Tuesday, February 5, 2013

You asked! Healthy Diva's training questions are answered!

I have received quite a few questions over the last couple of weeks in regards to my training and how I incorporate my marathon training with Farmgirlfit. I hope that this post will answer some of those questions.

When I first joined FGF in October I was looking for a workout that would challenge me. I was doing an okay job with lifting at home, but I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort zone.  I wanted to be in an environment that facilitated some friendly competition and where I could easily track my progress.  After I attended my first FGF class and got over being terrified of the prospect of cross fit, I knew that this is where I needed to be. If I wanted to complement my running with a component of cross training that would make me stronger, leaner & faster then I needed to join FGF.

Originally I had signed up for the unlimited plan so I could go as many days a week as I wanted. At that time I would attend class Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday. All 4 days were an entirely different workout. It exhausted me, but my running mileage was only hovering around 20 miles a week. When December approached I started running more so I changed my membership to just 3 days a week and typically attended Monday, Wednesday & Friday.

After the first of the year, Matt created a pretty detailed marathon training schedule that only called for cross training 2 days a week. This would allow me ample time to recovery in between workouts. My one complaint is that I love to run in the morning to start my day. With FGF in the mix I can’t do that because I can only go to FGF after work. If I ran first thing in the morning following a FGF workout, my legs would be totally thrashed and my running would be awful. With this training schedule all of my workouts are at night at take place between 4:30-6:30 pm. Not ideal, but I am also not willing to give up FGF.

With the schedule Matt has in place for me FGF complements my marathon training. It leaves no room for deviations in my training schedule, but it works. I have noticed a huge difference in my running since joining FGF. Having the two extra aerobic workouts that help to build strength has been very beneficial for me. Without FGF I don't think I would have rebounded back from my injury so quickly. I went from running zero miles in June to very slowly building my mileage back up. By slowly I mean by starting out with 1 mile a week, progressing to 5 miles a week etc. I am currently up to 31 miles a week. My highest mileage going into Eugene was over 55 miles last year. Right now my training times are very close to what I was running at this same time last year. I credit this to being dedicated & motivated, but also to FGF.

My weekly schedule currently looks like this and will remain like this until after Windermere in May:

Monday: Hard intervals + core work
Tuesday: FGF + form drills + core work
Wednesday: Changes weekly, but is either an easy paced run or a shorter threshold paced run + core work
Thursday: FGF + core work
Friday: OFF (the only thing I do on Friday is stretch & foam roll. no core work)
Saturday: Long run
Sunday: Active recovery. For me this is an easy spin session followed by stretching, form drills, foam rolling & core work

*Every day I foam roll and stretch in the morning, around lunch time, before my workout & after.

The Tuesday form drills help me to focus on my form since I am still learning the concept of running with a forefoot strike. I usually do short repeats of around 200 meters with a short walk- repeating at least 10 times. The other thing I should note is that besides the form drills on Tuesday or extra core work on Tuesday & Thursday I only do FGF on those days. Nothing extra.

If anything, Wednesday is the hardest day for me. My legs usually feel like bricks following a FGF workout. A lot of it is my fault because I usually lift pretty hard.  FGF workouts are never easy! I am a very competitive person (SHOCKER) so I tend to go full throttle in every workout. It took Matt a while to reign me in and realize that this isn’t necessary to push myself in every workout. It actually compromises my training when I don’t follow “the plan”. Easy runs should be easy, hard runs should be hard, etc.  I need to take this into account for FGF workouts too.  Sometimes the competitive me needs to take a step back, which is much easier to say than to do. I love pushing myself and feeling myself getting stronger. I love finding new muscles that I didn’t know I had (Yes, I am dork!). Realistically I know that as I get closer to Windermere I will be taking a step back when it comes to going balls to the wall in my FGF workouts. I want to run the best marathon that I possibly can.

By Friday I am usually craving a rest day. I like having the day off before my long run because it allows my body to recuperate. I get antsy on rest days. Does anyone else feel the same? I definitely try to keep myself distracted when I get home from work so that I don't think about doing an easy spin session or some core work.

(I am going to be writing a separate post about my core work in more detail since I have also had some questions on what my routine is).

Windermere will be my 5th marathon and this is the first time I have ever completed my long runs on a Saturday. I am still getting used to this! I usually wake up still a little tired and stiff from the week. Because of this, I typically don’t start my run until 10:00-11:00 am. This allows me ample time to eat my breakfast and do some chores around the house. The chores knock things off of my “to do” list and also help loosen my muscles. I need to start weaning myself from this habit or start getting up earlier. Ideally I would like to run my long runs as close to race time as possible. I always preach “nothing new on race day” and I think that pertains to when you complete your long run too!

My training runs are very precise. My entire schedule is based off of my LT test that Matt does for me. I know exactly what my pace should be for every workout. Nothing faster and hopefully nothing slower! Matt has very specific training paces for each of my long runs. My long run paces typically go through a 3-week cycle and look something like this:

22 miles E pace
22 miles E pace + T pace
22 miles (11 E pace + 11 M pace)

E pace= Easy pace  
T pace= Threshold pace  
M pace= Marathon pace

At the end of the 3 weeks I have a recovery week with lower mileage. My long run cycles usually include sets of 16, 19, 20, 22, 24 mile runs. At the end of my last 24 mile run I start my taper.

This is the first time I have ever utilized a HR monitor for some of my runs. I am still learning how to use it, but I think that it will be a useful training tool for me. It has proved to be very beneficial at gauging my progress on my threshold workouts. It is exciting to be able to track my progress based off of my HR.

Sunday is either active recovery or off. I usually do not take the day off so that I can get my legs moving following my Saturday long run. It is also a good excuse for me to catch up on my favorite TV shows on Hulu. After I spin and do core work I spend a lot of time foam rolling & stretching. This ranges from 20-35 minutes.

That sums up a week of my training. I wished that I had more time to dedicate to my training, but I also work full time as a physician recruiter. I love using my training as an outlet from the daily stressor I encounter at home and at work.

Does that make sense? Answer some of your questions????



  1. Totally fascinated by your training! Thanks for posting the details. :) I also love to run in the morning, but not willing to give up ST, so I do my ST on the same day as a hard workout, but later in the day.
    Don't know how you do it all, Tasha! You are a busy , speedy lady. I am getting antsy on rest days too. One day off, and I start to feel like I might have forgotten how to run :)

    You are going to do GREAT at windermere! Amazing that your paces are back to where they were, pre-Eugene, after all you have been through.

    1. I know a lot of people that double up their ST. I never have tried that before. Mostly because I don't think I would have the time.

      I feel like I lost my running mojo this week. I hope that it comes back soon. If my threshold run tonight was any indication of Windermere then I am not in a good position. Blah!

  2. Eh? LOL jk! I'm so glad I have a coach too! He works in my crossfit/strength training days twice a week and then adjusts my runs (long run, easy, recovery, tempo, speedwork) the rest - the things we do to stay in shape! ;)

    1. What would we do without coaches to reign us in?! I am so thankful for Matt!

  3. This is a great post! I've been thinking about how I can incorportate CF into my running/workouts - this is a great way to do it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You are welcome Melody! I know that a lot of people are anti crossfit, but you can make it a beneficial part of your training. I think the key is just making sure that you are getting enough rest and recovery too.

  4. WOW is all I can say. I remember when I was in the middle of Tri training and my weeks would be crazy scheduled like yours...when you are in it it doesn't seem that bad but looking in from the outside all I have to say is NICE WORK CHICA!!!

    Keep up the great work!

    1. It does seem crazy to look back at the training we accomplished and then try and figure out how we made it work. Looking ahead at my schedule I always panic at the time commitment, but if I take it a day at a time it doesn't seem so bad.

      I am so glad to hear that you got clearance to run!!!!! Yahoo!!!!!! Are you still thinking about Eugene?

  5. You really are amazing Tasha! I am in awe of how far you have come!

  6. this is so helpful! thank you for sharing! keep up the amazing work!

    1. You are welcome Chelle! I replied back to your comment the other day, but didn't know if you saw it or not. I hope that this helped answer some of your questions.

  7. Wow. Super helpful Tasha! Also still super inspiring :)

  8. I always like to see how people train. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I always like to see how people train too. It always gives me ideas and new things to incorporate into my own training.

  9. I'm a morning runner too! I like getting it out of the way, but I love how you compromise so you can get in all that you want to do. Love hearing about your running comeback after injury - very inspiring!! Taper is the best AND the worst part of the training for me - love having the recovery and rest time, but sometimes I'm antsy to just keep racking up the milage! Good luck with the rest of your training - keep up the awesome work! :)

    1. Taper is the absolute worst for me! I am awful. I actually call them "taper tantrums" because I am that big of a bear. My poor hubby!

  10. I hope things continue to go well for you with training! I hear you on preferring to run first thing in the morning!

  11. This is awesome! I'm trying to make my training program work wit strength training my legs--the only leg workout I did I literally ran like two tenths of a mile the day afterward. I was beat! It's good to know it IS possible and I definitely think ST makes me a stronger runner. Does farmgirl fit to all body workouts every session? I'm pumped to hear about your core work too!

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