Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Resting is Training

As training looms in my near future, starting mid-December, I can't help but think about all the awesome workouts I will do, and the reality of a 25 minute PR. Mostly, I think I can do this, because I will actually be doing speed-work this time around. Boston training will provide the base mileage (gulp) for ultra training.

I'm forgetting that, yes, 70 mile weeks will mean I can eat whatever I want, but I need to incorporate rest. I need to work up to this slowly. I swear I'm developing OCD to keep from getting injured again, because I can't handle this time off.

Next week, I'm throwing in some 3-5 mile runs to my cross-training, and then I just need to slowly add the miles over the next 8 months. I want to give myself more time off, and if I'm still sore from the day before, to rest. Its hard to do things in moderation, but I need to remember that resting is training.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving! Good luck to all Turkey Trot runners, I will be on a plane that morning, so no racing for me!

Monday, November 23, 2009

New and Creative

If you recall, my mantra regarding my toe was: I will use this as an opportunity to be creative and try new things.

Rock Climbing
I tried indoor climbing this weekend. I really enjoyed it. I was told that the owner of the climbing center, and many of their members, were runners who were injured and needed something new, and then it turned into a cross-training outlet. I can definitely see that. Charlie and I are going to get certified in a couple weekends to belay each other, and try to make it a twice a month activity. I only did 3 climbs, but man am I feeling it. Its a great workout for your whole body! The only problem is that it was no toe-happy. I definitely felt it, both during the activity and the day after. Its a bummer because if it was just going to bug my toe, I should have just gone running.

Jaclyn and I  got up at the crack of dawn Sunday to meet a 20-30s hiking group. We made it to the metro meet just fine, but got lost due to poor directions about 5 different times on the way out. The group left without us, but after two and a half hours of driving, we decided to go ourselves. This was also not exactly toe-friendly, especially since we had to climb over creeks a gazillion times, and my toe wanted to curl under to grip the rocks. Still, it was fun and I had a blast with Jacyln, as usual. She's one of those friends you can just relax around, and although we never, ever run out of things to talk about, we can also walk in the woods or drive in silence, and its comfortable, not awkward.

Gym Membership
From what I've always known about Gold's Gym, especially in the Buffalo area, is that they were always so difficult. So, when I won my 3 month membership to Gold's Gym Ballston (out in VA), I was ready for the midtown DC location to tell me they wouldn't honor it. Not only did they sign me up, but they gave me the rest of Nov, plus Dec-Feb! Totally awesome! Once Feb ends, it'll be monster month and I'll spend all my free time running, and so this is perfect. Today I start my spinning. I have some day passes to the Buffalo Athletic Club for this weekend. Gold's also offers Yoga classes that I want to try. They have a 2-hour Friday class I want to take.

I haven't gone yet, mostly because I'll have to deal first with proving I live in DC and I have to put a bathing suit on, and I'm not feeling it. Maybe I can even go to a public pool this weekend to get started, and steal some goggles from home.

All in all, I've been walking a lot more. I go for walks during lunchtime, I walked home from work a few times last week (about 3 miles), and I walked a lot this weekend. I'm trying to eat less, and healthier, and I'm doing ok with that. One week until I can start running again, but I want to take it easy, with some 3-5 mile runs, and then gradually work up. The last thing I want is another injury!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Run to Read Half-marathon

I found this race today while looking for any Half-marathon between Jan and Mar 2010. Its a 3.5 hour drive from DC, with only a $20 registration fee. It also starts at noon, so you can drive out, not leaving until 7am, and get there in time without leaving super early. Its also the only one even remotely near DC during that time period. Half is on crushed limestone (not too crazy about that) but its held in a state park, and so I'm sure the scenery is nice.

I mean, I can rent a car and drive out myself. But, I thought this could be a fun opportunity do get out with another DC area runner who is planning on a late Spring marathon. Any takers?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gear advice? Anyone?

This is way too familiar: the post-MCM injury, the weeks off from running, lacking motivation, sleeping a lot, not wanting to do anything but go for long walks (sort of reminiscent of long runs), sit around, eat, and read/watch TV. I'm falling into endorphin withdrawal. I'm still staying focused on "training" and waiting for the three week running hiatus to end, but not gonna lie, I'm feeling really down. Luckily, I've got rock climbing and a hike planned for this weekend, and I'll be going home for Thanksgiving. Its been 10 days since my half-marathon, and 11 days left of toe resting before I start running again. ELEVEN!

I went to the gym three times last week, but this week my firm is at trial, and I've been hanging out until at least 6:30 everyday. I also have a bad infection that I've just started meds on. I've been dizzy and lightheaded all day, getting overheated, head aches, and the infection itself is really uncomfortable, and so I haven't been to the gym at all this week. I don't even want to go for long walks, since I get dizzy just sitting down. The last thing I want is to pass out, alone, in Northeast DC.

With all the clients and expert witnesses here, every meal has been catered with really good, free food that I can't help but eat. I know I'm eating too much, and its really bringing me down. That and I think its adding to my wacky fatigue levels. I've been sleeping about 9 hours a night, and I get tired too early, and I can't get out of bed early enough to keep myself to only 8 hours. However, it is flu season, and I want to stay healthy-ish. So, if my body wants 9 hours of sleep, I'll give it just that.

Hopefully, tomorrow I'll feel good enough for a workout. Unfortunately, I really hated going to the gym last week after work. Getting home so late really put a damper on things. I want to try going to the gym in the morning, but that would mean lugging all my make-up, hair appliances, shower things, everywhere and everyday. I'm not fond of that either!

On another, non-whiny note. I need to put together a Christmas list to get the cold running and trial running gear I need. I need a few new pair of warm running pants, an under Armour base shirt, a windbreaker, a headlamp, and a Camelbak for long trial runs that can hold fluid and basic survival necessities. Also, I need one that will fit well on my tiny 5'2" frame. Any good recommendations for any of these? I'd like to find good pants that aren't $100. I have no idea how to search for a headlight. And, there are so many Camelbaks, most for bike riding, and I'm lost. Help!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Boston Marathon Entry Confirmation, received!

Yay! I did it!

I've been lacking in updates because of a weekend visitor and a work week from hell. But, this needs to be posted. That, and Boston Marathon registration has already closed, nearly two months earlier than last year. Boy am I glad I didn't have to resort to Plan B (Vegas marathon) for my BQ! 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Endorphin fix

Yesterday, I tried out eating a big breakfast, and planning two mid-day snacks, and found that it really helped me with curbing hunger, cravings, and kept me satisfied all day! Also, I ate a small dinner, which was my plan, and was good without a second helping and with a few fig newtons for dessert.

My workout yesterday was awesome. Again, I really didn't want to go to the gym after work, but I took possibly the best spinning class of my life. Bruce, the Thursday at 6:30 class instructor at the WSC Connecticut Ave location, is everything a spinning instructor should be and kicked my ass. The class was pretty hard, with few recoveries, and when you slowed down he would call you out and snap his fingers to the cadence you ought to be at. At first, I thought it was really obnoxious, until I was dying and chanting 2:58 in my head just to finish one set of jumps. I was sweating profusely and worn out at the end.

My favorite thing about spinning classes is that you ultimately control the intensity. I always keep the resistance nice and high, because I feel more in control of the bike. Finally, I felt an endorphin high and that wonderful feeling of completing a great workout. I'm in such a good mood again. After, I did a strong, hard core workout with more planks that you can imagine, playing with the stability ball, and mixed an arm and core workout by lifting weights over my head.

Getting home at 8:45 is still pretty rough, but its perfect for a shower, a small meal, and getting a few things done before bed. This cross-training thing ain't too bad!

Its supposed to be 70 this Sunday, so I'm going to try to drag my visiting friend out kayaking in the Potomac and then I'm going to my first swim session Monday. Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Half-marathons: Love 'em or hate 'em? and Spring Marathon Plans

As I was finishing up last weekend's Half-marathon I was thinking about how this wasn't my best, but I would still technically PR since its been a year since my last one. Do halves of a full marathon count? I want a better half PR than 1:39, I know I can run 13.1 miles faster than that. As I passed Mile 9 I decided I should take a season off from marathons and train for a half. My half training history is made up of...

In 2007, I planned to run the National Marathon, but came down with Mono (huge damper on training). I didn't run for about three months (give or take a few exceptions), and then race weekend came up. The race was on a Saturday and my training consisted of:
  • Tuesday: 6 mile run
  • Wednesday: 8 mile run
  • Thursday: 10 mile run
  • Friday: rest day
  • Saturday: National Half-marathon.
 No, I'm not kidding. And I didn't do bad in comparison to my last marathon (2:05 half, 4:37 full, 6 months before).

The second half-marathon, I didn't really train for either. I had decided to take that season off, because I didn't want to train at home in Buffalo, NY (its all sidewalk training, which is basically torture) all summer long. I was still running, but mostly my favorite loops, one was 4.5 miles and the other around 6 miles. When my friend asked if I would run it with her, I did a 10-mile run the weekend before to make sure I could finish it, and then ran a quick 1:47.

So, I was wondering if I should should take a season off from fulls, after my planned ultra next fall, and do a half-marathon where I focus on speed workouts. Except, I hate speed workouts. I like long runs. I'd really rather start running ultras. And so, I tossed the idea within the next mile. I finally started a good runner's high at Mile 12, only to have the race end a mile later. I mean, where's the fun in that?

I was thinking of running the National Half again, as a BM training run, but it works out that its exactly a month before, and perfect timing for a nice long training run as opposed to 13 miles. I'm gonna run the full marathon, with half at 14-30 seconds below race pace, 10 miles at race pace, and then do a slow jog to the finish line. I know me, and this won't work. Maybe I could force the first half slower, but I will most likely give it all I can at the end. However, the race is a good month beforehand (as mentioned) and I will start tapering right after. The 4-week taper worked for MCM, so its in the plans for April.

On top of that, both races will probably start up ultra training. Then I'll do the 30, 50... uh 75 mile training runs on my own? I should really start researching how to train for a 100-mile trail race in the mountains. From what I've read so far, its the same as marathoning, but longer long runs and mid-week runs. And, I need more hills (I might move out to Rock Creek Park once my lease is out). But, a 75 mile long run sounds like an awesome Sunday activity, doesn't it?

Motivation fail

Yesterday's workout was very lame. I was so unmotivated. It was a miracle I even made it to the gym (the computer screen actually helped get me there!). I did about 50 squats with a 50 lb weight, 50 calf raisers, and then just decided to go up and do the stationary bike. I got out of work 30 min late, meaning I didn't get to the gym until around 6:45, and I just wanted to get home, make dinner, and relax. Luckily, I discovered the joy of having a tv screen at an exercise machine, and was able to sit and watch the Caps game while getting in a (very) light workout.

On the way home, I got ravenous, and so when I stopped for some cheese for my dinner, I ended up grabbing a bag of wasabi peas and snacked while walking home (a really bad habit I picked up from those damn Parisians). My pasta dinner got an entire handful of shredded Parmesan and I craved ice cream, but settled for some salty snacking before headed to bed. All in all, not a very good day. At least I have a lot to improve upon. Spinning workout is planned for 6:30, with a core workout following and a light upper body workout.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Still hungry

I was amazed yesterday to discover that I only have six weeks until Boston training starts. I adjusted my plan so that my training begins with a 12, rather than a 16-mile long run, to give me ample time to get back into running. Right now, I am taking three weeks off to heal my little toe.

Yesterday, I took a 55-minute long spinning class at the WSC, and it was a great workout, but I literally day-dreamed about running instead. Its hard to know you could run nearly 8 miles during that time, and burn about 300 more calories. I topped it off with a moderate core workout and an upper body workout. I had no energy as I left the gym, and picked up some peanut butter filled pretzels to keep me going as I headed home. I guess I need to get used to this whole working-out-after-work thing. The worst was not getting home until after 9 p.m.

Not only am I working out to build muscle, maintain aerobic capabilities, and satisfy my endorphin addiction, but I also wanted to drop a few pounds before Boston training starts, so that I can focus on fueling my workouts and not worrying about weight loss. I want to lose weight to get faster, to conserve energy, and to look more like a runner. But, this is really, really hard.

I know dieting and watching what you eat isn't supposed to be easy, but I am hungry all the time. And, I can eat a helluva lot of food before I'm full (I actually do not remember the last time I was). I realize that my metabolism is on high, but I'm no longer running miles a week to make up for food intake. I'm looking for a plan of attack right now.
  • First, I wanted to shrink my stomach with smaller meals and small snacks, but I need a good shopping trip for that.
  • I'm cutting a lot of animal products, so I am getting less calories from a lot more food. I'm focusing on whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables. 
  • I'm also going to start eating a big breakfast, and have my meals get smaller throughout the day, with maybe just a salad for dinner.
Hopefully, that will be enough to trim some weight off my body, and gaining muscle will help too. The impending holiday season may kill me, but I just need to be extra good Thanksgiving weekend. My food journal is under links, check it out if curious and let me know if you think I'm just not eating enough.

Gyms aren't my favorite thing in the world. And, this "dieting" thing is tough. So, I've tried to remember that I'm still "in-training" for Boston right now, because rest is training. I've made the back of my computer screen a runner, with my goal time above. I'm thinking of getting 2:58 tattooed on my wrist... but methinks that would be taking things too far.

I just need little reminders that I want this, and that working hard now will have huge payoffs.

Happy off-season!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Race to End Women's Cancer Half-Marathon: Race report

Sticks and stones may break my bones but they won't keep me from running!

This was my motto as I walked over to the start line. Yesterday, at 4:00 p.m., I decided just to try running, despite my broken toe, and found it hurt less than walking in my sneakers (sandals are best). My baby toe is broken, but I over-pronate so I decided to run the next morning without my orthodics and let my feet work as normal. So what if I hadn't run in two weeks? I clearly had forgotten the post about me actually having limits to what I can and cannot do.

Race morning
Everything went wrong the morning of the race. With little preparation, I had to get my clothes out the dryer, wash dishes for breakfast, put my bag together, and I had gotten less than 5 hours of sleep. told me that there would be a bus I could take at 5:21 a.m., but it never came. I got on the phone to call a cab and started walking to Union Station, in the 25 minutes it took me to walk, I was on hold, and so just grabbed a cab once I arrived. One mile down, 13 to go.

I didn't know what to expect at the start line. The website was poorly done, and I had no idea how many people were racing. I didn't have a bib number until I got to the start area and then had nothing to do but sit around and chat with other single runners. It was then that I realized I forgot my Garmin! What would I do without it?! On top of that, my iPod had little juice left, probably just enough for 2 hours of playing.

My plan was W.A.D.--Wait. Accelerate. Dominate. I promised myself that I would learn how to start slow. There were no starting corrals, we just all lined up and the race started about 10 minutes late. I felt pretty good the first couple miles, although I always think these miles are the worst since I'm not completely warmed up. My biggest fear about running this race did in fact happen: the adrenaline masked the pain. You know, that same adrenaline that during MCM made me think I was running downhill instead of uphill? I was thinking that my toe felt awesome, and it wasn't until Mile 3 that I really started feeling it.

I learned today how my feet work, and that you use your baby toe most when turning (makes sense, right?). Unfortunately, you were turning every half mile in this course. When I came back to the start for the first loop, my toe was throbbing, and just once I hit it wrong and a sharp pain shot through it and I stopped to a limp. The start/finish line was right there, with my bag, a way home, food, and water.  I didn't have to be a rock star today, I already PRed in both halves of the Marine Corps Marathon just two weeks ago.

I felt completely defeated and ran to the right half of the street to end the course. This was a stupid idea, I should have just run the 5k or did the Mile walk. But, I signed up for 13.1 miles. I raised $1,045 for this cause. I want to start running ultras and here I was willing to take a DNF... for thirteen miles? I have never, ever not done the mileage I set out for any run, unless at one point I could no longer run. I was still running, and there was no way I would start quitting now!

So, I didn't have to PR today. No big deal. Today I would PR for the half-marathon I ran with a broken toe. I just ran a 3:22 marathon, I was already a rock star (cue Pink's So What which came onto my iPod). I slowed down, took it easy, and focused on smooth running that didn't impact my toe.

Deciding to slow down during a race can really kill you. People start passing you, and its hard not to feel defeated. I took a lesson from MCM and made myself smile. Somehow, running with a smile on your face is so much easier. The second lap got progressively better, and I learned that if I walked the turn-arounds, it didn't bother my toe. Now the biggest problem was a blister starting on the inside of my foot. Since I didn't have orthotics in, this changed how my shoes fit. That, and I could feel what the lack of support was doing to my legs and my knee even started hurting. At Mile 8 my quads started to burn, I was thrown off by this, and then I remembered that I did just run a marathon two weeks ago.

When I finished the second lap, I wasn't in the best of shape but I kept pressing forward. At Mile 11, I realized that I needed to take a break from running and let my toe heal, that these next two miles were the last two I would run for the next three weeks, and man did that effect me. I don't where the pain went but I was flying. I passed runner after runner. I may have missed the "Accelerate" part of the plan, but I was dominating here at the end. Finishing a race strong like that just feels amazing. I passed a runner that was way ahead on me at the end, crossed the finish line seconds before her and internally pouted; I was just starting to have fun!

As I was talking to some other runners, one of which I approached because the group was talking about his Vibram Five Fingers, I told him to watch out, since I just broke my toe. "You have a broken toe right now?" I shrugged. "Its just my baby toe, not too big a deal." As they all spoke about going home and watching tv, I mentioned I had hiking plans for the afternoon. "Wow, you really are crazy." Why, thank you!

I started the race today thinking that I wanted to channel some badass runner who would rock it out despite an injury, like Jenn Sheldon. And then, I realized that I had enough to draw from myself. I could be badass. I have a thank you e-mail to send out to all the awesome donators, did I want to say "hey folks, thanks for helping me raise all this money, but I got a DNF" or tell them about an awesome race and that I had to work hard to finish?

Last year, I ran a half-marathon in 1:47. My MCM half splits were 1:39 and 1:43. Today, I ran a 1:46. It wasn't my best, but its the best I could do in those circumstances, and that's what matters! 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Coming out of the closet

Hello, my name is Brittany and I'm a veggie-addict.

Ever find yourself with $20 left in your bank account with 10 days before payday? Well, I get into this situation all too often (I have a shopping problem) and so I spend a week or so getting creative about the food I have in my little kitchen. I tend to cook enough for a small family, when I cook for just myself in reality, so I take leftovers for lunch a couple days after. I found out I was out of spinach yesterday, and low on peas, corn, green beans, cauliflower... and I was also out of broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and brussel sprouts. Oh no!

To survive the next ten days, I needed a quick staples shopping trip: soymilk, onions, canned tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and seven 2-pound bags of frozen vegetables. Yes, I will most likely finish them off. I have a vegetable addiction, and its a problem. I usually do farmer's markets, but I always keep my frozen veggies stocked as well. They are so cheap and convenient!

Tonight, I used up some butternut squash (how I am not sick to death of squash and apples, I do not know) with onion garlic, sage and spinach over Israeli couscous and some tuna patties that I made on my new grill pan. I wasn't expecting much from them, but they actually turned out really delish. Its a shame I tend to just throw things in a bowl when I make patties or meatballs, and so I don't remember exactly what I used. My guess is: some onion and garlic from the squash mix, non-fat yogurt, bread crumbs, and some shakes of various spices, salt, and pepper. Nothing special, but totally satisfied my meat craving.

Speaking of meat, I don't remember the last time I ate it. I'm trying to focus my diet on plants, and I thought I'd get meat cravings, but I have a new bean obsession that's so very satisfying that I don't miss meat at all!

Plus I have a ton of non-seasoned leftovers of the butternut squash, ready to throw onto pasta, or turn into a curry, or just topped with some cinnamon and devoured on its own.

I am also out of nutella, which I had straight off my fingers for dessert :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Change of plans

I was told today to not run for 3 weeks. THREE WEEKS! (I burst into tears, it was awkward)

I am certain that I will go absolutely crazy. I also know that once I start training, I will value every mile I get to run. Anyway, I'm supposed to be resting, and God knows I don't do moderation very well so maybe this is a good thing. My mantra is I will use this is as an opportunity to be creative and try new things.
Plan for staying sane:
  • Gym membership. For strength-training and spinning classes. I also wanted to try out some boxing lessons. I think it'd be a great workout, plus yoga and pilates classes.
  • Pool access. I found free access to an indoors swimming pool! Fun! Cardio!
  • Weekend activities. Hiking? Rock climbing center? Something to replace weekend long runs. I was told I can do anything but run... perfect right?
I'm going to do the one-mile walk Sunday instead of the half-marathon. I will be sulking and pouting the whole time.

I was told I can run and it most likely won't do damage but it would delay recovery. Its just one, itty, bitty, 13 mile race... right?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I love the feeling of coming in after a run, totally spent, soaking wet, tired as hell, yet feeling completely invincible. We're always told to "reach for the stars" and "there are no limits"... but there are limits. Maybe with the right preparation we can do anything, but there are in fact limits to what I can and cannot do. This has been a huge theme the last new few months and something that I've been thoroughly learning.

When I hurt my ankle last month, I learned that I can in fact overwork my muscles. After MCM I was scared my how my body was shaking and how dangerous it can be if you don't eat, drink, and keep warm after pushing your body to do more than you ever trained for. I learned that the unexpected, one stupid tree root, can keep me off my feet for a week (I think I broke my baby toe. I know, lamest injury ever). I recently ended a relationship (not that kind of relationship relationship) that I decided I just couldn't do anymore. I wanted it, but it wasn't best for me. The idea sounded right in my head, but I wasn't actually capable of it. I learned that I do, in fact, have limits.

No, this doesn't mean I'm backing out on my 100-mile race, it means that I need to make sure I am totally prepared for it and be willing to back off if I don't think I can do it. And, I'm not getting my heart set on 2:58 at Boston yet, I'm going to see how training goes first because, that's really, really fast. I think the ability of taking lessons learned from one part of your life and applying them to another is a difficult, but useful tool and at 22, I should start practicing.

Monday, November 2, 2009

MCM Splits

Wow, I completely forgot to post these. One of my tweeps mentioned that one our our mutual followings ran a "perfectly paced race" yesterday and so he totally called me out on my positive split! He replied again with "Yup, calling you out on your pacing at MCM, girl! 1:39 and 1:43 for a 3:22 marathon. Pretty bad pacing there...."

I felt pretty dejected, since I had run all negative splits during my long runs, and I ran progression runs! I mean, really, how did I manage that?!

First, there were hills, and I love rocking the downhill.

Second, it wasn't until Mile 14 that I told myself I needed to slow down or I would die out soon. So, running slower was on purpose, not because I couldn't do it anymore. I tried to keep at 7:45 the second half until Mile 20, but the first mile was too fast and then it really killed me (that, and the heat. The sun was really hot). That last 10k is disappointing, but I did every mile under the 8:00 goal pace, so I can't complain. But anyway, here they are:

Mile 1: 7:51
Mile 2: 7:43
Mile 3: 7:13
Mile 4: 7:05 (But! 137 ft of descent! Not my fault!)
Mile 5: 7:30
Mile 6: 7:26
Mile 7: 7:54
Mile 8: 7:25
Mile 9: 7:31
Mile 10: 7:21
Mile 11: 7:28
Mile 12: 7:28
Mile 13: 7:42
Mile 14: 7:47
Mile 15: 7:42
Mile 16: 7:46
Mile 17: 7:41
Mile 18: 7:44
Mile 19: 7:34
Mile 20: 7:44
Mile 21: 7:25
Mile 22: 8:00 (woot! only mile at goal pace! This was a hard mile)
Mile 23: 7:30
Mile 24: 7:57
Mile 25: 7:52
Mile 26: 7:52
Last bit I averaged 6:48 pace.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Favorite Workouts

I'm taking time to rest, both my broken toe and my body, but I'm excited as hell for training to begin again. When I started my MCM training, an 8-minute mile was really pushing it. I remember thinking it was too fast, too hard, and I would never get used to it. On race day, I averaged a 7:40 minute mile. I think the key was running race pace, and sub-race pace as much as possible so that I got used to it. So, here's a list of my favorite workouts!
  • Hill workout. I love hills. Some say they're a speed-workout in disguise, but a hill is one way to wipe me out completely that my recovery is actually needed. 
  • Hilly speed-workout. Most of the time, I keep my pace even to slow on hills, but actually trying to speed up them=awesome. It's just absolutely brutal.
  • Stairs. I love incorporating stairs into my workouts, especially the Memorial Bridge stairs. I want to try out running up the stairs to the Capitol Building, and then down Capitol Hill. I do stairs a LOT, so this really could have been a major key.
  • Mile repeats. These are not fun at all. I actually call them mile repeats, but do 0.82 mile repeats since it works out best on the National Mall. But hey, they work!
  • Yasso 800s. I really love the 800 meter distance for speed workout, and these are just so much fun. You shoot for 800 meters in your hour:minute goal. For example, I want to run a 2:58 at Boston, so I would shoot for 800 meters in 2 minutes, 58 seconds, and then recover for that long. I start with four in the beginning of training, and then build up to 10 at a time.
  • Tempo Runs. My favorite way to do these is to just rock out the chorus during the song and stick to the song pace. The best songs on my playlist for this are Total Eclipse of the Heart and 7 Things... I stole them from spinning classes.
  • Mile alternates between race pace/30 seconds sub-race pace. I swear this is what made me so speedy at MCM. I like doing at least 10 miles of these, with one mile warm up and cool down, and then all the other miles alternating between race pace and 30 seconds sub-race pace. For MCM it was 8:00/7:30. Now, its 6:50/6:20. Holy shit. Well, I'll work up to that... eventually...
  • Progression runs. LOVE! Especially when they are super long. Basically, you find a loop that you can do 3-4 times and get faster each time. My favorite place is the National Mall with loops at race pace, then 15 sec faster, then another 15 seconds faster. With a mile warm up and cool down it was a solid 14 mile run. 
  • Long Runs. I love going out for a good long run, but a lot of people run these too slow. I did my first half at a pace 20-30 seconds slower than race pace, then the last half sped up to race pace, and then rocked the last 3-5 miles out even faster. Yum!
For "easy runs" I still try to run close to race pace. I think my 16-mile run at race pace, the morning after an evening run with alternate miles 8:00/7:30 was my toughest workout, and I can't wait to do it again!

Happy resting!