Week 7 of 16 in my training for the New Jersey Marathon was solid. Due to some schedule rearranging, I only ran 5 days instead of 6 (I’ll run 7 the following week), but it was one of my highest mileage weeks ever, topping out at 52.12 miles. (In training for last fall’s NYC Marathon, my weekly mileage only reached above 50 twice.)
The week started out cold and windy but went up to balmy 40s by mid-week. Spring feels right around the corner – at least it did until week 8 started off with temps back down in the 20s. And now snow is in the forecast. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
In week 7, I visited Riverbank State Park track twice, tried a resistance band workout for the first time, and ran my longest long run of this training cycle thus far. Here’s the breakdown.
WEEK 7: February 18 – February 24
Monday, as almost always, was my day off from running and a chance to do my favorite upper body workout from Fitness Blender. I love this workout and have done it so much I have it memorized. I’d run 48 miles the week prior and had a killer long run the day before, so this was a welcome day to rest the ol’ legs.
Tuesday was an easy Central Park run of 8.76 miles at 10:27 pace. It was in the 20s and windy, so that might have slowed me a bit – but I am also NOT CARING ABOUT PACE on my easy runs this training cycle, and it’s such a refreshing change of… pace. Pun very much intended.
Wednesday was a monster track workout! I ran to and from the track plus 10 x 800 at 10K pace with 800 recoveries for a total of 13.51 miles. I was on the track for an hour and a half. It was cold, windy, and I got that shit done. I was pretty happy with my paces, too. Right now, I’m aiming for 10K paces around 7:40-7:55. (According to my specific training instructions, my 10K pace is 7:53, but I like to be a little more flexible.) Maybe it’s overkill to list all of my lap paces here but what the heck, it’s my blog and I can do what I want! 7:58, 7:56, 7:40, 7:52, 7:32, 7:34, 7:36, 7:37, 7:49, 7:34. I feel pretty good about those and felt great after the workout.
Thursday was a nice, short run of just over 4 miles. I needed to keep it easy today. I’ve been using my easy days of Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to “fill in” my weekly mileage goal, and typically Thursday winds up being the shortest day, just because.
I also tried something a bit different today. I’ve been doing Fitness Blender upper body workouts since forever, but I’ve been itching to change it up. I bought a resistance band back in January and hadn’t even opened the box yet because apparently I am really bad at shaking up my routine. But I decided that today would be a good day to try a resistance band workout. I had no idea where to look so I literally Googled “resistance band workout” and discovered this one by Nicole Pearce. It wasn’t long, it was more challenging than I thought it would be, and I liked her teaching style. So I will probably revisit this one but also look for others.
Friday it was back to the track for a tempo workout of 3 x 8 minutes at half marathon pace. I’ve been enjoying going to the track for speed/tempo workouts. The NJ Marathon is flat, so my hard training might as well be, too. My Garmin was weird with recording this (it recorded laps in mile chunks and not minutes) but it’s fine – my paces pretty much stayed within the 8:15-8:30 range as they should have. Felt good about this one. Total miles for the day was 8.61.
Saturday I did my long run! Ran 17.18 miles at 10:37 pace, my slowest pace for a run in a long time. It’s not that off from what I was prescribed, which was 10:28 pace. So actually, I did quite well, especially considering that this slower pace meant I was on my feet for just over three hours.
I even finished all of my 16 oz. drink, taking a couple long sips every three miles.
I am definitely a Sunday Long Run Kind of Gal, but there is a specific reason I did my long run Saturday, which is that my aunt invited me over for dinner and dessert for Saturday evening. More on this below (with pictures).
Sunday I treated like a usual Monday, only doing a Fitness Blender upper body workout – back to the free weights today. I’m so used to Sundays being my long run – and the day I eat more than usual – so it was a little strange to not be doing either of those things. But I had run and eaten so much the day before, it was nice to rest both my legs and my stomach.
TOTAL MILES: 52.12
Some Noteworthy Things
As I wrote earlier, I am loving the track. Riverbank State Park is nice, clean, and the track barely has anyone else on it. It probably helps that it’s been so cold out – I do remember more runners there last summer. It’s also nice that I can put my water bottle down on a bench and nobody disturbs it. I like having it with me but don’t necessarily want to be running laps with it sloshing around behind me.
My three easy runs (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) were all slower than the three from the previous week: last week’s paces were 9:54, 9:58, and 9:57. This week’s were 10:27, 10:11, 10:37. I didn’t necessarily feel more tired this week – although maybe I was, given that this was the 5th week in a row of increased mileage. Week 8 will see it drop down, which is good.
I’m also not trying to running certain paces on easy runs anymore. I’ve heard it suggested to not wear a watch at all during easy runs, but I like to track everything regardless of effort. Besides, I’ve noticed that glancing at my watch during easy runs doesn’t make me run faster – it’s more of a confirmation of how fast I’m running so I can say, “Ah, that’s what 10:30 feels like. Okay.” Just so I have a better sense of what certain paces feel like, which is something I’m still learning. It’s like weighing myself every day. I just like knowing. The knowing doesn’t necessarily change anything, merely confirms.
Now, about Saturday! My aunt, who is my mom’s sister, lives only a 15-minute walk from me. Now that my mom is no longer with us, it’s nice having a relative of hers so close, and I’ve found that I’ve sought her advice more than once on things I might have asked my mom. My aunt’s friend, a former professional chef, is often over and between the two of them, they cook up awesome meals with my aunt trying her hand at baking various desserts. Basically, I always wind up eating a lot when I go over there. Since I normally eat more on my long run days, I thought it’d be good to get the long run done Saturday. Also, rain was in the forecast for Sunday morning while Saturday was nice and clear. That settled it: Saturday long run it was.
I decided during my run that I wanted a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter afterward in addition to my protein shake. I actually combined the two. Man, this was good. This was a heavier than normal post-run snack, but it was also my lunch, as I knew I’d be eating dinner relatively early that day.
For dinner, my hosts made pasta fagioli, which is my all-time favorite soup. I had two servings of this, plus a large roll smothered in olive oil. I make pasta fagioli myself, but I think theirs was better. Less soupy, chock full of escarole, and more flavorful. I think it helps to be a former professional chef.
For dessert, my aunt made three different things: chocolate tiramisu, bread pudding with Captain Morgan’s and chocolate chips, and some kind of lemon pudding atop graham cracker crumbs. I can’t remember what that one was called. All of it was delicious. Kudos to both of them.
Now do you see why I wanted to get my long run done earlier that day?
I generally eat very healthy. I eat a ton of vegetables, limit sugar, don’t buy processed foods, and never get takeout. But I also believe in indulging every once in a while. Life is all about balance. The trick is finding that perfect way to balance. I’ve gotten pretty good at it. Still not perfect, but I probably never will be.
This was a good week. I can’t believe next week will be the halfway point to the marathon. It’s getting real, folks.