Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thoughts on the Boilermaker.

From the vantage point of a few days post-race, I have some thoughts about my training and what worked and what didn't.

Obviously, for me, it was a great race so there must have been a lot that worked. I'm not getting any younger, but I posted a PR on Sunday (1:13:59) in what many consider a tough course to PR on. I would agree. There are some challenging hills and a fair number of twists and turns. Plus, the Boilermaker is a big race with about 13,000 runners so the first two miles are pretty congested.

But, my running has been going well this year. I feel that I've come back post-baby stronger than ever. I beat my goal time in the half-marathon in April, set a 5K PR in June and now a 15K PR. It's all coming together.

Not by chance, of course. This year, I've run a good balance of endurance- and speed-building workouts. My endurance increased significantly during half marathon training and then I added speed on to that during 5K training. Although I wasn't the best about sticking to a 15K training plan, I believe I was able to hold on to a lot of that endurance and speed that I gained, simply by remaining consistent with my runs.

So what worked for the Boilermaker? Was it that I only had about 3 hours of sleep the night before? Doubt it. Was it having to drive for almost two hours to get to the race. Nope.

I believe that what worked for me was actually pretty simple:

  1. Rest. Sure, some of it was forced, like when I was sick and missed a few planned runs. But rest is SO key to success!
  2. Hard long runs. I didn't run long as much as I would have liked but when I did, I ran fairly hard. I ran over hilly routes, keeping my pace steady and fairly quick, and speeding up at the end.
  3. Easy, enjoyable regular runs. When I wasn't running long or doing some speedwork, I was thoroughly enjoying running easy.
  4. Cross-training. At least once a week I've been doing a different workout. My favorite right now is Jillian Michaels' kettlebell workout and I really believe that the improvement in my core, arm and leg strength has helped my running.
Basic stuff. Tried and true. 

I'll probably think more about the race as I put together my half-marathon training plan, which I really need to do since my training starts on Monday! In the meantime, here are some of my race pics:

And, yes, I am biting that bottom lip again! Old habits die hard . . .

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice


RunToTheFinish said...

really good evaluation of what you've been doing. One thing I am doing a little differently is also the long runs...either more of them or going a little harder instead of just long and easy...we shall see!

Marlene said...

Clearly you have figured out what works for you, and I'm sure you will put that into practice for your upcoming HM training!

Goddess Librarian said...

Clearly the lip-biting works for you. And now I know what to get you for Christmas. Lots and lots of chapstick. :-)

Felice Devine said...

Ha! Perfect. I do go through a ton of the stuff!

Rachel said...

Love this post, for so many years I was focused on trying to just run as much as possible, not paying attention to quality and crosstraining and totally neglecting...basically everything you just said. This time around I'm trying to do all of the things you incorporated. Looks like it worked out pretty good for you! :)

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