Staying in Shape While Taking Time Off to Party (June Training Journal)

Every month on Strength Running I provide an overview of my training, key workouts, and any races that I run. If you want to see what my training looks like on a daily basis, you can follow me on Dailymile.

June was a solid month of getting back into heavier training. With my college reunion and bachelor party on consecutive weekends, I wasn’t able to run as much.  I don’t feel guilty about this; sometimes once in a lifetime events are more important.

Ok, the bachelor party wasn't THIS crazy...

I even wrote to the Strength Running Team earlier that running shouldn’t always be your #1 priority. With my wedding on 7/9 (!!) and honeymoon, I doubt Meaghan would be too pleased if I were running 80+ miles/week. That’s ok with me.

Despite missing four days of training, I still ran 252 miles in June with three long runs: a 16, 17, and 18 miler.

I even got in some high-quality running during the 16 miler by doing 3xmile at marathon pace for the 9th, 11th, and 13th miles. After 8 miles (last two in 6:47 and 6:46) I split 6:12, 6:07, and 5:59 with a mile recovery after each in 7:01 and 7:05. It was a hot day, but I’m glad I ran a good marathon workout. If you’re in the outer Philadelphia area, I highly recommend Mondauk Park.

I also started getting back into hill sprints, something I had reluctantly stopped doing. During the winter months when there was too much snow and ice on the roads, they were difficult to do. I’m now doing 4-5 x 10″ hill sprints once every 5-6 days and feeling great. If you’re an injury-prone runner I highly recommend them.

During the early weeks in June when I was not running on the weekends I was focusing on a mid-week medium long run that was also a workout. Twice I did the same workout: an out and back 13 miler with a 10 minute tempo and 2×1′ + 4×30″ fartlek at 5k – mile pace. I split 85 minutes and 84 minutes for these 13 milers, so I’m very happy with how they went.

For both of them I ran out 44-45 minutes, turned around, and started the faster portion of the workout on the way back. Negative splitting a run teaches your body how to run faster when it’s tired, especially when it’s a longer run and you’re going to experience more fatigue.

If you’re pressed for time or know that you’re going to have to skip a few runs later in the week, you can use negative splits on longer runs to introduce more quality into your week.

The last workout of June was a solid hill session: 12 miles and 8 hills. I ran 2×2′, 2×90″, 2×75″, and finally 2×60″ repetitions. I tried to increase the pace on each set since I was running for less time. The workout was a success, even though I felt horrible on my 3-mile warm-down. It was a death march. Because of the heat, not eating before I ran, and inadvertently eating paleo for dinner the night before I wasn’t properly fueled.

Lessons Learned in June

Like I mentioned before, I had a lot of personal events going on that made it really difficult to run. I didn’t try to squeeze in a few miles and miss out on any fun. If I did that, I’m sure I would have skipped my warm-up and core exercises, which is a recipe for injury.

Instead, I just took the day off. How liberating! Running isn’t a chore for me – it’s something I love to do – but sometimes it’s frustrating to have so many things competing for your time. Running shouldn’t always be your top priority.

If you’re forced to take some time off, make sure you focus on quality. Make sure your easy days are easier (don’t run at all) and your hard days are harder. If you’re taking days completely off then you can afford to do this.

After my hill workout I thought to myself, “Wow, you just did NOT fuel right for that!” Take my failure that day and learn this very basic lesson: fuel up before long and intense workouts! (Shouldn’t I know this by now?)

As you’re reading this I am enjoying myself in Maui on my honeymoon, probably sipping a cocktail on the beach. Don’t worry though, I’m going to sneak some internet time and reply to your comments, so let me know how YOUR June went!

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Comments

  1. Congratulations Fitz, best wishes to you and your new wife! Aloha

  2. Hi Fitz, first time here for me. I am Paolo from Milan, Italy.
    I just wanted to say that this site is so good and thank you for all the work you put into this.
    My June month was yet another bad month without running due to my ITB which is biting me really hard – pratically 6 months off training.
    But I try to focus on a positive vision and now, having found your site I incorporated the ITB Rehab routine as my daily pre-breakfast fun. I hope it will help me too, I am sure you can understand how I feel.
    Congratulations on your marriage and have fun there in Maui. I am sure you will enjoy some nice palm-seeing run along the beachside.

  3. You had a great month even with taking time off! What do you consider long and intense workouts?

    Hope you’re having fun!

    • Long is relative – for me, probably 12+ miles. Intense would be anything requiring a faster than marathon pace effort. So again for me (you can always email me for more specifics 🙂 – intense is under 6min. mile pace. Good question!!

  4. Christine says:

    Thanks for this great website. Lots of good info. I’ve been a reader for a few months. Just wanted to say congrats to you and your wife on your marriage!

    June was an ok month for me. I’m training for the Virginia Beach Rock N Roll Half marathon in September. June was more of a recovery month and figuring out how to fuel and recovery from workouts. My body was feeling fatigued. But I think I’ve figured it out and July seems to be going great and I feel energized!

    Thanks for all the hard work you put into this site!

  5. Congratulations on your marriage Jason! Best to you and your wife. Enjoy your honeymoon in Hawaii.
    June was a good month for me. After battling an Achilles injury, and doing PT, I slowing increased mileage in June. During my recovery I incorporated quite a bit of swimming and a little biking for cross training. I like running the best out of the three, but it was nice to be active when I was not able to run. Enjoy reading your posts. I always find good information that I can actually use!

    • Good to hear Matt, I hope your achilles is starting to feel better. Did you look into eccentric achilles exercises (lower your calf, instead of its opposite calf raises). They helped me a lot with achilles tendonitis about 7 years ago. Thanks for the kind words!

      • My achilles if feeling a lot better. Dr. thought it was due to over use (2 marathons in 6 weeks). At PT I started some specific calf/achilles stretches that have really helped. The eccentric type have been the most help. If the achilles feels tight when I wake up, I stretch and them I’m good to go.

  6. Great job on your runs and enjoy your honeymoon. I recently ran 18 miles and my pace was 7:56 per mile and finished 2:22 I plan on running my 1st marathon 8 mins per mile so I can break 3:30 would you say I’m running too fast for my training runs. I can run 5 miles in 32 minutes and my fastest mile was 5:35 the other week. I don’t want to lack confidence which is why I think I run my runs marathon pace

    • Thanks Andy. That’s a difficult question. How do you FEEL during your 7:50-8:00 pace long runs? If your HR is where it should be (likely in the 135-150ish area) and you’re not struggling too hard then I’d say it’s fine.

  7. It’s usually around 80% to 90% of max but find the last 2 miles tough and really have to force myself to finish