When I came back from Elise's birth so strong and was able to run decent times for me in the half-marathon less than a year after giving birth, the fire to run faster really lit deep within me. I had a breakthrough season during the fall of 2016 and that made me even more determined to run PRs and train as hard as I could. As you all know, that ended with a disappointing spring 2017 season that was also eye opening to me. I realized the main reason why I've never had a serious running-related injury is because I've never run high mileage on my own. Anytime I've run over 40 mile weeks I've had a coach guiding me and helping me determine what was best for my body. The first time I got really serious and tried to hit mostly 50 mile weeks on my own I ended up with shin splints that made it hurt to walk and legs so fatigued I couldn't recover in between hard workouts. Looking back it may have been more than just what I did over the spring season since I ran 10 races within 8 weekends from October to December which included a half-marathon where I nearly ran a PR! So I decided I could use some guidance on how to recover between races and how to increase my mileage safely. Ty encouraged me to hire a coach and I went for it.
I wasn't sure what it would be like, if I'd fall into a pattern like I always did in the past of following exactly what my coaches advised or if I'd fight it a little bit and want to do things my own way. At first it was a bit hard because he wanted me to run no faster than 9 minute pace and only every other day to ensure my body recovered from my injuries before we got back into hard training. I wanted to run faster and push harder but I listened and my body recovered really well. If it hadn't been for him I have no doubt I would've pushed too much in the beginning and would have lingering issues with my shin. I kept feeling like he was babying me too much and I could really do more than what he was asking of me. I'm still only running about 25 miles a week which seems really low to me but I know right now is really more about building my speed through tempo runs and speedwork while letting my body recover in between. The weekly mileage will build as race day gets closer. It wasn't until I started training with a coach that I realized how obsessed I'd become with weekly mileage. In my head if I hit 50 mile weeks I would get faster and hitting that weekly mileage was my priority. I did stupid stuff like running 10 miles a day during our vacation in Florida because I knew I wasn't going to get a long run. Looking back now I see all the silly mistakes I made by focusing so much on weekly mileage.
My coach has me running a hilly long run every other weekend. I think this is a big key that was missing in my training before which will help me reach my goals in the fall. When I fell off PR pace at the Route 66 in November, I lost all that time in the final 2 miles which were hilly. I will be attempting a sub-1:30 on the same course this fall and I think all these hilly long runs will be help me reach my goals with those challenging last few miles. He's also been having me run longer repeats during speed work. I usually ran a lot of 400 and 800 repeats, occasionally doing 1200 repeats at times. He has me focusing a lot more on mile repeats while still throwing in 400s and 800s as well. My recovery during speed work is a 400 between all repeats rather than a tenth of a mile like I had been doing and I've been surprised by how much more I like that. I'm able to push the repeats harder and run faster times for my splits since I have longer recovery and I'm still getting faster. I haven't done anything too impressive yet since I haven't been doing speed work for very long but my last speed workout was 2x800 and 2x1600 with a 400 jog between each. I was really pleased that I ran a 3:01 last half of my second 1600 which shows I am regaining my speed. Another big difference is that my coach is giving me more recovery after races than what I would normally give myself and eases off speed workouts before races which I never did for myself. I'd always just move speed work up one day to give myself more time to recover before races. I think missing speed work or running easier workouts will actually benefit me more in the long run because they are giving my body precious time to recover. In all of this I am realizing the biggest piece I was missing in the past was the rest and recovery portion of training, oftentimes skipping it all together.
I am really enjoying having someone else create my training plans. It makes me realize how unnecessarily tough I was on myself. I also really like having someone to ask questions and to keep me from obsessing over what the best decision is. It has been amazing to have a coach and I think it will really be key as I get closer to race day and start wanting to push too hard. I believe that he will get me where I need to be so I can run my best race in November. I was pleased to run almost exactly the same time in my 10k in June that I had run in my 10k in August of 2016. I feel like I'm a couple months ahead of where I was that summer and am hoping that will help lead to losing the almost 2 minutes I'm looking to knock off my half-marathon time from November 2016!
|Because I can't have a post without a picture, here's me, Elise, Carter, and mom running Elise in to the finish of the Starry Night Mile Fun Run back in June.|