It’s January and that means you have to be brave — brave enough to deal with it being light when you leave the house and dark when you eat dinner. Brave enough to layer countless items of clothing and cover your face with Body Glide. Brave enough to log lots of miles on the treadmill to ensure you don’t wipe out on treacherous footing. January is the month runners are made. Not just from a fitness standpoint, but from a mental one. If you can hit your mileage and run your workouts and come out on the right side of January, the rest of the training season won’t be worse.Kentucky, thought by most to be a southern state, is a very confused state in terms of weather. Last week we had two days warm enough for shorts and t-shirts. As I type, the windchill is -8. Early last week we also had ice covering everything which made for slick footing until Wednesday (and by then I had run 28 miles in three days on the treadmill and had to get outside).

Despite January’s best efforts to derail me, I had a great week with three hard days. I will continue to say it’s interesting to be starting this training cycle at almost the mileage I peaked at for the last one. 

Monday was an easy recovery day on the treadmill in the morning, felt pretty meh after Sunday’s long run. Back to the gym that evening for a challenging Pilates class.

  Tuesday was still cold and icy, with more snow that morning. We canceled school that day, which meant I received a 5 a.m. wakeup call. That left me with several options: run outside at 5:30 a.m. and hope we didn’t get the whiteout snow before I was finished and hope the roads were clear enough I didn’t bust my face in the dark; head to the gym for an early treadmill session; or head to work and leave early. Option 3 won out, which meant I was able to hit the treadmill (I actually brought clothes for outside, too, and decided against it) for my steady-state pace run — 8 miles with 6 miles at 85% max HR, right around 7 minute pace. I did 1.5 mi warm up and .5 mi cool down — cool down would’ve been longer but it was time for power yoga class, which I feel like should count as a cool down with stretching included. This run felt pretty good — I don’t love to do speedwork on the treadmill but I also don’t like to do speedwork while bundled up like an Eskimo. And I did all 6 without any breaks or stops, which wouldn’t have happened outside. Power Yoga that night was excellent, too, even though my friend and instructor thought I was crazy for putting those two workouts back-to-back. I agree. I was wiped out after!

  I had an early work meeting Wednesday, so I was back on the afternoon schedule for running. But, I could finally get outside! I wore my New Balance Pace for the first time and liked them more than I expected. Gear review coming soon since I have a couple new pairs. This was a true recovery day because I had another workout on Thursday. Coach had assigned 4-6 miles and my legs we’re good with 4. No need to push it.

  Thursday was sunny and 57 degrees. Not kidding. Double the temperature it was the day before at the same time. Crazy. I had 8 miles with “continuous hills,” meaning for 20 minutes I was supposed to be going uphill and downhill, not counting any flat sections. I think coach intended for this to mostly just be a loop of one hill but that sounded boring so I strung together several. I probably had a little more flat section in there than ideal, but I also counted 30-ish minutes of hills (even leaving out some downhill portions). Also, I finally got my new heart rate strap, so that data will be accurate again! I kept up a great pace on the hills — I was splitting my watch to keep track of the applicable time toward my 20 minute total, so the pace wasn’t showing me anything useful. When I finished, I realized I had averaged under 7:30 pace and kept my HR where I was supposed to. I ran an extra cool down mile just because it was too nice not to — and then I almost ran another because I could, and then it would be a 10-mile day. But, that was the task, so I didn’t.

Friday was a recovery day before Saturday’s long run, so I took this one easy like Wednesday … just even easier. I don’t think it was my legs as much as it was only getting 5.5 hours of sleep. I could’ve slept more and ran later, but the temperature was forecast to drop drastically and rain all day. So I sucked it up and went with early and 48*. But it was slowwwwww. Whatever. Coach’s instructions for easy days: “when in doubt, slow down.” Plus I knew Saturday’s run wasn’t going to be a cakewalk.

Although I had a shorter long run Saturday — just 12 — the schedule called for a “bonus” fast finish, with 3 at half-marathon pace. It’s a “bonus” because if you’re legs aren’t feeling it and it’s a struggle, you just drop it and finish the run. 

It was chilly and windy (of course a headwind for what seemed like the entire way) and spitting sleet, but not terrible weather. My first 8 were nice and easy, around 7:42 min/mi and 145 HR. My 3 at HMP were a little harder and slower than I expected — 6:53 and 165 — but between the weather and the week’s cumulative fatigue, I’m not disappointed.

I will say having raced 10 miles on Jan. 1 gives me a great idea of where my fitness is and prevents me from making excuses. If I can run 14 total with 10 at 6:36 pace, I know I can do 12 with 3 at 6:40-6:50. I followed the long run up with Pilates for a solid day.

  Sunday was a lazy sleep-in day and I got to the gym to run at 10:30. Hubs had to work, so I left for the gym when he did. I had 4-6 mi easy, so I took my spin shoes, too, thinking if my legs felt junky, I’d do 4 then hit the spin bike for 20-30 minutes. If they felt okay, I’d do 6 and call it a day.
Surprisingly, they felt fine! I took the first mile pretty easy and felt like it was uncomfortably slow, so I ran the rest around 8 minute pace, with my average HR around 140.
As I finished the run, though, I realized I’d be at 49.25 miles for the week. I spent a few minutes debating with myself on getting in that last 1200m. I decided against it because:

  • Your body doesn’t function on a calendar week — it doesn’t clear out the fatigue and show up fresh on Monday just because it’s a new week
  • 1200m is not going to make or break my training 13 weeks out

In addition to the mileage, I also got in three cross-training sessions, so all-in-all I’m pleased!