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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