The Breaking B.Q. Project: A Day in the Training Life with Lauren D.
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, Lauren D. describes a typical day of marathon training, an easy weekday run amid a 60-mile week.
A Typical Weekday of Training for Lauren D.
Thursday, April 27th
5:00 a.m.: Wake up, yoga
On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays I wake up at 5:00 a.m. to do a few recovery-related activities. I use Jasyoga for recovery, an online video service that provides videos that use yoga poses, stretches, meditation, and breathing for athletic performance (specifically running). They have great videos that can give a whole body recovery session (my favorite is the High Mileage Reset) or videos that target specific muscles. During this time in the morning, I fill 45 minutes with a combination of Jasyoga videos, foam rolling, and legs up the wall. This particular morning I did the Optimal Hip Reset video and the 5-minute calf reset video. I can honestly say that since incorporating these videos on a regular basis, I have seen a huge improvement in my recovery and the amount of aches and pains I feel while training. I wouldn’t still be doing these if I wasn’t feeling the benefit, and I would recommend them to any endurance athlete.
On a weekly basis, I try to do Jasyoga 4 times a week and foam roll 5-6 times, often more than once a day. I am really learning that doing a small amount of the “little things” in running really goes a long way, and it gets overwhelming to try to do large amounts of the “little things.” After all, I am not an elite runner and I maintain a full-time job, family, social life, and other hobbies.
6:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m.: Breakfast & prepare for work
After my morning yoga and foam rolling, I get ready for work. I eat breakfast every day and am extremely organized and prepared when it comes to my diet and the food I eat. I am a big fan of meal prepping and always mix it up each week. I am NOT afraid of food, butter, fat, and flavor, so this week I made whole wheat oatmeal pancakes and froze them individually. Each morning, all I need to do is pop one in the toaster and it’s good to go!
7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Work
I do not have a lot to note about when I am at work. I work an office job that requires me to sit in front of a computer all day. I make sure to have good posture and I get up for walk breaks frequently (at least every hour) but otherwise, my hands are tied on what I can do for my body & training while I am at work.
12:00 p.m.: Lunch
I am very lucky because I live close to work and am able to go home every day for lunch. As I mentioned before, I am a fan of meal prep and being prepared. This week’s lunches I had planned were sandwiches made with whole wheat bread, ½ avocado, ½ tomato, and a fried or poached egg. Avocado toast is really having a moment right now and I love it- this lunch is delicious and I know it is amazing for your body. I am not a dietician or anything, but I know that runners need a large amount of carbs, some healthy fats, and some protein. This lunch provides all of that! And, more importantly, this lunch sits really well in my stomach. During Fall-Spring I run after work, and I need my lunch to agree with my digestive system. I usually finish my lunch with some fruit- today was grapes.
Marathon training for me means that there is some sacrifice when it comes to food and social events. For example, today my work was having a pizza event over lunch. This is the sort of thing I skip while training. It’s not like I don’t still eat pizza during training (Saturday dinner is my reserved “eat the cravings” meal), but I know that if I have pizza over lunch I will sacrifice the quality of my run that evening. (And that is something I am unwilling to do.) During training, I divide up events/social occasions in my mind by asking myself the question, “Will you have the opportunity to do this again?” For example, a happy hour on a Friday afternoon is something that will happen again in my life, after training, and I am perfectly fine skipping this event in favor of training right now. My best friend’s wedding on the other hand? Only happening once, so I am moving training around and having wine at the wedding.
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Work
4:00 p.m.: Time to run!
Today’s run was 8 miles of base mileage. For me, this means running according to what my body needs. If my body feels fully recovered from my workout, I’ll let myself go as fast as 8:40 pace but no faster (which takes restraint sometimes!). Today, however, I am still feeling quite sore from my workout on Tuesday, so my miles were much slower. I usually run on paved paths around my house that are pretty ordinary and boring. Nebraska doesn’t have quite the trail system that MSP has and nowhere close to the pretty views, but the paths are well maintained and safe and I don’t have a lot to complain about. Today’s run is solo- I run nearly all my miles by myself. I know other runners in the area, but have a hard time coordinating schedules and finding people at my pace or training for the same races as me. I don’t mind most of the time and occasionally will meet up with a teammate for part of my long runs on Saturdays.
I have absolutely no shame in my slow recovery miles; I believe that the discipline I show in going slow and listening to my body when it needs it is a hard skill to learn. I always try to keep in mind that base/easy miles aren’t the place to gain speed. These miles are to help absorb the hard workouts I have other days of the week. Today’s miles splits were: 9:45, 8:46, 8:51, 9:17, 9:15, 9:22, 9:11, 9:16. For a point of reference, my B.Q. pace (3:35 marathon) is 8:12, and my goal pace for my upcoming race (3:30 marathon) is 8:00. I didn’t look at my watch while running and was more concerned about how my body was reacting while running than pace.
5:30 p.m. – 6:10 p.m.: Post-run activities
About 3 times a week I do 15 minutes of core exercises after my run. I keep it simple and do all the core work I can think of for 15 minutes then stop – planks of all kinds and variations, bird dog, push ups, etc. There really is no rhyme or reason to the exercises I choose to do, but I think doing this small amount each day will add up to something big in my next race. I know if I tried to add in 1-hour strength sessions it would never stick as a habit.
After core work, I did legs up the wall for 10 minutes. I do this after every long run and maybe 2-3 additional times each week. This is also when I post my picture from my workout on my running Instagram account (@runningwifehappylife) & enjoy my Nuun. My legs are still sore from my workout on Tuesday (I crushed my workout paces and had one of my best workouts of my training schedule), so I really needed this today.
6:10 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Cook and eat dinner
I LOVE to cook. I cook dinner every night except Saturday and am always trying new recipes and new cuisines. I try to change up our protein each night and always load in the vegetables. Tonight I made the Soba Noodle Salad from Run Fast Eat Slow, but I added shrimp and made it into a stir fry rather than serve it cold. It is SO GOOD – seriously, there is a reason why runners are raving about this cookbook!
7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.: Relax
That’s it for today’s training! When everything is said and done, I am usually left with 1-2 hours of relaxation time at the end of the day. I enjoy knitting and reading during this time, usually trying to wind down from the day. One thing you won’t see during this relaxation time is a glass of wine or beer. I don’t drink during the week while I am training. For my current training schedule, I will also be slowly restricting my alcohol intake on the weekends until my taper, when I will eliminate alcohol completely. I certainly don’t feel as if alcohol is a problem in my life at all, but I want to have every advantage I possibly can for race day. I am more than likely going to be a B.Q. Squeaker and every second under that B.Q. time will count. Eliminating alcohol will hopefully allow my body to be more rested during my taper and slim up every so slightly. Even if this results in only 5 seconds off my time, the sacrifice will be well worth it to get into the Boston Marathon in 2018.
9:00 p.m.: Bedtime
Yes, you read that right. I am in bed by 9 p.m. every night and if all goes well, asleep by 9:30-10:00 p.m. Sometimes even earlier (I’ve been known to get into bed at 8:15 p.m. a few times). Sleep and rest are such an important component of marathon training and my body feels so much worse if I don’t get enough sleep.