How to 1/2 marathon train in the winter? Cross Train

Holy moley – it’s been a whirlwind of a couple months, busy with ½ marathon training, shoveling out of 8 feet of snow and most recently speaking at the Lead On Conference for Women last week!

But not to be ignored, the NYC Half Marathon is in just 10 DAYS.

The longest I’ve run at one time has been 11.5 miles in California last week

Wait, what?

Some of you are totally freaking out for me right now. So let met explain.

As you have probably heard, Massachusetts (where I live) has had a pretty rough winter. Last year, I proudly donned my layers and trained and trudged out on snowy side walks. This year I didn’t.

Why?

There are literally no more sidewalks left.

Lake Quanapowitt, where I normally run, has no sidewalk and no shoulder left. Most of our sidewalks are a mixture of a narrow pathway that has been carved out of the ice, an ice skating rink, or completely non-existant. 

So, it forced me to get a little creative, and incorporate something that has been sorely missing from my normal running routine – cross training.

For example, we got hit with another 18 inch snow storm when my training schedule called for an 8 miler. You know what I did? I set up a circuit in my 3 season porch, which included a set of stair sprints. I ran up and down those stairs 150 times that day (yes. It was nuts).

I also started going to the gym with a really good friend of mine. She’s pushed me to try new things and really focus on total body strength. My favorites? The battleropes and ball slams – talk about therapeutic.

And then… of course. The dreaded treadmill has come into play.

Yes, I have said before how much I hate it. How much I avoided it. 

It’s become a necessary evil – so I’ve started to embrace it. I’ve set it to hill modes and intervals. It passes the time and still gets me to run.

How do I know all of this works? Because when I went to California and I went out on my only real long run of this training session, I was able to hold my half marathon pace for 11.5 miles. I felt like I could have picked it up. 

I felt like I was strong and could have kept going.

We’ll really see how well it works for me in NYC, but it’s taught me that I have to roll with the punches and make lemonade out of a bunch of lemons and snow.

How have you dealt with training in this snow this winter?

Back to your regularly scheduled program – review of Workplace Warrior Challenge

This past Wednesday, we had the award ceremony for Healthworks Workplace Warrior Challenge.

I just realized also, that I didn’t update my numbers.

Weight – stayed the same

Body fat – down 1%

Muscle Mass – up 1%

So, nothing too crazy happened number wise for me. A couple members on the team ended up losing 4lbs! I need to find out their secret!!

Well, all in all, we didn’t win the challenge.

Honestly, I don’t know who actually won the challenge, because they didn’t announce it at the “award” ceremony – which, was probably the most lackluster thing that I’ve experienced at Healthworks. I get that the Porter Square club didn’t have the winning team, but we were still ready to get a good workout and celebrate. The workout ended up being a Tabata, but the instructor didn’t quite instruct – but was really being lead by a tape. It was a little too reminiscent of a middle school gym class. After the workout, they quickly brought in some apples, bananas and coconut water, and told us that none of us won the grand prize, and the other official team at the club won the club competition, for having lost the most weight.

But, even though we didn’t win the super awesome prize, I still feel like we are a whole bunch of winners. Why? I made a bunch of friends with some coworkers who I normally wouldn’t have interacted with, without Workplace Warrior Challenge. Also, I learned how to incorporate some amazing classes into my marathon training, in order to add more cross training.

So, yes, I have a membership, and I’m figuring out how to work everything together. I plan on taking two classes regularly, and have Friday be a “swing” cross training day – and maybe taking an after work class then.

My first marathon is coming up in just ONE month.

AH.

Cue freakout now.

It’s 8:30PM on a Friday, and I’m here writing, watching Who’s Line is it Anyways and making sure that I get to bed around 9ish, so I can get up at 5:30 to run 18 miles.

The life of someone training for a marathon.

Long Runs, Cross Training and Summertime…

Let me tell you something about marathon training… you are forced to come head to head with many things.

First off, the actual physical discomfort of running for 3 hours straight is something that you need to come to terms with pretty fast. I would be lying if I said my last 16 miler was truly fun. I work up at 5:30AM on a Sunday, was out on the road by 6AM, and spent almost 3 hours running in circles around Lake Q. Now, it’s a gorgeous loop, and my marathon is 8 loops around the lake, so running the loops makes me very familiar with where the uneven sidewalks and the potholes are. It’s nice to know that there is a water fountain just 1.5 miles away.

But the bigger thing I’ve had to come head to head with, are my thoughts. Even while listening to some upbeat pop songs for a good chunk of my run, my mind swiftly wanders from what I wanted to eat right after, to what I want to do for the rest of the day, to what went wrong in my last relationship.

The last one came out of the blue. All of a sudden “Part of Me” by Katy Perry (go ahead. Judge. Pandora totally knows when I’m on my long runs and it’s fantastic), and I remember the day when my ex started packing up his things and moved to NYC. He dumped me on the phone two days later, after 5 years of dating. Virtually all my friends from college swiftly disappeared from my life. 

Also, this thought process happened at like mile 12. Along with a massive blister that was forming right on my arch. 

I didn’t want to relive it. But, suddenly, I found myself at ease. Thinking about all the awesome thing that have happened in my life since then. I made tons of new friends, experienced the city and what New England has to offer, and I managed to turn my life from a six-pack-a-day to a 60 minute workout a day. I’ve met some of the most incredible people, including my boyfriend and his son. 

At mile 14, I have no idea what it was, but I almost started to cry. Let’s call it a mix of leg cramps, exhaustion and self realization.

At mile 16, I was at my front door. Smiling ear to ear. I was also wondering how the heck I was going to manage to walk up the flight of stairs into my apartment.

Other than that emotional breakthrough, I have truly realized the importance of cross training. I can tell that the harder I work in my run, and in a spin class or strength class, the better and more efficient I can move. I’m glad I got the membership, and I can’t wait to start balancing everything out.

Blake and I have been coming home from work and either playing catch or soccer, which has been a nice change from coming home and plopping down on the couch. Summertime really is my favorite time of year. Even if we don’t have air conditioning.

This weekend I run in my 3rd BAA 10K! Goal? Under 56 Minutes.