The most demanding weeks of marathon training manifest themselves in a dichotomy for me: the hard days produce fast times that show progress and the easy days are significantly slower. I experience an odd tension between eagerly counting down to race day and wanting time to slow down because I’m enjoying training so much.
The excitement of race feeling more tangible. I can visualize the start line and the finish line and feel the emotions that both of those will bring. This week was a really rewarding week of training – one of those weeks where I review my runs and think, wow, did I really run that?
Monday: 9 miles easy
Hello, training fatigue! Ollie and I ran a slow 8 miles before I switched dogs and then Charlie and I ran a slow mile. I was generally achy and fatigue, as if my first 20 miler last week finally caught up with me. The run itself was still good, but I felt noticeably more sluggish and my paces were noticeably slower than before. This is why I so firmly believe in doing easy runs by effort: the harder your hard days, the more you need to slow down on the easy days.
Tuesday: 3 x 2 miles (10 miles total) & core work
I did this same workout a few weeks prior and I honestly expected to be slower this time because of training fatigue. I monitored my pace for the first mile of the first repeat to ensure I did not start out too fast and to get a good sense of how the effort should feel. My first mile clocked in slower than I hoped at a 7:24, so I focused on effort. My following splits surprised me: 7:12 for the second mile of the first repeat, 7:15 and 7:18 for the second set, and 7:19 and 7:15 for the last repeat. I felt really strong and smooth on these miles, even the last one.
Core work was my standard routine with the stability ball: hamstring ball curls, pikes, and deadbugs. I like this routine because it’s effective and efficient – I do in right in the living room (with Ollie crated up, because otherwise he tries to bite at the ball).
Wednesday: 8 miles easy
I didn’t feel 100% on this run. Mild pelvic pain and GI discomfort on and off throughout the run – probably triggered by stress, as can happen with endometriosis (which I’m getting officially diagnosed this winter, for peace of mind). As long as I didn’t think too much about it, I was fine. Even if the run itself doesn’t feel awesome, running makes me feel so much better afterward.
Ollie and I ran 7 miles, which involved a few stops to chastise Ollie because he nearly caught a squirrel (and almost dragged me downhill behind him). Once Ollie and I were done, I ran our friends’ German Shepherd puppy for a slow mile. I’ve realized that if I slow down, he actually runs instead of hopping, so slow it was.
I did opt out of my strength workout in favor of doing it later in the week. I’ve come to learn that when I feel a bit off, a little extra rest helps.
Thursday: 30 minutes Pilates
A good Pilates session was exactly the type of strength training I needed this week – a good core, hip, glute, and back workout, but nothing high-impact or too fatiguing. I took Ollie and Charlie on a long walk to enjoy the beautiful weather and shake out my legs before my hard long run.
Friday: 17 miles with 14 miles at goal marathon pace + 10-20 seconds per mile
A thick fog descended upon the area on Friday morning – so thick that I could not even see a tenth of a mile (if even that far) in front of me. Even with the 100% humidity and fog (which lifted after about an hour), this run felt really good from start to finish. I ran an 8:05-8:15/mile pace for this run, which completely surprised me. I’m really getting excited for race day!
In the evening, Ryan and I took the dogs on a long walk to enjoy the fall weather. It’s so beautiful this time of year, even if the sun sets far earlier than it did a couple months ago. We then binged on Stranger Things 2 – so riveting!
Saturday: 6 mile run
This training cycle, I am really enjoying the slightly longer runs after my long run (compared to my last training cycle, when I would do 3-4 miles after most long runs). I feel more recovered with some running the day after the long run and I enjoy getting out there for a few more miles with Ryan and Charlie – especially on a sunny day like this!
Sunday: 5 mile hike
Ryan and I hiked one of our favorite trails up to Snow Lake. This hike is absolutely beautiful in the fall with the vibrantly hued trees and the sparkling blue lake. We stopped for lunch at an overlook and watched a pika play before hiking back down.
How was your week in running?
When have you recently surprised yourself with your running?