It happened this week–it finally felt like marathon training. I didn’t want to do anything after work except lie on the couch with cats on my lap and read (hence the lack of blogging), I can’t stay up even until 9:30 on weekend nights, it started feeling hard, and I started doubting myself, wondered how I could possibly run a marathon, and debated quitting training. I can’t help thinking, If I feel like this now, when my mileage is still pretty low, when I have 2.5 more months to go, how am I ever going to get through this training? And how am I ever going to run 26.2 miles? Coach Melissa talked me off the ledge. I keep remembering that quote Thinking is the enemy of the distance runner and trying to take it one day at a time. But it’s hard! Just this morning I was sobbing to my running friend Jamie that I was thinking of quitting training. She also talked me off the ledge. But is this my future–being a basketcase until race day?
Granted, I’m dealing with a bunch of stressful things in my life right now, one of which is going on vacation at the end of this week. As we usually do, Dave and I will be running ourselves ragged trying to see and experience everything possible over a little road trip through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Washington. And I need to keep up with marathon training. The schedule is pretty doable though. I have a half marathon in Oregon next Saturday that I’m trying not to freak out about, and then the only other major run is a 10-miler the following Sunday. The other runs are shorter. We’ll be doing a lot of walking and hiking, so I’ll just try my best to follow the plan. And speaking of vacation, my recaps may be a bit erratic (or possibly nonexistent) until I get back.
Here’s how the week went down.
Week at a Glance
- Training mode: Training for small, local, rails-to-trails Indiana Veteran’s Marathon near Pittsburgh on November 6 using a version of the Hanson’s Marathon Method beginner plan customized by a Hanson’s coach
- Days running: 6
- Miles this week: 33.15
- Time running this week: 7:00
- Miles this training cycle: 153.15
- Miles this month: 86.16
- Miles this year: 871.19
- Strength training sessions: 2
Easy run: 4 miles (71 degrees)
100% humidity. Blah.
Strength training, foam rolling, and stretching: 35 minutes
This was the final week of the first 6-week strength training plan to build strength and stability.
Speedwork: 7 miles (75 degrees)
This session was 8 x 600-meter repeats with 400-meter recovery, the first 4 at 10K pace and the second 4 at 5K pace. It was very warm and again 100% humidity, but I was loving the first 4. I felt I could control my pace much better than 400s, but they were still nice and short. And then I started 5K pace. Ouch. By the last one I was wondering how in the world I was going to do the next week’s speedwork all at the planned 5K pace. And that started my downward spiral of, This is hard. Can I really do this? If I’m struggling to run 600-meter repeats, how will I run a marathon? I should just quit training. Ugh.
Strength training, foam rolling, and stretching: 38 minutes
Tempo run: 7.15 miles (70 degrees)
It was still really humid but was better overall because it wasn’t as warm. Again I ran a warm-up mile then met Joanna for 5 miles at goal marathon pace. I’d been pretty nervous about this run. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to run at race pace and again faced a mental downward spiral of, If I can’t run 5 miles at goal pace, I’ll never be able to run 26.2. I should just quit training. But this time, I fought against the negativity. All day Wednesday, I forced the positivity. I thought about running with Joanna and how much I enjoy running with her and that the run was going to be fun. I also reminded myself that marathon pace isn’t a hard pace. I have no doubt it will feel hard at some point (hopefully, later!) in the race, but not for 5 miles.
The positive thinking worked. We ran almost exactly at race pace minus or plus 1 second, the whole time talking. It wasn’t effortless, especially in the last miles, but also wasn’t hard. And we ended the last mile 13 seconds faster than race pace. This was a really big confidence booster, and I felt much better about everything and was a happy little runner on my cool-down mile.
Easy run: 4 miles (68 degrees)
An unventful run–the only thing to say about it is that it got done.
Medium long run: 8 miles (73 degrees)
I met Jamie on the river trail near my house at 6:30 a.m. I was tired and cranky but planned to make the best of this run, even though it was crazy humid. The plan was to do 4 miles out and back in one direction, stop to refuel at Jamie’s car, and then 4 miles out and back the other direction. Melissa wanted me to make the second half faster than the first, so I was pretty grateful for the slow start. I’d brought a cooler with ice water to leave in Jamie’s car, and it was awesome to have cold water half-way through the run. But even by then, my clothes were completely saturated with sweat, and it just got worse. We ended up running a progression run, ending about 1 minute/mile faster than we started. The last 2 miles were rough. When we finished, I was completely beat and couldn’t help but wonder how the hell I was going to do 5 more miles in next Saturday’s half marathon. Don’t think about it! was my only answer.
When I got home I drank about 100 glasses of water, stuffed my face with toast and peanut butter, showered, and then took a two-hour nap–longer than we’d run for! When I got up I had to take the dog for his walk before spending the rest of the day and evening at a family party. I stretched and did foam rolling but didn’t have time or energy for my third strength training session of the week. I couldn’t stay awake much past 9 p.m.
Recovery run: 3 miles (68 degrees)
Normally I’d do a trail run for my recovery run, but I was too tired so just did a short loop near my house. It was humid but cloudy with the threat of rain in the air. This was another uneventful run, but I was glad to get it out of the way. I spent the rest of the day preparing for vacation, which mainly involved thoroughly cleaning every nook and cranny of my house where the cats might hide since my petsitter always insists on looking in closets and under beds and furniture to find my cats. In other words, the day sucked. Although I did use vacation as an excuse to buy a bunch of crap on Amazon, including a Cambelbak hydration pack for running. I also did a nice little hike in Riverview Park with my dog and somehow was tired enough that I took another nap. Because I need a nap after a 3-mile run?! See why I’m worried? How is it possible that I’m so tired this early into training?! What the hell is going to happen to me when I’m running 20 more miles during the week???
This week I really need to focus on taking deep breaths, focusing on the positive, and taking it one day at a time. I remember the last two times I did Hanson’s for HM training, I felt incredibly strong and good at the peak of my training. Maybe my body just needs to get used to training? Maybe running in all the heat and humidity the past few weeks (months???) is finally hitting me? I guess I have to just keep plugging away and trying to trust my training.