Marathon Training – Week 12

I’m definitely learning a lot this training cycle – I feel like each week that goes by I discover something new about training or about myself as “runner.”

Nope, still not thinking of myself as a runner.


  • Planned – Strength workout 4 x 1.5m with 400 recovery (plus 1 wu/1 cd) @ 9:40 pace
  • Actual- Strength workout 4 x 1.5m with 400 recovery (plus 1 wu/1 cd) @ 9:40 pace

Strength workout was on the treadmill with a 1% incline. I was feeling pretty tired heading into the gym and kept thinking how there was no way I was going to make it through the workout.  Maybe I should just do easy miles instead?    And then I just literally smacked my forehead (just like in the V-8 commercials) and said (out loud) “You need to STOP.”  If I’m going to think that way, I might as well just go home.  I’ve tanked the workout before it even started.

I was able to tune out the negative thoughts and strangely enough, during my second 1.5 mile, I actually started to feel pretty strong.  It was hard, and my legs were still tired but I definitely felt like I could push myself through the workout.  I then followed that workout with a one on one workout with my trainer, which was probably a little much.  I went home and got stuck in the couch for the rest of the evening.




The tempo run has become the bane of my training.  Last week, I committed both on here as well as to anyone who was listening to me ramble during the last long run Saturday, that I was going to run my tempo run outside.  And I did.

  • Planned – 9 mile tempo run @ 9:50 (plus 1 mile wu, 1 mile cd)
  • Actual – 9 mile @ 9:45

I was blessed with a gorgeous, cool, crisp morning which definitely helped.  I did shirk on the warm up and cool down mileage.  I ran the first mile at pace so I just decided to start the run with that and then when I finished mile 9, I realized I was running out of time and had to get home.  However, the run was solid and the pace felt right to me.  It was a push to maintain (but not impossible) and I did feel like I could have kept going.  More than anything, this hopefully will keep me out of my damn head.










  • Planned – 5 easy miles
  • Actual – 5.6 easy miles @ 10:48

Looking back, today was the day I started noticing some negativity.  I was actually having a pretty good week in terms of my running but I woke up this morning and I just didn’t want to friggin’ run.  I was literally in my running gear and was seriously contemplating not heading out.  I had to push myself out the door and was frankly, a little surprised at myself.  I thought after Wednesday’s run I would have had a better attitude.


  • Planned – 8 easy mile
  • Actual – 3.5 + 2.9 easy miles (split run)

I overslept on Friday – I’d had a dinner party on Thursday night and I’d been up later than expected, plus had a few glasses of wine.  I needed a little fun.  I had been feeling like all I do is eat, poop, run and sleep.  I got in some miles in the morning and then a few more on the treadmill.  All the miles were run somewhat…begrudgingly.   I wasn’t that tired, I felt fine, I just was not happy to be running, which is how I’d felt on Thursday.


  • Planned – 10 mile long run @ 10:29 – 10:38 pace
  • Actual – 10 mile long run @ 10:23 pace + 2 VERY easy miles

This was not a happy run for me.  We weren’t even the first mile in and I made a comment about how I see the damn sunset all the time when someone pointed it out.  Granted, I meant it somewhat as a joke, but someone commented that I shouldn’t be negative in the first mile.  And they were right.  I was being negative and it wasn’t going to stop there.

Saturday was one of those runs where I got angry about everything.  I was angry that there are hills in the middle of DC.  I was angry about someone breathing too loudly on the run. I was angry about going off the planned route and not being sure where we were.  I was angry that people can run faster than me.  Completely irrational, unfair and ridiculous things to be angry about.  And I really, really don’t like myself when I get in these moods.

At mile 8-ish I separated from the group.  They were going to run 18 miles and I had mentally geared myself for 10 – 12.  Plus, I was really not in happy place.  I finished the 10 planned long run miles and slowed gears for 2 easy miles.  Honestly, during those 4 miles I considered deferring the marathons I’m signed up for, if I needed to change my goal times because I really don’t think I’m going to be able to run a marathon in 4:18, if I should just scrap the whole training for any goal….definitely not positive thoughts to get you through a hot, humid run.

Later in the afternoon, it suddenly hit me how negative I’d become lately.  Running-wise, this was a pretty damn good week so it’s not like I had an off week that was bringing me down.  I was a little baffled about my mood and after I spent another hour seriously considering dropping my goal marathon pace, I made a command decision.

I was going to skip my Sunday run.

Everyone needs to take a “mental health day” from time to time.  Some of us more than others.  I realized I needed a mental health day from training.  It’s been a long 12 weeks, this is a super intense training program (both physically and mentally) and I just needed a day away from it.  Not a rest day, because rest days are a part of the training.

I believe it was the right thing to do (for me) because I didn’t feel guilty at all on Sunday and I have absolutely no regrets about my decision.   My biggest challenge by far over the last 12 weeks is the mental part of this training and my head needs to be in the right place if I’m going to even have a chance of making my current marathon goal time.  We take all this care to ice our bodies, stretch our legs, and get massages as part of physical recovery.  This was just my way of getting some “mental recovery.”

I certainly don’t think that any time I start getting negative that I should skip a run. However, giving myself that day off seems to have done the trick.  While I seriously doubt I’ll be whistling Dixie on my run later today, I won’t be scowling on the inside, either.

I wrapped up the week with 42 miles, which isn’t too shabby considering I skipped a day. I do feel ready to face week 13 – all 56 miles of it!

This is a sight to face at the end of a 12 mile long run. Behold the infamous Iwo Jima hill!

A post shared by Debra (@medalsandbacon) on



Running for Medals. And Bacon.

5 thoughts on “Marathon Training – Week 12

  1. Respect for having the ability to recognize you needed a mental health day. I always beat myself up over those and end up not getting any benefit from them.

  2. Good recap, friend! I am an advocate of mental health days – the reality is taking a couple extra days here and there isn’t really a big deal at all. For what it’s worth, I think you can totally hit your goal, if not faster – I think the only thing that would hold you back is your mind. BUT I also think that the race environment will help some with that. You are a strong runner and I feel like I can say that since I’ve run with you almost every weekend for over a year. Saturday was rough for many of us – myself included and I was definitely not patient early on in the run – I just wanted to get through the miles because I knew it’d be a long day. Will miss running w/you the next few weekends! Let me know if you want to run Clarendon Day w/me – 9 miles if you do the double.

    1. Thanks! Yes, it’s intense and this is the first time I’ve really followed a structured program like this with speed work, tempo runs and strength workouts. It’s definitely much harder than I’ve ever trained before.

  3. You are doing an amazing job with this very intense training schedule. No matter what happens, you should celebrate every success that you have achieved.
    BTW, I love mental health days – take them 2-3 times a week!!
    Keep up the great work & keep looking forward to new milestones.

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