This Runner's Trials

A better week

Posted by runnerstrials

Thanks so much for listening to my whining last week. I really appreciate all of your suggestions – and it was such a relief to hear that so many of you have been in my shoes.

It’s funny. I keep thinking in terms of Dopey. When I look at this past week, I kept getting down on myself for not doing enough for only being 4 weeks out from a marathon. But when I look at things in terms of Thunder Road, I’m really proud of myself. Hitting 30 miles in a week at only 4 weeks post-marathon is a lot for me.

So, that’s what I’m trying to keep in mind. I wish I could do more to get ready for Dopey, but I can’t forget where I’m coming from. On one hand, I’m disappointed that I’m not in the right mindset to train harder. But on the other hand, I’m so, so glad that I already have a marathon base. I think the biggest thing I gained from NYCM/Thunder Road training was learning how to push on fatigued legs.

For instance, at mile 11 on yesterday’s 16-miler, my legs had it. They were done. The old Jen would have taken walk breaks and cut the run short (<--- not that there is anything wrong with that at all. It’s how I approached training for over a decade, but I'm happy that marathon training taught me how to get over this hump.) But yesterday that thought didn’t even cross my mind. I just told myself to push past the pain and that I’d feel better soon, and I was right. This is a really new way of training for me, and I’m glad I’ll have that ability with me at Dopey.

That being said, I wish I could have done a true Dopey back-to-back training run (8 miles one day, 16 miles the next) to fully prepare for the challenge. But some other things came up this past weekend, so it didn’t happen.


It snowed in our town in 63 degree temps. Sledding > running when you live in the South.

So, knowing that I likely wouldn’t get in the volume needed for a true Dopey test run, I tried to fatigue my legs other ways. All of my other workouts this week, except for my long run, were intense. Two speedwork sessions on the treadmill, a hilly run with the double stroller, and my second spin class in a month (with a new instructor who likes heavy climbs – ouch).

  • M: OFF
  • Tu: 6 treadmill miles at 8:14, including 4mi of Tabata-style pick-ups
  • W: 45min spin class
  • Th: 3mi double stroller at 9:20 pace
  • F: 5 treadmill miles at 8:04, including 3mi at 7:30
  • S: OFF
  • S: 16mi at 9:05


It was also 60 degrees for my long run. It was heaven.

Another reason I had a better week – besides the amazing weather? I finally braved the gym childcare with both of my children. Wyatt’s at an age where he’s happy anywhere that there’s toys now (and he finally gets that “mommy always comes back”). And Hadley is so chill that she’s content to be in any new environment. I think this is going to be a game changer this winter. I don’t love knowing that my workout could come to a halt at any minute due to an unhappy kiddo, but it sure beats running on cold, dark mornings in my book!


Feeling Dopey

Posted by runnerstrials

Hadley woke up at 4:50 yesterday morning, as she usually does. Normally, I nurse her, put her back down to sleep, pump, and stay up to do work or workout. But for the past three weeks I haven’t been doing that. I’ve been going back to bed for another hour before both kids wake up.


Or letting them sleep on me since that’s so rare these days!

After NYCM, I still had all of the motivation in the world. Sure, I was sore and tired (and cold), but I was really excited to do Thunder Road. Since crossing that finish line, though, I’ve had zero motivation. After two marathons, months of training, and broken sleep, it really shouldn’t surprise me that all I want to do is be lazy now.

I need to keep training, though, because I’m running the Dopey Challenge in 4.5 weeks – a race that I have been really excited about for the past year and a half. More like super excited about! My husband and I are going to Disney without kids (!) and we planned on racing each other to see who could earn the overall faster time. He’d kill me in the 5k and 10k, we’d probably be pretty even in the half, but I’d likely beat him in the full – so it was going to be an awesome race to see who “won” between the two of us.

However, I’m burnt out. I’ve been trying to strike a balance between listening to my body and training enough to finish Dopey feeling fairly strong but it has been tough. I took 12 days completely off from all workouts after Thunder Road, I’ve been keeping my pace slow on all runs – save for a turkey trot, and I’ve traded early morning runs for afternoon stroller runs. But I don’t feel like I’m doing enough to complete Dopey.

IMG_0835 (1)

Yesterday was going to be the day I turned it all around and buckled down with my training. I even had a draft post ready to go about my training “plan” for the next month. But after I fed my daughter and pumped, I went back to bed! I finally got out the door around 9:15 am – more than 3 hours later than planned.

The 14 miles went really well – I averaged an 8:55 pace and was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the run went by. But since I slept in and delayed my run, I didn’t have a chance to bake gingerbread cookies with my son. He didn’t know the difference but I felt awful about it. I’ve never felt like I’ve had issues balancing family and training until now.

I’m at a loss. I don’t know how to approach training for the next few weeks so I feel adequately trained, well-rested, and excited to race when I line up at the start – without sacrificing family time. (More coffee is probably the only logical solution!)


Jeff and I decided to abandon the racing each other idea, and plan on just sticking together for all of the races – which will probably be more fun anyway. I hope to do a 16-17 miler this weekend, a 18-20 miler the following weekend, and get in some decent mid-week runs, too. But I’m not sure that will be enough.

So, I’m feeling pretty dopey for thinking I could handle training for Dopey after the marathons in November. If anyone has some motivational tips or advice for how to approach the next 4.5 weeks, I’m all ears! And, yeah, I’ll definitely be taking some time off after Dopey. Now I know why most athletes take an off-season!


16 (or 18?) week marathon training plan for a sub- 4:00 hour finish

Posted by runnerstrials

I tracked my weekly training for NYCM here, but I said I would share the final plan once I ran the race. I’m really happy with this plan! I felt very prepared for the marathon, never felt over-trained, and met the sub-4:00 goal I set. Well, I achieved my goal but it took two weeks longer than planned.


So, here’s a detailed plan of what I did to earn my sub-4:00 marathon. I think I was ready to run a sub-4:00 after 16 weeks of training, but just had an unlucky day. I don’t think anyone would need to do all 18 weeks of this plan – especially considering that I took it extra easy in the weeks between the marathons.

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun
4.25mi at 8:36; 2.25mi w/stroller at 9:16 45min spin 5mi tempo w/ 3 at 8:03 + lifting 45min spin 9mi at 9:09 3.25mi at 8:27 + spin OFF
4.25mi at 8:22; 3mi at 9:10 w/ double stroller 45min spin 5mi at 8:08, including 5x 800m at 7:30; 20 minutes lifting 45min spin 10mi at 9:20 3mi at 8:11; 45 minute TRX class OFF
4.25 mi at 8:18; 3mi w/ stroller at 9:15 45min spin 5mi at 8:14 with 3 tempo at 7:54 45min spin 11mi at 9:05 OFF 5mi stroller at 8:03
6x 800m at 7:00 (6mi total) 4mi untimed OFF 4.25mi at 8:10 12mi at 9:03 5k race in 26:45 45min spin class + lifting
5mi at 8:45 7x 800m at 6:52 (7mi total) OFF 4mi at 8:43 14mi at 9:07 OFF 45min spin class + lifting
5mi at 8:32 8x 800m at 6:52 (7.5mi) OFF 4.25mi at 8:34 15mi at 9:09 OFF 1 hour spin
5mi at 8:30 + 3mi double stroller at 9:40 45 min Spin 7mi with 5 tempo at 7:32 45min TRX 16mi at 9:12 OFF 3mi at 8:55 + 20min swim
2mi warm-up + 5k race in 22:01 7mi progression run Spin + TRX 7mi at 8:55 OFF 1mi warm-up + 5k race in 21:35 1 hour spin
6mi at 8:49 9x 800m at 6:53 (8mi total) Spin + TRX 4.25mi at 8:55 OFF 18mi at 9:12 OFF
Spin +TRX + 3mi at 8:48 8mi w/ 6mi tempo at 7:45 OFF 7mi at 8:55 OFF 20mi at 9:21 1 hour spin
6.25mi at 8:39 10x 800m at 6:56– 9mi total Spin + TRX OFF 8.75mi at 8:45 16mi at 8:50 pace 1 hour spin
OFF 8mi progression run – 9:55/ 8:52/ 8:37/ 8:20/ 8:14/ 7:50/ 7:40/ 7:32 Spin + TRX 8.5 mi at 9:29 5mi at 8:38 OFF Half marathon in 1:39:55
OFF 7mi at 8:56 8mi at 8:38 7.5mi at 8:53 OFF 20mi at 9:15 OFF
5.25mi at 8:30 8x 800m at 7:00 (7.25mi) OFF

(should have been spin/TRX)

OFF OFF (should have been 12mi) 5mi at 8:55 OFF
5mi at 8:40 6mi including 4mi tempo at 7:40 Spin + TRX 4mi at 8:13 OFF 10mi at 8:27 OFF
30min spin + TRX 4mi at 8:40 3mi at 8:52 OFF 3mi at 8:30 OFF Marathon in 4:34:37
OFF OFF OFF OFF Spin +TRX 8mi at 8:49 4mi at 8:53
OFF 3.5mi at 8:39 pace 3mi w/ double stroller at 9:04 pace 2.5mi w/ stroller at 9:08 pace OFF Marathon in 3:47:50
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