Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Big Fat Marathon Training Catch- Up Post

I was enjoying writing a post about every week of marathon training. While I run, I think about what I would title a post about that run or about that week. I narrate posts in my head and I get really into them. But then the million other things going on in life take over and I never get around to actually writing down those thoughts and ideas. So here is a big catch-up post of weeks 10-16. I'll say just a few words about each week. For fun, I'll also include I would have titled a post about that week.

Week 10 (4.1.13 to 4.7.13): Go Long

Monday: 30 minutes weights, 4.19 miles at 9:23 pace  (rest)
Tuesday: 20 minutes yoga (CT Cardio)
Wednesday:  3.76 miles at 8:40 pace (3-4 miles)
Thursday: rest (rest)
Friday: 17.22 miles at 9:39 pace (17 mile long run)
Saturday: rest (yoga, strength core, run?)
Sunday: 4.29 miles at 8:29 pace (yoga, strength core, run?)
Total:  29.46 miles of running

I am really enjoying marathon training. I don't feel like I spend that many more hours a week working out than I otherwise would and it's fun to constantly push myself and test the strength of my body. But there is one thing I don't like: planning everything around running.

On Friday of week 10, I flew across the country for a conference in San Diego. Luckily, I knew I'd be training for the marathon when I booked my flight so I made it late enough that I could squeeze 17 miles in before I had to leave for the airport. The nerves before my run were in full force, though. It was my longest run yet, three miles longer than I'd ever run alone, and if I got stranded somewhere by the side of the road, I'd miss my flight. But everything went smoothly and it felt like a successful week of training.

Week 11 (4.8.13 to 4.14.13): The Weak Week

Monday: 2.52 miles at 9:05 pace  (3 mi speed)
Tuesday: 20 minutes planks/core (rest)
Wednesday:  3.93 miles (up and down the Hollywood Mountain) at 9:43 pace (3-4 miles)
Thursday: rest (rest)
Friday: 30 minutes weights (rest/weights)
Saturday: 12.21 miles at 9:18 pace (12 mile long run)
Sunday: 2.14 miles at 10:04 pace, 2 hour yoga for runners workshop (3 miles)
Total:  20.8 miles of running

It was a struggle to train while in California. My days at the conference were full from 7-7 most days. I actually only ran two days during the conference and was able to squeeze them in during a lunch break and before getting started one day. My cross training was pretty non-existent though- all I did were some planks and stretching in my hostel room. I took a red-eye home which it took me a few days to recover from and had a work event on Saturday which left me standing most of the time from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM. I did my long run on Saturday afternoon, after the day of work. I was really tired and had an upset stomach (first time I've had to take a bathroom break during a training run) but I powered through and was really glad to have it done. Overall, my training felt weak during these days but it was a cutback week so I didn't beat myself up over it.

The best workout of the week, by far, was my run from my friend's LA home up a small mountain to the hollywood sign. I will write more about this soon.

Week 12 (4.9.13 to 4.21.13): Resisting Burnout

Monday: 3.95 miles at 8:33 pace  (4 miles)
Tuesday: 40 minutes arm weights (weights/cross train)
Wednesday:  5.01 miles at 9:33 pace (5 miles)
Thursday: rest (rest)
Friday: 18.01 miles at 9:33 pace (18 mile long run)
Saturday: 3.8 miles at 10:09 pace (5 miles)
Sunday: rest (yoga)
Total:  30.77 miles of running

My first full week back from California was hard too. Up until the trip, I'd felt like I was rocking training. I felt strong and motivated. Going away and having an off week disrupted that a lot. When I got back, training felt harder than it had in the weeks before I left. On every run, I thought "is this what it feels like to get burnt out during training?"

Luckily, I got to do another long run with my friend Nikki which helped motivate me. Another friend and I took a bus up to NYC to surprise our BFF Inna for her birthday on Saturday morning. So I switched my 18 miler to Friday morning. It was definitely the hardest run yet. The last 4 miles, I felt totally spent and wasn't sure how I could possibly finish. During the last mile, I actually noticed that I was landing on my heel with every step I took. After so much training to change the way I run, I was reverting to my old way of running when my calves and quads got so worn out. When I got home, I laid on the floor drinking chocolate milk and eating bananas and cheez-its for nearly an hour before I mustered up the energy to shower and walk to work. Even though I felt weak, I knew that I was making myself stronger by powering through each challenging workout of the week.

Week 13 (4.22.13 to 4.28.13): Running takes the Cake?

Monday: 4 mile tempo building up to 7:19 pace (weights)
Tuesday: 40 minutes arm weights and core (5 miles)
Wednesday:  13.86 mile bike ride (Cross train)
Thursday: 5.27 miles at 8:22 pace (6 miles)
Friday: rest (rest)
Saturday: 14.04 miles at 9:25 pace (14 mile long run)
Sunday: 3 miles on treadmill at 9:58 pace (3 miles/frisbee)
Total:  26.31 miles of running

There seems to be a pattern in a lot of these weeks. I have too much going on and have to schedule a lot of my training around other commitments. This week, I was making a wedding cake and a groom's cake for a friend's wedding and rehearsal dinner. By Wednesday morning, I was a complete basket case with baking and decorating. My weekday runs were shorter than they were scheduled to be but I made the most of my time and got cross-training in by commuting to a dentist appointment by bike.

And my long run this week turned out to be fabulous! Again, Nikki and I did the bulk of it (12 miles of 14) together and I introduced her to my favorite long run route- the rolling hills of Massachusetts Avenue. By the end, I had some sharp pains in my foot and my ankle hurt. But I remember reading a blogger who said her running coach told her that aches and pains are just par for the course when you're training for a marathon. I'm usually a hypochondriac but that statement has helped me get past a lot of little pains during this training cycle.

Week 14 (4.29.13 to 5.5.13): 20 Miles or Bust

Monday: 40 minutes weights and core  (weights)
Tuesday:  4.04 miles at 8:53 pace (4 miles)
Wednesday: 40 minutes spin, 10 minutes arm weights (Cross train)
Thursday: 6.14 miles at 8:54 pace (6 miles)
Friday: rest (rest)
Saturday: 20.05 miles at 9:51 pace (20 mile long run)
Sunday: 2.92 miles at 10:45 pace (5 miles)
Total:  33.15 miles of running

This week was all about my 20 miler. It was on my mind a lot and it seemed like the summit of marathon training. Once I did it, it'd be all downhill to the marathon. As much as I could, I treated this run like a test for the race. I ate my usual pre-race meal and I bought a fuel belt to try out before race day. I let the nerves build up like they surely will the night before the race.

I changed the plan for my route about four times. Mapping a route was tough and showed me just how far 20 miles is. That is a LONG freaking way to run! I settled on a [paved] trail-heavy route that went down to the mall, around the mall a few times, across the river into Virginia for a few miles, and then home. When I started, I made a very deliberate attempt to run slower than normal. I maintained this pace and ran my first 13 or so miles around a 9:50 to 10 minute mile. I sped up a little bit over the last few miles, to simulate an ideal race plan. I intentionally finished a little under a mile from home, on the the trail by my weekly frisbee game. I walked about 20 yards and then rolled onto the grass beside the trail. I laid there staring at space feeling a total high. I knew I had a significant walk home and didn't want Josh to worry about how long I'd been gone. But I could have lay there for hours. I got up, walked to cvs for chocolate milk, and then walked home to keep my legs moving and break up some of their lactacte build up. 

As far as 20 miles goes, I couldn't imagine anything better. I was really happy with the route I chose, I felt strong and smart, and I finished feeling like I could run 6.2 more miles if I really had to. Finally, I truly believed I could do this thing.

Week 15 (5.6.13 to 5.12.13): The Mental Battle Begins

Monday: 30 minutes weights and core  (weights)
Tuesday:  4 mile tempo run on treadmill (4 miles)
Wednesday: 35 minutes spin (Cross train) 
Thursday: 3.76 miles at 9:36 pace (4 miles)
Friday: rest (rest)
Saturday: 12.02 miles at 9:53 pace (12 mile long run)
Sunday: 3.01 miles at 9:31 pace (5 miles)
Total:  22.79 miles of running

Week 16 (5.13.13 to 5.19.13): The Mental Battle Continues

Monday: 40 minutes weights and core (weights)
Tuesday: 3.78 miles at 8:33 pace (3 miles)
Wednesday: 30 minutes spin and 10 minutes core (Cross train) 
Thursday: 2.98 miles at 8:44 pace (3 miles)
Friday: rest (rest)
Saturday: 8.1 miles at 9:39 pace (8 mile long run)
Sunday :Rest (3 miles)
Total:  14.86 miles --- this seems like too few...

Once 20 miles was done, I just wanted it to be race day already. In terms of mileage and physical fitness, I was right that once I ran 20, it'd be all downhill to the marathon. But the biggest mental battle was just beginning. For me, the greatest mental challenge comes in the weeks before a big race and, in that sense, it's all uphill to the marathon. I'm hoping that the nerves will subside once I cross the start line, that the adrenaline will be like none I've ever felt before, and that I will be mentally strong every step of the way.

At this point, it is comforting to know that I've done all the training I can do and now I just need to keep my body healthy so that it can be it's strongest on race day. The race is only 5 days away and I'm desperately counting them down...

1 comment:

  1. I love reading about your marathon training... it all takes me back to my training for VCM last summer! I'm so excited for you that you have made it this far. Race day is going to be an absolute blast for you. There will be so many people there to cheer you on and push you through it. Enjoy this last week of training before the race!! still wishing I could be there with you all <3