I’m in a strange place right now. My calf is 100% healed – no pain doing anything. Woohoo! Happy news!?! Except I have a marathon looming on May 16th and am pretty under-trained. Gulp.
Running logic tells me that you can’t cram for a marathon. But to finish I need to know that I have the endurance to make it all of the way round. So how do you play catch-up? How do you do enough to finish, but not too much that you end up back on the injured list? This is a new experience for me. My training cycle for Twin Cities was 18 weeks of perfection (I literally missed one planned run) and I got to the starting line fully prepared (except for the whole running my first marathon and not really knowing what to expect after mile 20). This time around I will have a truncated 13-week training cycle.
The highlights of my training so far:
Weeks 1-6: Lots of run-walking. Moderate calf pain.3 running days per week.
Weels 7 & 8: No more walking. 4 runs per week. Pain-free runs. Exactly 5.5 week after my physiotherapist told me that it would take 5-6 weeks to run symptom-free. Spooky!
Long runs: 5.15, 7.50, 6.20, 10.50, 13.20, 15, 16, 18 miles
Races: Week 3: 10K (49.17), Week 5: Half marathon (1.51.20), Week 7: 15K (1.13.18).
Weekly mileage: 11.30, 14.64, 13.45, 17.94, 21.17, 22.54, 27.90, 31.13 miles.
Sorry for the number dump! This is mostly for my benefit -> so that I can convince myself that this is possible. And that I have two long runs left before I need to start my taper.
What has helped the most is the fact that this is not my first rodeo. Training for my first marathon was full of new distances and records. I remember after every “new longest run” I would feel wrecked. 14 miles is so hard – how could I ever manage to do 26.2? Repeat for 15, 16, 18 etc. I had one really awful 20 miler where I bonked so hard that it was a confidence killer. Luckily my final long run went as well as it possibly could (20 miles around Dublin with my Mom following me on her new bike). I think that training helped to convince me that I am capable of running long distances, and that consistent training really does pay off. I also figured out my fueling strategy -> granola bar before I run, Gu every 5.5 miles, water only while running (to keep my stomach happy).
This weekend’s run had me feeling all kind of nervousness. 18 miles was the goal but I’d be happy to get over 16. I’ve been having weird, random pain in my right foot that I’m keeping a close eye on and I wasn’t sure if it’s all in my foot or all in my head. My marathon route is down one of Utah’s canyon and has an overall loss of 1100 ft. So I wanted to try and replicate race conditions. My husband dropped me at the top of Emigration Canyon a little before 8 AM, and I set off with my running vest, 3 Gu’s and my phone (in case of worst-case scenario). It was in the high 30s at the start so I wore my arm warmers (am slowly getting converted to the idea that this are useful things and not just for speedsters) and gloves. I tried to keep an even pace and just settle into the run. Luckily I was surrounded by beautiful views that I shared with the occasional car and an endless stream of cyclists. This canyon is one of the more popular routes for an uphill bike workout so has a nicely marked bike lane the whole way down – and some pretty friendly bikers!
At the mouth of the canyon the gloves literally came off and I stashed them and my arm warmers into my vest. I was just under half way done and was feeling pretty good. In fact this was one of the better long runs that I’ve ever had. I felt the miles fly by and my legs felt good until mile 16. The last mile was pretty hard – mainly because it finished with a 100 ft climb. But just like that it was done – a little over 2 hours 42 minutes. And the weirdest thing of all – I was completely energized by the whole thing. I managed to clean the whole house, make a quick trip to work and cook a delicious dinner with the biggest smile on my face. The days was finished with a trip to watch “Once” at one of our local theaters. It was amazing – thanks for the tip Shawna!
The sh*t hit the fan when I woke up on Sunday morning and realized that my quads were not happy with a sudden long, downhill run. Major DOMS. But all muscle which is reassuring. No other aches or pains (that I could notice over my quads). Luckily a friend was looking for a swim buddy to head to the pool and do some kind of easy workout before lounging in the hot tub. Exactly the right prescription for the day after a long run. The weekend was rounded off by drinking wine and eating homemade pizza while sitting in the sunshine.
Now if only my quads will forgive me so that I can get back to normal………
Mon: 4.1 miles. Downhill run commute from work. 8.20 min/mile average pace. 618 ft drop in elevation.
Tues: Bike commute. Strength workout.
Wed: 6 miles at 8.43 min/mile (9.00/8.56/8.22/8.30/8.15/8.45).
Thurs: Morning yoga class. Bike commute.
Fri: 3 easy miles @ 9.16 min/mile pace.
Sat: 18 downhill miles @ 9.02 min/mile average pace. 2068 ft drop in elevation.
Sun: 1000 m recovery swim.