Hartford Marathon Training: Week Nine

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Week Nine: Week of 8/28 

I mentioned last week  that we traveled to visit family after the wedding. It ended up being a perfect little short trip, and despite some rainy days we still managed to get in three good beach days. I did a few treadmill workouts at the YMCA in Norfolk. I also got to meet up with my friend Kris for a short run and some strides at a park in Virginia Beach.

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Trashmore run with Kris! Can you tell which one of us lives in upstate NY now?

We traveled home on Friday, so I decided to make that my rest day. I felt terrible on Saturday, but just took it really easy and ended up having a really good workout on Sunday.

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Cold and rainy long run with Allie and Karen!

 

Week Nine: 

M REST

T 2 mile warm up, 15 X 1 k at HMGP on the treadmill, 2 mile cool down

W 8 miles easy

T 6 mile warm up, 10 x 200 strides, 2 mile cool down 

F REST

Sat AM 10 miles, PM 4 miles

Sun 6 miles easy, 12 miles at marathon race pace (6:30)

Total: 63.4 miles

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Family beach day!

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Hartford Marathon Training: Week Eight

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Week Eight: Week of 8/21

I had a great week of training, even with travel and not getting as much sleep as I usually do. The Tuesday workout was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I did the 400’s in my neighborhood, and wasn’t thinking about the fast that my neighborhood isn’t flat. So half of the 400s were uphill and the other half were downhill.

We left for an out-of-town wedding on Thursday, and I had planned to get my long run done early on Thursday so I wouldn’t have to do it on the hotel treadmill. I was dreading that run, and didn’t think I’d be able to do the cutdown part of the workout. But the run ended up going well, and after the first 8 miles (and a gel) I suddenly felt good enough to tackle the cutdown.

After the wedding we took a short trip to the beach and to visit family in Norfolk. More about that next week!

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Week Eight:

M 10 miles easy

T 3 miles warm up, 20 X 400, 3 miles cool down (12 miles)

W am 6 miles easy, pm 4 miles easy

T 20 miles total (8 miles easy, 10 mile cut down starting at 7:00/mile and working down to 6:00/mile, 2 mile cool down

F 10 miles easy

Sat 4 mile warm up, 10 x 20 second strides, 4 mile cool down (9 miles)

Sun 10 miles easy

(81.6 miles)

Travel means being doing your best to plan ahead but also being flexible. I ended up running on Sunday instead of taking a rest day because I had something else planned for Monday morning. So my mileage is a little higher than usual, but it will balance out next week with an extra rest day.

Looking for more of my training for the Hartford Marathon?

Week 7

Week 6 

Week 5

Week 4

Week 3

Week 2

Week 1

The correlation between running and mind sports

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Running is one of the most popular ways to exercise in the U.S., while the two most popular mind sports in the world are chess and poker. While chess and poker may appear as far away from running as possible, the two types of sports can equally benefit the other.

You might be wondering, what could these two drastically different sports have in common? Well, both types of sports require players to have a strong focus, concentration, and psychological fortitude to be successful.

Distance runner and chess player Christian Fuller told the Mammoth Times that the sports complement each other. “Running, being athletic and active, trains the body, which helps the brain function better. Chess trains the mind, which in turn, helps develop strategies and tactics for running. It’s a big full circle.” Such is his passion for combining the two sports that he teaches them together.

One man who may agree with him is professional poker player Sorel Mizzi. Mizzi told an interviewer, “[exercising] before a tournament makes such as major difference to my mental clarity.” Studies have shown that exercise boosts the amount of blood that gets to the brain which in turn helps with memory retention. Like chess, remembering the opponent’s moves and habits is the key to winning.

Both chess and poker have seen a resurgence in popularity due to online gaming. More players are competing not at the card table or across the board but on their computers and mobile devices. A study focusing on gaming outlet Gaming Realms showed that the gaming industry is expected to keep growing with mobile gaming as the key driver. Gaming Realms principal gaming site Slingo features digital versions of popular card games that can be accessed on mobile devices. The same is true of chess with ABC revealing that chess players were swapping the physical checked board for the virtual one. As more players use their computers or mobile devices to play so too does the importance of exercise increase. Online players are much less likely to be active than someone who plays in physical tournaments.

Exercising has long been considered one of the most effective ways to train the mind and the body. Running a marathon is both a physical and mental challenge, as a runner must overcome the pain in their legs and the negativity in their mind. Michelle Hamilton believes that to improve your running ability you need to “train your brain like you train your body.” She recalls how she was diagnosed as a “negative thinking, results-oriented runner.” In order to train her brain, she uses focus tools (“a word, phrase, or action that mutes destructive chatter and keeps you in the moment”). Her focus point was concentrating on her footsteps. After many attempts she gradually managed to employ them and saw a marked improvement in her motivation and performance.

In chess and poker the negative feeling of doubt can also have a huge effect on performance. Exercising regularly will increase focus and boost concentration. Chess, poker, and running all require a person to rely on their mental strength to succeed. A runner who doesn’t focus on their mental game, and a mind sports player who ignores physical activity, are both stopping themselves from reaching their full potential.

What do you do when your mind starts wandering toward negative thinking late in a race? I usually resort to counting, because it keeps my mind focused on something besides the pain. Hey, even marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe used the tactic of counting to 100. “She had talked herself through near-exhaustion by counting to 100, by aiming at landmarks, and by thoughts like, ‘No matter how exhausted I might feel, a half-an-hour run is one I can manage.’ ”

This is a contributed post. 

Running and chess

Hartford Marathon Training: Week Seven

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Week Seven: Week of 8/14

I was fighting some negative thoughts this week about marathon training. I think anyone feels that way at the beginning of a training cycle, and particularly for longer races. It’s intimidating. You start to think and compare your current fitness to where you’ll need to be to reach your goal. How can I possibly run 26.2 miles at a faster pace if I can barely run 4 miles today?

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Week Seven:

M 10 miles easy

T 2 miles warm up, intervals at marathon race pace (6:30), 2 miles cool down (14 miles) 

W 10 miles easy

T 14 miles 

F 8 miles easy

Sat 18 mile long run with surges at half marathon race pace (6:00/mile) 

Sun REST

(74.1 miles)

How do you work through doubts and day-to-day negative thoughts? Sometimes I just have a bad day, so I try to remember that and not make it into a big catastrophe. Blogging, keeping a detailed training diary, writing in a journal, any of those things help me keep track of patterns. I know that it’s normal to have a bad week sometimes, but that I need a recovery week with less miles and lowered intensity. And if it becomes a few bad weeks in a row, then I know there’s a bigger problem. But a bad day here and there is nothing to freak out about.

Hartford Marathon Training: Week Six

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Week Six: Week of 8/7

(Previous weeks are here: Week 5, Week 4, Week 3, Week 2, Week 1)

I felt tired at the beginning of the week. Pete was out of town the previous weekend so I was solo with the girls and it caught up with me Monday. But I’m starting to understand this parenting thing and how it works, so I knew I just needed to spend the day giving my body some rest.

On another note, when did everyone start becoming so serious about this whole running thing? You guys, running is supposed to be fun. Some of my best times are when I’m just chatting with friends on a long run, laughing about stupid stuff. When I coached high school, my favorite memories are from the days when we had inclement weather and got creative playing games and coming up with workouts we would do indoors. We don’t have to be inspiring people all the time. Life is ridiculous. Look around you and laugh at things.

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Week Six:

M 8 miles easy on the treadmill (7:35/mile)

T Fartlek (7.5 miles at 7:02/mile) 2 miles warm up, 1.5 cool down (11 miles) + Pilates mat class

W 10 miles easy (8:08/mile)

Th 4 mile warm up, 10 x 20 second strides, 4 mile cool down (9 miles)

F 8 miles easy (7:41/mile)

Sat 16 miles with Allie (7:15/mile)

Sun REST

(62.7 miles)


What’s something ridiculous that’s happened to you recently? 
I left my kids downstairs while I was cooking dinner and discovered this masterpiece on my nearly brand new NordicTrack. Luckily it was just chalk, so it cleaned up fine. I didn’t have the energy to be mad, but even if I did I think I would have just laughed anyway. At least they were being creative, right?

Treadmill Fail

Hartford Marathon Training: Week Five

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Week Five: Week of 7/31

I got the most well-timed and amazing email this week. You may know that I’m a podcast junkie, and I was listening to an episode of one that I don’t usually listen to. At the end of the episode, there was a prompt to enter the contest so I did. I’ve probably entered at least 100 contests on social media and have never won a damn thing. But I figured, what the hell?

You guys, I won.

Unfortunately I can’t give all the specifics yet, but once it’s announced I think you’ll realize why this was such a big deal to me. At the beginning of the week, before I got email, I was seriously doubting my ability to train for a marathon. But I realized that this was absolutely a sign. It really helped me re-focus and cut out distractions.

And now… something that made me laugh way too much:

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Week Five:

M 4 easy treadmill miles, (~34 minutes)

T 4 miles easy (ran most of this outside, last 11 mins on treadmill (~32 mins) + Pilates 

W 10 miles treadmill (7:42/mile)

Th 2 warm up, 5 mile fartlek workout, 3 cool down 10 miles (7:13 avg)

F 6.1 miles easy (7:54/mile)

Sat 14 miles on the treadmill (7:19/mile)

Sun REST

(48.1 miles)

Hartford Marathon Training: Week Four

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Week Four: Week of 7/24

This week I learned that if I try to do too many things, I feel like shit. Why do I keep having to learn this lesson over and over? I told Pete that from now on we need to take a complete day of rest on Sunday. Not just a day off from running, I mean a day to do absolutely nothing except whatever we want to do. If that means laying around watching movies and eating pizza, then fine. Or it might mean going to a concert, or a movie, or whatever. Actually have fun. It’s a tough thing when you have kids, you get into this mode of work, work, work, errands, and you end up passing out in front of the TV with your dinner half-eaten. Or sometimes not at all.

Base Week #4:

M 10 miles treadmill (7:15/mile)

T Pilates mat class + 6.5 miles hilly (7:28/mile)

W 7 miles easy treadmill (8:12/mile)

Th 4 miles easy (8:06/mile) + Pilates 

F 8 miles treadmill am (7:39/mile)/ 7.6 miles pm (8:24/mile) pushing double stroller

Sat 14 miles (7:18/mile)

Sunday REST

(57.1 miles) 

Fave pizza toppings? I’m into pizza piled with all kinds of veggies. I’m also a fan of the classic cheese.

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