CHM Training update: T-6 weeks – “Streaking” towards the day


Well, it was headed this way all along: the temps and the countdown are now both in the 40’s, and dropping – 42 days until race day and today’s high barely reached 41. I have gotten back into a regular running routine again, thanks in part to the Runner’s World Holiday Run Streak (#RWRunStreak for the social media junkies out there, like me 🙂 ) I haven’t missed a day yet, and I have no plans to do so – are you streaking as well? Try it, it adds that extra oomph of motivation we all need when the weather is trying its best to discourage you! Here’s a recap of the first week of December – remember, I am making modifications to my training plan as I go, letting my body dictate more than the “official” schedule:

Sunday 12-1: Long run – 150-160 min @ 9:18/mi, 16-17 mi // 2:08:13, 12 miles My road running club, the Houston Striders, hosts several group runs throughout the year, especially during the lead-up to the marathon, and this was one of them: the “Tour de Hershey”, named for the county park where the event is held. Runners can choose either 6, 12 or 18 miles, and enjoy a fully supported training run with clock timing, aid stations, a bike-riding first aid official, and a nice after party. I opted for the 12, got it completed, and had a really great day! My knees were a bit sore, but nothing compared to what I was feeling before my layoff, and by the end of the day all was well!

Monday 12-2: Rest day //  Walked 1.3 miles in 23:21  A double accomplishment – logged my workout for the streak, AND took my new trail shoes out for a test!

IMG_20131202_193318Aren’t they pretty? You’ll never see them this clean again 🙂

Inov-8 is sponsoring me for at least one Spartan Race in 2014, and part of the deal is a pair of their shoes. I selected the Mudclaw 300’s, and so far I am in love. Be looking for a review once I get a few miles on them!

Tuesday 12-3: Paces – 1.75 mi easy run warm-up; 6x [0.25 mi @ 7:20/mi, 1:30 recovery]; 1.5 mi easy run cool down  //  3 miles, 28:18 (9:24/mi)  One decision I have made is to discontinue treadmill workouts, because it seems to me that the restrictive, repetitive action of running on the belt is more stress than my knees can handle; the pain comes on within just a few miles, and lasts for days, while outdoor runs do not cause nearly as much soreness, and that goes away within a few hours. After consulting with my coach, we have decided that I will be doing these workouts on a measured distance and using the feedback from my Nike+ app at quarter-mile intervals to check how well I can maintain the proper pace. In truth, I am not as concerned with pace as I was before, at least for this marathon – I am more interested in being sure that I finish the full distance…speed can come later, if it ever does.

Wednesday 12-4: Cross training  //  4.64 miles, 58:08 (12:32/mi)  Took the day off work to visit the dentist and get the final fitting on my dentures (which will be delivered next week – Christmas comes early again!) since I had time in the middle of the day, I took the Mudclaws out for their inaugural trail run. This is my transition into lower-drop footwear (these are 6mm drop, my road shoes are 12mm) but I did not notice any particular discomfort; on the contrary, I felt solid and sure-footed, and I think I am a convert. This will do me well when I receive the Skechers that come with being a Houston Marathon Ambassador – I believe they have a 2 or 4mm drop, THAT will be an adjustment! (And how cool is it to get free running shoes – I could get used to this 🙂 )

Thursday 12-5: Maintenance – 65-70 min @ 9:18/mi, 7-8 mi //  1:00:56, 6.05 miles (10:04/mi) I set out with the goal to run one hour, just to see how far I could go; I also selected a route specifically that would take me past the local high school’s FFA farm, so I could get my “farm animal” picture for the #runchat Scavenger Hunt – I only need one more to complete it, and I will get that one tomorrow! You can see all of them if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram; search #runchathunt to see what I (and everyone else) have posted.

Friday 12-6: Threshold – 1.75 mi easy run warm-up; 2x [2  mi @ 8:16/mi, 2:00 recovery]; 1.5 mi easy run cool-down //  walked 2.3 miles in 40 min  I decided to make this a rest day, because of the upcoming trail race on Saturday, so I took a scouting trip through the trails, checking the marking to make sure I wouldn’t get lost (I am not terribly familiar with these trails yet) and to log some distance for my streak.

Saturday 12-7: Cross training  //  Trail race, two laps, 9.86 miles 2:09:30 I REALLY wanted to do 4-5 loops on this course, but after completing the second loop, I realized I had to make a choice: keep going, blow my knee out, and face another layoff, or accept my current limitations and live to run another day; I made the correct choice, I believe – I will have another opportunity to get that long run done, once I buy myself the knee brace I obviously need. (Once official race results are posted, I will be doing a detailed recap, so be on the lookout for that as well.)

Total for this week: 7 runs, 39.2 miles (more than double last week!)

Total for December: 7 runs, 39.2 miles

It feels fantastic to be running again, and I have learned my lesson about ignoring what my body says it can do – and learned the difference between uncomfortable and potential injury. I am increasingly confident that I can go the distance in January, and I am more and more looking forward to what next year will bring.

How are you doing with your current “goal races”?

What is already on the list for 2014, or what do you want to add?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!



  1. LilMysNinja

    Those are some pretty shoes….my friend Curtis would be jealous. 🙂 He’s the one in our group that wears neon yellow shoes. I tried to do the holiday run streak last year but at that time I couldn’t finish due to all that pounding on my knees. But obviously over the course of 2013 that’s changed. I did participate and complete the summer 2013 #runstreak challenge. 🙂 I don’t think I’d do another one again though.

    • Nick

      My wife makes constant threats against my “bright and sporty” (my words) / “horribly ugly” (her description) running shoes, involving magic markers and/or spray paint 🙂 – she truly supports me, but there’s much fun to be had at my expense along the way!

    • Nick

      I had gotten into a rut of one day on, one or two off…not the most consistent plan to build a base for 26.2, is it? So the streak is good for me in lots of ways – not the least of which is feeding that love 🙂

  2. Emilia @ Run for Your Life

    No Run Streak; I need my two complete rest days per week during marathon training. And holiday travel would definitely make it tough to get a run in every day. The cold weather only motivates me, though — I’ll take cold weather running over Houston summer running any day!

    • Nick

      I’m basically only doing one complete rest day during my training, but my goal is “finish”, not a specific time, so maybe I’m not going as hard as some others; and on that day I tend to walk, or do a single mile – not trying to hurt myself (again!)
      I agree that Houston summer is brutal – training with temps AND humidity in the 90’s is a real killer; but I figure if I can run in THIS, I can run in ANYTHING! Should really come in handy if I let the trail guys talk me into doing some of those ultras, too!

    • Nick

      It really does help to have something “outside” myself to keep me going…especially when it’s 30-something degrees and/or raining; how people do it when it’s ice and snow, is beyond me…God bless Texas 🙂

    • Nick

      Woo hoo for Boston! Which Tough Mudder are you doing? Ours is in October, I think. Destination races are hard for me; my job doesn’t allow for much time off, and finances don’t allow for much travel…but the great thing about Houston is there is SOMETHING going on nearly every weekend all year long! I have 8 half-marathons on my wish list already, all within an hour’s drive, and 4 other races that I can do with only a Friday off – sweet!

      • Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles

        I am hoping to do the one in Vermont at the end of May. My sister and I planned to do it together, then she broke her tibia, but we are hoping she will be back to normal by then and we are planning to do it together. It’s only a 2 hour drive from us, so that is manageable for us to drive there and back in one day. I definitely agree with it being hard to travel to races, they cost a lot and then add in hotel, food, etc and it can be really pricey. Plus, I have a toddler now, so I don’t want to take that time away from the family. That is why I try to find races within driving distance, makes it a lot easier on the wallet and family 🙂

  3. Kristy

    Good luck with your streaking! I wish I could, but it just isn’t good for my fragile bones, as I need total rest days.

    That’s pretty awesome about the Spartan Race/ free shoes gig!

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