Summer Training Blog: Northern's Marlee Starliper

Northern (PA) High School junior Marlee Starliper had a breakthrough season in 2017 that included a 13th-place finish at Foot Locker Nationals and a number of course records in Pennsylvania, though expectations are now higher for one of the top prospects of the Class of 2020. In Pennsylvania, she's coming off a season where she swept district and state championship honors in Class AA while also posting the nation's fifth fastest time with an effort of 16:50. Starliper proceeded to win another state title in the 3200m this spring and competed in her first USA Junior Championships at the 5K distance in June. Don't miss the Pennsylvania star compete in 2018, but in the meantime check out her summer training blog. 

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About my training: After taking two weeks off after the track season, I started running again in the first week of July, gradually building up my mileage to where I'm now at for this week. For me, the summer is all about building a solid base of strength and endurance. I don't do interval or speed workouts because we like to incorporate them later in the season and our intentions are for running my best during the postseason races.

Week One (July 30th - August 5th)

Monday: 8 miles, long run at 7:00/mi average

Ahhhh, I love long runs! I run them off of feel, but I always end up picking up the pace in the last few miles, so they are usually somewhat like a progression run. Today the weather was nice and overcast (a big relief) and I felt super relaxed throughout the entire run. Afterwards, I finished up with some strides. Later in the evening, I did upper body strength training.

Tuesday: 5 miles, easy

Before my run I did some plyometric exercises and then I ran at our school "Fun Run" with some of the guys from the boys team. I enjoyed the run because it has been awhile since I ran with some of them. I felt good, and the average pace ended up being about 7:15/mi.

Wednesday: 4.5 miles, easy

Today was another easy run because in the evening I did a swim workout. I tried the Level 1 swim workout created by Gwen Jorgensen, which Colleen Quigley shared on her newsletter. At first I was DREADING hopping into that pool (I would take running on land over swimming in a chlorine pool any day), but I felt surprisingly good and actually really enjoyed trying my first real swim workout!

Thursday: 6 miles, medium effort

WHAT A FUN RUN TODAY!! I ran out-and-back on a hilly dirt road near my house, and about two miles in it started pouring rain. I had to hop over little mini-rivers and my shoes were squishing, and on the way home I was probably running through a half-inch of water because the roads were starting to flood a bit. I was smiling the entire time, though, because it was so fun (and I still felt really good)! I averaged out to 7:03/mi, which was pretty cool since I expected way slower, considering the conditions. Afterwards, I did strides and since my heavy shoes felt like rocks, I just tried to focus on having good form. 

"It took a lot of cheerleading in my head because every winding turn looked like it led to the crest, but it just kept going."

In the afternoon, I spent about half an hour doing some upper body weightlifting, then in the evening my family packed up and drove to my grandparents' cabin in New York to stay there for a few days.

Friday: 4.51 miles, easy

So I can't say I enjoyed this rainy run as much as I did was horribly muddy, so it was like spinning wheels. Since the cabin is basically in the middle of nowhere, I ran on some dirt lanes through farming fields and a bit of trail, but I had to turn off the trail early because I couldn't find my way around a massive puddle (which probably could have been considered a small pond). I felt super clumsy as I tried to navigate my steps and find traction, so I got a bit frustrated during this run. After hosing off my legs and shoes, I stretched out with a yoga routine. I LOVE yoga. It's so relaxing and I always feel amazing afterwards!

Saturday: 7 miles, incline run

I was kind of nervous for this run, because the hills here by the cabin are INSANE. It wasn't hard to plan out a route where I would get some good inclines to run up. My dad drove along in the car while I ran, for safety and motivational support. The first two miles were mostly downhill, and then some climbing began in the third and fourth mile on a dirt road where there were some longer hills that continued into inclines. I was relieved that the end of the fourth mile gave me a second wind with a long downhill.

After that, there were slight rolling inclines and also some gradual downhills, until I got to the dirt road that winds its way up the mountain toward our cabin...It was almost a mile long, so it was the main focus of the workout. The incline started off gradually, but got steep and more rocky as it went. My only goal: don't stop.

It took a lot of cheerleading in my head because every winding turn looked like it led to the crest, but it just kept going. I was pretty happy with how it turned out because I felt strong, tried to stay relaxed with good form throughout, and made it to the top in 8:20. When I finally reached the top, there was a little downhill that I ran on until I reached 7 miles, then I did strides.

After a much-needed nap, I did a few minutes of core work.

Sunday: Day off

I like taking a total day off so that my body feels fresh and ready to go for another week of training. I always take some time to stretch and roll out using a foam roller and to get rid of any tightness or soreness.

Total Mileage: 35 miles

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Reflection: This week was a lot of fun! I had been anxious to do a few days of training at the cabin, because while it was a vacation for the rest of my family, it was like XC camp for me. But everything went great and I had a ton of fun hanging out with my family! Physically, I felt really good this week and I'm happy with how everything went with it being my first week of completing mileage in six days instead of five (like I had during the month of July). I will miss riding four-wheelers and looking at the beautiful views, but at least I have one more run at the NY Cabin tomorrow, before I head back home to PA!