Richmond Marathon Training – Week 8

Only 48 days until race day! I can’t believe I am already halfway through this training cycle.  I continue to see progress from following my plan and am happy with how things are going so far.

Monday: Planned – 4 miles easy. Actual – 4 miles @ 12:05 pace.

I felt fine when I woke up…but man this run was rough. I kept thinking I was going too fast, only to look down and see I was running close to a 13 minute pace. Not sure what the deal was, but I was glad when this run was over. I hate runs like this…not just because they’re hard, but they make you question so much about your abilities. I finished this run wondering if I should do speed work the next day, if my body was still recovering from the half, etc. I think that I ran my recovery run Sunday too fast both this week and the prior week.  Even though I felt fine, I should have gone way slower.

Both Sunday and Monday I was having tightness in what I believe was my piriformis muscle. It didn’t hurt when I was running, just tightness when walking, so I rolled the crap out of it and took a lacrosse ball to it that morning while at work. By Monday evening it was feeling better, but it definitely gave me a scare.

Monday night I went to restorative yoga, and it was just what I needed!

Tuesday: Planned – Strength training & 1-1.5 mile warmup, speed work, 1-1.5 mile cool down. Actual: 1.5 mile warmup, speedwork, 1 mile cool down.

My day was really open, so I opted to sleep in and do my speedwork on my lunch break. This took longer than I expected from start to finish, so I won’t be able to do this often. However, it was a great way to break up the day!

I set the treadmill to 1% incline and went to work. The workout looked like this:

2 x 800-m at 8:20 pace, 2 x 600-m at 8:15 pace, 2 x 400-m at 8:08 pace, with a 400m recovery jog between each.

I liked doing this on the treadmill because I didn’t have to worry about not hitting my paces.  However, I had to walk some part of almost all the recovery breaks.  This workout really kicked my tail. I was pretty tired at the end of it and wished I was able to take a nap….but proud that I got it done. I skipped strength training in favor of more stretching and foam rolling.

Wednesday: Planned – Active Recovery and/or Restorative Yoga. Actual – sports massage, 30 mins stretching/foam rolling.

I got a sports massage on my lunch break. My glute muscles were still feeling tight. It wasn’t as good as I was hoping for, but it certainly helped. I spent 30 mins stretching and foam rolling that evening.

Thursday: Planned – Strength & 7 mile pace run (1 easy, 5 @ 10:12, 1 easy).  Actual – 30 mins strength, 7 miles @ 10:26 pace.  Splits: 11:41/10:11/10:09/10:05/9:55/9:59/10:58

I had an 8am meeting at work, so I had to decide how I was going to get my workout in. After much debating I decided to just get up and get it done. I wanted to be sure I had plenty of time for a proper warmup and cooldown, so I got up extra early to be sure I didn’t rush through it.

The first mile of a run is such a liar. I felt slow and questioned whether I’d be able to hit my paces. By the time I hit the third mile I was feeling good.  My legs felt weak though. During my fourth mile, I had a huge hill to climb and I actually felt like my legs were going to give out. I’m not just saying that, they felt wobbly! The song that was on my iPod, #thatPOWER by came in and there’s this line in there:

“Whatever doesn’t kill you/only makes you stronger/Imma get stronger,stronger,stronger/”

I kept repeating that over up the hill. Before I knew it I had powered through and the tough part was done! I ran this split and the next mile a little too fast, but I was pleased I was able to power through on tired legs.

After work, I did thirty minutes of strength training at the gym in my office building. I tried not to go too heavy on legs by alternating between legs, arms, and core.

Friday: Planned – rest day. Actual – glorious rest day!!!

I was a little sore from my workout Thursday, so I took it easy. I got a lot of sleep Thursday night and had a lot of energy on Friday. I concentrated on hydrating throughout the day. We had our first “chilly” (and rainy!) day here in ATL so I wore my riding boots with compression socks underneath. Hehe.  I switched up my dinner a little bit and had steak with white rice and a baked potato.

Saturday: Planned – 18 miles easy.  Actual – 18 miles @ 11:15 pace

I kept hoping the weather would change, but it didn’t.  This run was in the rain.  I know there’s a chance it could rain on race day…but I’ve already run a marathon in the rain, so I don’t need more practice.  However, since I knew what to expect, I was well prepared.

I got up a little before 4am and had two hard boiled eggs and a half of a bagel with strawberry jam on it, as well as a V8 energy juice.  I really felt like I should eat the second half of the bagel, but I wasn’t hungry and had trouble getting it down.

Since it was raining, I slathered up my feet with Vasoline, as I have found that really keeps blisters away.  I may start doing this for all long runs, not just rainy ones. I decided to wear my calf sleeves this week, since my calves were pretty tired after last week’s 16 miler.  The temperature was perfect for the rain, around 63 degrees.  I wore a short sleeve tee and compression shorts.

We met to start our run at 6, so I got there early to do my warmup.  I had a Cafe Mocha Huma with water right before I started my warmup.  At 6am, we were off!

The first 4-5 miles were pretty rainy, just a steady drizzle and we were running into the wind which wasn’t fun.  It reminded me a lot of our marathon.  Luckily, Amy came out to this run and ran the first few miles with Carrie and I.  I hadn’t run with Amy in quite some time, so we had a lot to chat about and that made it a lot less miserable.  Her plan called for faster miles after mile 4, so she split off from us.

Right before Amy took off!

Right before Amy took off!

Carrie and I trudged along for a few more miles and the rain started letting up a bit right before we got to the trailhead for the Silver Comet Trail (around mile 7 of our run).  We ran into Amy again there along with Sarah, and stopped for a photo op.

Myself, Carrie, Sarah, and Amy

Myself, Carrie, Sarah, and Amy

Once we were on the trail, the rain had lightened up to a light mist which was perfect for running.  Carrie and I settled into a nice rhythm and the miles ticked by.  My left hip/glute area had felt a little achy for the first part of our run, but somewhere on the trail it loosened up and stopped aching.

Because of the rain, the trail was pretty empty – we only saw a few other runners and bikers (all of whom I’m assuming are training for something).  It was so nice and peaceful, and I really enjoyed the quiet and nature.  I was reflecting on it when Carrie says “is it just me, or is the sound of our footsteps and rain really relaxing?”  We both appreciated the views and quiet!

A rainy day on the trail

A rainy day on the trail

Carrie started having some tightness in her hamstring around mile 12, so we split up for a bit as she dialed back the pace.  I was feeling pretty great and kept holding myself back, reminding myself that I still had quiet a few miles to go.  Once I hit the last three miles, I had some great energy still and good music came on, so I picked up the pace.  I finished the last three miles faster than the rest of the run: 10:30, 10: 19, and 10:12.  I was really pleased with how great I felt at the end of 18 miles! Carrie caught up to me after the run and we walked a good .75 miles back to our cars, which was a great cool down before stretching.

Fueling: I took only the Cafe Mocha Huma gels for this run (they have the most caffeine in them) and it worked really well.  I took one before my warm-up, and then one at miles 4, 8, and 12.  I drank water for the entire run, with the exception of a small shot of Gatorade at miles 3 and 7, and then filled up my bottle with Powerade around mile 14 and drank that until the end. I took a salt pill at miles 5 and 10, as well as one with my breakfast. I did get hungry pretty early in my run, so I need to find a way to get a little more food in me before my run.

My energy levels were great once again.  My legs got tired around mile 12, which I think is to be expected.  However, I decided that I really want to focus on strength training the next few weeks of training to get my legs as strong as possible before race day.  Overall, this was another confidence boosting long run.  I felt like I could have gone for many more miles, especially if I hadn’t done my fast finish.  It’s hard to picture running a minute per mile faster right now, but I’m trying not to focus on that….just on putting in the work and letting the paces fall where they will.  Each week I’m feeling stronger and stronger.  I keep waiting for the really bad long run and it hasn’t happened yet.

Sunday: Planned – rest.  Actual – Yoga for Runners.

I will be going to one of my favorite yoga classes later today.  My legs feel pretty good today, though my abs are ridiculously sore.  They were sore Saturday from my workout Thursday night, and I think running really tightened them up.

Total miles for the week: 35.5

What went well: Nutrition and rest.  I really made it a point to focus on these two things this week and it made such a difference.  I ate well all week, with the exception of pizza on Thursday night, my one cheat meal of the week.  I also moved around workouts in order to maximize sleeping time and I noticed the impact of both in my energy levels throughout the week.

What didn’t: I could have done better with Cross Training and Strength Training.  I am happy that I got one strength training session in on Thursday, but I wish I had done both.

Focus for the next week: Hitting every single workout and keeping the momentum up with nutrition.  We are halfway through training, and the next few weeks will be key to my success on race day.

How is your training going? Do you do your long runs in the rain?

Have a great week, y’all!

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