April 4, 2015

Training Recap Jan-Feb-Mar 2015

Running a workout on my tempo loop. Our neighborhood has some nice views!

A quarter of the year is already behind us. Usually the first 3 months of the year are "winter" but we didn't really have winter this year... it was more of a perpetual spring with a couple winter days and a couple borderline summer days sprinkled in. 

This is meant to be a somewhat thorough recap of my training so far this year, as I've recently gone through a bit of a setback that has put me in limbo (about where to go from here). I wanted to get all my thoughts down for reference... then forget about it and move forward!

To start, here's my daily log links for the past 4 months: DecemberJanuary - February - March

As I have mentioned in almost every training/running recap since the race, Chicago took a lot out of me. A lot more than I would have imagined it would. When I started doing workouts again in December, I was slow. So I had to be really patient as I tried to build my fitness back towards a respectable level.

December Training

AT / Marathon Pace runs are my "go-to" workout. I try to do these by feel without a specific pace goal. When I started in December I was only running 5:45 pace for 4 miles. Over the course of the next 10 weeks, I got these runs up to 10 miles and down to something in the ballpark of marathon goal pace.

Steady State runs provide a nice stimulus for marathon training, and they aren't quite as demanding. I built these runs up from 11.5 to 16 miles, around 20 seconds slower than goal MP.

And I mixed in a few cut-down workouts and two races during this time span as well...

I thought I ran well at USA XC... and not so great at the Phoenix 1/2 ... but I wasn't panicking because I hadn't really done the workouts for a good half-marathon.

Here's a more comprehensive look at January and February:

My mileage was quite a bit lower than what I've run in the past, but you'll notice a lot of blue highlights in the calendar. That's all human-powered uphill skiing. During these months I was (on average) climbing 9,000-10,000 feet per week on skis, which is a big aerobic stimulus. I don't like the play the "convert other activities to running equivalents" game, but at the very minimum, it was like adding another 25-30 miles per week of running... maybe even more. So the total volume was similar to past marathon buildups.

We went to Mexico during the second week of March. I felt like I was in a decent position going into the trip. I had just done a solid 16 mile steady state workout before the trip, and I thought that after a somewhat relaxed week of training in Mexico (I didn't do any workouts, but did get in a hot/humid 22 mile long run down there) I'd be able to come home and hit the training hard for 5 weeks... and be on a major upswing by the time London rolled around.

Running in Mexico

On the last day of the trip in Mexico, I started to feel a little sick. I had no idea what my body was about to get hit by...

My weight chart for 2015. Not the way to drop down to a good race weight!

I got really sick once we got home. After 7 days I finally got on antibiotics, which allowed me to start running again, but in a very depleted state. Running is a generous term to use. My body was wrecked and as the March calendar (below) shows, I was basically doing something of a turtle shuffle (with far too frequent walking breaks!) for a week.

So now it's April 4th, I haven't done a workout in a month, and I can still barely break 8:30/mile pace on my runs. I just constantly feel like I got hit by a car, and my hamstring health (which had been improving) seems to have backslid as well (ugh). My good (left) hamstring is now worse than my bad (right) one.

I don't know where I go from here (although I'm obviously not racing a marathon in 3 weeks!). At this point I'm primarily concerned with trying to just feel good again.

While I made some progress before this illness/setback, I still wasn't anywhere near my form of 2011-2014. As I said above, I haven't really been the same runner since Chicago. I need to evaluate some things and if I want to get back to running like my "old self"... I need to fully commit to fixing my hamstring issues... not just haphazardly pay attention to the problem when I feel like it.


  1. Feel better buddy. Don't get down on things. Talent never goes away and your never more then 8 weeks from building back to a high level of fitness. Just get healthy and enjoy the process once again!

    Maybe break out "Once a runner" for a read, that always does the trick!

    Be well man,

    1. Thanks Dave. I appreciate the comment.

      It might be more like eight-TEEN weeks this time around back to high fitness :-) One thing never changes, despite any setbacks, I never stop loving lacing up the shoes for a run or two everyday.