Gearing Up For The 2014 Season and My Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Training Plan!

There was a lot of time that went into preparing this training plan. I took a plan from 2 years ago that I used and revamped it. This training schedule contains the races I plan to use in my training (you can find my full 2014 race schedule here!), it is built around holidays/travel plans and incorporates cross training.

That's me!
That’s me!

I would label this as an advanced intermediate training plan. The plan has 40-50 miles a week which happens to be my sweet spot for running. Not too much and not too little and I still have a social life.

This is from my surprise 30th! I'm old!
This is from my surprise 30th! I’m old!

I’ve incorporated swimming and cycling into my training this year as part of my cross training. My swimming and cycling need lots of work so it is safe to say there will be no triathlons in my future. I also use the Nike Training App for some extra cross training. I love their 15 minute focus workouts. (I’ll have a cross training post soon, it’s in the works!)

Fellow Official Marathon Blogger Beal got me hooked on spinning. I now attend Psycle twice a week!
Fellow official marathon blogger, extreme cyclist and yes he is single, Beal got me hooked on spinning. I now attend Psycle twice a week!

After I was injured for most of 2012, I started to get regular massages at Soothe Massage in Rocky River. I aim to go every 4-5 weeks and really feel the difference. You may think “that gets expensive to go that often” but keep in mind that I do not have a gym membership! We have a treadmill at home but I run outside as much as possible, I pay for spin classes and massages and am lucky enough to live in Cleveland and attend their rec centers for free! I just learned this recently and am taking full advantage of it.

Below is my 2014 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon training plan but you can also get a PDF copy here -> 2014Training Plan CLE.

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  1. I take AT LEAST 1 rest day a week. I find it very important to listen to your body.
  2. WU=Warm UP and CD= Cool Down
  3. On the weeks of my really long runs I try to run less on Wednesdays and Thursdays to give my legs a little rest.
  4. The first two weeks of the plan are really just to get me ready for following a plan. I’ve been consistently running 10-14 miles on the weekends so I can successfully jump into long runs.
  5. I take my easy runs EASY! Any pace, it’s more just to get the legs moving.
  6. Long Runs I aim to run 60-90 seconds slower than marathon goal pace.
  7. I bought my first pair of Yak-Traks this year so I can be more stable outside. Although the treadmill is my friend. (I have asthma so I have to be careful running in cold weather anyways.)
Hopefully my husband, the yak trak pro fill put these on my shoes for me.
Hopefully my husband, the yak trak pro fill put these on my shoes for me.

8.  I do core, squats and light weight training (5-8lbs) 2-3 time a week. No schedule for it but usually do it while watching TV.
9.  I have not 1 but 2 foam rollers. Even Bodhi is a fan of the foam roller.

That is actually a rumble roller and it actually hurts!
That is actually a rumble roller and it actually hurts!

10.  I take gu on long runs and have been using Clif Shot Bloks (Black Cherry) lately and love them. I also hydrate before, during and after runs with NUUN.

Nuun Hydration
Nuun Hydration

The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon will be my 12th marathon and I’m very excited to be a part of the Cleveland Experience!

The Logo, that's me, from when I ran in 2011
The Logo, that’s me, from when I ran in 2011

Do you follow a training plan? Do you find one online? Have a coach? Go PLANLESS? I love and am slightly obsessed with my training plan and love putting one together on my own. I know what I am capable of and it’s never a problem to push myself.


2 Goals I Did Not Meet In 2013

While you are probably thinking re-qualify for Boston or PR in the marathon, you are on the right track with running.

Goal #1: Run 2,500 miles

One of my goals I set was to run 2,500 miles. I used to do this fairly easily up until the IT band monster struck. This year I was finally feeling well enough to push my training a little more and thought I had a good chance at hitting that goal. It’s about 48 miles a week.

Park2Park_Jess9After asthma attacks all summer and illness after illness this year (Allergies, colds, bronchitis, strep, and costochondritis) my running goal slipped away. I still managed to PR in the half which I was very happy about. However, my ending mileage for the year was only 1,284.9. I’m sure I may have missed logging a run here or there and probably didn’t log the miles I ran on our honeymoon. But I look at that and it’s only 24.7 miles a week!

Goal #2: Read 24 books

Actually I’ve set this goal for myself multiple times but don’t ever hit it. However, this year I got a kindle for my birthday so maybe that will get me to read more. Don’t get me wrong I read A LOT! I read at work most of the day and I read blogs almost daily so sometimes I just run out of time to read. Sometimes I just can’t read anymore and just want to veg out on some TV time.

This year I made it through 14 books, I keep track of my books in Good Reads. My Mom got me hooked on the House of Night Series so I read books 1-7. I read the Eve series (3 books) which I loved! I read the Kill Order to finish off the Maze Runner Series. I read the City of Bones because I heard the movie is coming out soon and wanted to read the book before the movie. I finished off the Divergent series and read Allegiant, can you tell I like series. I also polished off the last 2 Gillian Flynn novels Dark Places and Sharp Objects, I love how descriptive Gillian Flynn is but I find her books extremely predictable.

Bodhi also likes when I curl up with a book
Bodhi also likes when I curl up with a book

So I am not one who makes New Years Resolutions normally. I prefer to set a goal and get to it and once I get that goal I set a new one. So for 2014 my goals are to run 2,500 miles and to read 24 books.

Do you set New Years Resolutions or have any random goals?


2013 Turkey Trot 5 Miler

I like to think I have raced in every type of weather condition that there is. I know I have trained in every type of weather condition. However, on Thanksgiving morning, for the annual Turkey Trot, I raced in the coldest, snowiest and slipperiest weather. (Snowiest and slipperiest? Nice made up words Jess).

It was so cold and windy that we ran from our car to the start area and laughed about the weather. That’s what you do when the weather is ridiculous, you laugh at it and at yourself. I admit I feel a little stupid in some of the weather I run in.

After a 1.5 mile warm up the laughing started to stop because the snow was cold, wet and continuously falling. We didn’t know we were going to get snow Thanksgiving morning but had expected the cold. The sidewalks were starting to get slick but I hoped the streets would stay clear with everyone walking and running on them.

The race started after a beautiful rendition of the national anthem by Carrie Vieweg who is a finalist in the Voice of McDonalds singing contest. As I started the race I had no problems even with the snow rapidly falling.

Starting line
Starting line

The first mile is almost entirely downhill so I had to remind myself not to go out too fast. Like always but it’s so hard at the Turkey Trot because there are so many talented runners there. However, people were slipping and falling all over the place so I quickly adjusted my pace to guarantee I would stay upright.

By mile 2 I had slowed down to a 7:15 pace and was slowing down even more because I could not get my footing. By mile 3 I had found a guy who was running in a cleared out lane and I ran behind him for a mile. He was running an 8:05 which was a little slower than I wanted but he blocked the wind and snow for me.

Hi Ryan!
Hi Ryan!

That’s not me in the picture but that is Ryan in the blue. It’s a good picture of how snowy it really was.

Hi Jess!
Hi Jess!

Ok you really can barely see me in this photo but to the far left you can see my black tights, my pink jacket and my blue and green shoes.

I threw out my goal time early on in this race but as I neared mile 4 I realized my time wasn’t going to be as bad as I thought it was. I thought for sure I was going to run a 42 at this race but I ended up with a 38:27 a 7:41 pace and 13th in my age group. I would love to place in my age group at this race but I never come close. Which I like because it is humbling and gives me something to work towards.

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you run on Thanksgiving? We run about 14 miles every Thanksgiving!


Now don’t forget to enter my Jingle Bell Run GIVEAWAY!!!


Run for Justice 5 Miler

After being sick for the 10K last week, I was excited to run this weekend. 2 years ago this race was on my Birthday and I PR’d so it’s always been a favorite race of mine ever since.

You have the option to run a 5K or 5 mile distance for this race. Last year I was coming back from injury so I only ran the 5K but remember it being really windy. This year I decided to run the 5 mile and was hoping for no wind.

Bodhi wouldn’t let me take a picture of the race shirt sorry.

Race Shirt
Race Shirt

This year it might have been more windy than last year.

Mile 1: 7:07–  The 5K and 5 mile all start at the same time so it was hard to not go out too fast. However, I ran the first mile or so with a woman who run this race every year and she kept me at a good pace. She even forgave me when the windy blew me into her!

Mile 2: 7:23 – This mile goes down and around the Browns stadium so it can be a tough mile. Shortly after I started to see the top guys on the way back. I saw Ryan and his face said it all, he was running into the wind. I knew the turnaround was up ahead so I wasn’t just waiting to hit the wind.

Mile 3: 7:20 – As soon as I made the turn at 2.5 I could feel the wind. Sadly, it’s a long straightaway and no way to get around it. I tried my best to not think about it and keep running hard.

Mile 4: 8:00 – Wind all over the place for this mile. I felt like I was lifting weights my quads were so tired. I was running uphill into the wind and just begging myself to keep pushing.

Mile 5: 8:00 – Almost entirely on a straightaway however, certain parts had no wind, some had windy coming from your side and if you were lucky you got a couple burst of wind at your back.

Finished in 38:04, 7:37 pace and 5th overall (I actually thought I was in 4th but I missed a girl because she was wearing a hat). I thought I might cut it close and barely miss placing in my age group but I ended up with 2nd!

Age group medal
Age group medal

1.5 mile warm up+5 mile run+3 mile cooldown+4.5 miles to finish long run = 14 miles for the day.


Midtown Classic 10K

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have big plans for this race. I had been looking forward to it for a while and was hoping to come close to my PR if not beat my PR. However, the day before I was at the doctor’s office with a sinus infection 😦 I got a prescription and hoped I would be better in the morning.

Race shirt (runs very large), recyclable grocery bags and a tire gauge
Race shirt (runs very large), recyclable grocery bags and a tire gauge

In the morning, I was not better. I actually felt worse and didn’t think I should run. I’m not sure why but I felt so guilty not going to the race so I got dressed and went anyway. I had hoped that the more I moved around and woke up I would feel better.

After a 1.5 mile warm up, I did not feel better and was pretty sure I wouldn’t even start the race. Somehow I ended up at the starting line, mostly because I’m an idiot but planned on pulling out if I still didn’t feel well.

Mile 1: 7:39-I ran a pretty slow first mile which is completely unlike me. I wanted to quit after 10 steps of running but kept going and my legs felt shaky. I decided I would pull out at the turn around.

Mile 2: 7:25-Whoever was leading the race took us the wrong way and cut down a street too early. At the time I didn’t realize it but all the miles were long after that. I did start running with an older gentleman and he picked my pace up a little and kept me out of the 8s.

Mile 3: 7:43-Suddenly wishing I had ran the 5K or just dropped out already.

Mile 4: 7:50-Only 2 more miles to go so let’s just finish this. It was at this point I realized the course was going to be long. I had 3.2 at the 3 mile mark and 4.22 at the 4 mile mark.

Mile 5: 7:46-I really felt like I was pushing the pace but in reality I wasn’t. I was in 4th place overall and at the turn around I didn’t think the girl behind me would catch up to me.

Mile 6: 7:45- It started to rain, just a slight drizzle at first but then started to come down. Probably the last thing I needed for a race when I was sick.

The last mile seemed to go on forever and I was starting to think someone sent us the wrong way again and that we were running the course all over again. Eventually we made our way to the finish line and I avoided looking at my watch. I had a feeling if it was anything over 6.2 I was just going to quit. I crossed the finish in 48:08, a 7:44 pace and I had the course at 6.3. Not as far off as I thought it was going to be but still almost 4 minutes over my goal time.

I’m pretty sure I’ve learned my lesson to not run while sick. There was nothing fun about running when you feel that crummy.

I did end up placing 4th overall and 1st in my age group so I got a cool award. Who would have thought I’d be so excited for a brick but it’s nice to have something different from race medals.

Bodhi was very interested in this award.
Bodhi was very interested in this award.

Have you ever run while sick? I don’t recommend it.

I do recommend lots of puppy cuddles to make you feel better after.

Professional cuddler
Professional cuddler

I have no plan!

I haven’t shared much of my training lately because I’m not following a training plan! Well, I’m not officially following a training plan right now. Which is nice because it gives me a lot of flexibility and also a nice break from following a plan 24/7, since I train year round.

HereosArielphotoI take a few days, maybe a week if I need it after a marathon. After that I am up and running again and soon after that I am starting a new training plan.

I’m not following a training plan because I don’t have a fall marathon this year but I am still training and following an unofficial plan in my head.

Up close picture of Bodhi on the way to one of our walks
Up close picture of Bodhi on the way to one of our walks

Most weeks look something like this.

Monday: Rest Day/long walk with the dog day
Tuesday: Speedwork. 1 mile repeats, 800 meter repeats or 400 meter repeats.
Wednesday: 3 miles in the morning before work and 4-6 miles after work
Thursday: 3-4 miles in the morning before work
Friday: Rest Day
Saturday: Long run usually around 14 miles
Sunday: super easy run usually 4-6 miles

Love flat trails
Love flat trails

How many miles per week am I running? Hmm maybe 35-40. Usually I am all about the miles and love adding up m miles for the week but lately I’m enjoying the unofficial plan with no weekly mileage goals.

Right now I have another half marathon coming up and then a couple 10ks and maybe a 5K. At the end of November I’m thinking/supposed to start 50K training!

Do you ever run without a training plan?


Heroes Run 2013

Ever since I moved to the west side of Cleveland, I heard about the Heroes Run. However, I was also warned of the huge hill that comes around 3.5 of the race so I was always turned off. When running a 5 mile race, a hill at mile 3.5 kind of turns me off.

This year I decided to finally register and give this race a shot. I run the area the race takes place in fairly often so I thought it would be exciting to race that same area. The race start was close enough that we could run to the starting line and used that as our warm up.

MemorialHeroesRunBefore the start of the race there are a couple speeches, then the horn solo (drawing a blank on the name) and then the gun salute. There is something different about this race than other races in the area. I can’t really put my finger on exactly what it is or maybe it’s because the organizers but a lot of work into this race. I just know I’ll be back to run this race ever year.

Ariel photos of the race
Ariel photos of the race

My goal for the 5 miler this year was to break 34. With the asthma attacks over the summer, that got put on hold and I’m just happy to be running again. I figured my goal time should be a minute slower than the last 5 miler I did. I was adding a solid minute for the hill, so around 39 mins.

I tried to hold back on the speed but it was a little hard because there were so many spectators! There were people lined up all down Rocky River Drive and at the Kamms Corner Plaza. You shoot down the hill into the metroparks and then I’m in heaven. I love running through the metroparks. You are on the trail for the part through the metroparks so I tried to sit back and enjoy the scenery.

In the back of my mind, I couldn’t stop thinking about the upcoming hill. Do I slow down and conserve energy? Do I go all out and let myself walk/die on the hill? I pretty much eased up just a little bit. When I got to Hogsback Hill or Hogsback Hell, as the cute signs that decorated the hill said, I figured I’d run as far up the hill as I could and then walk. However, before I knew it I was half way up the hill, people were cheering, my abs were burning and I kept going just a little farther. I ran up the entire hill without stopping to walk. I couldn’t believe it.

IMG_2511Although if you look at that face, you might believe it! I took my time and slowed down when I got to the top. Just wanted to catch my breath, I glanced down at my watch and expected to see a 8:30 pace but it was a low 7 pace! After that I picked it up and headed to the finish which is almost all flat and straight.

There were more spectators (probably a lot of 2 milers finishing and lingering but we’ll call them spectators) so I felt like I was part of a parade as I was coming in for the finish. I even grabbed some high fives as I was coming down the last part of the main road. I crossed the finish line in 38:29, 7:42 pace, 3rd female in my age group! I’ll take it!

If you get a chance I definitely recommend running this race next year. I will warn you this is probably the hilliest 5 miler in the area. Totally worth it though.

P.S. I apparently didn’t post a picture of the shirt but it was pretty cool and green. I already wore it and it’s in the wash!