After eeking out a surprise 10K personal best to cap off my highest mileage week in too long, I wasn’t sure how week 2 would go. However, my coach definitely seemed to have paid attention to what I had done during the base week and it felt like my workouts for the week had been dictated accordingly.
While I still in many ways find myself a relatively new runner, I do feel like I’m educated and established enough to understand what the goal of any given workout is, and how to be smart about both workouts and rest days. We shall see as time goes on, but I can already see how Ekiden’s coaching format can be very beneficial for runners like me. (If you missed it, you can read about my first week with Ekiden here.)
WEEK TWO: HOW’D IT GO?
Coach Jenny gave me my first workout that would test my half marathon goal pace. My current personal best is from 2014 – 2:07:04 – and I would love to see my next half marathon time start with a 1. This would mean that I would need to run at a 9:00 pace to hit a 1:58, so I was thinking that 8:30-9:00min/mi pace seemed an attainable goal.
My given workouts were:
- Monday: 30 minutes easy plus 4×20 second strides added on at the end.
- Tuesday: 1 mile easy warm up, 2 miles at goal half marathon pace, 1 mile easy cool down.
- Wednesday: Rest.
- Thursday: Light impact cross training (such as stretching and mobilizing and yoga, or about 20 minutes of at home core work.)
- Friday: 60-70 minutes easy with direction to “keep the effort mellow and see how the increased duration feels.”
- Saturday: Rest.
- Sunday: Rest.
How it actually went:
- Monday: I was a little confused as to if I should do the strides after 30 minutes or at the end of 30 minutes, but by the time I realized I was confused it was a little late to ask. This run was in the evening, before dinner, solo. Despite my legs feeling a little heavy, I actually felt good at an easy pace and was actually able to keep it truly easy. I run by feel, mostly, and use time to tell me if I’m getting overly excited or not. This was real cruising altitude, so by the time I did the strides at the end, they felt free and fun. Side note: I need to get better at using my Garmin Fenix3, but I’m working on it.
- Tuesday (photo, above): I ran with a coworker who said she was up for the workout. It was kind of nice having company, and we agreed that social running is great because it keeps your easy paces truly easy, and when you run alone, you can push faster because of it. The warm up and cool down felt easy, like a nice trot, and while I felt like I was putting in work on the goal pace portion, it didn’t feel overwhelming. I felt like I still had gas in the tank when I was done.
1mi WU, 9:56
2mi goal pace, 8:20/8:18
1mi CD, 9:40
- Wednesday: rested like a BOSS. I did stretch and foam roll, ’cause it feels good.
- Thursday: Late, after dinner, I fit in about 30 minutes of free-flowing yoga flow (whatever felt good, lots of hip openers,) and core work (planks, planks weighted by a toddler, dead bugs that would make my PT proud.)
- Friday (photo, below): It was raining, so I brought gear, but I checked in to see if I should run outside or on the treadmill. Coach Jenny said to take it outside, because you never know what will happen race day. I’m glad I did. I tried to run by feel but keep it easy, so I did feel myself having to reign it back a little. I tried to focus on good form and practicing nutrition on the go. Running in the rain is FUN; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! I enjoyed this run. It felt good. I smiled a lot. By the 55 minute mark, when I was by work thinking I’d dial in the last five minutes, I thought, “I’m tired.” Then I realized that it was more that I was telling myself I was tired. The competitor in me reminded myself that late in a race, when you think you’re tired, is when your training pays off most. I rallied and did easy laps till I hit 70 minutes. I felt strong and happy when I was done.
- Saturday: Rest — a farmer’s market with the family kind of morning, lots of yoga-esque, foam rolling and using the muscle stick as needed throughout the day.
- Sunday: Basically a repeat of Saturday, sans farmer’s market, but with an indulgent, delicious trip with friends to the Butcher’s Son.
After two weeks of coach-lead workouts, I’m feeling motivated and accomplished. While I do think I need to keep working on keeping my easy pace truly easy (and well, pacing in general,) I also think I need to let go of what “normal” was pre-baby versus what my “normal” is now. Not only do I feel like my stride has changed postpartum, I also feel like I have a stronger base, and running with a stroller has definitely helped my conditioning overall. I already feel like having guidance is leading to improvement.
Friday’s workout.Did you feel like postpartum running was markedly different for you? Have you ever surprised yourself with your run data?