Training Updates: New Jersey Marathon

So I’m in the middle of training for the New Jersey Marathon, and I know I suck at sharing my weekly training logs. I have the best intentions, I swear! But I thought I’d at least drop in with an update on how things are going so far.

The first few weeks were pretty uneventful. I had done a bit (okay, a lot) of lounging around after running the Walt Disney World Marathon, so it was all about getting back into the swing of things. All I can say is that training in this winter has been quite the adventure. It has been ABSOLUTELY FREAKIN’ FRIGID the past couple of weeks, with wind chills causing it to feel below zero most days. I’m constantly navigating my way over mounds of snow and slush, or gently stepping over patches of ice. On the rare day when the forecast calls for temperatures in the 30s or higher, it feels downright tropical.

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Gotta love running in 15 degrees!

But as a wise queen once said…the cold doesn’t bother me, anyway. I’d still rather fight the brutal winter winds than run on a sweltering summer afternoon, thankyouverymuch.

Channeling my inner Elsa

Channeling my inner Elsa

Meanwhile, I’ve decided to take it back to basics a little bit. I haven’t particularly enjoyed my performances in races as of late, so I figure I’ve got to change things up. For starters? I’m really, REALLY trying to be consistent and get in ALL of my mid-week runs, just like I did when I was a marathon training newb. I’m following a beginner plan from Competitor, and I’m making my own modifications in terms of molding the runs/workouts to suit my own needs.

And right now, my needs are the following:

Run a fast(er) half marathon, or die.

I am super motivated right now to improve my half marathon time. I have a number of reasons for this — for starters, I’m sick of just being happy with “finishing” a half when I haven’t had a PR since my first half marathon in April 2013. Also, as I’ve previously mentioned, that shiny little PR of mine is no longer any good when it comes to submitting a race time for corral placement at my next runDisney race (which, hopefully, should be this year’s Wine and Dine!) so I have a little bit of added incentive to earn my way back into one of the earlier corrals.

Those were the days...

Those were the days…

I know I’m not likely to PR (I’d have to break 2:03) because I can’t expect drastic results in such a short period of time…but I am confident than I can perform a LOT better than I have in my most recent half marathons.

October 2014, 2:20 finish time (which included a few stops for photos along the way!)

October 2014, 2:20 finish time (which included a few stops for photos along the way!)

To that end, I’m working on running as fast as I can for at least 1-2 of the shorter runs each week, and trying to maintain a more consistent (albeit not quite AS fast) pace for my long runs. I’m definitely pushing myself harder than I have in a looooong time, and I think it may already be paying off. I’m seeing all of my “old” paces on the Garmin again (anywhere between a 9-9:30/minute mile), which is ridiculously exciting.

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On other news, we have officially signed up for The Love Run in Philadelphia, and we will also probably be doing a local 10-miler in honor of St. Patrick’s Day next month. I know The Love Run course is pretty flat, so if all goes well and I stay healthy and the weather gods grant me with a nice, cool morning sans snow and/or rain…I’m hoping to see what I can do.

Photo credit: CGI Racing

Photo credit: CGI Racing

This training cycle, my first two long runs were a 6-miler and a 7-miler. This Sunday, I went ahead and bumped it up to a 10-miler. Not the smartest idea, I know, but Todd is really good at modifying training plans to accommodate races and any other potential training conflicts we may have. And if he was doing 10 miles this weekend, then I certainly couldn’t let him show me up. ;)

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First double-digit long run for marathon #5!

The good news? It went fine. Even better than fine. I felt awesome on a long run for the first time in…well…I can’t even remember how long. The last mile or two were a little bit of a struggle, but other than that, I was THRILLED to maintain my “old” long run pace of about a 10-minute mile.

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My knee hasn’t been bothering me lately, THANK GOD, but now I’ve suddenly got some weird soreness/tenderness on the bottom of my right foot. It’s nothing extremely severe…just ANNOYING. I’ve been icing, rolling my foot on a ball (stolen from my family’s Shih Tzu, Riley…who wasn’t too happy about it), and I know it’s about that time for a new pair of shoes — ALREADY — so hopefully that helps.

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*Paws off, lady*

In terms of my weekly workout schedule, I *THINK* I’ve found a pretty good balance — for once. I’m going to Taekwondo on Wednesdays and Fridays, and sometimes I’m able to squeeze in a Thai kickboxing class on a Monday or Tuesday (depending on my piano teaching schedule). The Taekwondo classes can be absolutely brutal on my legs — I feel like I basically just hold a squat position for 60 minutes — but fortunately it doesn’t seem to be affecting my running too much (not yet, anyway). It DOES force me to stretch, which is something I’m terrible at doing consistently, and I do think the fact that the classes kick my butt, cardio-wise, is only making me that much stronger.

Right now I’m hopeful that all of these things, combined with the fact that I’m really watching what I eat again and trying to lose at least a little bit of of the extra flub I’ve packed on since I started training for Dopey 2014, will make this my most successful round of marathon training yet. :)

What are you training for this spring?! :)

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