Holy DOMS batman!

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 woreΒ  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.

31 thoughts on “Holy DOMS batman!

  1. You can totally do a marathon by May 16th!!! You got this. You are working so hard!! And it isn’t like you are sitting around waiting for your calf to recover and doing nothing – your recovery was active. It also sounds like you had a base behind you from your first marathon and like you said – this isn’t your first rodeo!! Good luck. Can’t wait to hear all about it!!

    • Thanks Allison! A part of me is still learning to run things for “fun”. I’m used to goal setting, training hard and then getting a PR. Time to realize there are plenty of races in my future and to readjust my goals to my current fitness. BTW Best of luck in Boston!

  2. I think you’re going to be great in May. You have a little more than a month to go and you’re healthy!!! Get those last two long runs in and kick some butt in that race!!

  3. Oh I think you are right on track there! What a great run. No doubt your quads were singing the next day after that workout. Plus that is the longest and biggest one in quite awhile. Good for you. Enjoy that burn! I miss my LONG runs. Now you have me itching to try out some arm warmers!

  4. dude for my first marathon I only did a 15 miler. And I made it in 4:28. with a bum hip flexor. an 18 mile long run is TOTALLY long enough for a marathon. πŸ™‚ remember that you’re coming back from an injury and you are still very lucky that you are well enough to even jump into a shortened training cycle and complete and marathon. πŸ™‚ !!

  5. Nice run!! I think that as long as you go into the race with realistic finishing expectations, you will do great! Not that I’ve ever run a marathon but the training you have done has been pretty solid. I love arm warmers, so much easier to take off when it warms up. I did feel a little silly the first few times I wore them though. πŸ™‚

    • I always thought that people who wore arm warmers were major show-offs but I’m a convert now, especially after running a bunch of races that started out really cold but then warmed up. Marathon goal number one: take it easy!

  6. i’m so glad you loved ONCE! thanks for the shout out, chica. πŸ™‚ it’s so beautiful, isn’t it?? all the feelings in the world. also, amazing job on that run, esp finishing with 100ft climb. you’re a rock star. i have a half the same day you have your full, May 16, so i’ll be thinking of you! πŸ™‚

    • I thought Once was really charming, and I loved all of the musicians. Such a great show + lots of emotions at the end. Lots of hills round these parts so hoping I can find something a little flatter this weekend. Good luck with your half! I’ll bet you’ll finish and be glad you don’t have to run another 13.1 :/.

  7. charissarunning says:

    You are doing an amazing job with ramping up the mileage and the long runs! I would completely agree that it’s so much easier to put together marathon training the second time (and third time!) around even needing to adjust a few factors. But it seems you are being so smart about it πŸ™‚
    And holy elevation drop!! That’s a lot of downhill running! I’m glad you got to practice it on your 18-mile run. Hopefully your legs will be more than prepared to take down the full 26.2 in a few weeks time πŸ˜€

  8. FLRunnerBoy says:

    You are putting in some serious work Irish and doing me proud!!! πŸ˜€ I’m so happy to hear about the calf relief and all the monster mileage and training you are logging. You can do that 26.2 for sure and the reason I say that is because I know you’ll be smart enough to run the race by feel and not destroy yourself and suffer another setback. YOU GOT THIS!!!

    • Calf is totally back to normal! Now it’s just random aches and pains from increasing volume. I think I’ll need you to write out a list of running mantras before my race so I can get through it in one piece!

  9. You can totally do it! DOMS are good because they aren’t an injury. Sudden pain during a workout/run is bad, next day pain is good. It will go away. Your biking will help too. I was injured pre-Boston but couldn’t miss that one so I cross country skied my guts out because I couldn’t run. It worked! Thankfully it’s winter until May where I live!!

  10. You can totally do it! DOMS are good because they aren’t an injury. Sudden pain during a workout/run is bad, next day pain is good. It will go away. Your biking will help too. I was injured pre-Boston but couldn’t miss that one so I cross country skied my guts out because I couldn’t run. It worked! Thankfully it’s winter until May where I live!!

    • I always hear that x-country skiing is the best aerobic activity that you can do. Although those narrow skis freak me out. Where’s my edge? And I would rather DOMS than an injury any day of the week.

  11. I really think your marathon is going to be great if you had an 18 mile training run like that. I’m very impressed. After anything double digit I just want to lie on the couch and eat allthethings.

  12. Hello! New to your site and looking forward to following your progress. I had a look at your times – WOW! – you are speedy girl. You’ll be ssooooo fine for marathon.
    ‘Running the American dream so I eat all of the American food’ this made me laugh so much. I put on a ton of weight when I lived in the the US as I hadn’t discovered running back then. Wish I had – could haven eaten ever more!!!

  13. Jessica @ VEGGIE RUNNING MOMMA says:

    hmm.. tough. I’m the kind of person who always likes to be overprepared..so I would freak a little if I was in your position. but in all reality..I think you can totally rock that marathon.! I think your endurance is definitely there, you shouldn’t worry too much about finishing. I’m sure you will πŸ™‚

    • I am a little freaked out – it’s not ideal preparation to say the least. I’ll just treat it as a really long and well-supported long run. PRs can wait til the fall, or next year when I have a decent base.

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