Another week of marathon training down! This training cycle is going by quickly. The runs happen, the days fade into the next, and before I know it another week is over.
I’ve been enjoying all the runs. There hasn’t been a day yet that I haven’t wanted to run. And it always comes as a little surprise to me when I remember that I’ll run a marathon at the end of it all. If something happened and I couldn’t run the race, I don’t think I’d even be upset. This training cycle, it’s all about enjoying the process. That said, when I do think about race day, I feel positive and excited. Not having the pressure of a time goal feels so good!
The weather this past week ranged from cool to chilly. I’ve learned that mid-50s feels great. Low-50s feels pretty chilly! As I said in my last post about how my running has changed as I’ve gotten older, as I get older I apparently get colder. But, no complaints! This weather is ideal, and if it means I have to dress more warmly than I used to in order to be comfortable, that’s what I’ll do.
Week at a Glance
- Training mode: Training for the NCR Marathon November 25, 2017 using a Hansons’ Marathon Method plan with the 80/20 method applied to it
- Days running: 6
- Miles this week: 35.5
- Time running: 8:20
- Miles this training cycle: 194.7
- Miles this month: 50.5
- Miles this year: 709.14
- Strength training: 2 sessions
Easy run: 4 miles + strength training
With the day off work for the Labor Day holiday, I went to Riverview Park for a trail run. Ah….it felt so good to be back on the trails! I haven’t run on trails in a while and realized how much I miss it.
Later in the day I did 20 minutes of strength training.
I had to go into the office Wednesday so switched my long mid-week run to Tuesday and planned to work from home. I woke up to a radar map filled with thunderstorms. Because I was working from home, I could start a little later so reset my alarm for a half-hour in hopes the storm would clear. Nope. Set my alarm back another half-hour. Still storms. When the storms finally passed, it was too late for me to run for more than a few miles before I had to start work. So I made this a rest day. The nice thing about my training plan is that because I have only two workouts a week and the rest easy runs, I have a lot of flexibility during the week to switch my runs around.
Speed workout: 7 miles
I woke at 4:30 instead of 4:45 for this run because I had to go into the office. The plan called for 6 X 800-meter repeats at 10K pace plus warm-up and cool-down. Because that fit into the 80/20 ratio of easy/hard running, I didn’t alter this workout. My body didn’t want to run fast during the first repeat. Then it got the message that we were doing a speed workout instead of an easy run, and the next repeats were all on target, and I felt strong throughout the workout.
Easy run: 4 miles + strength training
It was 52 degrees, and even with long sleeves pulled over my hands, my hands just never warmed up. When I do shorter runs like this, I’m running in pitch black for the whole run, so this is what it looks like when I take a picture (headlamp off for the pic!)
In the evening I did 20 minutes of strength training.
Easy run: 4 miles
At 54 degrees, I debated wearing gloves. I’d look silly, but remembering how cold I was the day before, I figured I’d rather be warm than silly. It didn’t feel too cold when I stepped outside though, so I left the gloves at home. By the end of the run, my poor hands were popsicles. It felt like a million pins were poking them when I got in the hot shower. What is up with my hands?! I slept in 20 minutes, but it was wonderful and just enough to see a bit of light at the end of my run.
Long run: 12 miles
The marathon I’m running is on a graded rail trail, with the first half a slight upgrade and the second half a slight downgrade. This is the same sort of trail I did my first marathon on last year. I know that slight upgrade can definitely get tough, so I want to start doing my long runs on a graded trail for the practice. So on Saturday, I headed to the Buffalo-Freeport Community Trail. I’ve done a half marathon on that trail the past 4 years and will be doing it this year again as a training run. In all this time, I figured the trail was an hour from my house because it took me about an hour to get to the start line for the race. Um, duh! I looked at a map and realized that the end of the trail is much closer to me. It took me less than 30 minutes to get there.
It was very chilly again, in the low 50s. There’s no water along the trail, so I wore my Camelbak Dart hydration pack because a handheld bottle isn’t enough for me for 12 miles. The pack was nice because I could put my longsleeve in it when I got too hot and switched out my headband for a hat when the sun got bright.
I remembered how much I loved my long runs on this type of trail last year when I was marathon training, so I was looking forward to it. Well, I loved this run! A creek runs right by the trail, and there was a touch of color in the trees. I saw a tiny waterfall, an old stone bridge, rocky cliffs, fern-filled forests, and a mama deer and her two fawns. The air was crisp and cool, and the sun was shining in spots through the trees but not enough to make it hot. It was perfect.
The first 6 miles on the upgrade weren’t easy. You can really feel that upgrade, especially as the miles go by. I started at a very easy pace, staying patient because I knew I’d be able to pick it up in the second half. I didn’t listen to music for the first half for practice with running with just with my thoughts for company.
I stopped at the halfway point, took some pictures, put in my music, and headed back. You can really feel the downgrade when you turn around. That feeling fades with the miles, but it felt so good at first. I was still monitoring my heart rate and keeping to my easy zone, but I was running more than 1 minute/mile faster.
With the 80/20 ratio applied to this week’s training, I calculated that I’d be able to run the last 3 miles at a faster pace for a fast finish. When I got to the last 3 miles, I had no problem picking it up to a moderate pace. My last mile was my fastest, 2 minutes/mile faster than my pace in the beginning.
I really enjoyed this run, ran a negative split, and just felt awesome.
It was a gorgeous day, sunny and on the cool side, so later in the day we took Django for a walk in Riverview Park. I wasn’t tired or sore (got a bit tight later in the evening), which really goes to show the magic of easy running.
Trail run: 4.5 miles
Again, it was very chilly in the upper 40s. I went to North Park to run on the trails. I was looking forward to trying out my new Saucony Xodus ISO trail shoes. I’ve been so impressed by the quality and durability of my Saucony road shoes–much better than the Asics that I always wore until the new model gave me problems and I switched to Saucony–that I bought these trail shoes online without trying them on, which is a gamble. I’ll have to do a review, because I loved them!
My legs were very tired at first and did not want to run, but once they loosened up and I warmed up a little less than a mile in, I was sailing along enjoying the run, wondering how I’d ever run on trails without trail shoes before, when BAM. I tripped, went flying, and landed hard on my right side. Good thing it was cool enough that I was wearing longsleeves and crops, because they saved me from getting really scratched up. I did get an abrasion on my shoulder, a bruise on my elbow, and a bunch of scratches on my knee, but I wasn’t hurt. It knocked the wind out of me, though, so I took a breather and then walked a bit before starting running again. Of course, I was beyond careful after that. The trail was a little trickier this late in the season for two reasons. One, some parts of the trail were overgrown with foliage, which blocked rocks and roots I couldn’t see. Second, this is a popular trail for mountain bikes, and over the summer they carved out some pretty deep ruts and uneven spaces in the dirt. My ankles were grateful for the new trail shoes, because without them they’d have been really twisting and turning. After my fall, I went so slowly and carefully that I’m pretty sure this was my absolute slowest run EVER.
Coming up this week, I’ll have a tempo run at marathon pace in place of my long run, which means I’ll have to replace some of the hard effort in my speed workout with easy effort to hit the 80/20 ratio. So far, my experiment with applying 80/20 to the Hansons’ plan hasn’t been hard and seems to be beneficial for me.