Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #11

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.

this is obviously what I think of every time I say the word pivot

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.

Wish me luck as I start ramping up my mileage!

Marathon Training Chronicles- Installment #9

Week 8 is in the books! It’s crazy to think that it’s exactly two months until Marathon Day. Overall I’m feeling pretty confident; but I’m still really nervous about it. Here’s a recap of last week plus some playlist info that I wanted to share (and get recommendations to add)!

Wednesday’s run was a short 4.3. Each week, I find one day to run before going into work because I need my body to get used to miles. A lot of marathon runners end up running 25-30 miles per week, which is hard to do in two days over the weekend. Or even three days. A lot of runners run 4-5 days per week. For me, not only is that impossible because of my schedule with the kids, it’s also not ideal for my body. My body loves to run, but only so much. It needs other cardio and strength training to supplement it.

Friday morning I spent some time mentally preparing for my long run on Saturday. I mapped it out on MapMyRun, I made sure my most comfortable running clothes were clean and I took out my water pack, gloves and ear band.

It was 20 degrees when I began my 15-mile trek. However; it wasn’t super windy so that made it bearable. I was feeling pretty good for most of the run. Towards the end my legs started getting tired and I started to rethink my strategy for taking a rest day the day before a long run. It’s customary to run a couple easy miles the day before a big race so would it make sense to do a light workout- like cycle- the day before my long run? I’m not quite sure. I don’t think I’ll change it up this week but we’ll see for the future.

It took me just under 2 hours and 20 mins to run just over 15 miles. I averaged 9:15 mile pace. And I must say, I’m pretty damn impressed with myself. It took my hands about 10 mins to stop hurting after I walked in my house and about an hour for my entire body to warm up but seeing 15+ miles on my watch made it all worth it. I accomplished something I’ve never done before and it felt great! (Side note: My goal is to run a marathon on May 1st; however, all the little accomplishments along the way, like running 15+ miles, can and will be celebrated. It’s just as important to enjoy the journey and celebrate small wins, as it is to celebrate the accomplishment of the big goal at the end. It’s good to be proud of yourself!)

Sunday I went to the gym to do my 10k run on the treadmill. After my long runs my right shin tends to hurt a bit so I like to lay off the road on Sunday. Plus it was cold and I could do without two days in a row of freezing cold running.

Before I jet, I wanted to share my favorite long run playlist. For some reason I enjoy this 80s & 90s mix that I created on Spotify. It’s my go-to for my longer runs. Anything I should add to it?? This is only 2 hours and 17 minutes and I need about 4 1/2 hours worth of music for race day so suggestions are welcome!