Paris Marathon Training Log: Tempo Run, February 23 2018

Friday sunset runs are my absolute favorite. I can usually get out of work early enough to catch Miami’s majestic sunset and the adrenaline of the weekend pulses in my veins, propelling me forward at a faster than normal pace. It puts me in an incredible mood. So, if you are lucky enough to spot me, you’ll get to experience the Margarita run-sing-dance. It’s my signature move, as the usual suspects on the Venetian Causeway have come to learn over the last two years.

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Needless to say, today’s Friday sunset run was an overwhelming success—I finished at an 8:45 min/mi average. It wasn’t a perfect predator run because I caught the wind on the way back and admittedly, I took off way too fast in the first two miles. That said, I’m impressed with my body’s ability to sustain a sub-9 min/mi pace for the last five consecutive miles. I’m also happy I was able to push an extra 0.2 miles for a full 10K. Given that I ran this 2 minutes faster than my goal pace for Paris, this was an excellent litmus test for the South Beach Triathlon which I will be running the weekend I get back from the marathon.

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Guess who was super vain today and ran without a water belt because it would ruin the outfit? This girl. Luckily my run took me to Margaret Pace Park where I made a quick water/restroom break at the halfway point.

Beyond the Friday evening high, this incredible run can be attributed to two things. One was the fact that I’ve been taking an analgesic for my ankle, prescribed by the orthopedic specialist I saw in Mexico, that has been working miracles. I didn’t feel the tendonitis flare up until mile 5 and it should be back to normal once I finish icing. The second was the playlist. I recycled the Guadalajara Half-Marathon playlist today, shuffling between the techno songs and the rap songs. The MVPs during the mile 5 reckoning were “Hey Mama” and “She Can Get It,” both of which set the perfect left foot, right foot pace to push when I wanted to slow down.

Distance is going to be my biggest challenge in the next five weeks so wish me luck on Sunday morning’s 15-mile run. I am starting to get nervous about this whole 26-mile commitment I made…

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Gear: Brooks Glycerin 15 running shoes, Garmin Forerunner 920XT watchBeats Studio 2 wireless headphones

Playlist: My “Guadalajara Half Marathon” playlist on Spotify

Paris Marathon Training Log: Tempo Run, February 13 2018

It’s becoming apparent that making it to and finishing the Paris Marathon is going to be a challenge. My right ankle, which seemed to have been getting better, has reached a recovery plateau (i.e., it still hurts). Ergo, I’m running slower and training less than I should be, especially considering that we are seven weeks away from race day.  My previous race goal was to finish. My current race goal is to make it to race day. Womp, womp.

That said, I’m up for the challenge. I just have to temper my expectations about the speed of my recovery, how much more progress I will be able to make in training, and what I will be able to accomplish on race day. My plan for the next few weeks is to manage my injury. I’m going to focus on keeping good form during runs, pushing myself but not too hard, and religiously icing after every workout. I’m also going back to the acupuncturist as soon as I am back in town. (I’m headed to Mexico for a few days to visit family.)

As far as training, it’s taking more motivation to get moving because running hurts. On this particular run, the fear of running 26 miles in a few weeks was enough to get me out the door. The actual running wasn’t any easier. The first four miles I averaged a 10+ min/mi pace because I physically could not move faster without limping. When my ankle warmed up, I was able to comfortably increase to a 9:30 min/mi pace and enjoy myself, ultimately bringing my pace to a 9:58 min/mi average. It’s not the best I can do, but it is a respectable pace and in the neighborhood of my goal tempo for the marathon so I consider it a win.

I’m taking each day in stride, aiming first and foremost to get back to my routine of one tempo run, one sprint workout, and one long run. We’ll see what happens on those runs. I’m particularly interested to see how my body responds this weekend when I go out for my first long run since the Miami half-marathon. Stay tuned and send positive healing vibes. Please and thank you.

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Gear: Brooks Glycerin 15 running shoes, Garmin Forerunner 920XT watch, Amphipod running belt (similar here), Beats Studio 2 wireless headphones, 16GB Apple iPod Nano

Playlist: My “Road to Paris” playlist on Spotify

Paris Marathon Training Log: Tempo Run, February 9 2018

Today I restarted my training and—man!—it feels good. My right ankle took a serious beating during the Miami half-marathon so I took a two week hiatus. The first week because I could barely put weight on it. The second week out of an abundance of caution. The Paris Marathon is less than two months away and I can’t afford to be sidelined any longer. I was also in dire need of a good run.

I took the first mile slow, easing my way back into things at a 10:17 min/mi pace. My goal was to keep it there for 6 miles. I succeeded for 4 then, per usual, my competitive side got the best of me. At 4.5 miles I spotted another runner less than 100 feet in front of me and I made her my “prey”. Block by block I picked up my pace until half a mile later I left her in my dust, averaging 9:32 min/mi and 8:46 min/mi in miles 5 and 6, respectively.

I ended my triumphant return with a respectable 9:45 min/mi average, which happens to be my goal tempo for the marathon. Ergo, today’s easy run became a tempo training run. It’s good to be back, baby! (P.S. I brought my running belt-friendly iPod Nano instead of my phone for tunes today so I recycled a photo from my first day of Paris Marathon training on Lower North Bay Road.)

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Gear: Brooks Glycerin 15 running shoes, Garmin Forerunner 920XT watch, Amphipod running belt (similar here), Beats Studio 2 wireless headphones, 16GB Apple iPod Nano

Playlist: My “Road to Paris” playlist on Spotify

 

Is Running In A Group Better Than Running Alone?

Tonight I made my triumphant return to the South Beach Run Club. Can you believe it’s been five years since the days we met up outside Mr. R’s? Even more shocking, it’s been nearly seven years since Morgan and I frequented the Gables Run Club.

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Morgan and I, crouched at center, after a Gables Run Club run in September 2011.

Since my last run club stint, I’ve been more of a solo or partner runner, running in larger groups only when races absolutely demand it. I made an exception today because I was scheduled for an easy, short run and my friend Naveed asked nicely. The runs are usually around 3 to 4 miles so my plan was to run them at comfortable pace. Naveed had a different plan.

One of the benefits of running en masse, particularly in a run club, are pace groups. Naveed and our friend Diego recommended I join theirs so I wouldn’t have to navigate around slower runners until everyone was sufficiently scattered. It was a solid strategy, except for the part where I’m substantially slower than them. (Naveed and Diego run sub-8 min/mi, while I averaged an 8:21 min/mi in my 5K PR.)

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The super fast, serious runners of the sub-8 min/mi pace group. Intimidating, right?

Another benefit of group runs is that there’s plenty of incentive to run faster. Not surprisingly, I started out at the end of the pack, pushing a 7:45 min/mi pace and still falling a few steps behind the last pacer. I wasn’t sure of the course so I made sure to keep her in my sight. When we caught up to the slower groups, I was finally able to slow down a notch but the runners (er, prey) in front of me and the vigorous beat of Glass House by Kaleo kept me at an aggressive pace.

Thanks to both perks—or, the peer pressure from Naveed and Diego—I finished tonight’s run at an 8:34 min/mi pace, despite a 9:49 min/mi warm-up that dragged down my average. I was extremely proud of myself. Back in the day, I would take off with the 10 min/mi pace group and fall toward the back of the group. Today I finished among the fastest of the pack. Miami half-marathon, come at me bro!

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Gear: Brooks Glycerin 15 running shoes, Garmin Forerunner 920XT watchBeats Studio 2 wireless headphones

Playlist: My “Charging Down The Mountain” playlist on Spotify

Paris Marathon Training Log: Sprints, January 23 2018

I was WAY overdue for sprints. In a perfect world, my marathon training should consist of one race pace run, one sprint workout, and one long run per week. But, this is not a perfect world so I haven’t done a sprint workout in two months. Leave it to me to wait until the week of my half-marathon to start doing things the right way.

After the hiatus, sprinting wasn’t easy. I was only able to rally for four out of the six 1/2-mile intervals I could easily complete last January before the Key West Half-Marathon. My pace was also average, ranging between 7:24 min/mi and 7:36 min/mi. (Early last year I was putting forth 10% less effort and running each interval about 20 seconds faster.)

Even so, I’m proud of what I was able to finish. In the end, I got in nearly 5 miles: a 1 mile warm-up at 9:13 min/mi, 2 miles of sprint intervals with 0.7 miles of walking in between, and a 1 mile cool down at 9:15 min/mi. Plus, I came to three important conclusions:

1. Sprinting is a good way to burn off stress. Running is my therapy. Period. But, sprinting pushes you to your physical limits in a way no other type of workout can and is therefore a great way to channel and get rid of stress. Today’s workout was a perfectly timed antidote to my currently hectic life.

2. Rap music is great for keeping pace. Rap music can be a valuable tool for setting and maintaining a goal pace. For example, during the Key West Half Marathon, the rhythm of She Can Get It by DJ Laz helped me find the 9:15 min/mi pace I needed to PR. Similarly, Lemon by N.E.R.D—yes, I finally switched up the soundtrack—allowed me to reach the elusive 7:24 min/mi pace during my best interval.

3. A heart rate monitor is an invaluable tool for sprint workouts. A few weeks ago—on the training log for January 7 2018—I mentioned my heart rate monitor, which pairs with my Garmin watch, has started to chafe. I haven’t worn it since and haven’t missed it…until today. One of the stats that guides my pace and effort during sprints is my heart rate. I aim for 90% my max heart rate (around 180bpm), waiting for it to lower to 70% (around 140bpm) between intervals. Without my heart rate monitor, I was running blind.

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Gear: Brooks Glycerin 15 running shoes, Garmin Forerunner 920XT watch, Amphipod running belt (similar here), Beats Studio 2 wireless headphones

Playlist: My “Move” playlist on Spotify

Paris Marathon Training Log: Long Run, January 21 2018

I saw the best and worst of Miami on today’s run. I guess that’s what I like about being a runner—it allows me to get to know cities more intimately, including my own. For example, I learned there’s a really cute pitbull that can drink water by himself from the beachwalk water fountains. In less cute news, I learned we have a lot of pet owners who don’t pick up after their dogs including one guy whose dog left a present in the middle of the South Pointe Pier. Yuck!

I have never been to Paris and am excited to explore it for the very first time through the unique lens of the Paris Marathon. (If I have to run 26.2 miles, it might as well be past the historical landmarks and glamorous arrondissements of the City of Lights, non?) The route starts and ends near the Arc de Triomphe, passing by the Place de la Concorde, Place de la Bastille, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Eiffel Tower. I will basically be taking a tour of Paris’s “must see” attractions but at a 9:40 min/mi pace and accompanied by 55,000+ strangers from France and abroad.

While I’m jonesing for Paris, today’s run was all about the Miami half-marathon that I’m running next Sunday. My back-to-back ski trips put my training on an untimely pause so today’s 8-miler was an important last push to get my head and body right for the race. Surprisingly, despite the nearly two-week hiatus, I felt good. I managed a near-perfect “predator run,” averaging less than 9 min/mi on miles 7 and 8.

Leading up to next week’s race, I am going to take it easy. That said, I’m hoping to get in three easy runs—a sprint workout on Tuesday, a slow and steady 6-miler on Thursday and a warm-up 5K on Saturday—before the big day. The wind has been killing me the last few long runs so I’m also hoping to get in a “no wind” dance before Sunday. Stay tuned.

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Gear: Brooks Glycerin 15 running shoes, Garmin Forerunner 920XT watch, Amphipod running belt (similar here), Beats Studio 2 wireless headphones

Playlist: My “Night Skiing” playlist on Spotify (I added a handful of new songs, including Tongues by Joywave which I used to get me out the door.)

Paris Marathon Training Log: Tempo Run, January 10 2018

I’ve been very whiny about my last few training runs, but not today! I killed—no, I mass murdered à la 300—this workout. It was a tempo run geared toward my Miami half-marathon PR of under 2 hours so I set off with the intention of averaging a 9:10 min/mi. I finished feeling strong at an average pace of 9:04 min/mi. The doubts following Sunday’s long run about my inability to reach my goal at the end of this month have been swiftly eradicated.

My tempo runs usually take me on the Venetian Causeway because the distance between Margaret Pace Park and my apartment is exactly 6 miles. Also, have you seen the view at sunrise and sunset from the bridges? It is the absolute best motivation for getting out there. This evening’s sunset was particularly killer and coupled with music like Hunter by Galantis set the right ambiance for beast mode.

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There’s not much more to share about today’s run other than I had trouble controlling my pace because I felt so good the entire time. Luckily, I learned from Sunday’s mistake of taking off too fast and made it a priority. It’s the only reason I was able to increasingly up my pace from 9:47 min/mi on mile 1 to an 8:28 min/mi pace on mile 6. Also, I made sure to drink water every 1/2 mile. Whatever made the difference, I am so glad today went well.

P.S. A lot of you requested that I start including what gear, music, and other variables are going into each training sesh in these posts so I’ve added a new section below the stats where I share these details. Keep an eye out for this section in future training logs and let me know in the comments or on twitter what other details you want me to include!

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Gear: Brooks Glycerin 15 running shoes, Garmin Forerunner 920XT watch, Amphipod running belt (similar here), Beats Studio 2 wireless headphones

Playlist: My “Night Skiing” playlist on Spotify