Week 23: Marathon Training

Well, it’s almost October! Meaning it’s practically November and marathon day is almost here!

My Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon race re-cap will be in next week’s update (it was just yesterday), but I can tell you that having a coach has completely changed the game! I beat my previous PR (by a whole lot!) and am so, so thankful for Coach Andrew Simmons for helping me become the runner that I am today, and the runner that I will be on marathon day and beyond.

[ week 23 / 7 weeks until 26.2 ]

Sunday – Long run. 10 miles, 1:35:17, 9:32 min/mile.

This week was a bit of a “taper” – less mileage – because of my half marathon coming up. I was honestly quite happy to “only” have 10 miles for my long run this week and just enjoyed it. It was humid and muggy but not too hot on this run. It rained right as I was going to head out but turned out to be a silver lining for me because I took that time to ice my ankles (sore muscles) and after icing about 15 minutes, the rain let up and I headed out and felt great. I was still drenched in sweat as usual but this run was much more enjoyable than my recent others because it was only about 75 degrees!

(Also took Miss Doodie to the park it was so nice!)
Monday – Rest day!

Sore from my “Good Form Running” class today (ankle muscles again). So, I was thankful for a rest day.

Tuesday -Swim, 1,250 yds, 27:22, 2:08 min/100yd.

I wrote in my journal: Woke up exhausted and defeated then conquered the day!

I remember waking up that morning not quite feeling well. I thought about calling in to work and just taking a day off, but I got up and did all the things! My ankles were incredibly sore from some drills we did on Saturday, so Coach thought it would be a good idea to swim. I had a great swim and felt great afterwards! Refreshed.

Wednesday – Easy miles. 3 miles, 29:15, 9:43 min/mile.

My legs were back to normal and it was back to being infinity degrees in Texas. So even though these were early miles, they were hot, sweaty, and suffocating. The air is just thick. Needless to say, I’m more than ready for the cooler weather!

Thursday – Tempo run. 6 miles, 54:32, 9:05 min/mile.

It felt GREAT this morning! I felt great this morning! It was nice out and my legs felt great. I wanted to go fast! I hoped to feel like this Sunday morning for my half marathon! I did 3 miles easy, 3 miles tempo.

Also did a spin class today! I felt so great and had all of this energy I decided to squeeze in a little cross-training after work. It felt really good to cycle, get my legs moving and do something a little different.

Friday – Easy miles. 3 miles, 28:10, 9:22 min/mile.

Nice and easy this morning. It was back to being humid and with absolutely ZERO breeze this morning. Not to complain, but really the weather was just super poopy this week! Even so, I’m feeling ready and confident for the half marathon after this run.

Saturday – Easy 2 miles with strides + Good Form Running class!

Easy 2 miles + 5x 100m strides to loosen up for tomorrow’s Half!

I’m getting a LOT out of this Good Form Running Class. It’s helped a ton with landing on the mid-foot and cadence. Enjoyed my rest day and hit the hay way early so I could wake up and run the half marathon!

(& Doodie got a Halloween costume! It says “I ate my Halloween costume)

Stay tuned and I will have the half marathon details in next week’s update! For a sneak peak here’s my review of the race on BibRave!

Miles for the week (running only) – 24.6

I look forward to this week of training and again am so thankful for Coach Simmons for all of these workouts and for truly getting me to where I am with my running. Feel free to check out his website: www.lifelongendurance.com and contact him with coaching questions! Coaches are for not only elite athletes, but everyone! Every single person with goals can benefit from personalized coaching. It can seem intimidating or unrealistic to have a coach, but it’s really not! Coaches are there to help and want to see you improve. It’s truly an investment in yourself.

Did you race this weekend? Where, how did it go?

What are your goals? 5K? Marathon? Triathlon?

Week 22: Marathon Training


Marathon is happening. In 8 weeks.

Need I say more?

It’s getting real.

Thank you to my coach, Andrew Simmons, for keeping me sane. I have confidence. I can do this.


[ week 22 / 8 weeks until 26.2 ]

Sunday – Long run. 15 miles, 2:23:36, 9:34 min/mile.

My longest run ever! Ever ever! And it felt great! It was only 79 degrees and a beautiful morning. Don’t get me wrong, the run wasn’t a walk in the park, but it was doable. I just thought of it as three 5 mile runs. It felt way better than my 14 miler last week for some reason – the weather probably helped but I was also working on my running form which may have helped as well. I started my Good Form Running class yesterday and am focusing on mid-foot striking, a 190 cadence, and not ding weird things with my left arm (when I don’t have a water bottle in that hand as usual, I start to swing it out and crick my wrist and, just weird stuff). Anyway, simply being aware of what I need to improve has helped tremendously.

Overall, I had an awesome attitude about how my run went and felt really good about it afterwards. I broke two PR’s – Longest Run and Half Marathon time, so it was a good day.

Monday – No run. Strength training.

I did a cross-fit class today – nothing too tough in my opinion except for the last 15ish minutes of circuit training. We did dead lifts, some arm things, and some endurance drills.

The week ahead consists of a bit less mileage than usual due to the fact that I’m doing a half marathon next Sunday. (woot woot!)

Tuesday – Easy 3 miles. 29:04, 9:40 min/mile.

Quick, easy, early miles. I worked on form again and a 180 cadence (which I now know that I personally need to be at about 190-195). My arms felt weird and if I did the “lean,” I seemed to be going way too fast. Still working on it!

Wednesday – Easy 3 miles. 28:40, 9:27 min/mile.

Worked on cadence again today (as I will be doing now every day, realizing its importance). I downloaded a metronome app that has helped get me used to it. I was a bit fatigued this morning because I was fasting for routine blood work that morning (the WORST!). Needless to say, I was more than ready to eat after this run. While getting my blood taken, the nurse was talking about her morning Casserole and I just about lost it. I don’t normally go more than 30 minutes without a snack, so going 8 hours is noteworthy.

Thursday – 6.5 miles, 58:25, 8:59 min/mile.

This run was TOUGH. It was hot, humid, and late in the day. I also ate way too much stir fry right before my run. Bad idea. Terrible idea. I had to swing back home to get more water (which I’ve never done before) because I was dying. I could also feel that slight discomfort in my right hip again… it was just one of those runs. You know.

But I did it!

Friday – 4 easy miles. 37:52, 9:27 min/mile.

Easy early miles. I was tired. Apparently so tired that all I wrote in my journal was “4. Tired.”

Saturday – Rest day!

No run, but I was anxious and eager to wake up early and get to my Good Form Running class. We did some drills to help land on the mid-foot and worked on cadence. We also did a “reset, lean, and go” drill to help with lean and posture. I’ve learned so much in just two classes. We also recorded and analyzed our form at the end. Good stuff!

Excited for the balloon fest half marathon next week!

Total miles for the week – 31.5

If you have any questions about coaching, what it’s like to have a coach, who can benefit from a running coach (everyone!), or anything run-coach related – please ask me or Andrew Simmons!

Did you race this weekend? Have any races coming up?

What do you think about on long runs?

Week 21: Marathon Training

Long runs are getting longer and I’m feeling more and more confident with the thought of the whole “running 26.2 miles” thing. I’m more thankful than ever for my coach, Andrew Simmons, who has helped me reach this confidence level.

I am also thankful for my friends and family for their encouragement and for being understanding when I’m constantly tired and hungry – and cranky because I’m tired and hungry. That means you! Those of you who have been following my journey, or are just starting to follow my journey mean so much. It’s amazing how much you guys motivate me!

Let’s dig in!

[ week 21 / 9 weeks until 26.2 ]

Sunday – Long run. 14.01 miles, 2:14:40, 9:37 min/mile.

Despite my overall feeling of confidence with long runs lately, today I didn’t think I’d make it. The first 6-9 miles flew by. I thought, I got this! This is easy! Well, perhaps I jinxed myself because miles 11-14 were grueling. Or, as I bluntly put int in my journal “miles 11-4 were hell.” My hips were tired, I was tired, I was thirsty, hungry, and hot (fairly warm morning, about 90 degrees), and I wanted to stop. At mile 12 I was having doubts. My stomach wasn’t feeling great… I just felt like poo. But I’m not one to quit – especially being so close to my goal – so I pushed through those last 2 miles and wound up at a Starbucks with a drink in each hand on the walk home. It felt nice to have something to sip on since I didn’t being enough water and didn’t being my ice cold gels on this run (forgot). I made it home, opened the door, and laid on the floor. I did it!

Monday – Rest and recovery!

Tuesday – Tempo run. 6.01 miles, 52:53, 8:48 min/mile.

This one was tough. It was hot and I ran out of water (again). The heat is really getting to me. My right hip flexor was a bit sore/stiff along with some other little ab muscles from the long run so I started off very slow. They shook out after the first mile (yay) and though I felt kind of bad to start (maybe from the heat?), I felt better as I went. Did 2 miles easy, 3 miles of hills @ 5K pace, 1 mile easy.

Wednesday – Easy miles. 3 miles, 30:03. 10:01 min/mile.

When I said easy, I meant easy. I took it really easy today as my body needed it. My hip flexor area was still tender but shook out after I was practically finished with my run (at about mile 2). I just went really, really easy today. It felt good.

Thursday – Easy miles. 5.1 miles, 49:28, 9:44 min/mile.

More easy miles. 5 miles really flew by today. I had a great run and my legs/hip flexor/etc all seemed back to normal today. AND I became an official BibRave PRO today since my singlet cane in the mail!

Friday – Easy miles. 4 miles, 38:19, 9:34 min/mile.

My right knee was a bit cranky for the first few miles, then it was both knees, then they were both fine by mile 4. Nothing major – probably just a bit stiff. I need to be better about stretching and foam rolling! Felt good afterwards!

Saturday – Rest and recovery!

Total running miles for the week – 32.1
Thank you for reading and for all of your support! I appreciate you!

How often do you stretch?

Do you foam roll? before runs? after?

Do you do “warm up drills” before a run? every run? long runs only?

4 Best Exercises a Runner Can Do

Person Standing on One Leg Black and White Photo

As a runner, it is very important to supplement with strength training in order to continue to improve your running while avoiding injury. Even if you do just a few movements each day, or a few times a week to strengthen weak muscles – this can help immensely in your performance as well as allowing you to run pain free.

It is important to recognize your weak areas in order to determine which exercises are best for you. In some cases, there may be something going on in an area other than that of which your pain deriving, and working on that area of weakness can, in turn, relieve pain in the other area. For example (and in my case), I tend to have achy knees and have found that it is due to weak hips. By strengthening my hips, I relieve the pain in my knees and have better overall stability.

These exercises will be geared towards strengthening your hips and glutes as it seems that painful knees are a continuous “runner problem.” I think our hips and muscles around them are something we forget about. We forget to stretch and strengthen them. If you think about it – our hips and glutes are where all the movement in the leg starts. If we have a happy, healthy starting point; everything else will follow! So, let’s get in to the exercises.


1. Clams

Lay on your side with your head comfortable (you can place it on a pillow if you want).

Bend your knees at about a 30 degree angle with them stacked on top of each other.

Place other hand (not on floor) on your hip.

Keep your feet together but open your knees. You will feel your glutes working and your hips stretching.

Repeat 20 reps on each side, 2-3 times.

2. 90/90 Hip Rotations

Lay on your back again with your legs up at a 90 degree angle.

Place a pillow, small ball, or yoga block in between your legs.

Slowly bring both legs (still at a 90 degree angle) to your right side.

Only go as far as you can while keeping back and shoulders on the ground.

Slowly go back to center.

Repeat 5 reps on each side, 2-3 times. Build up to 10 reps.

3. Banded Hip Flexor Pulls

Attach a band of medium resistance to something ground-level (table leg, for example).

Stand with legs hip-width apart (not a very wide stance) with one leg with the band round it without much resistance while standing.

Keep legs straight with a soft bend in both knees.

kick leg with band around it out just enough to feel the resistance in your hip flexor.

Keep the work in the hip flexor. Do these fairly quickly and continuously.

Repeat 6-8 reps on each side, 2-3 times. Build up to 10 reps.

4. Single-Leg Bridge Raises

Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.

Riase your right leg just level with the thigh of your left leg.

Raise your glutes with your left (grounded) leg. Then back down.

Repeat 10 reps each side, build to 15 reps.


Of course, everyone has different needs and goals – but these 4 workouts are wonderful for strengthening the runner’s power house, the hips and glutes. I believe that taking the time 2-3 days a week to preform some or all of these workouts has the capability to relieve and prevent injury while improving PR’s.

Week 20: Marathon Training

Let’s get right into how this week went! Just one thing (as always!): THANK YOU to my amazing, awesome, number one… Coach Andrew Simmons with Lifelong Endurance. I would be completely lost without him and who knows how this whole marathon thing would turn out. I’m so thankful for his guidance. All my runs and workouts are prescribed by Coach Simmons. Feel free to contact him with any coaching questions at andrew@lifelongendurance.com!

Let’s do this thing!

[ week 20 / 10 weeks until 26.2 ]

Sunday – Long run. 13 miles, 2:04:12, 9:33 min/mile.

Nice, easy miles – enjoyed the cool, quiet morning. The last 4 miles were tough – the last mile in particular was exhausting. I was hot, tired, and my legs were heavy. But I did it and overall the run felt good and I felt great afterwards. After today I’m feeling better about these long runs. A distance over 10 miles is intimidating to me, but becoming more and more “doable” as I build confidence. I’m currently feeling pretty confident because now I’ve done it a few times and now I know I can do it. 

Monday – Rest day. No run, strength training.

Did a crossfit (strength training) class today since I was feeling good after my long run yesterday. We did side planks, lunges, arm things, and push ups among many other things. It wasn’t too tough, but a nice supplemental workout. I like that we take time before and after class to work on stretches and foam-rolling.

Tuesday – Tempo run. 6.01 miles, 51:28, 8:34 min/mile.

TOUGH run today! 6 x (800m @4:00-4:15) with a 60 sec rest in between. I went early, so it wasn’t too hot (below 90) but it was HUMID. I don’t know why, but sometimes 8min/mile is “easy” for me (I find myself having to slow down from that on a long run), and other times its not. That’s an interesting thing about training that I’ve found and with running almost daily – your body works differently on different days. Some days feel great and others may not, but those tough days are the days that make you stronger.

Wednesday – Easy run. 3.03 miles, 26:57, 8:54 min/mile.

I was a bit worried today because my knee hurt a bit after my run yesterday – but I iced and rested it and it was golden in the morning. I had a great 3 miles – in fact, today was once of those days when I had to slow myself down. I felt like I was going easy and kept looking down at my watch to read 8:00 min/mile! Now why couldn’t that have been so easy yesterday? Anyway, I really slowed myself down and took it easy. My knee felt fine after this run, too, so I was happy! It’s always nice to not have an injury.

Thursday – Easy run. 5.01 miles, 45:31, 9:05 min/mile.

I felt a little stiff today, but was OK. It wasn’t too hot and I actually had a few parts of my shirt that weren’t completely soaked in sweat for the first time this summer!

Friday – Easy Run. 4.01 miles, 37:24, 9:20 min/mile.

It was like deja vu today! I was just running, wasn’t I? Since I ran in the evening yesterday and early this morning, I felt like I was just on this sidewalk. I was tired, but I was just fine once I got going. I noted that I was a bit stiff in my hips and knees but overall felt OK.

(My Nike+ app always says a bit different mileage/time than my Garmin, which I go by)

Saturday – Rest and recovery!

Total miles for the week – 31.1 

Total miles (running only) for August – 121.13

Thank you for following me on my journey! I truly and greatly appreciate all of your support and comments and enjoy hearing about how your training/life is going as well. I hope you all had an amazing weekend!
If you could travel anywhere and do any race, what would it be?

Have you ever done a Ragnar Relay? What was it like (trail or road?)?