I haven’t blogged in a while, or given you an update on where my training is, so I thought it was about time!  Life has been busy as usual, and as always my blogging takes a back seat to both my running and my family.  But that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

I’m currently about 18 weeks out from my next marathon (Windermere in Spokane, WA).  If you follow me on either Facebook or Instagram, you might remember that I signed up for a distance education course on Marathon Training.  (If you don’t follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you SHOULD! ;) )

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I’m not 100% sure where this is going to take me as I currently have a full time job, a family, and am actually pretty busy.  I love running though, and am really passionate about helping people, and would love to learn more and be able to help people reach their running goal.  Because of this, I’ve decided that I would make myself my first guinea pig (aka client). 

I’ve been doing A TON of reading lately, well actually this isn’t really a new thing; I’ve always loved reading books about running, and training, and have just been digging into some new books lately.  I’ve specifically been reading a lot about Heart Rate training, and have also reading Brad Hudson’s Run Faster from the 5K to the Marathon: How to be your Own Best Coach.  For this cycle I’m taking Hudson’s Marathon 2 plan, and adapting it to fit with my schedule, my Running Partner’s schedule, and with my body and my needs. 

Here are the primary goals that I’m attempting to balance right now. 

  1. Run, lots, mostly easy.  I’ve been running really consistently since my second daughter was born, and my body is fairly happy with moderate mileage right now.  I know that lots of people think that the 40 mpw ish that I call moderate is A LOT, and others think that it’s peanuts… it’s so relative!  My body is used to this base, and I am extremely grateful to be in this place.
  2. Strength Train as much as I can, focusing on core, hips, glutes, etc.  I am of the firm belief that this is a huge reason why my body is happy with my current running volume.  The stronger it is the better able it is to withstand the running volume.  Right now, I’m working hard on incorporating 2 strength sessions a week.  It’s not always easy, I’m busy, and like most runners, running trumps all other workouts, but it’s important, so I’m making it a priority.  One big change I’ve made this cycle is to actually schedule these sessions into my training plan.
  3. Crosstrain.  I’ve never really cross trained much before.  Sure, I will bike or do other activities when I can’t run, or for a few months when I’ve lost my mind and signed up for a multisport race (haha!), but I’ve never made it a priority.  Why?  Because I’m a runner, so, well, I like to run.  Much like the strength training, I’m scheduling this in.  I have a bike trainer at home now, and bought the speed and cadence sensor for my bike (why?  Graphs, that’s why.)  This cycle, I’m attempting to have at least 2 non-running workouts per week (usually running or swimming, or the occasional x-country ski).
  4. Recover.  This is so important, and hard to do unless it is scheduled!  I’m taking a recovery week at a minimum of every 3 weeks, and sometimes more often, I’m also trying to build total rest days into my schedule.  Some weeks, I do not have a full rest day, just easy days, some weeks I have one day with absolutely nothing scheduled.  Everyone has different needs for recovery, and so far this is working well for me.  The other important building blocks of recovery are nutrition and sleep.  I’m trying to fuel my runs properly and to eat soon after them.  I’m also working hard at prioritizing sleep.  This is sometimes a challenge as my alarm is set for somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 Monday through Friday.  I do my best to get my butt into bed early so that I have the energy to get through the day!

I heard a coach compare writing an athlete’s schedule out to being much like a game of Tetris… remember Tetris?  It clicked for me at that point why I liked writing out running schedules so much!  I love me some Tetris…

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I have another new tool in my arsenal.  It’s a new Training Schedule website.  It’s a bit different from the other ones out there, such as Strava or Dailymile (which I still love and post to – so feel free to go follow me there also!)  This new tool is NOT social at all (crazy I know!), but is a site that only I have access to, and can plan my future workouts, and have my garmin upload my current/past workouts to.  The site is http://www.TrainingPeaks.com  It’s often used by coaches to design their client’s workouts, and you can search/hire coaches through the site, or use it simply for your own use.  I bought a premium membership for myself because I liked the format so much, and have not regretted it for a second. It’s easy to use, and I love that I can plan out my training cycle, and watch as the workouts are completed.

So this post ended up being more an update on my philosophy than my training… oooops!  As for my training, it’s going well.  Below is a snapshot from TrainingPeaks of what I’ve been up to.  I’m learning a lot, and trying to adapt that to myself, I’m not sure exactly where that will take me, but I’m excited to find out.  Hopefully it’ll have me running more and faster in the coming year!

trainingpeaks

Posted by: ttoffelmire | January 9, 2015

What I eat…

The running (specifically running social media) community seems to have a lot of opinions on what we (runners, athletes and human beings) should eat.  I have generally remained fairly silent on this cause, but that does not mean that I don’t have some fairly strong opinions on it.  Perhaps it’s because of my strong opinions that I’ve remained silent. Read More…

Posted by: ttoffelmire | January 5, 2015

Looking back on 2014, and forward to 2015

I gotta say, 2014 was a pretty good year.  There were a few bumps in the road on a personal level, but all in all, it was fantastic and full of growth and victories.  I’m more than thrilled with how I’m feeling going into 2015 and feel like there are a lot of great things to come.

Read More…

Posted by: ttoffelmire | December 11, 2014

SeeyalaterMAF and on to Something New!

This week officially marks the end of the boring disciplined MAF running.  I won’t lie, I’m ridiculously excited to add some other ‘stuff’ back into my running!  That said, I have zero regrets in my running over the last 8 weeks (I had to go back and count the weeks – and yay for me, I lasted 8 weeks!)

First off, what did I think of MAF?  (If you want to know what MAF is and why I started training with it, read this post).

Overall, it was great.  I think it was the ideal way to get back into running post marathon, and I think I’ll do it after future marathon’s and ‘big’ races, or anytime that my body starts to get overworked and tired.  I can feel a HUGE difference in how I’ve recovered from the Okanagan marathon this fall compared to the Calgary Marathon last spring.  After Calgary I took it easy for the first month, but then jumped back into things.  From day one of my marathon cycle for the Okanagan marathon my legs had tight spots, my hips felt sore, etc.  I still felt beat up from the previous marathon cycle.  I also raced a half marathon just 5 weeks after the Calgary marathon.  Then I jumped into a Pfitz marathon cycle with both feet.  Obviously it all ended alright, and I don’t really have any regrets, but in the future I think I’ll try to recover more like I have from this last marathon.

I’ve spent the last 8 weeks running almost all my runs in my MAF heart rate zone.  There have been exceptions (like when it was crazy cold out), but even during those exceptions, I kept my effort level EASY.  I’ve also been working my mileage up nice and slowly, really trying to ease into things.  At the same time, I’ve been making my gym workouts a priority.  They had slipped a little, if not in frequency, then in quality, over the last month or two of the marathon cycle.  It’s really hard to balance everything and get everything in, and my Strength Training definitely suffered.  I’ve been working really hard in the gym, and have had a sore ass for a lot of the last 6 weeks or so, and I can really tell that I’m getting stronger.  My body feels more solid and stable.

Weekly km's for the last 8 weeks.

Weekly km’s for the last 8 weeks.

Over the last week or two I’ve also noticed a big difference in my paces.  I’ve felt bouncier, faster, and way better on my runs than I have in ages.  Last night I ran 8k, I took the first few km’s easy, my paces were 6:11, and 6:06 for the first 2 k, with my HR staying around 135 (my Max MAF is 145).  The remaining km’s were 5:34, 5:37, 5:31, 5:32, 5:19 (my HR steadily rose up to around 160), my last km was over a lot of super icy areas, and crossing back over McLeod, so was a slower 5:47/km.  My average HR for the entire run was 146, so just outside my MAF zone.  I’m really happy with this run, and feel like especially with the icy paths it shows that I have improved a lot over the last couple months of MAF running.  I didn’t actually do a MAF test, so don’t know exactly what my improvements were, but I feel great, and I’m looking forward to training hard through another cycle to see how it plays out in some races next year.

So all that said, What’s Next?

My plan for the next 4 weeks (starting next week) is to do a McMillan Hill Block.  I really like the idea of starting out a cycle with some hills.  They add a lot of strength, which in turn becomes speed later on.  The pathways are icy here, and I don’t want to pay to use an indoor track on a regular basis, so in Calgary during the winter, hills are much easier than speed.  I did a McMillan Hill Block last year before the Calgary marathon cycle, and it worked great.  This time around, I’m stepping it up a bit and doing the 6-7 days per week plan.  I’ve been running more, and working on getting my weekly average up around 60 kpw, and hope that I can keep that up, building a nice solid base so that I’m ready for a solid marathon cycle to start somewhere around the end of January/beginning of February.

I’m also going to try to get a bit more crosstraining in (because time is something I have in abundance, right… :-/ ).  The plan right now is to swim on Monday mornings, and do yoga on Fridays.  I’m hoping to get a short strength training session in sometime on the weekends also depending on the family schedule.  I’m excited and determined to spend 2015 getting into the best shape of my life, and enjoying every minute of it!

Here’s a snapshot of my basic plan that I’ve laid out.  Of course I’m sure it’ll change and move around as life happens (especially with Christmas happening in the middle of it).  I love making a plan though so had to get something on paper!

HillBlock

And by ‘paper’ I actually mean a very cool new training website that I’m now subscribing to.  It’s the site that a lot of trainers use to assign workouts to and track their clients.  It’s called Training Peaks.  There is a free version that you can use to link and track past workouts, but if you want to plan future workouts and use some of their more advanced analytics, then you have to pay for it.  I decided that the cost was totally worth it, as I love spending time planning and analyzing things.  Since I’ve upgraded to the paid version and have spent more time playing with it, I’m loving it more and more.  It’s different than the other tracking sites I’ve been using (Strava and dailymile) as it’s not social at all.  No one is going to see or ‘like’ your workouts, but it has a lot of data and is a very cool tool if you like to review workouts and plan them.

 

Posted by: ttoffelmire | December 8, 2014

Thinking ahead to 2015…

I’ve been waiting to write this post because I had handed over control on our spring marathon selection to Lori. I’m not very good at handing control over for ANYTHING, so it was killing me to not be able to start to plan and figure out my schedule for next year. It was only fair though that she get control over the race selection. I had picked the Okanagan marathon for this past fall, and she had paced me and just gone with the flow for my BQ marathon. Now it’s Lori that is trying to BQ (she needs a sub 3:40), so I’m planning on doing whatever I can to support her in that effort! Read More…

Posted by: ttoffelmire | November 30, 2014

Heart Rate Variability, a new number to geek out over…

I have a new tool toy to geek out on in my running arsenal!  I’ve been listening to a few podcasts, and reading articles on HRV, or Heart Rate Variability.  I had never even heard of HRV until a month or so ago, but in the reading I’ve done, it sounds like an awesome tool to use in my training.   Read More…

Posted by: ttoffelmire | November 20, 2014

A #MAFFail in the extreme cold

As I’ve mentioned a few times now, during this off season from seriously training for any race, I’m working on building my base and endurance through MAF.  I give more detail on what this entails in the post I linked up, but basically, I’ve been wearing a Heart Rate Monitor on all my runs and trying to keep my HR below 145 or so.  This was actually going quite well for the most part, until we were struck by some extremely cold weather over the last week or 10 days.    Read More…

Posted by: ttoffelmire | November 12, 2014

My Obligatory Winter Running Post…

Well it seems that winter has hit us, like a ton of bricks, really really cold bricks. I’m often asked if I run outside through the winter.  I think to non-runners, or people who live in warmer climates it seems truly insane to run outside through our winters.  I admit, that even to me, some days it seems a bit crazy to run outside in our winter weather. Read More…

Posted by: ttoffelmire | November 6, 2014

Is Sitting Really the new Smoking?

I listened to a podcast last week by Ben Greenfield  talking about the headline that most of us read a month or two ago stating that “Sitting is the new Smoking”. Even Runnersworld had an article titled “Sitting is the New Smoking – Even for Runners”.  Read More…

Posted by: ttoffelmire | October 26, 2014

MAF Training, and the best Husband out there!

I’ve been back out running for one week now post marathon, and I’m feeling pretty good.  Both Lori and I have decided to do some MAF training post marathon.  What is MAF training?  And why?  I’ll explain both in this post. Read More…

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