How I recover on the day of a hard workout [Follow-Along Week 11]

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In this post, I’ll share the details of my proven strategy for recovering from a hard workout or race. It’s essential that when you stress your body that you properly recover so you can ultimately optimize your performance on race day.

Below I’ll layout the 7 things that I do immediately following and throughout the day of a hard workout.

1) Water/fluids – it’s absolutely critical to rehydrate. Even if follow your hydration plan during longer runs, after you finish any workout, it’s essential to drink plenty of water and also sports drinks after longer runs or hard workouts.

2) Nutrition – discussed in last week’s post. Within 30 minutes of completing your hard workout, it’s essential that you consume some healthy carbs & proteins. Eating a healthy recovery within a few hours of your workout will help you feel so much better.

3) Bauerfiend compression socks & sleeves – especially after long runs & long tempos, I wear compression socks for 2-4 hours. Although there’s many brands of compression socks available, I find that the Bauerfiend brand is very durable (I’ve had mine for 2+ years), they are affordable and most important, they relieve any sore or stiffness in my legs. Bottomline, they work and I recommend them.

I saw it on Bauerfeind USA Inc

Sports Compression Socks Ball & Racket | Compression | Medical aids | Bauerfeind B2C US

4) Foam rolling – this one’s essential for middle age athletes. Check out my video with details on how to make foam rolling a part of your healthy routine. I like to foam roll at night following a hard workout. I also foam roll whenever I’m feeling stiffness in my legs.

5) Stretches – following are just a few of the stretches that I typically complete right after my run.
a) Active Isolated Stretching – with rope – complete daily or at least 5 times/week (click the link to see video)
b) Calf stretches (against a wall)
c) Standing quad stretch
d) Achilles stretch
e) Piriformus Stretch

6) Hot Tub – if you have access to a hot tub, use it the evening of your hard workout. Just 5 minutes helps aching muscles and also will help you sleep (the #1 best way to recover).

7) Sleep – during your training, it’s very important to maximize your sleep to optimize your recovery. This is not only true on hard days, but I find that I perform much better when I get plenty of sleep the night before a hard workout (seems obvious, but there’s many people who don’t try to maximize their sleep).

Follow the above strategy and I’m very confident that you’ll be able to really push and hit your paces during your hardest workouts.

Following are my workouts for the week of June 18th.

Here’s the link to my Strava Dashboard so you can see the details of each of the workouts that I completed this week & throughout my journey.

Monday June 18th – short run @ easy pace

The purpose of this run was to rest prior to the next day’s very demanding workout. At this late stage of my training, I have found that I get much more from my hard workouts by giving myself an extra day Tempos & Strength training runs.
This week I have 3 days of business travel as well, so I planned on Tuesday & Saturday hard runs.

Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of Easy on Easy Days & Hard on Hard Days so you can maximize the benefit of the stress.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 6.1 miles, 48:33 minutes, ave pace 7:52

Tuesday June 19th – Strength run 4 x 1.5miles

This was my last strength/interval run. Unlike my previous repeat of 1.5miles, which was on a track, I ran this workout on flat crushed rock path. Conditions were optimal early in the morning. Initially, I was disappointed that my intervals weren’t as fast as before (all at 6:20/mile pace). However, I realized that the trail mileage markers were not completely accurate, so my 1.5 mile was actually closer to 1.55 miles which adds at least 20 seconds to my times. My times slowed slightly as I progressed.

Bottomline….bonus hard effort for additional 20+ seconds/interval :-). Results are below.

1 mile warm-up @ easy
4 x 1.5 miles @ 10km pace with 3-4 minutes rest (easy jog)
1 mile cool down at easy

marathon training strength run - 4 x 1.5m

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 9.7 miles, 1:16:43 minutes, ave pace 7:54

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

Wednesday June 20th – short run @ easy pace

Very limited time to run today due to business travel. I completed 4 miles @ easy pace on a treadmill. 5 The purpose of this run was to recover from the previous days’ very demanding run.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 4 miles, 32:00 minutes, ave pace 8:00

Thursday June 21st – Short Run @ easy pace

Not much time due to business commitments. Early morning run around Horseshoe Bay Resort, TX – 4.5 miles @ easy pace. Hot & humid at 630am.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 4.7 miles, 40:11 minutes, ave pace 8:31

Friday June 22nd – Off Day

Rest & Recovery Day – Business Travel

Saturday June 16th – 12 mile Tempo

This was the last and toughest tempo of my training. The purpose of this day’s workout was to build strength & provide the best indication of my marathon fitness. This week we increased the distance of the tempo by 2 miles. Target pacing was Marathon Pace (around 6:50/mile). If I can complete this run on target without being too tired, I’m good.

Ideally you also want to complete this last long tempo around 2 weeks prior your race. In addition, to give you a most accurate indication of your fitness, complete the run on a course that has similar terrain as your race. Fortunately for me, I have the perfect location (where I completed last week’s 10 mile tempo and the 10km time trial a few weeks ago). After this run you will start a gradual taper with lower mileage and shorter intervals/tempo runs.

With 3 days of easy or rest prior, I should have been ready to go for this run. However, my challenge with this run was my late return from a long flight the evening before. Although I performed well by finishing the 12 mile tempo in 84 minutes (7 min/mile pace), I was off on Marathon Pace. I think lack of quality sleep the nights before probably slowed me. My plan is to be home, getting plenty of rest for 5 nights before my race (not counting the night before the race because it’s hard to sleep).

12 Mile Tempo for marathon training

Run Distance, Time, & Average Pace: 13.4 miles, 1:37:31 minutes, ave pace 7:16

Sunday June 17th – Short Run @ easy pace + strides
The purpose of today’s run was to recover from yesterday’s very difficult tempo run. Strides are to practice quick leg turnover.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 5.1 miles, 47:46 minutes, ave pace 9:13

Weekly total = 43.1 Miles

Nutrition for Marathon Training [Follow-Along Week 10]

Nutrition for Marathon Training [Follow-Along Week 10]

Nutrition for marathon training

To reap the benefits of your long distance training, you need to consume healthy foods so you can properly fuel your body, build muscle & recover from hard & long workouts. As you get progress through your training for your race, you will find that what you eat impacts how feel both during and after your workouts and ultimately how long it takes you to complete your race.

Also, to get prepared for your race, you must stay healthy while you train. This means you need to build a strong immune system. It’s easy to get tired and even run down during your training if you don’t properly recover. In this post I will speak to the importance of diet during your training. I will also provide some sample meals.
Although, exercise helps build the number of germ fighting cells in your body, eating the right foods also helps. Healthy runners have a diet that includes a balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein, lean fats, vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron and vitamins C & E for a strong immune system.

Timing of your food consumption is critical

It’s important to eat nutrient-dense calories & drink plenty of water prior to your main workout of the day. Also, to limit post exercise muscle damage and speed the recovery process you need to consume both protein & carbohydrates soon after your runs. This is especially important in the 30 – 45 minutes following a hard run and then a few hours later to have a bigger meal. This helps to ensure optimal recovery.

Just like each person’s training is different because of their goals, mileage and athletic abilities, the same is for nutrition. Each runner’s body can responds differently to foods. It’s important that you try different healthy foods and time consumption so you can optimize your performance and avoid any GI issues.

Here’s some proven strategies that I follow & share with runners I coach.

Avoid empty calories and focus on eating foods that give me the most nutrients per calorie. These include good sources of whole grains and starches (like brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, whole wheat bread and pasta), lean proteins (lean meat, fish, Greek yogurt, eggs and beans), healthy fats (salmon, avocados, nuts, and olive oil), and of course, colorful fruits and veggies which provide antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
For pre- and post-workout snacks, I recommend fruits, fresh cut vegetables, healthy (meaning not a ton of sugar and full of natural ingredients) granola or energy bars, fruit, nuts, and Greek yogurt. My focus is to time the healthiest eating around my runs so I’m fueling when I need it and not just grazing or snacking at odd hours with “bad food.”

Here’s some examples of healthy meals:

Recovery Breakfast
Whole wheat toast with peanut or almond butter
4-6 ozs.of low fat Greek Yogurt + Banana
8-10 ozs of Orange juice + 12 ozs of Water
*I like to make myself a breakfast sandwich that includes a toasted whole grain English muffin, cheddar cheese, scrambled or easy over egg and turkey bacon or sausage. Include some hot sauce for a little “kick.”

Recovery Lunch
Turkey or chicken sandwich with spinach, tomato and mustard on whole grain bread
Orange, Apple or cup of mixed fruit (not sweetened fruit salad from a can)
4-6 ozs of mixed raw vegetables (carrot sticks, broccoli, sliced red/yellow peppers, pea pods, etc)
8-10 ozs of unsweetened plain soy milk or almond milk
12 ozs of Water

Avoid processed foods. A good place to start is to cut back on food that comes from a plastic wrapper. If you must purchase packaged food, then choose those with the fewest and most familiar ingredients.

Recovery Dinner
Whole grain pasta with tomato sauce & meatballs (turkey or meatless) or grilled chicken
Or Baked Salmon + baked sweet or russet potato with nonfat Greek Yogurt & Brummel & Brown Yogurt butter.
Garden salad with spinach, kale, yellow/red/orange peppers, sliced carrots, sliced avocado, cranberries and/or blueberries, sunflower seeds and oil/vinegar dressing
Steamed broccoli or mixed vegetables + Whole wheat dinner role
12 ozs of Water

The bottomline for your diet is that just like with your training, there are no shortcuts or 3-4 foods you can consume that will make-up for not eating a well balanced diet. You don’t have to be too strict, just be aware of what & when you eat and listen to how your body reacts.

On the day of the race, never eat anything that you haven’t previously tested during your training.

Following are my workouts for the week of June 11th.

Monday June 11th – short run @ easy pace

The purpose of this run was to recover from the previous days’ long run. It’s very important to go easy throughout this run, especially considering the next days’ workout is going to be tough.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 6.7 miles, 53:28 minutes, ave pace 7:56

Tuesday June 12th – Strength run 10 x 800s

This was a tough workout. I couldn’t run on the High School track, so I just ran on neighborhood surface streets near the track (not optimal). I was tired the last 3-4, but I pushed through. My times weren’t near target (3:05-3:16), but the stimulus of the workout achieved it’s goal.

Yasso 800s for marathon training

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 9.9 miles, 1:21:53 minutes, ave pace 8:14

Wednesday June 13th – short run @ easy pace + strides

5 mile easy run + strides. The purpose of this run was to recover from the previous days’ very demanding run.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 5 miles, 43:09 minutes, ave pace 8:33

Thursday June 14th – Off Day

Rest & Recovery Day

Friday June 15th – Long Tempo Run

The purpose of today’s workout was to build strength. I increased the distance by a mile from my last tempo. Paces are the same, as shown in the image below. After a 1 mile warm-up, I complete 9 miles at marathon pace. As you can see, I was right on pace for the duration of the tempo. The extra day of rest (completing this workout on Friday instead of Thursday as my scheduled called out) really helped. I’m happy with this run, especially after struggling through the Yasso 800s on Tuesday.

10 mile tempo for marathon training

Run Distance, Time, & Average Pace: 11.6 miles, 1:22:12 minutes, ave pace 7:04

Saturday June 16th – short run @ easy pace + 15 minutes of conditioning exercises at gym

The purpose of this run was to recover from the previous days’ intense workout. The conditioning exercises weren’t too intense, but they help to build strength & improve flexibility.

Run Distance, Time, & Average Pace: 5.4 miles, 43:34 minutes, ave pace 7:58

Sunday June 17th– Medium Run @ easy pace

A slightly longer run than typical easy days, but at an easy pace. As we get closer to the race, I am shortening some of my runs.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 8.5 miles, 1:07:13 minutes, ave pace 7:50

Weekly total = 47.4 Miles

How to Establish a Hydration Plan for Half & Full Marathons [Follow-Along Week 9]

How to Establish a Hydration Plan for Half & Full Marathons [Follow-Along Week 9]

Hydration for marathons

With 4 weeks until race day, I can tell that the accumulated fatigue of 45+ miles/week and numerous hard workouts is starting to get to me. Although I’m still definitely motivated to run and complete my workouts, I’m starting to feel fatigue in my legs both during & after my runs that I didn’t feel a few weeks or months ago. With the onset of warmer & more humid weather, it’s now more important that I’m adequately hydrated prior to and during my run.

In this post, I discuss the importance of hydration and how to establish a hydration plan for your race and how to practice it during your training.

Here’s the link to my Strava Dashboard so you can see the details of each of the workouts that completed this week & throughout my journey.

It should come as no surprise that proper hydration is important for both safety and performance. Warm and humid weather typically increase sweat rates and can accelerate the onset of dehydration. This can lead to an increased risk of early fatigue and heat related illnesses. Keeping your body properly hydrated will ensure that you maintain blood volume and cardiovascular function. Dehydration not only decreases blood volume, but also increase heart rate, slows heat loss in the body, which ultimately can cause runners to slow or eventually drop out of the race.

It’s important to determine your individual fluid needs because there is no single recommendation that applies to everyone. Ideally you want to balance fluid intake with sweat losses to avoid both dehydration and hyponatremia (too much fluid).

Signs of dehydration can be feeling faint or light headed, rapid heart rate, dry mouth or feeling very thirsty. The best 1st step is to drink some fluids to see if your condition improves.

Need Marathon Training Info

Signs of hyponatremia (too much fluid) can be water sloshing in your stomach, severe headache or feeling bloated in the hands and feet with nausea or upset stomach. The best first step is to stop drinking until you begin to urinate.

How much to drink?

To determine your unique fluid needs, you need to estimate your sweat rate by weighting yourself nude and then run for 1 hour in the conditions at the pace you expect to race. Do not drink during this run. At the end of the run, strip down, and reweigh yourself nude. The difference in weight is your approximate hourly sweat rate. You’ll need to convert lbs to ounces (1 lb = 16 ozs) and then plan on consuming that much per hour during your race.

For example, if you lost 1lb of sweat, you should consume about 4ozs of fluid every 15 minutes during your race. During your training, you can test this program by weighing yourself prior to and after your runs. If you weigh 1-2lbs during longer runs, you’ve kept your weight nearly neutral except for water loss. If you gained weight during your run, it’s a sign that you drank too much, which can lead to hyponatremia (over hydration), which in can be fatal.

On those occasions when you know you’ll be losing a lot of sweat, I recommend drinking 10-20 oz’s of fluid about an hour before the race to ensure you start with adequate fluid in your system.

In summary, try to match your fluid intake to just below your weight loss (which should be 2-3lbs in a race like a marathon). Do not overdrink. If you’re feeling effects of hot weather, slow your pace. Recognize the warning signs of dehydration and hyponatremia. If you are not feeling well during or after the race and incorporating a few simple changes doesn’t make you feel better, then it’s best to seek immediate medical attention.

Source: International Institute for Race Medicine (

Monday June 4th – long run @ easy pace

The purpose of this run was to get miles on my legs and build aerobic capacity.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 11.0 miles, 1:23:50 minutes, ave pace 7:37

Tuesday June 5th – short run @ easy pace

I completed this run early in the morning while on business in Boise. Ran along the beautiful campus of Boise State near downtown Boise. The purpose was to help recover from the previous day’s long run.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 6.0 miles, 48:38 minutes, ave pace 8:06

Wednesday June 6th – short run @ easy pace + conditioning in hotel gym

6 mile easy run on forest preserve trails in Rosemont, IL (O’Hare airport area). After the run, I was able to get into the hotel gym, where I completed 20 minutes of body weight & dumbbell exercises.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 6.2 miles, 48:16 minutes, ave pace 7:44

Thursday June 7th – Off Day

Business meetings & travel from Chicago to home. Rest & Recovery Day

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

Friday June 8th – Long Tempo Run

The purpose of today’s workout was to build strength. I increased the distance by a mile from my last tempo. Paces are the same, as shown in the image below. After a 1 mile warm-up, I complete 9 miles at marathon pace. As you can see, I was right on pace for the duration of the tempo.

9 mile tempo run

Run Distance, Time, & Average Pace: 11.7 miles, 1:22:48 minutes, ave pace 7:03

Saturday June 9th – short run @ easy pace

Run Distance, Time, & Average Pace: 5.1 miles, 38:32 minutes, ave pace 7:26

Sunday June 10th– Long Run @ easy + brisk

My last long run. The purpose of this run is to get time on my legs and push the pace over the last 6-8 miles. I need to get used to running on tired legs. Most plans include one last long run about 3 – 3.5 weeks from the race. This run also capped my highest mileage week of the training plan. Weekly mileage will start to decrease over the next 2 weeks before my taper the last week prior to the race.

I completed the first half of the run with friends at a very easy (8:00+/mile) pace. I picked up the pace slightly during the second half of the run. There were some hills and the weather turned cool (upper 40s) with wind and rain the last 3+ miles. I didn’t complete any of the last miles under 7:00/mile as desired, but I’m happy with the effort considering the frequent hills and the fact that I was coming off a 9 mile tempo just 2 days earlier. My legs definitely felt tired the last few miles.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 17.1 miles, 2:18:55 minutes, ave pace 8:06

Weekly total = 57.3 Miles

Why it’s important to complete a 10km race during your marathon training [Follow-Along Week 8]

Why it’s important to complete a 10km race during your marathon training [Follow-Along Week 8]

10km race middleagemarathonerThis is a big week for my training. We include 2 very important marathon specific training workouts. One is a long run with a tempo pace the last 4 miles and another is a 10k time trial. In this week’s post, I’ll explain the importance of completing a 10k time trial (or similar race if you can schedule one) in your marathon training.

I also reveal how I find routes to run when I’m traveling on business (this week I was in Arkansas).

Here’s the link to my Strava Dashboard so you can see the details of each of the workouts that I’ve completed as I train for my July 4th Marathon.

Monday May 28th – long run

As discussed in a previous post, my long runs are 16-18 miles. On this day, I ran on a fairly flat route. My splits are below. As you can see, I didn’t quite get to marathon pace, but much of the 2nd half of the run was at or below 7:20/mile pace. There is a steep hill on the 17th mile, so my pace slowed to 7:36. Overall, it was a good run. The weather was mild, no rain or wind made for optimal conditions. My legs felt fine at the end. I’ll have to work on picking up the pace a bit more on my next long run.

Long run for marathon

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 17.5 miles, 2:10:36 minutes, ave pace 7:27

Tuesday May 29th – cross training + conditioning exercises

One of the challenges of frequent business travel is being able to fit in your scheduled workouts. Sometimes I get into a hotel late in the evening or at a time when the weather forces me into the hotel gym. This week I’m in western Arkansas where the daytime temperatures are upper 80s/low 90s and humidity is high. Bottomline, unless I get outside to run in the early morning, I’m forced to workout in the comfort of the hotel gym.
On this day, I chose to complete 40 minutes (or the equivalent of 4 miles) on the elliptical plus 20 minutes of conditioning exercises (both bodyweight & with dumbbells). Because I completed the long run the day before, getting off my legs is a good thing. The purpose of today’s workout was to recover from the previous days’ long run and work on my strength.

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

Wednesday May 30th – Easy Run

Got up early (600am) and completed a 6 mile easy run around the town of Siloam Springs, AR. I kept things easy.

How to figure out where to run when you’re traveling?

I simply “google” running or bike trails in “XXXX” (XXXX=name of the town that I’m in) or I type in the address of my hotel into the google search bar and when a map comes up, I look for nearby trails. Sometimes the paths are right next to the hotel, but it’s rare that I don’t find some kind of path or trail within a mile. A lot of times these trails have mile markers so it’s easy to know how far I’ve gone or I can use the markers to complete a strength running workout (repeat miles, etc).

Other resources you can use to find running routes include or You can also go onto a particular city’s website.

In my case, I found the nearby La-Z-Boy Ball park with adjoining Dogwood Springs Bike trail about a mile from the hotel. Although the trail was short, once I got out into town, I recognized a few landmarks and was able to find my way back to the hotel and complete a 6.5 mile loop.

The purpose of this workout was recovery and to build my aerobic fitness.

6 mile easy run in Siloam Springs Arkansas

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 6.5 miles, 52:05 & 7:59/mile

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Thursday May 31st – Off Day

Business meetings & travel from Arkansas to home. Rest & Recovery Day

Friday June 1st – “Bike Blast” Strength & Conditioning (CrossFit) & Easy Run

Today’s workout was a strength & conditioning group workout at the gym. This “Bike Blast” workout was similar to previous workouts, using a barbell for the majority of the strength work. I don’t use too much weight on the barbell (typically 20-25 lbs). Since we’re completing each exercise for 60 seconds, instead a set number of repetitions, I want to ensure that I stress myself, but also complete the exercise for the specified time.

After the 45 minute workout was completed, I ran 3.5 miles at an easy pace outside.

The purpose of today’s workout was to build strength.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 3.5 miles, 26:53, 7:39

Saturday June 2ndHard Run, 10k time trial

One of the most challenging runs that I complete during my marathon training is a 10k time trial. Typically about 4-5 weeks from the race date, I get out to the flat, Vancouver Lake park and recreation area (in Vancouver, WA). The roads in this area are not heavily traveled and the surface is very similar to the Marathon course on Sauvie Island, OR. Bottomline, it’s a good practice for the upcoming marathon.

I typically have my son bike alongside me on this run for pacing, encouragement and some water/electrolytes if necessary.

The purpose of this run is to give me an accurate gauge as to where I stand relative to achieving my goal time. We talked about the Yasso 800s in an earlier post. My experience tells me that this 10k time trail along with the longer tempo runs, at this point in my training, give me a much better feel for what kind of shape I’m in.

The McMillian Calculator indicates that my 10k time should be around 38:22 (which is 6:10/mile pace). The Hanson Calculator shows 39:08 (6:18 pace). There’s other calculators which put equivalent 10k time between 37:30 – 38:30. My goal with this run is to be somewhere between 38-40 minutes. To be realistic, if I’m under 40 minutes, for the 10k time trial (which I run by myself), then I have high confidence that I will be able to complete my upcoming race between 3:00 – 3:05. I still have 4 weeks to get in more marathon specific workouts, so I know I’ll be close.

My results are below. I finished slightly above 40 minutes (I didn’t hit my watch when I was at 10k, but I know I was slightly under 39 at 6 miles).

I had a couple issues today.
1) It was getting warm when I completed this run around 10am.
2) I went out a little too fast and slowed. My feet started to hurt around 4 miles. The pain was not blisters, but more a general discomfort that was probably caused by over tightening my shoes, I forgot to apply vasoline to my feet and I was wearing older pair of socks.

Bottomline, no excuses, I’m a little bit off, but close. The stimulus was there and I was definitely pushing myself. It’s good to complete this workout.

This workout included about 1.5 mile warm-up + strides and 1.5 mile cool down at a very easy pace.

10km time trial results

Total Run Distance, Time, Pace: 10 miles, 1:17:43, 7:43

Sunday June 3rd– Easy Run + Strides

More family commitments today. I completed 5 miles at an easy pace + strides right in front of my house. I felt good. Very important to rest.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 5.1 miles, 44:26, 8:43

Weekly total = 42.7 Miles

How to make adjustments to your training schedule when you need rest or you’re busy [Follow-Along Week 7]

How to make adjustments to your training schedule when you need rest or you’re busy [Follow-Along Week 7]

How to make changes to your marathon planThis was a busy week for me as I departed Monday morning for a week of business travel. This week I was in Denver, which is at altitude, where it can hard to run. The key during these weeks where you’re pressed for time and not always feeling fresh, is to try to plan your workouts in advance. Sometimes, flexibility requires that you run early or simply get in anything you can.

IMPORTANT – Following is a key point for any runner following a plan.

It’s important to be disciplined and do your best to follow a plan, but sometimes you also have to use common sense. I believe that to ensure success for a 1/2 or full marathon, it’s important to have a plan, but it’s not written in stone. There should be room for adjustments. At this point in my training (with the race about 6 weeks out), I sometimes may feel the effects of what’s called, “accumulated fatigue.” It’s essential to be attentive to how you feel and how your body is responding to your training. We can’t just think of the plan and it’s workouts as a bunch of boxes to check. It’s important to speak with your coach regularly to provide him or her with feedback during your training.

In order to prevent overtraining, I like to plan some recovery weeks into my schedules. I’m also open to adjusting the schedules of my athletes when it makes sense (due to life getting really busy, fatigue, etc).

This doesn’t mean that you take the week off (unless you’re injured). Instead, you may cut back on the distance and/or intensity of your workouts. In my case, with a week at altitude, I completed a few more runs at an easy pace and simply accepted the effort and stimulus, while not being concerned about the pace of every run.

I’m my case during this week, because of commitments most evenings and 85+ degree temps in Denver, I completed my runs early. I did a modified strength run, some 7-8 mile runs at easy pace and a short tempo run. Also, as you can see below, my available time on the weekend was minimized due to some family commitments. In summary, my weekly distance was slightly less than each of the last 4 weeks, but I complete some quality runs and set myself up for a good long run to begin Week 8.

Here’s the link to my Strava Dashboard so you can see the details of each of the workouts that I’ve completed as I train for my July 4th Marathon.

Monday May 21st – strength run

I had to get out the door early to complete this workout. By 6:45am I was running along the Columbia river on a crushed rock/flat trail. In this workout, I completed 2 x 2 miles at 6:30 (10k pace). Ideally this workout should be 3 x 2m, but I didn’t get started early enough so I could get home clean-up and get to the airport for a 1000am flight. As with other strength running workouts, the purpose of this workout was to improve endurance (by running at a faster (than Marathon) pace) and improve lactate tolerance (running fast with heavy legs). Although this workout can be run on a track, I find that running it on marked trail is far more appealing.

My pace was a little slow the first 2 mile. I did run faster (more on target) the 2nd 2 mile interval.

1 mile warm-up at easy pace
2 miles at 13:20 + 6 minutes recovery jog
2 miles at 12:50
1 mile cool down at easy pace.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 7.2 miles, 56:50 minutes, ave pace 7:52

Tuesday May 22nd – brisk run

My first full day in Denver. I got out early and ran around Washington Park (one of the bigger parks on the south side of Denver). Even though I had run a strength workout the day before, I felt fresh throughout this run and actually ran a number of miles near 7 min pace. I wasn’t consciously trying to pick up the pace, I just felt good and moved a little faster. I doubt the effects of the altitude had hit me. After the run, I completed 10 minutes of conditioning exercises (push-ups, mountain climbers, planks, etc). The purpose of today’s workout was to recover from the previous days’ strength run and just get some miles on my legs.

Brisk run for marathon training

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 8.8 miles, 1:06:45 & 7:33/mile

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Wednesday May 23rd – Easy Run

Today was an example of why it’s important to keep easy runs, easy. After 2 relatively difficult runs (strength & then medium distance at a brisk pace), I did not feel strong or rested on today’s run. It could have been the altitude catching up to me or maybe that I was running I’m not sure, but as I ran alongside my sister (who was biking), from the beginning of the run to the end, my legs felt tired.

So, I decided to keep things easy, not elevate my heart rate too much, not worry the pace and just get easy miles on my legs. The purpose of this workout was recovery and build my aerobic fitness.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 7.0 miles, 55:58 & 7:54/mile

If you’re interested in joining me, I can put together either a custom training plan or I can personally coach you. Either program will be specific to your goals and athletic abilities. Just click on the links for details.

Thursday May 24th – Off Day

Business meetings all day and dinner with family at night. Rest & Recovery Day

Friday May 25th – Another easy run

I just wasn’t feeling it again today. My guess is that poor sleep and altitude we’re catching up to me. So, I completed another easy run, although this run included a big hill near the end.
Instead of getting in a long (9 mile) tempo & long run, I decide to just adjust the schedule and make it more of a recovery week. With 6 weeks until the marathon and more business travel the next few weeks, it’s better to listen to my body with these 7 mile runs at relatively easy pace, than to push through with tired legs.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 7.1 miles, 54:45, 7:37

Saturday May 26th – Shorter Tempo

I’m finally at sea level. However, I was out of the house early for a 2 hour drive up to the Tacoma area, so I could watch the Washington State High School Track Championships. This is an all day event, but I came prepared with my running gear, with the hope of getting in any kind of run. When a gap in the events opened up, I took opportunity to run and was able to get out for an hour.
Remarkably, after an easy mile, I felt really fresh, so I decided to gradually pick up the pace and turn the workout into a Tempo run at Marathon Pace. Below are my splits. I was able to get in quite a few miles below 7 minutes/mile without any strain.
I knew that the next day I would not have much time to run, so getting in a 5+ mile tempo was a nice surprise. Although I would have been happy with just getting in about 5 miles easy (to continue my rest week), this run was another marathon specific workout. The more of these that you can get in with proper rest, the better.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 7.0 miles, 50:02, 7:07

Sunday May 27th– Easy Run + Strides

Family commitments today. With only an hour after Church, I completed 5 miles at an easy pace + strides right in front of my house. I felt good. It was important to go easy because tomorrow will be a 17.5 mile long run.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 5.0 miles, 43:26, 8:38

Weekly total = 42.3 Miles

Strength Training for Marathon Runners [Follow-Along Week 6]

Strength Training for Marathon Runners [Follow-Along Week 6]

Strength Training for Marathon Runners

Week 6

During this week, I will combine strength (running) workouts, longer tempos and my long run to start the most marathon specific training of my plan. Over the next few weeks, I will increase the length of the intervals in my strength workouts, get in longer mid week runs and increase the distance of my long run. I’m moving from the lactate threshold and endurance mesocycle (portion of training) to the race preparation mesocycle.

This week you will learn about the importance of strength training for marathoners. Strength training & conditioning exercises for runners should complement your training, not tire you out so you’re too sore and fatigued to run. Below you will also find links to some videos detailing workouts that I complete. I’ve broken the training into level 1 for those just beginning their strength training and level 2 for more advanced/experienced athletes.

Here’s the link to my Strava Dashboard so you can see the details of each of my workouts.

Monday May 14th – Easy run

The purpose of this workout was to continue recovery from the Saturday’s 16 mile long run and also to include an easy/rest day prior to my Tuesday strength workout.

Run Distance, Time & Average Pace: 7.1 miles, 57:08 minutes, ave pace 7:59

Tuesday May 15th – Strength workout

1 mile (or 10 minute warm-up @ easy pace) + strides
3 x 2400m w/ 4 minute rest
10 minute c/d

This week I’m increasing the distance of the interval for my track workouts again. Now I’m up to 1.5 mile repeats at slightly faster than 10k pace (approx. 6:20/mile). Last week I discussed the benefits of these strength workouts. The biggest benefit is that preparing my body to handle the fatigue that comes with marathon running. This workout is combined with a longer tempo and long run to give me the best marathon preparation possible.

I like to keep the rest relatively short (in this case it’s about half the time of the interval) so I can really get my body used to dealing with some lactic acid accumulation.

Repeat 1.5 mile strength workout for marathon

My times for each 2400m ranged were 9:34, 9:30 & 9:22 (I actually miscounted laps on the last interval and briefly stopped after 2000m, then I realized I was a lap short). I hit my goal pace (slightly faster than 10k) and actually felt good. Splits for my workout are below.

Run Distance: 8.2 miles

Wednesday May 16th – Easy Run

6 mile easy run. The purpose of this workout was to recover from yesterday’s track workout. I also have a hard/Tempo workout on Thursday, so keeping this run easy is essential to get the most benefit from my strength and tempo workouts.

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 6.1 miles, 50:07 & 8:06/mile

Thursday May 17th – Tempo Run

Ten Miles total, 8 miles at Tempo
1 mile warm-up at easy pace
8 miles at or near Marathon Pace
1 mile cool down at easy pace

10 mile tempo run for marathon training

Run Distance, Time & Overall Pace: 10 miles, 1:11:26 & 7:08/mile

Friday May 18th – Cross & Strength Training + 2 miles on the treadmill

Today I completed a 45 minute “bike blast” cross training workout at the gym. It’s been 3 weeks since I completed this workout. Although I have been completing other conditioning/strength exercises, this workout is particularly useful because it combines rotating 1 minute on a stationary bike at a brisk pace with 1 minute of conditioning. It’s a great aerobic + strength workout.

After the workout, I like to get a few miles in on a treadmill or outside. Today I completed 2 miles on treadmill.

Strength training for runners won’t bulk you up and slow you down as long as you complete runner-specific training that emphasizes movements that directly correlate to running performance.

Today’s conditioning exercises were both upper & lower body strength with barbells and my body weight. A few of the exercises with a shorter barbell and 20lbs of weights include squats, lunges, chest presses, arm curls and shoulder presses. The body weight exercises included push-ups, jump lunges, mountain climbers and various forms of planks and core exercises.

Increased strength contributes to improved running in a number of ways. First, it helps to improve form when your fatigued. Strength training assists in preventing injuries because you have stronger muscles. Runners with better endurance can run longer. Stronger runners are able to recover faster from their long runs because strength training makes their bodies more efficient at converting metabolic waste into energy. The stronger you get, the more resilient your body will become to the demands of running.

Mountain Climbers for Marathon Runners

It’s important to remember that strength training should supplement your running. I like to keep my strength workouts short and fairly simple. I complete these bike blast classes every 2-3 weeks + the 15 minutes of conditioning exercises that I complete twice per week.

I have created some videos showing 2 levels of conditioning exercises:

Level 1 –

These are beginner exercises that should be completed if you’re just starting conditioning exercises. It’s very important to start new runners or runners who aren’t accustomed to conditioning at an easier level. Also, I recommend starting with one session per week and work up to 2-3 and also including multiple sets of exercises per session as you get stronger.

Level 2 –

Run Distance – 2 miles

Saturday May 19th – Long Run

10.7 miles at easy pace. Today’s run serves a dual purpose. I’m continuing to get time on my legs. Because I had some tough workouts (strength run on the track & tempo) this week and I had a long run the week before, the length of this run was only 10-12 miles.
Many plans include slight increases in long run mileage every week. At the beginning of the plan, I do gradually increase my long runs week-to-week. However, during the harder, Marathon Preparation Mesocycle, I like my long runs of 15+ miles to be every other weekend. This helps me avoid injury.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 10.7 miles, 1:24:04, 7:49

Sunday May 20th– Easy Run + Strides

5 miles at easy pace + strides
The purpose of this run was to recover from the previous day’s long run. The pace is easy.

Run Distance, Time, Pace: 5.3 miles, 43:29, 8:07

Weekly total = 49.7 Miles