The Breaking B.Q. Project: A Day in the Training Life with Rachel
Editor’s Note: This year, Minneapolis Running will be following the journey of five runners striving for a 2018 or 2019 B.Q. We’ll cover their training, track their progress, and cheer them into the finish line with the hopes of lining up in Hopkinton next spring. We call it the “Breaking B.Q. Project.”
We know that runners have different strategies for reaching their goals and aim to share the different training methods used by our Breaking B.Q. Project participants. In this article, Rachel describes a typical day of marathon training with a weekday workout.
A Typical Weekday of Training for Rachel
Tuesday, May 23rd
5:00 a.m.: Wake up, foam rolling, and PT exercises
I normally run first thing in the morning; I am a morning person and like to get my run done right away, but I have been experimenting with running in the afternoon for a couple of reasons. Last year, Grandma’s Marathon was very hot and I was not used to running in the heat at all which played a huge factor in my race. This year, I am trying to incorporate some heat training by running when it is the hottest outside.
I am also running in the afternoon because I injured my quad a couple of weeks back. I came home after an 18-mile long run with really tight hips. My first mistake was to stretch out my hips and quads when I don’t usually stretch. My second mistake was continuing to stretch even after I felt pain in my quad. Why did I do this!? I can’t tell you. The next day I was hobbled and sore, not a “Wow I had a good run!” sore but more of an injury sore. I ran with a hitch in my stride for a week while cutting back on mileage and it didn’t improve. An appointment with a sports doc showed tears in my quad, so I took a week+ off and began PT. (The frustration and anger at myself have never been so high- this was completely preventable!)
In short, I now begin my morning with extensive foam rolling to roll out the knots in my quad and then perform rounds of PT exercises. The PT work focuses on strengthening my quad and glutes. I do hip abductor leg raises, bridges, squats, and hamstring/glute work on a workout ball, as well as bird dogs on a ball as well. (Sound like a lot? This takes me nearly an hour!)
6:30 a.m.: Breakfast!
As I am doing a lot of body weight strength work, I like to get a lot of protein in my breakfast. My go-to is a smoothie. I put frozen fruit (this time mostly made of peaches, pineapple, and strawberries), whole-fat Greek yogurt (protein!), spinach, a tablespoon of chia seeds, a scoop of vanilla whey protein (mostly for the taste to be honest), and orange juice. Blend and eat!
7:00 a.m.: Shower and prepare for the day
7:30 a.m.: Arrive at the laboratory.
I am a graduate research and teaching assistant at the University of Iowa working on my Ph.D. in Psychology (with an emphasis on neuroscience). I study how chronic stress effects the brain. I also teach but because finals are over and the summer term doesn’t start until the middle of June, teaching is off the table for now. Each day is different, so the amount of movement I get varies. My lab is on the fourth floor and I always take the stairs. I get water from the ground floor and also use the bathroom on the ground floor, as this is a good excuse to get up and stretch my legs. Given the amount of water I drink, I take the stairs frequently.
8:00 a.m.: Coffee and emails
10:00 a.m.: Mid-morning break
Depending on how hungry I am, my mid-morning snack tends to be a banana and a Picky Bar (quick and easy fuel for athletes on the go! I’m obsessed).
10:00 – 12:00 p.m.: – Experiments in the lab
These have me on my feet and away from my computer, which is good and a nice change of pace from data analysis on my computer.
12:00 p.m.: Lunch
I tend to eat the same thing every day. I am a creature of habit and it makes my lunch planning easier. I eat a huge handful of carrots and snap peas. Then I have a turkey sandwich with cheddar cheese and spinach on wheat bread. Finally, I have some sort of carbohydrate snack. Today: Wheat Thins.
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Finish up experiments, data analysis, and go home.
4:30 p.m.: Time to run!
It’s workout day. I have been trying to incorporate more speed work into my training. This has been going well, but with my injury, I am changing it up a bit today. On deck: a 2-mile tempo run and then 8 x 1 min at 10K pace. I warm up for three miles and then run two miles at my tempo pace (around 7:40 min/mile). Then I jog for 5 minutes or so and begin my 1 min repeats at 10K pace. I run easy for 1 minute in between my faster segments and then cool down. I get in a total of 10 miles for the day.
5:50 p.m. – 6:20 p.m.: Foam rolling and PT
I am doing my PT religiously in a last-ditch effort to strengthen up my muscles and hopefully be able to pull off the marathon. I sometimes feel doubtful, and to be honest, my B.Q. attempt seems unlikely to happen. I am trying to stay positive since being negative and worried won’t do any good.
Related: Mental Tricks for a Marathon Edge
6:30 p.m.: Dinner
I try to keep dinner as simple as possible, mainly because I am hungry! This evening I grill salmon and roast veggies. I cook my veggies (tonight is asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli) with olive oil, garlic salt, and pepper in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. I normally add quinoa as my carbohydrate side but I am out. (I will have some popcorn as a snack later.)
8:00 p.m.: Get ready for bed and read until I am sleepy
I go to bed EARLY. Embarrassingly so. But I am a morning person and am often up by 4:30 a.m. so I feel a tiny bit justified in my ridiculously early bedtime. My friends find this funny and know that they if the text me after 8 p.m., I am unlikely to respond.
8:30 p.m.: Zzzzzz
By this time, I am sound asleep, hopefully giving myself plenty of time to heal that quad and begin again tomorrow.