Tobacco Road Marathon Training: Weeks 11 & 12 of 16

Getting closer...

Getting closer...

Two twenty-milers down, one to go! Just a few short weeks ago I was running long runs in the high 9:40s. I'm incredible pleased (and relieved!) with this 20-miler. This is the fastest I've ever run 20 miles in training. 

There's something about marathon training, and maybe this training cycle in particular, that resists the kind of weekly check-ins I write here. Being in the thick of training  almost demands that I *don't* ask myself "how it's going" every single week, that I just kind of turn my mind off and let training do its work. Still, I've had a low-frequency thought buzzing in the back of my mind since I started training, which asks, "Could I really do this? Is sub-3:35 possible.....now? Now? What about now?" Then my next thought: "DON'T JINX IT!!!"

Meanwhile, we are still "living" (feels more like camping) in chaos  at home. I'd love to ramble on and on about it all, but this blog isn't called INSIDE TIME, so. 

BUT, just to give you a sense of the physical toll of renovation: I started painting around 6 when I got home last Friday, painted until around 11pm, woke up Saturday and painted all day from about 10am to 10pm, then woke up Sunday, went for a 20 mile run, then came home and painted from 2pm to 10pm. Then it was Monday, so I went to work, exhausted and covered in rather unprofessional crust of dried paint splatters that wouldn't come off in the shower. My left calf is very tight, my knees hurt, and the muscles on the outsides of both of my calves are sore. I think all of this physical trauma is probably more from climbing up and down ladders all weekend and spending like 25 hours painting than my 20-miler.

With my house still in total disarray, I couldn't find the charger for my iPod anywhere, meaning that an ominous voice chanted "Battery Low" at me several times during my run. Additional motivation to finish faster, I guess.

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 5 miles: 1000(4:09); 2000(8:37); 1000(4:09); 1000(4:09) 400 RI
  • Wednesday: Cross-training bike workout, alternating hard & easy minutes
  • Thursday: 7 miles with 5 @ GMP (8:12)
  • Friday: Cross-training bike "tempo" workout
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: 20 miles (8:46 pace)

Total running miles: 32

Total training time: 5:54

The following week was kind of blah, owing mainly to lingering and serious-feeling calf tightness in my left calf and some soreness in my left Achilles. I tried to take it easy but was in denial about how much it would set back my training this week. I should have foamrolled on Monday, but I didn't get around to it until Friday night. Because of my calf, I wound up cutting short every single run this week: Wednesday was 6 miles planned / 4.5 actual, Friday was 12 planned (10 @ tempo), /  10 actual ( 8 @ tempo); and Saturday was 15 planned / 12 actual. I'm mad at myself, but it's too late now. I'm just going to foamroll the crap out of my leg and try to get in all my hard workouts this coming week (peak week!)

The good news is that even though the mileage is low, the total training time is still pretty much the same as last week's.

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: Calf sore, so swapped T & W's workouts: Cross-training bike workout
  • Wednesday: 4.5 miles, with a super tight calf: 3x1600 @ 7:24 pace, 400 RI
  • Thursday: Bike workout alternating hard/easy minutes. 
  • Friday: 10 miles with 8 @ GMP (8:12)
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: 12 miles (9:05)

Total running miles: 26.5

Total training time: 5:48

Tobacco Road Marathon Training: Weeks 8, 9, & 10 of 16

Last week was totally insane -- we moved into the house we bought back in the fall, which we'd been fixing up all winter (well, paying people to fix it up for us.) It's just a few blocks away from the place we were renting, which I guess is why we were overly casual about it all. We didn't do enough packing beforehand, rented a too-small van, and didn't have nearly enough helpers. The 16 hours it took to move all of our things were totally grueling; my knees haven't felt the same since. Our house is still, basically, a construction site, with no primer or paint on drywall, paper still covering the floors, some of the walls still open, and holes in the floor (covered temporarily with plywood), and dozens of other things too tedious to mention. Still, it's amazing to be rentfree and live in a place we own ourselves.

I had a delusional idea that I would run 12 miles the day of our move, which, LOL NOPE. I didn't do my long tempo that day, or cross-training the next day, or my long run over the weekend. Oh well, that's life. But I'm looking forward to getting back on track this week.

Since I last checked in and wrote about Week 7 of Tobacco Road training, the big news is that my long run pace is finally starting to drop -- a sign that I've turned a corner (I guess!) and the speedwork I've been doing is finally transferring to my long runs. 

For the first six weeks of training nearly all of my long runs have been in the 9:40-10:00 minutes/mile range -- not exactly inspiring for someone who is hoping to qualify for Boston. But in Week 8, I managed 19 miles at 9:17 pace, a nice improvement!!

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday: 6 miles: 1 mile warmup, 2x(6x400 in 1:36 (6:26 pace) w/ 90 sec RI) with 2:30 min RI in between sets, 1 mile cooldown. Ab workout afterward.
  • Wednesday: 50 minutes on the bike, doing another hard/fast bike workout from the RLRF book. The bike workouts start out so short (20 minutes, a Portlandia episode) but lengthen as the plan goes on. I'm starting to think I should start a movie club with my fellow gym patrons.
  • Thursday: 6 with 3@7:54
  • Friday: 3 miles easy. I was supposed to ride the bike again, but they were all taken, so I ran instead.
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: 19 miles (9:17 pace).

Total running miles: 34

Total training time: 6:20

My MO for long runs is to "just run" without looking at my watch. It's hard enough to get out the door knowing I am going to run for THREE HOURS STRAIGHT; it's too much to add pace pressure on top of that. Besides, I am pretty good about knowing what my "long run effort" feels like, and every training cycle I just try to keep my effort the same and hope my speed improves naturally. Needless to say, I was delighted in Week 9 when I finished 20 miles at a 9:00 pace. Everything's coming up!

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  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday:  2 easy miles + bike workout: 10 minutes easy, then a ladder workout with 1/2/3/3/2/1 minutes hard with one easy minute in between, 4 minutes easy to cool down.
  • Wednesday: 5 miles: 2x1600 (6:51) with 1 min RI, 2x800 (3:17) with 1 min RI.  This was hard.
  • Thursday:  Rest
  • Friday: 6 miles with 4 @8:06 
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: 20 miles (9:00)

Total running miles: 33

Total training time: 5:42

Then, Week 10/Moving Week happened and everything came off the rails.

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday:  3x(2x1200) @ 6:45 pace. Another awesome, ass-kicking workout.
  • Wednesday: 45 minutes on the bike.
  • Thursday:  Moving day! Planned 10 @ GMP (8:12) // Actual: A million trips up and down the stairs; a million trips back and forth, loading and unloading, for 16 hours.
  • Friday: Unplanned rest day (Felt 80 years old when I woke up)
  • Saturday: Unplanned rest day
  • Sunday: Planned 15 miles // Actually did about 5.5 miles before I stopped out of worry I was doing permanent damage to my banged-up legs.

 Total running miles: ~10.5

Total training time: ~2:40