Marathon Day is 18 days away! Coursing through my body is a mixture of excited and nervous energy anytime I think about it.
Last Friday, Nick and I were talking about our plan for our long run on Saturday. I wanted to get a 21 mile run in. I was feeling nervous about it and asked him if he was nervous too and he said no. I was shocked that he didn’t feel nervous– maybe because he’s already run a marathon so 21 miles didn’t seem too bad. Every Friday is a little torturous for me because I know my long run is coming up. I’m always anxious about attempting to do something I’ve never done before. I think that’s pretty common to feel that way. But I try to focus on the feeling of accomplishment rather than the voice in my head that says you can’t run 21 miles. And then once it’s done, I feel so damn good about myself. And the next time I set out to run 21 miles it’s waaaaay less daunting because I know I’ve done it already!
Anyway, last week I rounded out the week with 40 miles which is the most miles I’ve ever run in a week! Wednesday- 7.2; Friday- 4.6; Saturday- 21 and Sunday- 7.2. I felt good on most of the runs; however, the 21 miler was rough. Every part of my body was hurting that day for some reason. I’m not sure if it’s just all the miles I’m putting in, the water backpack which adds weight and pressure to my back, or if my running sneakers are on their last legs. It was a mind over matter run. I wanted to run 21 miles and there was no way I wasn’t going to do it. Our mile splits were pretty good. And by pretty good, I mean we were consistently running 9:10-9:30 for most of the miles. And at mile 17, we busted out a mile in 8:38 (probably because we were on a track). We finished in 3 hours and 17 minutes. And you know what that means? That means that if I run exactly the same way on race day I’ll have 73 minutes to run the last 5.2 miles… which would be about 14 min/miles. Basically, what I’m saying is that I think I’ll be able to reach my goal of completing the marathon in 4 hours and 30 minutes!
This week I’m starting to taper my miles off a bit. I plan to run about 32 miles this week with my long run being 15 miles. I need to let my body rest and recover with lots of foam rolling and stretching.
Less than seven weeks until Marathon Day!! I’m really glad I decided to document everything I’m doing. It’ll be fun to look back at all these blog posts one day– maybe 10 years from now when I’m crushing my 10th marathon. Even though I am planning out each step of my training, there’s been changes and pivots along the way.
The next five weeks I’m focusing on increasing my total mileage per week. Last week I got 30 miles in over a four-day period. I don’t know if I’ll get to 35-40 miles per week on four days, but I’ll try. Here’s the breakdown of last week’s runs:
Wednesday- 5.3 miles on the treadmill; Friday- 3.2 miles outside (did some speed intervals); Saturday- 12.5 miles on the treadmill; and Sunday- 9.1 miles on the treadmill. I am really happy with my progress of being able to do back-to-back longer runs. Doing 12.5 and then 9.1 the following day is something I never even would’ve dreamed of attempting two months ago. It just goes to show that consistency pays off… but also, when you’re not given much of a choice of when you can do your mid-long runs, you make it work regardless. My body may try to tell me I can’t, but my mind is saying, “but you have to!!” And, of all the runs last week, my favorite was the 9.1 miles on the treadmill. I got in the zone, I was playing with the speed and I got through 9.1 feeling like I could’ve done another mile or two easily.
The next few weeks are going to be a little different because I am pivoting off my original plan of strength training 3 days and running 3 days. I’ve been dealing with a shoulder issues for many months that I keep ignoring. I figure if there’s ever a time to ease up on lifting weights, now is the time since I’m training for a marathon. That doesn’t mean I won’t do a full-body weight workout once a week until marathon day. It’s just not going to be a major part of my training right now. I’m focusing on running, stretching, and core work. Another thing I’m working on is starting slower. My runs have been a little faster than they probably should be- if I can slow it down to 9:30 pace for my long runs, that will help. I notice that my runs are always better when I give myself time to get into it. I’ve always been that way. I like to start slow, let my body warm up and then I’ll fall into a good pace. The goal is to finish- I’m not winning the marathon so the time is irrelevant. (However, if you’re a runner, you can’t help but have a goal in mind. And, if you’re wondering, mine hasn’t changed since my training started- I want to finish in 4:30:00- four hours and thirty minutes).
My goal for this week is 32-33 miles with a 16-17 mile run on Saturday. I am getting a little nervous because I only have four to five more long runs left before the big day. I’d like to do 16-17 miles once; 18-19 once and then 20-21 once. If I can make that happen over the course of the next four to five weeks I will feel really good going into race day. I’m hoping that giving myself more active rest days (i.e. stretching and ab work) it’ll give my legs a break and I’ll feel good on all my runs.
Other things I’m thinking about… 1) what am I wearing on race day? I think I know which leggings but I have to decide on my upper half. I will probably work out a couple of different options based on the weather. 2) How am I going to handle eating before the race? I usually don’t eat before I run but I’m typically not up for more than 45-60 minutes before I run. On race day, I will probably be waking up a good 2-3 hours before the race starts. I’m thinking a banana on the drive over and my pre-workout about 20-30 minutes prior to race time. That’s what I’ve done when I’ve run half marathons and it’s worked out OK. I’ll also be using the water backpack and the chews that I got on race day. I know there’s water stops along the way but I want to limit my stopping at least through the first 15 miles or so.
It’s hard to believe I just wrapped up week nine of training. I am happy with my progress so far, although I had a not-so-great long run this week. The plan was 3-4 miles on Thursday, 16-17 miles on Saturday, and 6.2 on Sunday. I ended the week with a total of 25.5 miles over those three days.
I really want to make it possible to train (successfully) for a marathon by running three days a week; however, I’m not so sure that’s enough. I’ve read tons of different plans and some suggest getting to 30-40 miles per week; while others suggest upwards of 50+ miles per week. Getting 30-40 miles of running in on three days is a serious challenge . I’m already been having some tenderness in my right shin after I run so I’m hesitant to run more but I might give it a try to increase my total mileage for the week. Here’s what my training schedule has looked like since day one. This week I’ll start planning the last seven weeks.
Back to last week: I did a short run on Thursday which was relatively uneventful. Saturday’s run was a different story. I started at 6:45 AM with the goal of 16-17 miles; however, my body had different plans. The first 7-8 miles I felt really good. I was just cruising along thinking about work and enjoying the run. Then mile 9 came and my entire body tensed up. My legs and back were aching. I just felt so tight and uncomfortable. It became a lot of work just to keep my legs moving. I forced myself to keep running even though all I wanted to do was stop and walk the rest of the way home. I kept myself moving and told myself that as long as I did a little more than the week prior, I’d be happy. When I got to 15.2 miles I called it a day. It wasn’t the best run but it was a completed run and for that, I’m happy.
Sunday, on the other hand, was magical. It was 48 degrees, my hands were not in gloves, and my legs felt great. Even though I’ve been hitting the treadmill on Sundays I couldn’t pass up a 48 degree day, especially on a Sunday. Sunday mornings will always be my favorite time to run. It’s so quiet and peaceful and you can hear your feet hit the ground and the sound of your breathing over your music, instead of cars whizzing by you constantly. I am hopeful that I can do more of my Sunday runs outside and that I can freeze my Planet Fitness membership soon!
On a gear and accessories note… This week I remembered to grab the chews that Nick gave me to try and I ate two of them at miles 8, 11 and 14. It definitely took my mind off running for the few minutes it took me to eat them. I bought a variety pack so I have them for all my long runs up until race day. On cold days, I use my thick vest and it has pockets with zippers so I put my phone in there. On more mild days I use a different vest and I’m forced to put my phone in the pocket of my leggings. I think the impact of me hitting the ground causes the music to skip though and that’s kind of frustrating me. I’m debating whether to use my arm band or find a lighter vest with a pocket for race day. I like the idea of having my phone in my pocket rather than on my arm because it’s more accessible. I know you’re dying to find out what I end up doing so don’t worry, I’ll keep you informed.
As for this week, I’m going to attempt to squeeze in a fourth day of running and see how I feel. On Saturday I’m going to attempt 17-18 miles so let’s hope for a mild weather day. Until next week… ✌🏻❤️ 🏃🏽♀️ 💨
I’d be lying if I said I wanted to be writing this right now. It’s nothing against running. In fact, it’s one of the few things giving me peace at the moment. I’m just stressed and overwhelmed with life. There’s just so much shit going on right now and I’m pretty sure I’m reaching my breaking point. I know my shit isn’t any crazier, or more difficult, or dare I say smellier than anyone else’s shit. (Sorry, I had to!). And I am super grateful for all the good things that are going on. But still, I’m absolutely, 100% maxed out right now and it’s exhausting, it’s stressful and it’s putting me into full anxiety mode.
But you’re not here to hear me bitch and moan. So I’ll stop. But before I move on, I think it’s worth mentioning that even though now would be a really great time to throw in the towel on the marathon training, I will not sacrifice my goals and desires for someone else’s. And I mean that in the best possible way. I can’t be my best for anyone else if I’m not happy. And I won’t put myself on the back burner for anyone, or any job, or really… anything. My number one priority is making sure I can the best version of myself. And I sure as hell can’t be a great mom, a great employee or a great leader if I’m maxed out and drowning in anxiety.
And while my anxiety won’t disappear over night, it helps to workout and run. 🙃 So back to training …
I ended up treating last week as a recovery week. I backed off my mileage, I took an active rest day to stretch and foam roll, and I took a full rest day. My strength training workouts were the same but I logged the following miles on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday: 4.2, 10.1, and 4.2. It’s pretty common to plan recovery weeks into training programs. Although they’re not always popular, they’re really good for muscle recovery. Your body cannot be pushed to its limits every single day. It needs time to recover.
But now this week we’re back to increasing mileage!! The goal: 4-5 on Wednesday, 14-15 on Saturday and then 6.2 on Sunday. The plan is to do the Wednesday and Saturday run outside and finish up the week on Sunday with a treadmill run.
I’m excited to report how my long run goes this week. And hopefully by this time next week I’ll be in better spirits.
Until then, I’ll metaphorically run away from my problems. 🏃🏽♀️💨
Week 5 is in the books and it was a great week overall. I started a new strength training program that I’m doing on Monday/Wednesday/Thursday. Monday is lower body, Wednesday is upper body and Thursday is full body. I’ve done this program before and I really enjoyed it. The workouts are about 35 minutes long so it’s right in my sweet spot time-wise. It’s fast-paced, a lot of volume, and it gets my heart rate up. I decided that Tuesdays are going to be a cardio day- usually HIIT or some sort of callisthenic-type training. However, after this past week, I realized I might need to use Tuesdays as a second rest day (if I feel my body needs it). Thursday, Saturday and Sunday were my run days.
Let’s start with Thursday. Thursday has been a shorter run because I have to wait until after I drop the kids at school. I like to get it done as quickly as possible so I can get to work and get on with my day. This past Thursday was a little rainy but not too cold. I’ve been staying in my neighborhood for my Thursday morning runs. I have a big loop I can do twice to get me somewhere between 3- 3.5 mile depending on how big I make the loop. It’s been working out nicely.
I like having my rest day on Friday (well, not really. I’m not a fan of rest days from a mental standpoint, but I know my body needs it from a physical standpoint). My point is, I like having my rest day the day before my long run day. It stops me from coming up with an excuse about why my legs are tired during my long runs. I try to minimize the amount of things my brain can use as excuses. Even though I enjoy running and training, I don’t always want to do it in the moment.
I woke up Saturday with a GREAT attitude about my run. I was ready to take on 11 miles. When I went outside, I was hit with that 21 degree air and I wasn’t happy, to say the least. The rain turned to ice the night before so I knew it was going to be an interesting run the minute I started trotting down my street. I figured it wasn’t the worst thing in the world considering I was trying to keep my pace a little slower. The first 6 miles weren’t bad. I was trying out a new route which took me a long ways from home (on foot, in icy conditions). In hindsight, it probably wasn’t my smartest move, but I had to do what I had to do. I turned on Whiskey Road around mile 6 and the air felt like it got 10 degrees colder. I wasn’t happy. I continued until I reached my next turn where I spent almost 3 miles cursing– the wind started up and was cutting through my gloves, my shirt, my sweatshirt. I was freezing. I was miserable. I wanted to cry. I wanted to stop and call Nick or my dad to pick me up. But I knew my hands probably wouldn’t even work to make a phone call. By the time I got back to my house my watch said 10.75 miles. On any other day I would’ve ran past my house and made it an even 11; but I was so cold and frustrated that I just stopped at 10.75 miles.
It took my hands hours to warm up. Frostbite, maybe? I don’t know. They were red and not too happy with me. I decided at that moment that I wasn’t going to torture myself with running in conditions like that- especially for runs that were longer than 3-4 miles. After running some errands with the kids, I ran into Planet Fitness and reactivated my account. I knew that Sunday was going to be cold again and I didn’t want to run in 17 degree weather.
Sunday’s run was A LOT better considering I did it on the treadmill at Planet Fitness. I haven’t run on a treadmill in so long. It felt good to be back in a gym and it also felt good to utilize the treadmill for training. I was scheduled to run 5 miles on Sunday but after missing my goal on Saturday by 1/4 mile, I decided to go for a 10k (6.2 miles) on Sunday. It was good. My breathing felt so much easier inside rather than outside in 20 degree weather. I’m still going to try to do the bulk of my training outside. But on super cold or super windy AND cold days, I’m going to the treadmill option. There’s no need for me to be miserable. I want my training to be enjoyable. And while I understand that it’s not always going to be unicorns and rainbows, I don’t want to put myself in situations where my hands will get frostbitten.
On the docket for this week: a 3-4 mile run on Thursday; a half marathon (13.1) on Saturday or Sunday and 5 miles the opposite day.
In running gear news… I purchased new socks. I prefer no-show, ankle socks but sometimes when I run outside I get a piece of gravel or a pebble in my shoe and then I end up with cuts on my ankles (happened on Saturday). So I bought some news socks on Amazon that will go up over my leggings a couple inches, which will prevent gravel/pebbles from getting in AND will cover the 1/2 inch of skin that is usually exposed to the cold. A two-fer! Nick also let me borrow his water backpack thingamabob. I am not much of a water drinker while I run but I’ve never run more than a half marathon. I know for longer runs I’m going to need water. I want to try it out this weekend when I do the half and see how it goes. I will provide my thoughts next week. (-:
Week 2 of training went as expected. I had 2 days of running scheduled- Thursday & Sunday and I was able to get both runs in. One thing is for sure, running in the winter creates a ton more laundry because you have to wear so many layers!
Thursdays run was cold. I ran 5 miles that day because I knew I wasn’t going to get a LSD (long slow distance) run in over the weekend so I wanted to get a couple extra miles in during the week. Sunday was the second run in the Winter Run Series. It was at Robert Moses State Park. It was about 18 or 20 degrees by the time the race started at 11 AM. I bought new gloves thinking they’d help with the cold and wind. I was sadly mistaken- there was barely a difference. My legs and feet were numb for the first mile. Luckily, 3.1 miles is over in about 25 minutes so it wasn’t too bad.
I came in 12th out of 281 females in the race and 3rd in my age group. One of the things that I love about running is that you can compete with others, but you can also compete with yourself. If I came in last in the entire race but I got my best 5k time, I’m perfectly fine with that. If I come in first in my age group but my time was 30 seconds slower than my best, I’m perfectly fine with that too. It’s different when you play other sports. A loss is a loss. You can say you played your best game ever and still lose and you still walk away with a L. It’s either a W or L. I’m never going to come in first place in a run. So I focus on beating myself. I rather get my best time ever then say I beat every female in the race.
Nick kicked butt again and came in 12th overall. His age group is highly competitive and he’s having difficulty getting into the top 3, but he’s getting closer every time. Running has been great for us. It’s something we can do together and support each other in. When Nick was training for his marathon, I was his biggest cheerleader. And him doing the marathon inspired me to add that to my bucket list and make it happen too. He’ll be running with me in May and it’ll be awesome if we can actually run the entire marathon together but we’ll see. Even though we enjoy running together, we’re both competitive with ourselves and others– and if one of us isn’t feeling it and the other is, well, we’ll see each other at the finish line because we’re going for it. I’ll probably never be able to keep up with him on the shorter runs but as the runs get longer, he gets slower and I am an endurance machine so it kinda works.
As far as my overall training is going, the workout program I’ve been doing has been leaving me sore. Not sore in a way where I can’t walk, but sore enough to know that I’m pushing myself and getting stronger. I’m not sure what week 3 will hold in terms of my running. I am scheduled for 3 days of runs- 3.1 with speed intervals, 9 mile long run and the 3rd 5k in the winter run series.