Marathon Training: It’s about to get real

I haven’t updated the blog on marathon training in a long time so let’s get into it.

I started training for the Long Beach Marathon the week after the 4th of July. Unfortunately I had a gnarly summer cold for the entire month of June that put me out of commission. I was pretty freaked out going into training about having a tiny base to build on and a week or so less than last training cycle. I started training enthusiastically.

About a week into training, I noticed a pain in my right hip area. I’ve never had a serious running injury before. I’ve had some slight platers facitus issues and some it band tightness. I assumed this “hip pain” was just that. After taking a day or two off and icing I attempted a speed workout. While I was on the tract the pain got worse. I realized, after consulting Dr. Google, that the pain was actually groin pain. Apparently the groin can be pulled from running uphill which I do a lot of in Manhattan Beach.

For the next two weeks I took it pretty easy. I swapped my long run weeks and made the following week a cut back week. I also amped up the swimming and cycling while making sure I iced my hip consistently.

Within two weeks I was doing the same track workout with minimal pain. I’m very fortunate that the injury wasn’t worse. My body is basically back to normal. I have been icing after all my runs and mixing in cross training. I also have taken to walking up the more aggressive up hills on my running course. Manhattan Beach has 2 steep hills right off the strand that I have been able to run up but I don’t want to push myself too hard on them and reinjure myself.

Other than that minor issue, my training has been going well! Like I blogged before, I am doing my long runs on Monday’s. I’ve stuck to all of them so far which is great. This week I did a killer (for me) 16 mile run. The sun was out and it was a bit hotter than it’s been (this training cycle has been blessed with cool weather) but I felt like I dominated my 8 miles out and 8 miles back. I started slow which is great for me because I usually go out too fast. At the turn around I felt great, took a walk break and then headed back. The way back felt faster than the way out which is fantastic. It was also a beautiful day and I could see all the way to Malibu. I kept my watch on during the WHOLE run including my walking breaks and I did a 10:20 min/mile pace which I was pretty excited about.

Besides that, I’ve fallen off some of my training goals. I haven’t used hand weights in weeks, which is stupid. I really have no excuse since an arm burning takes all of 10 mins and I have weights in my bedroom. I also am getting in 3 to 4 runs a week. At least one of these runs is 5-8 miles with at least 1 shorter 2-3 mile run OR a 4 ish mile run OR both if I can get it in. I’ve also been pretty good at getting at least one bike ride a week in and while I haven’t gotten a swim in for two weeks, I’ve consistently been swimming once a week. I’ve also been taking 2 rest days a week typically which has been necessary. Running over 20 miles in 3 to 4 days makes my body feel creaky and I need the recovery time.

The past week or so I’ve been wondering how my training this time compares to my training 2 years ago, mileage wise. Luckily, when you have a blog you can go back and research these things. Last training cycle I was putting up similar miles and taking up a similar amount of rest days. However, this time around my midweek runs are longer. Also, I’ve been taking far fewer walking breaks. Last time I did all my long runs at a 10:2 run/walk pace. This time I’m only taking walk breaks as needed. Usually I walk at the turn around to shake out my legs and I walk every 45 mins to take in calories. I feel much stronger than I did last time and I’m starting to get excited about what I’ll be able to do on race day.

What else is new with running…. Oh! I finally got a hold on my fueling for long runs. I experimented with a few different fueling methods including sports beans, Gatorade energy chews and gel. Last time I ran a marathon I used Gu. The last half marathon I ran I used the Gatorade energy chews. I tried the sport bean thing but they really didn’t sustain me over the course of my long run. For my last run I used the G Series pre game drink, Gatorade energy chews and then the chocolate protein recovery shake. Overall, this method was the best. I never got hungry and I felt strong the entire time. I really liked drinking the protein shake after the run. I’ve done a terrible job of eating more to accommodate my hunger. I’ve been pretty hanrgy the last two or three weeks. This, hopefully, will help.

Goals

I’ve started to think about my race day goals. I don’t have solid goals set yet since I still have another month before I start to taper but I have the shape of goals forming. I think I should be able to set a PR pretty handedly in Long Beach. I also think I could run a sub 5 hour marathon. I’m holding off on setting other goals for now but I’m pretty excited about the way this race could turn out.

Running things I’ve been reading

Running has been almost all I’ve been thinking about for the past month or so and I’ve really enjoyed these three posts.

First, one of my favorite bloggers, Hungry Runner Girl, is going through a divorce. She wrote a post about how running makes us better at life. I couldn’t agree more.

I also really enjoyed this post from my spinning buddy Gillian about how running is mental. She’s right. With running attitude is everything.

I also enjoyed this post on the runners world website about how running steps can make you think about the years of your life. My marathon will take place when I am almost exactly 26 years and 2 months old. I am totally going to use this to push through those icky final miles. Finally, having a crummy time in my early twenties is good for something!

And now a photo of Izzy. Just because.

The end.

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Chicago Marathon Training Week 15

Second to last week of training is in the books!

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 4 mile run

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 4 mile run

Friday: rest

Saturday: 8 mile run at a 9 min mile pace! Finished feeling fantastic!

Sunday: yoga

Total miles: 16 miles

Observations:

  • I really loved this week of taper. I did a few easy runs and I can feel my legs starting to feel fresh again. My 8 miler on Sunday was particularly fantastic. I did my 10 to 2 run/walk ratio and felt amazing and despite all the walking finished with a 9 min mile pace which is faster than my fastest half marathon. My body felt great the whole time, no foot pain, no leg soreness. This taper thing is amazing.
  • I meant to go to yoga on Friday but I went to Mohawk Bend instead. Whoops. It was totally worth it. I had two double hops beers, pizzas, bacon wrapped dates, and a glass of wine. It was so worth it.
  • My excitement level for next weekend is off the charts. I leave for Chicago on Thursday and I’m excited not only to run the marathon but to go home. I haven’t been to my hometown in almost a year.

My plan for the rest of the week:

  • The next several days I’m going to ice my knees, roll my foot on my ball to loosen it up and get organized to go to the race. I already put my body glide and blister preventing foot powder in the mail. I was paranoid that TSA would take them away from me. I planned to carry on all my race day items and I have to carry on all my books for this semester (because law school never takes a break and I’ll have a crap ton of reading to do over the weekend). This is too much for one carryon bag so I made the executive decision to just carry everything on, hence the mailing of anything TSA might take away from me.
  • I plan to do one short run on Monday and maybe a short run or yoga session on Tuesday. I read this month’s Runners World and they said for first time marathoners it’s best to take it very easy in the week before the marathon.
  • Mentally I’m getting prepared too. I am very excited for the race and my trip home. I want to harness that energy and focus. I’m excited to see family and friends before and after the marathon as well as along the marathon course.
  • The blog is likely to be a bit focused on running this week, I promise recipes, restaurants and famers market finds will return in the near future!

Experienced Marathoners: I need you words of wisdom! What advice can you give me pre-marathon?

Chicago Marathon Training Weeks 12 and 13

I have a small cold but I’m a total baby plus Joan Rivers Fashion Police is on so this will be short and sweet…

Week 12

Monday: 6 mile run

Tuesday: Yoga

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Rest day (felt totally fatigued and sick)

Friday: 18 mile run

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Yoga, 4 mile run

Total miles: 28 miles

Week 13

Monday: 6 mile run

Tuesday: 6 mile run

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: 20 mile run!

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 5.5 mile run

Sunday: Yoga

Total miles: 37.5 miles

Week 12 was a little bit rough. We were having a heat wave in CA which I refused to run in so I moved my 18 miler and choose to do yoga on Tuesday instead of running. I felt truly awful on Thursday night hence why there was a double rest day. What can you do? It just wasn’t happening that day. Not a great mileage week but I loved going to yoga twice in one week. That was fantastic. Week 13 was an amazing running week. I hit almost 40 miles. I already blogged about the epic-ness of my 20 mile run. I wanted to get to 8 on Saturday but I was running late to a friend’s party and a cut it short to drink, eat bbq and stuff my face with cake from Sweet Lady Jane. I’m human. I’m excited to start tapering and I’m starting to get very excited for the marathon! This week really solidified in my mind that I can do it.

I want to do a series of posts after the marathon about training and my experience. I’ve gotten feedback that people want to hear about fueling and I want to address body changes that I’ve undergone in the past few months since I started training. Is there anything else you, my wonderful readers, want to know about regarding marathon training? I’m no expect but I can share my experience with you!

20 miles done!

Source

I know I owe a training recap from last week but I had to update the blog about this achievement: Last night I ran 20 miles!

I don’t know that I have words to adequately describe how I feel about what went down last night. I took off along my usual route, extended by two miles. I took it easy with my usual run/walk intervals. I was antsy to get going and had an adrenaline high the whole run. I took my friend Carolyn’s suggestions and loaded my ipod with house music so the whole run felt like I was dancing in the club. I turned around to head towards home near a familiar pier which I ran to the end of, coming back and seeing the entire coastline in front of me was incredible.

My lower body got tight around mile 14 so I pulled off and did some stretching. Once I knew that I was only a mile away from home I took a slightly longer walk break with the knowledge that if I did I wouldn’t have to take another. With my eye on the watch I saw the walk break was off and I took off like the wind sprinting to the end of the 20 mile run. Nothing hurt anymore, all I felt was adrenaline. I finished the run and did a little fish pump in the air. The high I experienced was completely unparalleled (so far)! It is true, running never takes more than it gives back. Running 20 miles takes a lot, my whole lower half was tight, but the feeling I got back was 1000x.

I walked it off, took an ice bath, ate dinner, drank water and iced my knees. It took a while for me to come down enough to sleep despite being totally beat. Luckily I woke up this morning and didn’t feel sore at all! Actually I feel fantastic, like I’d completed a light yoga class. Tomorrow I have an 8 miler so I can have a round 40 on the week.

In the past few months I’ve learned that marathon training takes a lot out of you. It cuts into your time, it seems to last forever, it leads to soreness, hunger, exhaustion and weird body quirks (I promise you don’t want to know) but yesterday reminded me why I am doing it and I cannot wait for three weeks from now when I am in Chicago.

Bring. It. On.

Thanks for all the support I’ve gotten via facebook, texts, twitter, the blog and email. You have no idea how much it means to me. I really appreciate it. You guys are the best!

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 11

Not many weeks left now!

Monday: 1/2 marathon recovery

Tuesday: 6 mile run

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: 16 mile run

Friday: yoga

Saturday: rest -> dad was in town so I spent the whole day with him

Sunday: 4 mile run -> again, dinner with dad so I ran, didn’t go to yoga

Total miles: 26

Observations: What this week of training doesn’t reflect is the fact that I ran 37.1 miles in 5 days (Sunday to Thursday). I was VERY proud of myself when I finished my 16 mile run Thursday. I had calculated the 5 day mileage total in my head. My legs felt like jello during my 6 and 16 mile efforts but I managed to hang in with both and I ran a negative split in the final mile of my 16 miler. Hello runners high! Seriously was swelling with pride. Runners run! The mile total for 7 days was lower than I had planned but hitting 37 miles in 5 days is a huge accomplishment and injury free! Who says a running week needs to be Monday through Sunday? I love to buck tradition.

That’s about it! Only two more really long runs left (18 and the dreaded 20) and I’ve already gone to yoga once this week! Yesssssssssss.

Chicago Marathon Training: Week 6

It was a struggle but I made it on all my runs this week and hit my goal mileage! Wahoo! Work is winding down and I am being more judicious about my after work time so I don’t have to go on as many morning runs.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 4 mile run

Wednesday: 4 mile run

Thursday: rest

Friday: 4 mile run

Saturday: 12 mile run

Sunday: yoga

Total miles: 24

I made sure to take plenty of walk breaks on Friday and Saturday. I’m still working my way back into shape a little bit but I definitely feel like I turned a corner this week. I fully intend to take walk breaks during the marathon. I’m learning the key to walk breaks is to take them before you really need them. I took a total of 3 walk breaks on Saturday during my 12 miler. My time was slow (2:10) but it was totally worth it. I took a big walk break along the water front and it felt incredible. Why rush past all the beautiful scenery?

In other running news:

I am now the proud owner of a foam roller! I rolled my legs out after the 12 miler and it really helped. I also bought new running shoes. I went to The Starting Line in Marina Del Rey and had a very positive experience. The guy who helped me listened to all my paranoid yammering about planter facitus and the type of shoes I’ve worn in the past. Plus he was cute. That didn’t hurt. I tried on several pairs, ran with them on a treadmill and even run outside. I settled on Saucony Progrid Triumph’s. I haven’t run in them yet, but I did run some errands in them this morning and they felt great!

Goals for next week: Build confidence and keep up with my mileage. I’m setting a personal distance record next Saturday!