Last week’s recap was clearly written by Debbie Downer, not me. I had some rough runs, I got into my head, then basically just mentally and emotionally kicked the crap out of myself, before writing it all out and putting in on the blog. Now that I’ve had some time to re-read what I wrote, reflect a little bit as well as digest some advice or responses to what I wrote, I do feel that perhaps I was a little overly dramatic, a tad bit negative, and definitely way too hard on myself. So, I’m going to try my marathon training mid-point recap again before I get into Week 10.
I’m now past the halfway point of the beginning Hanson’s Marathon Method program, and here’s a few things I’ve learned so far:
- This is the first really “serious” running training I’ve ever done. Last year’s training didn’t involve speed work, strength work or tempo runs and it certainly didn’t involve running 6 days a week. While I ran a respectable marathon last year, the training was nowhere near the intensity of what I’m doing this year. I don’t think I’ve ever taken on training this intense in my life and the intensity is not only physical, it’s mental. Not only does my body need to learn to adapt to the physical intensity, but my head needs to adapt as well. If I focus on how tired my legs are, or how long the upcoming run is, or how hard it’s going to be to run a certain pace, then more than likely, I’m going to end up stopping mid-run or falling short of what I wanted to accomplish. It’s really difficult to not think about how hard a run is going to be, when you KNOW that you’re starting a hard run – but I’m realizing that the only way I’m going to get through weeks of 50+ miles going forward, is focusing on me finishing…not me struggling.
- Even if I’m able to focus on me finishing and not struggling, I know that I still may end up not having a good run and struggling at times. It’s not ALL mental. I need to learn to be able to shake off a bad run – whether it be something I could have done better or not, I need to be able to learn from it if I need to and then put it behind me. Beating myself up doesn’t help and makes it’s near impossible to focus on what I need to.
- Getting a good night’s sleep (7-8 hours) is a must. It’s super lame going to bed at 9:30, but you know what else is lame? Feeling like you’re going to fall over because not only are your legs fatigued but you’re exhausted after only getting 5 hours of sleep. I really have found that since I’m running all the time, sleep is essential to recovering in between runs.
- Running easy miles at the recommended slow pace doesn’t mean I’m training to run slower. I went back this week and re-read the section on easy mileage because I was worried that running high 10/low 11 pace was somehow turning me into a slower runner. It’s not. Easy mileage at a slower pace is supposed to improve metabolic efficiency and development of slow twitch muscle fibers. Cliff’s notes – it helps you run longer and your body will make better use of stored fat for energy versus carbohydrate intake. After last week, I was convinced that all this “easy mileage” was slowing me down. This week, I ran 10 miles at 10:02 pace (making 46 miles for the week, so I did on tired legs) and I definitely could have run faster if I’d wanted to which, COMPLETELY disproves my theory. I plan to definitely enjoy and stick to my easy run paces and not pressure myself into feeling I need to run faster. If anything, it behooves me to keep my pace in the slower range.
I’ve learned a few other things, but I think these are definitely my top four. Now, on to Week 10. I logged 146 miles which is a new weekly high for me
- Planned: Speed work – 4×1200 w 400 Recovery (1 mile wu/1 mile cd) @ 8:33 – 8:55 pace
- Actual: Speed work – 4×1200 w 400 Recovery (1 mile wu/1 mile cd) @8:34 pace
Last speed workout (pause for happy dance)!! One caveat on my speed work. I did the first two workouts on the track and then due to my work schedule or awful weather, did the rest of them on the treadmill, immediately followed by weights/strength training workouts with my trainer. In retrospect, while this was incredibly difficult the majority of the time (and my trainer had to endure a fair amount of whining and F-bombs from me) I believe that this helped my overall endurance and my “mental” strengthening. Knowing I could do one really hard workout and then get through a second one has helped with that focus and confidence in my abilities that I need. It’s hard as hell, though. Don’t get me wrong.
REST. I would call in sick and truly do nothing but rest but my boss knows this is my rest day and would call bullshit. He puts up with my running schedule so I can’t do it.
- Planned – 8-mile tempo run
- Actual – 5 miles easy @ 10:55
I woke up not feeling so great. This wasn’t a “I don’t feel like running” kind of morning. I truly didn’t feel well so I decided to play the day by ear. I ended up going to the gym after work to run on the treadmill and got in 5 miles – I knew I didn’t have a tempo run in me but I did know I could at least get out there and run one of my planned easy miles that week.
- Planned – 5 miles easy @10:52 – 11:38
- Actual – 8-mile tempo run (plus 1 wu/1 cd)
With the heat wave back, I did my tempo run inside. I really needed this run to go well as the tempo runs have been really messing with my head. Fortunately, it was a good solid run. I still would feel a lot better if I was doing the tempo runs outside and not letting the treadmill set the pace. Maybe next week the weather will be more conducive for it.
- Planned – 8 miles easy @10:52 – 11:38
- Actual – 7 miles easy @ 10:50
Didn’t run 8 purely by accident – got the days mixed up. Sometimes all the runs start to blend into each other.
- Planned – 8 miles easy @10:52 – 11:38
- Actual – 8 miles easy @10:42
I was visiting family in Chicago and was super excited to run someplace different for a change. Plus, it was going to be much less hot and humid than DC so I was happy to be getting off the tread. I love running in Chicago. My grandmother lives right off the Lakeshore Drive trail and either direction is a nice, flat run. Typically with a lovely breeze coming off the water. I started off this run heading towards the Pier and got a serious stomach ache after the first mile. It wasn’t a “need to poop” stomach ache. My belly just HURT. I was pretty sure it was the steak I’d had the night before that hadn’t had time to digest. I’d also had a few drinks with dinner, which I’m sure didn’t help.
After another half mile, I decided it was too uncomfortable and turned back. I got to the turnoff (I was at 2 miles) and I decided that I’d go one more mile, then turn around and come back. At least I’d get four miles in, which was better than nothing. However, as I was coming up on mile 3, I couldn’t help but notice the belly-ache was lessening. Dammit I have to keep going! I mean, YAY…I can finish my 8 miles!
It ended up being a good run. Lovely weather and I kept seeing lots of 2015 Chicago Marathon shirts, which was totally motivating.
- Planned – 10 mile long run @10:29 – 10:36
- Actual – 10 miles @ 10:02
I know I ran faster than I’m supposed to, but I don’t really care. It was a gorgeous 70 degree morning with decent humidity. I started my run seeing the sun starting to peek out over Lake Michigan and it was just so friggin’ beautiful and the weather was so nice, I guess maybe I was a little inspired or something. The pace just felt good and it didn’t seem right to slow down because I was “supposed to.” Honestly, I haven’t really been enjoying a lot of my runs (you may have picked up on that) and this was the first one in a long time that I really enjoyed, tired legs and all.
Week 10 has been more encouraging and I’m definitely out of that negative headspace. When I was in Chicago, my family and I went and drove most of the marathon route and now I’m SUPER excited to run it in 8 weeks. Now it’s on to Week 11 and the first week of strength workouts (queue ominous background music.)
Have a great week!