Marathon Training: Week 5

Tomorrow morning I will complete Week 4 with a long run (8 miles).

During Week 5, the long run jumps up to 10 miles. That means two episodes of This American Life! Podcasts are quickly becoming my favorite entertainment during long runs.

Monday: 3 miles

Wednesday: 3 miles

Thursday: 5 miles

Saturday: 10 miles

I am taking advantage of Thursday’s holiday (no work) and completing my 5 mile run at that time. Wednesday will be a stroller run, but 3 miles is a great distance with the stroller. Saturday will be a great opportunity to train with a fuel belt.


Hump Day Update

Just a quick check-in from Week 4… I am 3 runs down. Just the long run (8 miles) left, which I will complete on Saturday. Today I went for a 6 mile trail run (it was supposed to be 5, but I went on a longer trail) with the jogging stroller. I rarely run with the stroller because it is so difficult! Today was definitely a challenge. However, when we came home, my daughter proudly proclaimed “I went running with mama!” and that made it entirely worth it.

Wednesdays I am home and away from the office for the summer, so I foresee many more stroller runs to come as I fit in those mid-week miles.

Midway through the trail run. By the end I was pouring sweat!

Week 4: Behavior Begets Attitude

I am two runs into Week 4 of marathon training. Today I did my second short run on a really hilly trail. It took me A LOT longer than it would have had I just gone around my neighborhood, but trail running makes my joints so happy. Plus I feel like Xena Warrior Princess when I am out there confronting the elements 🙂 I wonder how Xena warded off mosquitoes?

Chapter 4 of the marathon training book asks readers if they have ever heard of somebody having an “attitude problem.” The common wisdom is that if somebody has a bad attitude, they simply need to change that attitude and continue with the hopes of living in harmony with others. The science and psychology of attitude, however, is that it is an affective framework derived from behavior. When your behavior changes, your attitude changes.

What does this have to do with marathon training? Training requires a substantial change in behavior over the course of four months. Subsequently, that behavior is going to shift attitude just as radically.

I can verify that this hypothesis is true. Since adopting a running practice last summer, I have experienced so much less stress and strife in all of the arenas of my life: Marriage, Motherhood, Work, Self-Esteem… the list goes on. While I am not eternally optimistic, I find that my cycles of dissatisfaction dissipate quickly and that I am not prone to the grudges and frustrations I was particularly prone to before running. Two particular examples come to mind that demonstrate my own personal growth through running. The first is co-parenting a two-year-old. I find that I am rarely tired, rarely impatient, and able to be a strong support for my partner through all of the twists and turns of our daughter’s development. Something about running helps me embrace parenting with fresh eyes each day. There is this overwhelming sense that even if something is challenging, I know I can push through. The second example is a situation that happened at my work a few months ago. It was an extremely sensitive situation between two employees that I was tasked with investigating and, ultimately, implementing a resolution. Before running, the stress of this would have crushed me (because much more minor work situations often did). I would have lost sleep. I would have dreaded work. Going to work during that time was difficult, but I had the gift of time for myself at the end of the day to work through my noise and find release. Running really helped me through that time.

One last thought–now that I am 4 weeks into marathon training (the book reminds me that I am 25% of the way there!), I can only say that the mental and emotional benefits (attitude) of a consistent running practice (behavior) are growing exponentially. It’s a challenge to articulate how I feel right now, but I know I am on the precipice of being reborn into an improved version of myself. It’s this metamorphosis that develops continuously each new day that I commit to this marathon.

Marathon Training: Week 4

I wrapped up Week 3 this morning with a 7 mile trail run. Phew! It was hilly, but so beautiful and green that I was a teensy bit sorry when I got back to the trail head that it was over. My cold is barely noticeable now, and the scratchiness in my throat is much better than it was yesterday. I am headed into this next week of training feeling strong and ready to tackle increased mileage.

This week is significant in that the mid-length run has more distance added to it (after three weeks of remaining at 4 miles). It’s a little bit daunting, but at the same time I sort of dislike 4 mile runs. They are longer than an easy jog, but you don’t overcome the initial hump that you do in a longer run. You kind of end right when you are hitting the wall. So, I intend to welcome the longer mid-week run with open arms and an open mind.

The plan for Week 4:

Sunday: 3 miles

Monday: 3 miles

Wednesday: 5 miles

Thursday: Pool

Saturday: 8 miles

For my long run this week, I am going to run from my house to the start of a charity 5K for literacy I try to run annually and run that race. So 5 miles to the start (just worked out that way!) and then 3 miles for the race. Done, and with a bit of excitement to get me through the last few miles.

For now, I am thankful to be feeling healthy. I am thankful for my Garmin and NPR pod casts. I am glad I went out and did my long run even after feeling less than enthusiastic after a crappy run on Wednesday. Just keep on keepin’ on…

Happy Friday!

Sometimes running is boring

Yesterday I went for my mid-length run for Week 3 (4 miles). I had spent the day running errands and was starting to come down with a cold, so it was hard to get started. I spent most of the run counting down the miles until I could be home and eat some dinner and take a shower.

It’s okay–not every run will be a revelation or a trial, but every run is an achievement and brings me closer to the goal.

I’m resting up today and this cold isn’t very bad at all. I don’t have to work tomorrow, so I am attempting to complete my long run on a Friday instead of a Saturday. To help make the run a little more enjoyable, I am going out to my favorite lake trail and loading up some This American Life podcasts just in case 🙂

The Joy of Running

I had a really good run last night. I did my harbor loop and enjoyed the beautiful evening sunshine. I came home so happy… running nurtures such joy!

My body is feeling really strong today; I am ready for tomorrow’s 4 mile run and Friday’s 7 mile run.

My four-legged running buddy keeps training fun.

Week 3: The Mindful Middle

The conclusion of Week 2 called for a 6 mile long run. I wanted to treat myself to a little excitement, so I ran a local 10K on Saturday as my long run. The course was an out-and-back on pavement–so not my favorite kind of race, but the sun was shining and there were farm fresh strawberries at the finish, so who can really complain? I had a hard time zoning out and enjoying the run–I think because I was so aware of where exactly I was and how much was left the entire duration of the race. Yesterday, I started Week 3 with a 3 mile trail run. Once again, the weather was pristine. My legs were feeling like lead after Saturday’s 10K, followed by marshaling commencement at the university and then walking home. Luckily, I had our newest family member to keep me company. That’s right–we adopted a dog! Long story short, a fellow running mama is relocating with her family to a land far away and wanted to re-home her sweet trail-loving doggy. I feel very fortunate that we are able to welcome Lizzie into our family.


Lizzie relaxes in the sunshine after our trail run yesterday. 

My body is starting to feel like I am training for a race. With that comes the challenge of getting out the door and going for the prescribed run. Week 3 is all about finding a mindful middle and building a solid training base (according to my Bible). Excellent performance doesn’t come from intense arousal/excitement or non-existence arousal/excitement–Peak performance is derived from a mindful middle. It’s a balanced place of being grounded and certain in your goals, but not so swept away with anticipation that you bust out of the gate full speed. It’s a place of tempering negativity but also embracing a realistic appraisal of the activity to come. This practiced perspective surfaces through the development of a solid training base. The marathon will be a peak performance kind of day; an activity which demands a wholly embodied mindful middle.

I have another run this afternoon, and although my legs are feeling a bit heavy and I’d like to sit out in the sun and drink beer, it doesn’t matter. First I need to honor myself and this practice by adding another drop to the jug. Then I can come home and relish my runner’s high.

Marathon Training: Week Three

I will complete Week Two tomorrow with a 6 mile run.

Sunday- 3 miles

Monday- 3 miles

Wednesday- 4 miles

Thursday- Pool Workout

Saturday- 7 miles

I am mixing it up a bit and trying my two shorter runs at the beginning of the week building up to my mid-length run. Finishing, as usual, with my long run on Saturday.

Next week the mileage goes up in the middle of the week and the end of the week, but I am not going to spend to much energy looking ahead. I will just focus on tackling what’s right in front of me.

Have a great weekend and Father’s Day!

Running for Energy

The last few days I was in a funk. Perhaps the emotional exhaustion of the academic year is finally weighing on me. These transitions from the school year to summer are always challenging for me; I go from operating at full capacity to a seemingly empty campus over the course of one week and it is always a bit chaotic.

During cross-training on Tuesday evening, I vowed to get my mid-length run in on Wednesday morning before work. But yesterday morning, I slept too late. I was tired. I was tired all of yesterday, dragging my feet and struggling to keep my attention present. I got home and I knew what I had to do… lace up those running shoes, no exceptions. No excuses allowed.

I ended up enjoying a blissful and relaxing 4-mile run that showered me with plenty of quality time in The Zone letting everything go, running without hindrances or hang-ups, simply flowing through the practice. It was such an unexpected delight. When I got home, I was no longer tired and felt much better.

Today I am doing my cross training in the pool, tomorrow I am running 3 miles, and Saturday I will complete Week 2 of marathon training with a long run (6 miles).

What are your tricks for getting in a run when you are dragging?

Week Two: It Doesn’t Matter

Last weekend I completed the long run for week one and also my first run for week two of marathon training. Multiple texts and real people suggest running the longer distances on softer surfaces, so I set out to do my 5 miles at one of my favorite lake trails. I lapped the lake twice, and then finished with my glute exercises. Yesterday, I decided to jump start week two a day early because this week is really hectic for me (it’s finals week at the university where I work), so any little bit of advance prep would help me out. I am glad I don’t have to try to fit a run in today.

Week one was all about getting started, visualizing the goal, and understanding how to develop an internal locus of control. Week two is about nourishing the internal locus. The Non-Runner’s Guide to Marathon Training suggests a mantra to keep the intrinsic motivation healthy. Any time a negative thought comes into play, simply respond with “it doesn’t matter.” For example, yesterday I was tired. I spent a little too long reading my book in the sun and was a bit tuckered from my long run on Saturday. “I am feeling lazy,” I thought, “but it doesn’t matter.” I got my clothes on, laced up my shoes, and went for a run. It was one of those tough 3 mile runs where the momentum never really picked up. My legs were sluggish. It didn’t matter. I was feeling a little bored with the scenery in my neighborhood. It didn’t matter. All that did matter was that I finished the run, came home, and successfully made a dent in Week Two.

Too often we validate the negative self-talk and downplay our achievements. What I like about this mantra is that it is a very quick way of dismissing thoughts that, if left to marinade, often develop into reasons why you can’t leave the house and go for a run. Heading into the second week makes this goal feel just a little more permanent. I am proud of that. I am proud of myself for doing this. Additionally, the gradual accumulation of mileage is leaving me with no soreness whatsoever (yet), for which I am glad.


After my long run in the woods on Saturday. Done with week one, woo hoo!


None of those excuses mattered. I ran.