What I do the week of a 1/2 marathon and my idea of a heavenly dinner recipe!

I see all of these amazing running jumping pictures all over Instagram and the only way I can get a really good one is by jumping off a huge boulder.  I need lessons on how to jump off of the ground.

The kid’s had a play date and Andrew is in-between semesters right now (can we just talk about how he ACED his Biochemistry class and final) so we were able to go out for a run together!

Think of a windy day and times that by ten to get a feel for how windy it was for our run.  Okay, I’m just a tad dramatic about it but windy runs are way harder for me than snow or rain.   We finished up with 9.5 miles @ 8:55 average!

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We got home and I did this little combo of planks:

1.5 minute classic plank

30 second side plank on each side

1.5 minute classic plank

30 second side plank on each side

Fall onto the ground because every muscle on your body besides your eyebrow muscle is shaking… okay, maybe that is just how I finish a plank.

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Isn’t it amazing how quickly a 4 year old’s mood can change.

From this…

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to this in literally 1/4th of a second.  I’m always amazed.

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We went on over to my parents’ house and the kids are obsessed with their new bean bag.

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Fast forward many hours later and nothing like a kid taking a 5 p.m. nap.

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I also somehow closed my hair in the car door, not sure how that happened.

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The kids start soccer soon (Andrew is their coach!) so they tested out their new shin guards.

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My heart is always extremely happy if lasagna noodles are involved.

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A few months ago Andrew found a recipe for lasagna soup and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.  If you are a lasagna fan, please make this now.  It was SO good and luckily we have a ton of leftovers!

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Garlic bread on the side.  Carb-loading really well for my race on Saturday.

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Also, Brooke is just as obsessed with thumb holes on clothing and chapstick as I am.

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A reader asked me yesterday what I do the week of a half-marathon.  If I’m not trying to race the half-marathon and I am just doing it for fun or for a training run then I don’t change anything about my week.  But if I am going into the half-marathon to race or to really push myself then there are a few things that I do and here is what my weekly mileage (ROUGHLY) looks like!

Monday:  Normally I run for about an hour.   Easy, a few hills but nothing crazy.

Tuesday:  7-10 miles EASY.  I mean really easy.  I just run.  Nothing exhausting, or something that is going to make me sore.  Just running happy:)

Wednesday:  5-6 miles with some fartleks.  For this training cycle I have gotten in a tempo run or a speed workout each week but I do not do that the week of a race.  A few of my friends always do a 2-3 mile tempo at race pace the week of a race but I keep it simple with a few one minute intervals of speed to help my legs remember how to turnover before a race.

Thursday:  4 miles.  Easy, short, usually with no music and solo to think about my goals for race day.

Friday:  Off.  Some people do really well by running a few miles the day before a race but not me.  I like to take the day off from running for a few reasons.  More rest= faster times for me.  Day off = I am more excited than ever to get out there and run the next day.  No running = sleep in a bit (I might bribe the kids with a surprise is they let me sleep in a few minutes).

Saturday:  RACE

Things I don’t do race week:  

1.  Strength train.  I do some core exercises but nothing that is going to leave me sore.

2.  Eat loads of fiber the day or two before the race.  I’ve yet to have to stop a long a race course to use the restroom and I’ve always cut out fiber/tons of veggies/salads for a day or two before the race so I’m going to keep on going with this tradition for me.

3.  Stay up late.  I’m always tempted to but I really try not to.  Although, for this race we are going to see Regina Spektor the night before the race (I CAN’T WAIT) but usually I don’t.  I always think that the night before the night before the race (so if my race is Saturday morning, then Thursday night) is the most important night for sleep.

Things I do do race week:

1.  Think positively.  About my running, about the training, about the course, about the world;)

2.  Find some sort of reward for myself.  Usually a new running tank or something but we all like to have something to work towards right?

3.  Make a killer playlist.  Full of the songs that pump me up the most.

4.  Drink all of the water… especially leading up to a marathon.

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What about you?!  The week of a race… what does your mileage look like?  Do you run the day before a race?

I would like to hear from the other lasagna fans out there.  Tell me about your love for lasagna please and what recipes you like.

Anyone play soccer growing up?  Anyone with kids playing soccer?

Do you change anything nutrition wise the week of a race?

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47 comments

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Before half marathons, I tend to do the best when I cut mileage a few days before the race. If I cut the mileage too soon, I find myself falling flat or stale for the race.

I’m not a huge pasta fan but I will say cheese lasagna or stuffed shells are my favorite.

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I think you nailed that jumping pic! :)

I played soccer for 15 years growing up, which actually helped me develop a love for running. And I try not to change things up the week of a race at all, but I also try not to think about the race itself very much.

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Hahaha thanks Natalie, next I just have to jump from the ground. FIFTEEN years of soccer, that is awesome. I really hope our kids are going to want to stick with soccer too! I hope you are having a great week!

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This is my first longer race (and by longer, I mean more than 5k). I ran for an hour Monday. I didn’t look at mileage and took it easy. I didn’t run Tuesday, but I did my usual amount of walking (a mile to the coffee shop, a mile back, etc). I’ll probably run 4 miles today, and 4 tomorrow. Friday and Saturday I won’t run at all, and then on Sunday I’ll do the 10 mile race.

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Hah oh god could you imagine downing fiber before a big race? Ya, would not fly for me. Fiber gets me moving in the wrong way… lasagna soup sounds delectable! I love regular lasagna.. haven’t experimented much with that one…

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The week of races I usually front load my mileage and then taper off gradually- for some reason, going into a race with only a few days of less mileage helps me.
I make this crock-pot lasagna and it won the hearts of my little-nuggets (5-6th grade basektball team) and they didn’t even notice the 1.2 million vegetables (I counted) in there.
I played soccer as a kid and I thought it was great!
Good luck in your race this weekend!

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I don’t really change much about my diet since it’s fairly carb heavy to begin with. Lol.
But I don’t ever try something new for dinner the night before!!!!

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I am right there with you Sally:) I pretty much eat the exact same which is probably carb loading for everyone else! I hope you are having a beautiful day!

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My week before a race looks a lot like yours. A little speed in the middle of the week and the day before off. My legs feel stronger on race day that way. Like many runners, I find it hard to slow down but I always remind myself that the hard work is done and the recovery during this week is as important. I also remind myself that I run because I love it and because I am lucky enough to be able to!

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I shut my hair in the car door all the time – it is no fun. That is the cutest thing ever that Andrew is going to be their soccer coach! And I need to make that lasagna soup immediately. It looks absolutely amazing. I love the lasagna my mom makes. It is super simple and a recipe she has been making forever, but it is one of my favorite foods on this planet. And of course I’ve tried to make it myself and it comes out nothing like hers.

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Love your race week advice!! :) Good luck on your half this weekend! I have a half on Saturday also!! :)

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THANK YOU ALEXIS and GOOD LUCK to you! I want to hear about how it goes!

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How cute is the sparkly pink soccer ball? Our little man is only 11 months old, but my husband is desperately hoping he’ll love soccer too.

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I used to always run a few easy miles the day before a race (maybe 4-5) … But for my last marathon, I swam the day before the race and ended up having SUCH a better race day. Planning to do the same again for my next marathon in the spring!

I don’t tend to switch up my race week nutrition all that much. I usually just law low on the veggies/fiber a few days leading up to the race .. And I always make sure to eat the same thing the night before a race (grilled chicken and some sort of bread) . Super plain and perfect for me!

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For an important or goal race I really taper, even for a half marathon. This weekend, though, I’m running a half as part of a 50k training cycle, and I won’t change my week much at all! I loaded up a bit more mileage than usual at the beginning of the week so I can take Friday as a rest day, but that’s pretty much the only change… so it’ll be racing on tired legs for me!

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oh my gosh lasagna. How I love thee. My grandma use to make it every Sunday dinner for us. Now my sister carries on the tradition. I don’t think there’s anything particularly special/different about their recipe…which it why I love it. Stick to the classics. They won’t let you down.

I’m with you on the wind. It is so hard to run in! Give me rain over wind any day.

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I like lasagna, but I hate making it. Too much work. lol This soup recipe looks great though! Thanks for always sharing yummy recipes!!!!!

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Sure! Let me know what you think! Seriously, lasagna takes so much time to make ha. And restaurant lasagna never compares to homemade! Hopefully you love the soup! Enjoy your day Jen!

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Love Lasagna, but making it is a lot of work. When some one says we’ll have you over for lasagna, I am like yes, please!
Google skillet lasagna by betty crocker and that reminds me of cooking in my first appartment. It was good!

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Well, that look phenomenal! We need to try that asap! I hope you three have a fabulous day! Thinking about you all tomorrow!

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lasagna is one of those things i could eat all the time, including as leftovers (i have this thing about leftovers – i dont like them unless they are pizza, lasagna, chinese food).

i have colitis so i also limit/cut out fiber the few days leading up to a race. and i always have pizza (usually homemade) on thursday (saturday race) and pancakes friday morning!

i’m also leading up to a half on saturday, but i also ran 20 hard miles of the boston marathon course on saturday, so easy 4 yesterday, easy 50 minutes today, some mile repeats tomorrow, easy 3 on friday – then GO TIME!

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GOOD LUCK KIM on Saturday and way to go on your 20 miler on the boston course. Wow! You are so ready! Oh I bet nutrition leading up to a race is even harder with colitis but I’m so glad you have found a combination that works for you! You named the top three best leftover foods;) Let me know how Saturday goes!

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Hi Janae! I love your running outfit of this post. So pretty!!

Also I think is so cute the kids are starting to play soccer. That’s one of my favorite sports and always fantasize about the idea that my kids can play soccer as well. I used to play a little bit during high school.

The week of a race I try to run less, eat more carbs, and drink more water.

And I totally understand your love for lasagna. Mom came to visit last year and all I wanted her to cook for me was lasagna. Her recipe consists on one layer of noodles, one layer of Bolognese sauce, one layer of Bechamel sauce, ham and cheese, and then repeating the process all over again. Once she finishes, she will add some graded Mozarella and Parmesan cheese on top. This might seem like too much, but I’m telling you… it’s delicious.

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I am so inconsistent with my core work. I have been trying to get back into planks – time seems to stand still during planking! I am impressed you do them in socks!

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I do cut down on my running the week before a race and I don’t strength train after Tuesday. (and I don’t go crazy with it then either). Sometimes I run about 20 minutes the day before a race, particularly if I traveled the day prior to get there. It gets the kinks out. For local races I don’t always do this.

Soccer wasn’t a thing when I was growing up, it was softball, baseball, dance, or gymnastics. I took dance and briefly played basketball.

I recommend eating greens the week before your marathon because they help increase oxygen in your blood, making race day easier. For digestive purposes I’d eat them cooked, no need for upset stomach the week prior to a race!

Lasagna is one of my favorites but it’s one of those foods that recalls a lot of memories for me. Which means it has to taste a certain way (like my mother’s) or it’s not as enjoyable. I will try other versions but when I want actual lasagna only a select few will satisfy.

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Good call on the cooked greens the week before the race to help up the oxygen in our blood! Our muscles need as much oxygen as possible! Okay, I am TOTALLY like you with lasagna. I have a hard time really loving any versions of actual lasagna besides my moms because it just has the best memories associated with it. The soup reminded me a bit of my mom’s lasagna too so that made me happy!

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I really think lasagna is that type of food for a lot of us! Maybe because it’s not an everyday meal and associated more with family and gatherings?

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My dad makes an amazing lasagna every Christmas Eve. It takes him forever to make but it’s soooo delicious!

I discovered soccer as an adult and love playing in my rec league during the summer. Since it’s outdoor I get to be outside and enjoy the view of the mountains we have from the soccer fields. Plus the ladies I play with are amazing. Your kids are going to love soccer!

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I think I switched to the rest day the day before a half although I have gone between rest two days before and an easy run the day before a race. I think the day off works the best for me based upon my race results over the years!

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Lasagna soup sounded so weird to me before my mom made it the first time, but it is soooo good. And we often play with different lasagna recipes/non-recipes, but this “World’s Best Lasagna” is actually phenomenal: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/23600/worlds-best-lasagna/.

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THANK YOU for that recipe… five stars with over 10k reviews! I love it! Thanks for sharing! Have a beautiful day Ellen!

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Your mention of wind reminded me of this post Kate Grace put on Instagram last week! https://www.instagram.com/p/BSCfyeel2WI/?taken-by=fastkate

So true! Hope you have a great race, Janae!

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THANK YOU MELISSA for sharing that with me…. that is exactly what I needed to read today! Thank you, I’m going to have to share this! Hope you are having a great day so far!

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ironically, I don’t like lasagna but love lasagna soup! I don’t know what it is, I love everything in lasagna, but when it’s all together? Nope. You’d think it would carryover to something like ziti casserole etc, but no, just lasagna.

Also, is there any other way to end a plank other than collapsing to the floor because your muscles are DONE?

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That’s how I finish planks too, I’m super graceful like that.

My favorite lasagna is one from a Junior League cookbook, it’s a white lasagna with chicken, a pesto cream sauce and gruyere, fontina, mozzerella and parmesan. It’s so indulgent but worth it. I add broccoli or other veggies to make myself think it’s a health food.

Have so much fun at your race!

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That sounds beyond amazing Michelle. I need that in my life asap… especially the pesto cream sauce part! Glad to know I’m not alone in the way I finish a plank haha! I hope you have a great day and thanks!

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I’m training for my first half and I plan to pay close attention to my hydration during the week of the race!

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We had lasagna in Rome about 6 years ago that changed my love for it! The pasta was fresh and there was no ricotta cheese, just sauce, meat, mozzarella cheese and pasta. So that’s how I make it now! I also make my own pasta (I have a pasta machine to roll it out nice and thin.)

I have one soccer memory from middle school. I had PE first period and it was a foggy winter morning. My team was on one field while another game was being played on the next field. We heard a loud crack – one of the players broke his leg. It was horrible! I don’t think I’ve played soccer since (that was almost 40 years ago!) Of course none of us wore shin guards back then.

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I NEED lasagna in Rome:) That sounds heavenly. A pasta machine… I need one of those too. Sounds amazing.
Oh goodness, he broke his leg… I don’t think I could play after hearing that either.
I hope you are having a fabulous day Kathy!

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Aww they look so cute in their shin guards! I remember playing soccer growing up but I hated it and was not good at it. That bean bag looks super comfy!

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Depending on the race, sometimes I will run the day before, but if I do it is low mileage and super easy effort. If I am running a longer race or wanting to break a PR, I take the day off.
Landon (the husband!) loves lasagna, but I rarely make it…woops! Maybe I should make it for his upcoming birthday ;)

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I clicked on a link in your post from yesterday or the day before, and then clicked to a post from there which led me to an entry in which you included a recommendation for The Barkley Marathons documentary and my husband and I watched it last night. Oh. My. Goodness!!!!

Completely off topic from your questions, but thank you for writing about that! It was so interesting and I loved watching it👏🏻👏🏻
Good luck with your race!

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Oh I am SO glad that you loved that documentary! It is so so good!!!!!

Thank you Jenny and enjoy your day!

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Race week! I am not the kind of person whose body does well with running every day anyhow, but race week i take it EASY! As in one good shake out mid-week and that’s it. I’m all about those fresh fresh legs. I also definitely avoid anything fibery the week of the race – lots of white, boring carbs, because my body does not handle grains, salad, or too much fiber well ever.

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“Fall onto the ground because every muscle on your body besides your eyebrow muscle is shaking”… haha! That is exactly how I do planks, too. Amazing all the muscles that you can feel.

I don’t usually switch up my nutrition much before a race. I just stick to foods that agree with my stomach most.

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No huge change of nutrition on race week – I normally eat plenty of carbs, I just make them a bit simpler for race week.

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Good luck at your half marathon this weekend. Have fun!!!

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