myRUNweek (2) SD Half Training

I am starting a new page on my blog, myRUNweek, which will show all the training weeks leading up to a race.  I’ve been reading various weekly recaps and I thought it would be a great idea to track my weekly training as if I’m recording it in a journal.  I can also look back on it to find ways for improvement.  Plus it holds me accountable!

So I am starting with week 2 of 10.  Week 1 was while we were still on vacation where I managed to incorporate a few runs and workouts.  Currently, my A goal for the half marathon is a PR (1:44:30).  I hate to admit but my fitness is not up to this level.  I will re-adjust my goal after the 10K tune-up race scheduled the first week in February.

My training paces are based on my last marathon finish time as calculated by Mcmillan running calculator.

 1/11 to 1/17 Week 2:

Monday:  4 mi Treadmill + Core/Hip Mobility (10:00/mi avg)

Tuesday: 8 x 400m (1:45 avg) repeats with calisthenics (SDTC Track workout) + warmup/cooldown (3mi total).  Form drills (high knees, butt kicks, grapevines, hamstring kicks) and dynamic stretches prior to repeats.  The recovery portion of the workout I alternated doing pushups, squats, side squats, and lunges.  It felt great to be back at the track and be surrounded by a bunch of motivated runners.

Wednesday: 2K row + Strength Train – Personal best of 10:07 on the rowing machine! Truly becoming stronger and feeling good about it.  The circuit below is from an article I read on Ace Fit, Weight Training for Weight Loss.  I like the combination of exercises and being able to do it in a short period of time (took me 30min).  It was a tough workout especially after the rigorous session on the rower.

Thursday: 7 easy miles around Coronado followed by form drills on the grass.  It was a therapeutic run as I had a void in my heart only time can heal (Not quite ready to divulge the details yet).  Also, I felt sluggish and tired the entire run due to lack of sleep caused by a 2 year old who’s been having sleep issues the past few days (hope it ends soon!)  and the rough afternoon we had as a family on Wednesday.  Plus the hard workout on Wednesday left me feeling sore.  I need to re-schedule my strength workouts so they do not affect my running (or make it less stressful).

Friday:  YES rest and recovery.  A quick core/hip mobility workout at the gym.  Both girls are in school so it was a day to run errands.

Saturday:  11 miles Long with San Diego Track Club (8:45/mi avg). I ran with my best friend and was involved in an engaging conversation the entire run.  The pace was a little faster than planned but it felt comfortable.

Photo credit:

Sunday:  40 min Power Yoga at home.  The last time I used this DVD was probably before I had my first child which was 5 years ago!  I felt tight and sore from Saturday run so I thought why not give this yoga workout a try.  I loved that my 2 yr old tried to do it with me – her downward dog looked awesome 🙂

Weekly Total:  25miles/2hrs strength

Do you use a program/calculator to determine your training paces?  Has a strength workout affected your run the day after?

Friday Five: Meb’s Words of Wisdom

Each week my girls and I visit the library conveniently located less than a few minutes drive from our house.  I always feel as if we were returning from a shopping spree, our huge bag heavy and filled with books.  Two weeks ago before the start of our road trip, I lucked out when Meb’s book, Meb for Mortals I requested was available for pick-up. It was the perfect book to read during a long drive as it delivered candid details of a champion’s training program.  I finished reading it, my mind brimmed with knowledge and ideas on how to apply Meb’s words of wisdom to my current training.

The best part of the book was at the end of every chapter featured a section of “Do’s and Dont’s” – concise and insightful advise to ponder.  While there are many to consider, I chose five of the best to help improve my running potential.

1.  DO regularly work to improve your running form.   One of my fitness goals I previously mentioned is to incorporate form drills at least 1-2x/week in my training.  Meb actually does them almost everyday as he stresses the significance of getting them done. He advises for those who are time-crunched to “Run 1 mile less and use the extra time to do drills.  One or two miles less per week for significant improvement in your running form and a lowered injury risk is a great trade-off.”  Runner’s World online featured an article in April 2015 regarding 5 Drills to Make You a Better Runner with video tutorials of Meb performing the drills adapted from this book.

2.  DON’T run your hard workouts so hard that you’re exhausted afterward.  Raise your hand if you’re guilty (Hand high up in the air!)  I’ve had days when I felt like I could fly during interval sessions, yet had to take a few days to recover.  Understand every workout requires a specific pace to meet its purpose.  Running faster will not further improve performance but only induce more stress which usually leads to injury.  “Save the racing for race day.  You should always feel you could have done another interval or a longer tempo run or another mile or two on your long run” is Meb’s advice.


3.  DON’T think that running a lot means you can eat whatever you want.  This one hit a nail on my head.  It’s definitely an excuse I’ve used many times before. Knowing my lipid panel stats nudged me in the right direction towards better nutrition.  What surprised me however was that someone like Meb who runs more than 100 miles a week has to take measures to control his weight.  I guess we all experience struggle with our ideal weight.

4.  DO consider strength training to be that much more important as you age.  I am a year younger than Meb and can relate to his approach towards strength training.  Now that he’s older, he focuses more on functionality and deter the effects of aging.  I completed my strength streak challenge over the holidays which helped me get into the habit of including strength workouts a couple of times each week.  Physically, I feel stronger and more balanced.  It was definitely worthwhile to add a strength training regimen to my program.

TRX, one of my favorite equipment


5.  DO take measures throughout the day to speed recovery.  Meb discussed several ways to help quicken recovery, from post-workout nutrition to ice baths, massages and sleep. After a long run, I usually wait until I get home before I eat/drink anything besides water missing the 30 – 90 minutes “recovery window” when glycogen synthesis is maximized where your muscles’s ability to store glycogen is at its peak.  A combination of carbohydrates and protein is ideal as protein is the key to repairing damaged muscle fibers during rigorous session.  After a hard workout, Meb has an electrolyte drink, a protein-enhanced Generation UCAN (one of his sponsors and a drink I would like to try in the future) before stretching then a banana or PowerBar afterwards.

If you haven’t read the book yet, see if you can borrow it from your local library or better even, get a copy for yourself – a great addition to your running library.

Friday Five is a link-up hosted by the DC Trifecta ladies, Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC, Mar at Mar on the Run, and Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!.  I’m thrilled to join their link-up today under the topic “Favorites”.

2016 Races and Training Plan

The New Year is only a few days away and I finally came up with a race plan for 2016.  I decided to focus on half marathons with the goal of achieving a PR (1:44 is the magic number).  Due to schedule and budget constraints, I usually limit the number of races averaging 5 to 7 a year.

Since 2008, I’ve signed up to train with the San Diego Track Club (SDTC) Rockin n Runnin marathon training program.  This program has so many awesome perks including 2 free races (Cardiff Kook 10K and Sue Krenn 15K), but what I love most about it is the motivation it provides to push yourself to achieve your best especially during tough workouts.  The year I joined this program in 2008 was the year I qualified for Boston.  And as Meb mentioned below, Coach Greer is the BEST 🙂


This program’s training plan is specifically for the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon in early June, however due to the popularity of the half marathon portion of the race, it now also offers a half marathon training plan.  However, with my first half marathon only 11 weeks away, I decided to write a personalized training plan based on what I learned studying for my Run-Fit Specialist certification, which I recently passed! (More about this certification on a later post).  December has been the month for building a base as well as focusing on strength and YES, I am still on my strength training streak until New Year’s Day.

My training plan starts the second week of January with 25 miles/week to a maximum of 38 miles/week, with a 2 week taper.  Each week will include 4 days of running:  1) Easy run Mondays 2) speedwork on Tuesdays with SDTC  3) acidosis threshold or lactate threshold runs on Thursdays after the 4th week 4) long runs on Saturdays with SDTC.  As you can see, my maximum weekly mileage is only 38 miles.  Will this be enough to reach my PR goal in March?  My maximum mileage going into MCM was 48 and I finished in approx 3:51.  The 10k results in February will determine my level of fitness and I can better assess my goal time for my first half marathon of the year.  Fortunately, I still have 2 more half marathons in my schedule to reach for that magic number!

Feb:   Cardiff Kook 10K (2/7)

Mar:  Sue Krenn 15K (3/?), San Diego Half Marathon (3/13)

May:  Mountains to Beaches Half Marathon (5/29)

Jul:     Scripps Ranch 4th of July 10K (tentative)

Aug:   Balboa 8miler (8/?)

Nov:   USA Half Marathon (11/19)

What’s your maximum mileage training for a half marathon?  Do you have plans to join a marathon/half marathon training program?  How many races are you running in 2016?




Oorah! Get Some!

Who’s running with the Marines in Oct?  Lucky me won the lottery!
My 5th marathon.  Just realized each marathon I’ve run so far has been in a different state: Shamrock in VA Beach, Rock n Roll San Diego CA, Boston Marathon and New York Marathon.  And adding to my list, Marine Corps Marathon in DC!  Very excited.  Time to hammer down an appropriate training plan to run well and avoid injuries.

Before I let my excitement take over, I still have to focus my training on two upcoming half marathons – La Jolla Half at the end of April and Rock n Roll Chicago Half in July with my college sorority sisters (so looking forward to it!) Come to think of it, the Chicago Half will be part of my marathon training plan since I would have to start my training in June. Nevertheless, it’s all about staying healthy and being injury-free.

Quick look at Training

Tomorrow we start week 5 of training with the Super Bowl Run 10K race on Saturday instead of our usual long run.  My first race of the season of which my #1 goal is to PR (as I doubt myself after just typing it…)  My PR at this race is tough to beat as I was very fit when I ran it many years ago – 7 years to be exact so I’m setting a second goal to beat my time from last year. “Dream, Believe, Achieve”, Right!?

The past four weeks of training has gone well.  Besides the tightness in my right hamstring, I have no complaints.  My performance seems to be improving every week and I feel strong during our weekly track sessions.  So far, my training has consisted of 4 days of running with additional core work and an extra day of strength training.  I have taken 1 to 2 days off for recovery but that doesn’t mean I just sit on the couch all day.  After all, I do have 2 kids who keeps me on my toes most of the time.  And worst, I don’t want to be part of the statistic where sedentary behavior increases the risk of early death, regardless of exercise!

Yesterday, the San Diego Track Club ventured up north to the San Dieguito River Valley trails in Escondido.  It was my first time running there as I usually miss the north county runs since the drive is time-consuming (about 40min one way), but I’m happy I decided to run this one.  I’m not much of a trail runner since my foot control is terrible and I usually end up tripping over myself, but the trails we ran were mostly leveled with only a few slight inclines along the way.  Plus being surrounded by nature is simply energizing – I completed 7 miles but I felt as though I could have ran forever.

           Mule Hill Trail

9 weeks later…

Training plan derailed.  Here I am with only 9 weeks to go building my mileage cautiously so I can stay healthy and make it to the start line.  It has been a challenge maintaining my mileage with the number of hurdles I encountered the past 9 weeks:

1) foot pain/tight hamstring which forced me to take a week off (week 3 of training)

2) travel to SC due to an unexpected circumstance involving my brother (Still was in recovery but squeezed in several miles to relieve stress – week 4)

3) scheduled vacation to Disneyworld (I had every intention to run but never found the time and energy.  We visited all 4 theme parks in a week which ended to be a very exhausting experience – week 5)

Weeks 6-10, I finally started to consistently increase mileage without experiencing any setbacks. I decided to participate in an 8 mi race and a half marathon as part of my long training runs on the weekends (weeks 7 and 9). It helped me with pacing as well as to assess my goal finish time for the marathon. If I remain injury-free, I have confidence with a 3:55 finish approx an 8:58/mi pace. I know I shouldn’t even worry about time and need to just enjoy the NY marathon experience but having a goal helps me stay focused especially while I’m training and I have a ‘million’ other things on my plate.

So 9 weeks of training left… 6 weeks to build up to two 20-milers and taper the final 3. I never had the chance to do any tempo runs but I continue to train with SDTC on Tuesdays for hills and intervals. The rest of the week will consist of easy running, cross training and rest. Crossing my fingers for staying pain-free!

On a good note, my 4 yr old ran her first race a few weeks ago. I asked her if she wanted to run one after I finished running my race and she was very excited to do it. It was a 1K, a bit further distance for her to actually run so she did a sprint at the start, then wanted to be carried – told her she won’t get a medal for being carried so she walked, then jogged, and finally sprinted to the finish line when she saw a crowd of people cheering for her. Seeing her face lit up when she heard the cheers and applause of the crowd as she crossed the finish line was definitely priceless. I was one proud mama:)

Running towards the finish line
One proud mama

NYC Marathon training

This week starts my 20 weeks of training for NYC marathon.  After perusing through my collection of books with different approaches to marathon training, I decided to base mine off of the “Run Less, Run Faster” plan.  The idea of quality runs three times during the week, plus two additional cross training days appealed to me.  My body can only handle so much mileage before it starts to breakdown, so I’m interested in attempting the training program with a few modifications and see where it takes me.

Nothing is set in stone,of course, but I’ve drafted mine to include the following:

1.  Run 3-4x and Crosstrain/Strength Train 1-2x per week (Tues – intervals; Thurs – tempo/hills; Sat – long run)

2.  Maximum mileage buildup to approx 50-55mi

3.  Three 20-mi long run

4.  Include tune-up races (AFC half marathon)

And my biggest challenge is finding the time especially with summer break coming up and having both children at home.  Foreseeing miles and miles logged on the treadmill at the local Y.