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1/2 Marathon Training: Week #3 Recap

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1/2 Marathon Training: Week #3 Recap

In this weekly blog series, I plan to share a training recap as I prepare for Brew City 1/2 Marathon in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It will include an overview of my training plan with the good, the bad, & the ugly which every runner undoubtedly experiences along the way. Enjoy and let me know if you have any feedback or thoughts based on your experience.

Wednesday, January 18th:


Of course, let it snow now! I set off for a 4-mile easy run only to be met with heavy snowfall and wet conditions. I mean, this is Wisconsin… but there has been very little snow so far this winter so I thought the timing was ironic.


Yesterday I went to Performance Running Outfitters on Oakland Drive in Shorewood for new running shoes. My mother agreed to buy me a pair for Christmas this year and I quickly accepted.


I find every fitting/shoe selection process to be quite different. Whether it’s a treadmill running analysis, static foot assessment, or some high tech gadget to measure your foot size, arch height, etc., every store varies. At PRO, I pretty much stated what I was looking for and he brought out a variety of options to try on. Nothing fancy in terms, but the ability to utilize a long stretch of indoor track allowed me to take them for a spin.


The goal was to find two different shoes to add some variability to my feet. What I have found over the years is that the body responds well when it’s able to tolerate a variety of stressors & forces. From a shoe standpoint, simply wearing different shoes can help create a stronger and more resilient body. But, at the same time it has to be a smart selection that works for you, your goals, and injury history.


I ended up purchasing the Altra Provision and New Balance 880s. The 880s are very familiar as I’ve been wearing that shoe for years. I do think the drop is higher since this one was 10mm and my previous pair was 8mm. But I could be mistaken… Altra is a brand I’ve wanted to try for a while now but keep getting lazy when it comes to making the trip to the running store. It’s zero drop, with some cushion and rigidity, but felt relatively comfortable overall. In fact, I choose the Altra for my snowy 4-mile run which felt smooth and went off without a hitch.



The run itself was more focused on dodging snowflakes then anything else. It was pretty fun as I set out from home, down Humboldt to East Capitol Drive, and onto the Oak Leaf Trail. There were a few other people walking, running, and riding bikes, as it seems nothing stops here regardless of the weather. I kept it slow/easy and tried to enjoy the messy run that it became.


Not much else to report here! I’ll continue to break in these shoes on the shorter runs and even continue to mix in my old pairs for the time being. 


Later this week calls for hill repeats and a relatively short "long" run. Since it’s a drop week things feel very uneventful. But, the running plan is set to get more enjoyable starting next week as I have programmed more running days and fartleks, alongside growing mileage.


Friday, January 20th:


The afternoon was spent half enjoyably running repeats up and down the hill on Lincoln Memorial Drive. Although I’ve run this hill multiple times before as something that was part of the overall route, this is the first time I have performed actual hill repeats here. 


Truthfully, the hill doesn’t seem like much as you travel up or down in a single pass or by car. But, after repeating 3-minute segments in both directions for multiple repetitions, you’ll quickly realize that it can be deceivingly challenging.



For this run I parked on the east side of Lincoln Memorial Drive at one of the last spots before the rugby field. I figured it would be easy to run towards Bradford Beach and back to the hill in order to warm-up, sprinkle in several strides, and then tackle a series of hill repeats to add some intensity in the form of elevation. One key thing to realize about Milwaukee is that the terrain tends to be rather flat. Despite having a good foundation of power and experience running hilly terrain quite a bit over the years, this aspect seemed like an important piece to address more specifically.


The run was structured as one mile warm-up, (3) 20-second strides with 40-second walk recovery, (4) 3-minute uphill with a 3-minute downhill recovery, and a one mile cool down. Because the uphill segments were run with a little bit of intensity, I consistently traveled further up the hill each time due to the mismatch in pace. This allowed me to realize how the hill starts fairly gradual and then increases in elevation more rapidly as you get halfway up. Therefore, the first repeat was easy, and actually faster, and the last got much harder.


In the end, it was a fun run to tackle some hills but also fairly monotonous not seeing different scenery. Ultimately, I covered 4-miles and really didn’t go anywhere… That’s fine, I guess, since progress was made and it mixes up the training plan quite a bit. The plan is to add hill repeats every 2-3 weeks as a way to make sure the body sees some change in elevation.


For this run I wore the brand new New Balance 880s that were purchased earlier in the week. My first thought was how responsive they felt compared to the old pair. It was almost like they were working for me to generate spring with each step. This was much appreciated!


Sunday, January 22nd:


5-mile “long” run in the books. Since it’s a drop week, mileage is pretty low overall. That caused a lack of motivation to get this done on a Sunday afternoon but luckily the discipline is there.


Discipline vs. motivation has been something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately… It really rings true for my clients as well. Discipline will always create better results over motivation. Motivation is something that comes and goes but discipline is gritting your teeth to get it done regardless of the circumstances.


The run today started from Bradford Beach down on the Lakefront. I headed south past the Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery Science Center, and looped around Lakeshore Park. The distance was perfectly 5-miles with a few minutes of easy cool down walking.



Compared to other runs, this one was pretty interesting as I reflect on it. I was so focused on the Runner’s Zone Podcast with Chris Johnson and Nathan Carlson that there were times I didn’t even realize I was running, LOL. Weird to say that’s possible, but time passed with almost not being present. I’m not sure if that’s a productive way to run or pass the time, but it’s how it went.


The weather cooperated as it has been snowing since Saturday night and actually stopped 5-minutes into the run. Lake Michigan was so calm it was like glass. And, there weren’t too many other people out exercising so I could do my own thing without any obstructions.


Heart rate was slightly elevated above my normal intended range. I actually felt myself breathing heavier then usual but I chalked it up to being sick. I’m not sure if this was getting lost in the run or the cold medication I have been taking all week that threw things off. Regardless, I should have done a better job monitoring my pace to execute the run in easy range. That’s asking a lot seeing that I didn’t even realize I was actually running half the time…


Onward to a new week where we’ll bump up the intensity, increase mileage, and anxiously await the addition of another running day per week. This should spice the program up to keep things interesting.


Thanks for following along this week! If you have any questions or want to talk about creating an individualized running and injury prevention plan for you, click the ‘Healthy Running Program’ tab above and fill out the form.


Onward to week #4!

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