HHN1: Thoughts on the First Six Weeks

I realized this morning that last week was the sixth week of my current training plan (catch-up: I’m using Hal Higdon Novice 1 marathon training to build mileage this summer).  The plan is 18 weeks long, which means I am officially a third of the way through it.  I think it would be jinxing things to make any comments about levels of health or success up to this point, but I do want to reflect on the past weeks a little bit.

I stopped doing weekly training recaps after the second week of the plan because I was finding them boring to write.  I already keep a training log for myself, so it’s not like I need weekly blog write-ups to hold myself accountable or to give me something to look back on.  I thought about posting a training recap today, but instead, here are some general take-aways looking back at the first six weeks of the program.

  1. I like having a structured outline of what days I will be running and how far.  I have never followed a training plan before and this takes a lot of the guesswork out of training for me.
  2. I was concerned about how the plan has three consecutive run days each week–Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I’m finding that I can handle it physically, but sometimes I feel burned out by the third day.  The last two weeks, due to other scheduling issues, I have switched Thursday’s run day and Friday’s rest day, which I have liked better.  However, I’m going to keep sticking to the plan as much as possible.
  3. Following this plan has afforded me more consistency with running than I have had all this year.  My reasoning for choosing this plan was that I thought it was my best chance at the moment of rebuilding mileage as safely as possible.  So far, it seems to be helping me do that.  As a result, I have been able to run consistently and am starting to feel like I am slowly but steadily regaining fitness.  It is hard to see changes day-to-day, but as these first six weeks have compounded, I have started feeling more confident in my running.
How I am doing so far. Green means I did it, yellow means I did it with some modifications, red means nope.

How I am doing so far. Green means I did it, yellow means I did it with some modifications, and red means nope. Compare to my Google doc! 😉

On Thursday, I wrote that I would be running a 5k the next day and that I thought 27:XX would be difficult for me to achieve given my current level of fitness.  I will be writing a race recap tomorrow, but just to spoil it a little: I ran 27:04 and regrettably had something left in the tank at the end.  That is evidence to me that I am starting to improve again.  My 5k PR is 24:49, which suddenly doesn’t seem so far away anymore.  I’m doing this plan to build a base to hopefully train for a spring 2015 marathon this winter, but a shiny new 5k PR certainly would not hurt… 😉

All in all, I am happy with this training plan so far.  The exciting newness of it has worn off, but of course I am sticking with it and I 100% plan to see it through to the end.  This Saturday will be the first long run of the plan that is over ten miles, so it feels like I am just now moving into the meat of the program.  Additionally, since I have never run longer than a half marathon, I am quickly approaching brand new territory.  I look forward to seeing how the next weeks of the plan play out.

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HHN1 Week 2 (6/1-6/8)

This morning, I discovered my calling as a Chipmunk Rescuer.  I was running past a house when I saw a cat in the yard holding something in its mouth.  It saw me, got scared, dropped what it was holding, and ran away toward the house.  Then, a chipmunk ran away from the same spot in the opposite direction.  I hope both animals can be happy now.

This is just a quick post about last week’s training.  Last week was Week 2 of Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 (non-)marathon training plan.  I have nothing much to say, except that I felt it went well and I am feeling ready for the plan to start increasing the distance of the Wednesday runs, which it does starting in week 3.  I’m also glad I was able to get real cross-training in on Sunday instead of just taking a walk.  I don’t know how often that will happen because I am still set on saving money by not having a gym membership.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: run 3.19 miles

Wednesday: run 3.06 miles

Thursday: run 3.07 miles + lower-body strength training at home with just my bodyweight (I was actually sore the next day!)

Friday: rest

Saturday: run 7.06 miles – I wrote about this here.

Sunday: 30min elliptical + 30min upper-body weights

Total running for the week: 16.38 miles (0.01 more than last week, haha.)

Are you training for anything?  Like I said before, I’m just using this plan in an attempt to safely build mileage and get healthy before training for spring races.  I have a few races this summer, but I’m just running them for fun. 🙂

HHN1 Week One

The disease-sounding name in the title (H1N1 anyone?) stands for Hal Higdon Novice 1 and this is my recap of week one of the Novice 1 marathon training program.  As I wrote about here, I’m not planning to run a marathon at the end of this training cycle, but I wanted some structure and this plan seemed to fit my goals.

The first week was really easy and probably exactly what I needed to recover from Bayshore the previous weekend.  It called for rest Monday, 3-mile runs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, rest Friday, a “long” run of 6 miles on Saturday, and cross training Sunday.  Each week has the same rest, run, and cross-training days, so I’m sitting here on Monday of week two feeling ready to run, but reminding myself that I need to rest today.  I’m definitely not used to taking two days off from running in a row unless I am feeling hurt.

On that note, my takeaway from week one is that I really like the amount of rest this plan prescribes.  On Thursday, after having run three days in a row, I was feeling ready for rest and was happy that Friday was a rest day.  In addition, resting Monday after not running on Sunday gives me lots of physical and mental energy to tackle and enjoy the next three days of running.

I was surprised this week by the long run.  I thought 6 miles would be a piece of cake after running a half marathon the previous weekend, but the late-spring heat really got to me and I felt very bad for much of it.  It was approaching 70ºF when I went out at 10am and was already 75 when I finished an hour later.  I sweat easily and saltily, so even though I grabbed water at the halfway point, I was starting to feel nauseous by the end.  That is something I need to figure out how to handle this summer.  I’m hoping some of it will get easier as I get more acclimated to the heat, but I will also be heading out earlier in the day next time, when it hopefully will not be as hot.

I did not buy a spring/summer gym membership from the university gym this year (although I could still buy one if I wanted), so my cross-training this week was simply walking.  I went downtown to cheer the finishers at the Dexter-Ann Arbor run and pretty much walked all around town going into different shops, as well.  Once I get my road bike fixed, I might bike sometimes, but I really do like walking and honestly, my legs were tired by the end of the morning (I was on my feet for three hours), so I felt good about walking as cross training. 🙂

This is what my week looked like in far fewer words:

Monday: rest

Tuesday: run 3.03mi

Wednesday: run 3.48mi

Thursday: run 3.85mi (I underestimated the distance of the loop) + hip strengthening exercises after

Friday: rest

Saturday: run 6mi

Sunday: cross training – walked around downtown all morning

Total running for the week: 16.36mi 😀

How was your training last week?  Do you like to follow a plan or do your own thing?

Resting training 5/12-5/18/14

After re-tweaking my hip on Tuesday, I ended up taking the rest of the week really easy trying to sort it out.  No more running and as little walking as possible until it was feeling better.  I was able to go for a walk Sunday night without pain, but running still feels out of the question.  I still want to play it super safe to make sure I make it to the starting line (and the finish!) of Bayshore on Saturday.

I walked to work this morning (Monday), which is about 2 miles, and I felt probably just as good as my walk Sunday night, but my hip still feels weak and volatile.  Once the pain is completely gone, I want to work on strengthening it with some bodyweight work.  I have some PT exercises I have been neglecting.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 6mi run during which I messed up my hip again (didn’t notice till that night)

Wednesday: yoga before bed

Thursday: rest

Friday: at-home strength workout, mostly core and a bit of arms

Saturday: rest

Sunday: Walked a little less than 4 miles with Matt

Total running: 6 miles, but it’s fine. 🙂

Training 5/5-5/11/14

This past week was a great week of training for me.  The last time I hit 20 miles for a week five weeks ago, I was ignoring hip pain that ended up needing a week off to rectify.  I started thinking there must be something wrong with me where I can’t even run 20 miles without getting hurt, even though I have ran more than that in the past.  My highest week ever was last spring at about 45 miles, although I got a stress fracture shortly after.

I am still learning how to recover properly and figuring out what works best for me, but I’m really hopeful that this is the start of some solid, consistent base building this summer.  I’m scared of saying things like that because I know the tiniest thing can push my body over the edge, but hopefully if I’m careful, I won’t be putting my foot in my mouth by saying it.

Training last week was pretty much just running.  I didn’t do any strength training besides a few pushups after one of my runs.  That is something I want to change for the coming week, even if it is just a couple short at-home yoga sessions.

Monday: Still very sore from my long run the day before – 20 min recovery yoga before bed.

Tuesday: 2.47mi easy, STILL sore from the previous Sunday…

Wednesday: off – took a walk with Matt after work that ended up being about 3 miles. 🙂

Thursday: 5.27mi easy before work.  I stopped two or three times to stretch for a few seconds when I felt little pulls, which definitely felt like it helped.

Friday: 3mi easy before work with a couple friends + a few strides at the end.

Saturday: off

Sunday: 10mi – first double-digit long run since November that I wrote about here!

Total running for the week: 20.74mi

I’m so excited that number is a twenty. 🙂  Here’s to small victories.

Training Recap: Week of 4/28-5/4/14

I’m actually amazed that last week was still April for half the week.  Even though it doesn’t feel like it outside, it is distinctly May in my mind right now.  Not sure why–maybe because I’m out of school and a bunch of people just graduated on May 3rd.

My hip is doing a lot better and actually felt amazing after my long run on Sunday.  Last week, my hip was a little tight after my long run, but this time I’m just regular-sore.  I’m actually more sore from yesterday’s long run than I have been from a run in a long time.  I’m probably going to try this recovery yoga video tonight.

I ran three times last week with two rest days.  I’m trying to incorporate some form of strength training into my routine twice a week, which I did last week on Monday and Wednesday.  I’m still debating whether I want to spend $90 for a student gym membership for the summer, or whether I just want to do bodyweight exercises at home.  I’m not taking summer classes, so I can’t get into the gym for free over the summer. 😦  I’ll probably buy the membership, but I’ve had to spend so much money lately that I’m hesitant.

Monday: Upper body weights in the morning (hit 70lb for 3 reps on bench press for a rep PR–my 1RM is 75lb–and it felt easy! This is why I should maintain a gym membership.) + 25 min yoga in the evening following this video.

Tuesday: 3.8mi before work

Wednesday: Bouldering in the evening for an hour (tons of long breaks obviously)

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 3.34mi after work.  I felt amazing during and after this run.

Saturday: Off for graduation festivities. 🙂  Lots of walking though!

Sunday: 8.28mi, mostly through trails and parks.

Total running for the week: 15.42mi

I’m really happy with how this week went.  Sunday gave me confidence that I will be able to get through the Bayshore Half Marathon on May 24th.  I ran my PR there last year, but with my general lack of training and low mileage this winter, I was honestly worried about even being able to cover the distance this year.  I’m feeling much better about that now!

How about you?  How was your running/training/working out last week?  I hope you have an excellent start to this week!

I’m back! Training 4/21-4/27/14

I expect to feel pain in my hip whenever I walk around, and then I don’t and it is AWESOME.  I was pretty absent all last week because of exams, but I got a couple little runs in and I had a fabulous weekend and am ready for that spring/summer life.  Just a short post about the week’s runs today because I want to get going to bed soon!

Wednesday: 2.36mi – The night before, I ran about halfway home from the dining hall (so maybe like 0.15mi) and my hip felt NORMAL, so I went for a short 20-minute test run on Wednesday and had zero pain!!! + foam rolling and 7-min core

Friday: 2.43mi – Matt was going to run a couple miles with me on Thursday, but I was sore from Wednesday, so we decided I would be better off resting.  Ran Friday instead with another friend on trails in the rain. 🙂

Sunday: 6mi – An out-and-back through a couple trails near Matt’s house.  My feet felt pretty weak and I had to stop and stretch at the end of mile 4, but in retrospect I’m very happy about this.  I had a giant knot in my butt at the end, but that’s gone now too. 🙂

Total running for the week: 10.79mi

All in all, a short but productive running week.  Even if I had felt up to running more, with exams there would have been no way.  I definitely won’t be in good shape for Bayshore in four weeks, but if all goes well I should at least be able to get one or two ten-milers in over the next couple weeks.

And now, I sleep.