The countdown is on: 5 weeks until race day! It can’t get here soon enough. This was the 3rd week of the hardest part of my training, and I’m really feeling it. And I still have 5 more weeks to go. All I can do is just grind it out, just like I’ll need to do on race day.
Training has become a vampire. I’m still greeting my runs with enthusiasm, having strong workouts, hitting my paces, and amazing myself with what I’m capable of now that I wasn’t sure I could do at the beginning of training. But it’s taking a lot out of me. It’s sucking not just my energy, but my spirit. By the end of every day, I feel tired, deflated, not 100% me. I can barely stay up past 8 p.m. On Friday, Dave and I ran to Target to pick up a few things right after work. He said that I was shuffling around like a zombie and looked like I was going to collapse. It was 6 p.m.
Part of the reason is surely the cumulative fatigue that’s built up over the past 3 months of training. Part of it is work stress. But I know another part is nutrition. I’m not hungry! Or maybe I’m just too tired to want to eat? I’m really only hungry in the mornings right after I run. I’m not really hungry for lunch and dinner, and I have no energy or motivation to eat healthy things. Even making a salad seems like too much. One day for dinner I had a bowl of pretzels and then was so full I couldn’t eat anything else. Not good! I usually eat tons of fruit and vegetables, but they just seem too filling for me now. It’s a chore to eat a banana. I know this is a problem, so I thought of some solutions. One is to make smoothies with fruit and veggies. They’ll be less filling than eating them, and if that’s the only way I can eat them, that’s what I should do. My other idea is to try to buy the healthiest varieties of packaged foods that I can. Surely a package of beans and rice, with all its sodium, is better for me than a bowl of pretzels for dinner. I’m going to really make an effort to eat better this week.
Here’s how last 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: 45.1
- Time running: 9:29
- Miles this training cycle: 399.78
- Miles in September: 182.13 (new monthly mileage PR!)
- Miles this year: 1,117.82
- Strength training sessions: 1
Easy run: 5 miles (55 degrees)
While my legs didn’t feel all that tired, my body wanted to go slow, so I let it. This was probably my slowest easy run all cycle, but it also followed the weekend of my longest run ever, so that makes sense.
I had a tough run scheduled for the next day, so I skipped strength training.
Tempo Run: 13.1 miles (54 degrees)
I had to switch my tempo and strength runs last week because of my work schedule. I had 13 miles on the schedule–10 at marathon place plus warm-up, recovery, and cool-down. Tuesdays are the toughest days because they’re my 6th consecutive day of running prior to my only rest day. I ran a few miles by myself before meeting Joanna. So glad to share the miles with her–they went quickly and easily, and I had no problem keeping to marathon pace. She had to stop right when I hit mile 9, and I was feeling really tired by then. She asked me how many more I had to do, and I was so beat I couldn’t even do the math in my head, but I also didn’t want to think about it. This was the hardest run of my whole training cycle. Those last 2 miles were brutal. Every cell in my body was begging me to quit, and I had to fight the urge with every fiber of my being. I won the fight, and I nailed my pace every single mile, but it wiped me out. Of course I had to tack on the .1 for bragging rights that I ran a half marathon before work, but I was basically a wreck the rest of the day.
Rest day! Instead of waking early to do my strength training, I slept in and enjoyed the cool morning air while cuddling in bed. It felt glorious.
In the evening I did 40 minutes of strength training.
Strength workout: 9 miles (57 degrees)
The good thing about Tuesday’s hard run was that it made this run feel like a piece of cake. 9 miles of 2-mile repeats at 5 a.m. before work? No problem! Hit my paces and felt as good as if I’d gone out for an easy 3-miler. If I needed any reminder of how much I’ve improved this training cycle, knocking out 9 miles of long repeats with ease when this workout on the calendar initially seemed so daunting is pretty good proof of my progress. Of course I was running on empty at the end of the day though.
Recovery run: 4 miles (57 degrees)
Nothing much to say about these shorter runs. It was uneventful and got done. No picture because it was still dark when I got back.
Long run: 10 miles (57 degrees)
This was a step-back week so was a shorter long run. I met Jamie at North Park for two 5-mile laps of rolling hills around the lake. We hadn’t been to North Park in forever, and it was nice to be back. The plan was to make the second half faster than the first, but I pretty much naturally run negative splits on most runs now, so I didn’t even have to try. I made us slow down in the beginning, but only when I downloaded my Garmin did I realize that I naturally sped up in the second 5 miles and finished the last mile at exactly race pace. But it wasn’t easy. I’m not used to the hills, and my legs were tired and screaming on all of them. I’m surprised I sped up so much at the end because I was beat. But I did it, and that’s all that counts.
Recovery run: 4 miles (52 degrees)
I ended the week with a relaxed 4 miles, the last mile in the rain. No picture because of the rain.
So another week is in the books. I have my highest mileage week ever on tap for this week. Gulp. I know I can do it, but I also know it’s going to be tough.