled for 13 miles at 8:27 average pace. Since I was going a shorter distance, and my calf was still recovering, I chose a mainly flat route, with only a few small hills. The weather was 55° and sunny with some wind. I started out running two miles down hill then I got onto my trail with a gradual decline for the next two miles then a few hills and then flat for about two miles. I noticed the winds were blowing pretty hard the opposite direction, so I went as far as I could on my trail until I had to turn around and run into the wind. Due to the downhill and the flat portion of my trail, I was having a very hard time trying to maintain the 8:27 pace. My body was ready to go and run faster. I kept my thoughts on my form, using my glutes and trying to relax my calves and hamstrings. My breathing was a mix of easy and hard at times as I tried to settle into a comfortable pace. I knew I was going way too fast, but I couldn't get my form right at the slow pace so I went with it. I ended up running at an average of 8:14 pace, which is marathon pace.  You NEVER want to run your long runs at marathon pace. Your body needs time in between hard runs, and if you "race" every long run you aren't giving your body enough time to recover in between. The long run is designed to build endurance and practice for your race. You also want to see what fuel works and try out new gear. Whenever possible, stick to your training and keep the pace.

Find out more about long runs here.