August Recap & Baystate Marathon: Training Week 10

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August ended with a bang! Unfortunately, the bang was me hitting the pavement on my last run of the month. I don’t remember tripping on anything in particular, but one second I was up and the next I was sliding across the sidewalk. I slid long enough to remember actually thinking to myself “wow, I’m still sliding.” Somehow my legs came away pretty much unscathed minus a minor bruise and some road rash, but my left hand and chin were not so fortunate. I don’t know if my chin hit the ground first, or is what ended up stopping my slide, but I had a major bump and cut and a very sore jaw for the rest of the day. Where I fell was in front of a mechanic and there was a very nice woman in there who brought me bandages as I cleaned up in their bathroom. After cleaning up a bit, I walked the half mile back to where my car was, crying along the way. Even though I didn’t have any serious injuries, it hurt and I felt bummed out and emotional. Over a week later now and my chin is only slightly tender to the touch and there’s just a slight redness to where I hit it and my hand is on it’s way to healing.

Other than falling, it was a mostly good running week and a solid month of training. My monthly and weekly mileage have hit their highest amounts ever for me and I had a great tempo run – once I got over my intense fear of falling again – buuuut, (this is the slightly whiny part) my long runs still feel absurdly hard. Could it be overtraining? Could it be not enough iron in my diet? Could it be the result of the aforementioned high mileage? I just don’t know. My long runs during my spring training were usually my strongest run of the week. They almost always ended up being faster than they felt, often with negative splits. I guess I expected that my long runs would continue to be like that, just longer as I gained endurance. This my first time running 5 days a week, so I may go back to 4 days a week and taking an extra rest day. I haven’t fully decided yet.

Week 10 Recap: August 29 – September 4

Monday: Plan: 8M Easy – Actual: 7M @9:06 – Felt really good and comfortable during this run. 

Tuesday: Plan: 3x (2×1200 @6:45-7:13 pace) (2 min RI, 4 min RI in b/t sets) – Actual: 1.25M w/u @8:57, 3x(2×1200) @ (7:07, 7:07), (7:00, 7:01), (7:14, 6:57), .75 c/d @8:40 – I had a terrible night of sleep the night before and had set my alarm to be able to run this outside before it got too hot. When my alarm went off I debated going back to sleep and doing the run on the treadmill. That sounded worse so I forced myself out of bed. Maybe being so tired was part of the reason I ended up falling. My legs still felt tired by the end of the warm up and the first set of 1200s felt impossible. During the 2nd rep I was thinking of quitting and heading back, then thought I would finish the 2nd set and then head back. But after my 4 minutes of rest I felt like I could at least do one more set and this one felt soooo much better than the first. It also helped that I had downloaded the workout to my Garmin which made it harder to quit mid-workout. During the 1st rep of my 3rd set I realized my mind had wandered off and I was only running a 7:45 pace. I worked hard to bring it back into my pace range, but ended up with my slowest rep of the workout at 7:14 pace. I was able to get back into range with my last rep and finish strong. I started cruising back to my car, happy with how it went, feeling more confident about my upcoming marathon, when BOOM – I fell. Womp womp.

Wednesday: off

Thursday: Plan: 10 min w/u, 10M @8:07, 10 min c/d – Actual: 5M @9:32 – I was still gun-shy about running outside or running with any kind of speed so I opted for 5 recovery miles on the treadmill. 

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Friday: Plan – 5M Recovery – Actual: 1M w/u @9:00, 8M @8:01 (8:04, 8:07, 7:59, 8:10, 8:04, 7:50, 8:04, 8:01) 1M c/d 8:29 – My plan called for 12 miles total with 10 @ tempo pace.  I decided to do 10 miles total with 8 at tempo pace seemed to come out of nowhere in my training plan. I looked to see if I had missed a week that had built up to this and I hadn’t. The longest midweek run up to this point was an 8 mile run with 6 at tempo three weeks ago. Going in to this run I was really nervous about running outside. I can’t say that I ever got over my nerves and spent most of the run on guard against any dips or unevenness in the sidewalk. BUT, I felt really good on my tempo miles! After this run I was feeling really good going into my long run for the weekend.

Saturday: off

Sunday: Plan: 15M @8:32 – Actual: 16M @8:58 – My mom was in town visiting so my husband and I had a little date run planned. We decided to drive to the Boston Marathon course and run it through the Newton Hills. Looking at the actual pace it doesn’t look bad, but I felt like crap the entire run. For some reason I’m having trouble with my GUs and nutrition this summer. Even though I’ve never had a problem taking them, I’m finding them tough to get down this summer and feeling a bit queasy after. That wasn’t my total problem on this run though, since I was sighing at how tired I felt even before I even needed my first GU. My husband was a trooper though and kept my mind off of things by talking and telling me stories. I’d offer a grunt of agreement, disagreement, or just general go ahead and keep talking from time to time. At mile 9 I had a bad side stitch and wanted to walk. My pride kept me from asking my husband to walk and so I kept running. A GU probably would have helped if I could have stomached getting one down. There was one last huge hill just after mile 13 and once we got to the top of that I felt much better and knew the end was in sight. Another hard, long run in the books. The great, effort-less, feel like you’re flying long run has eluded me this training cycle. Good mental preparation at least? Splits: 1) 9:22 2) 9:05 3) 9:04 4) 9:18 5) 9:05 6) 8:41 7) 8:48 8) 8:47 9) 8:42 10) 8:49 11) 8:49 12) 8:54 13) 9:19 14) 9:22 15) 8:45 16) 8:34

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Not the view from my long run, but we did walk this beautiful lake later that day.

Weekly Total: 44.5 miles

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10 thoughts on “August Recap & Baystate Marathon: Training Week 10

  1. Lol, I have never had a marathon long run feel effortless or like flying. You can’t compare them to half marathon long runs because not only are you tacking on more mileage and time on your feet, but you are approaching the point of using up your carbohydrate stores, which doesn’t happen in the half marathon or training.

    I know your plan says not to, but maybe it would help you to slow down a little on the long runs. Or at least some of them? FWIW I don’t think you’re overtraining, but the absence of long easy miles in training makes it hard to build your aerobic endurance, which could be why it feels so hard to sustain a moderate effort on your long runs. Everyone is different, but personally I had a lot of luck doing long runs at ~40-50 secs slower than goal MP – it was a comfortable pace that helped me build aerobic endurance but wasn’t too slow that I felt like I was dragging. Based on your goal I think this would put you just under 9:00 m/m for your long runs. Another suggestion would be to aim to hit a certain effort level and keep your splits even, rather than gunning for a certain average pace. I think it’s really beneficial in any distance training to have at least one run per week where the focus is solely on effort level and let the pace be whatever it needs to be that day. It’s a good way to check in with your body and get a more honest picture of where your fitness is at, at least in my experience.

    That said, great week! Well, minus the fall anyway. Keep going!

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    • You’re right, and I keep reminding myself of what my husband told me when I was training for my first marathon – it’s not just twice as far as a half. I totally did expect to be able to keep the same long run pace though and it’s been frustrating to see a few other people I know who ran very similar half marathon times as me, also in spring races, running their long runs a full minute faster per mile than me! It makes me feel like not only am I not improving, but I must be sliding backwards!

      That’s a good point about building my aerobic endurance. I’ve started to try to stretch my easy long runs during the week to longer runs. I may ditch one of my recovery run days altogether and add that mileage on to my other easy day. That way I can build up that aerobic endurance and get an extra rest day. So my long runs have been about 9:00 m/m, a little slower actually, and that’s not including the 5-10 minutes of water/bathroom breaks when I run with a group. Even though my plan has a specific pace it wants me to run for long runs, I don’t really check my watch while running and try to maintain a moderately easy, consistent effort. But really nothing, other than walking, has been feeling easy 🙂

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      • Well that’s probably just summer. Nothing has felt easy for me lately either – and I’m doing a fraction of the mileage you are – so trust me, you are not alone in this!

        Don’t get discouraged that others are training faster than you. It doesn’t mean they are faster or even more fit, just that we all sort of train different ways. I have a lot of friends with slower PRs across the board than me who do their easy runs faster than I do, and I have friends who can train in the 9:00-10:00 range but blow my times out of the water come race day. I know a 19:59 5Ker who sometimes runs in the 10:00s on her easy/recovery/long run days. It’s not that she’s slower than me, it’s that her muscle composition is much more suited to short and fast racing, so she has a harder time with the longer endurance stuff so she has to take it easier, whereas those of us who are more suited to long distances can maintain a better pace over more miles (but may struggle to smoke a fast 5K). Also remember that we never really know the whole story – you don’t necessarily know how often that other 1:42 half marathoner stops for water breaks during her long run, or runs with faster friends to pace her, or whether she is truly running an easy pace.

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  2. Wow, that was quite a fall 😦 I’d be a little nervous coming back from that as well. Super bummer about your long runs and not feeling well…you mentioned it’s been a few long runs?? I wonder too, if it’s a pacing thing. It’s tough adjusting to summer temps and trying to do paces that you *know* you can do. Stupid heat/humidity.

    And you’re right about the mental prep– hard runs help in that department at the least, lol!

    Keep your head up, friend! ❤

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  3. Katrina- I’m sorry to hear about your fall! You’re so tough! Also, I do think that the summer heat is a huge part in your blah summer runs. It certainly has affected mine! And we’ve had a much hotter summer than normal. I was in the UK this past week and had a few runs in the 60s- I felt as if I was in the best shape! Once it cools off, you’ll notice a huge difference. Great work and good luck in the next training week!

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    • Thanks, Jane! Can you believe we have ANOTHER 90+ day today? Oh my goodness, I’ve never wanted summer to be over as much as I do now! Ahh, that is nice to hear that you felt a considerable difference running in cooler weather. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we get to experience those cooler temps soon AND that I feel the same way you did!

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  4. It is time for that monthly summary already isn’t it…well yours anyway – mine might be out in another week or so 🙂 I recall you writing about that fall, wow, ouch…you did great to be able to get back up the next day and stay with the plan. Your monthly mileage with an average pace of 8:50 is fabulous…I have approached those kind of numbers for a long long while. And, through the heat of the summer. I think you are in a great position and great shape to crush that marathon…lots can happen in such a long race but you will go in know feeling totally prepared and ready. Look forward to reading all about the final stage of the plan and race. Have a great weekend!!

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    • Every time I write the monthly recap I think – “didn’t I just do this?” It was one of those things that seemed good at the time and now I feel trapped 🙂
      Thanks, James. I starting to feel ready for the marathon where just 2 weeks ago I was seriously questioning it. Only 2 more weeks of training before entering the taper!

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