Week 6: Wisconsin Half Marathon Training

Week 6 marks the end of my first Pfitzinger mesocycle, which was all about endurance and base-building. I went into the week feeling psyched that I was almost done with "the boring part" of this training cycle and was looking forward to enjoying one last week of long easy runs.

After taking a rest day on Monday, I met up with the brand-new Wicker Park/Bucktown/Ukrainian Village running group. The sidewalks looked pretty bad but I was craving some quality outside time so I decided to just go slow and run in the street if I hit slippery spots.

Sidewalks all around my neighborhood are covered in frozen slush.

Sidewalks all around my neighborhood are covered in frozen slush.

I got 3-4 miles out of the way before meeting up with the group. The guy who organized the run had mapped a route in advance and the four of us stuck together and chatted over the next 3 miles. I rarely run with other people, so I'm always surprised by how quickly the miles go by when I'm with someone else. 

Unfortunately, I woke up the next morning with some killer shin pain, probably from running on the ice-covered slush mess. In most of my previous training recaps I mention some kind shin pain, but this was much sharper and felt more serious. I had ended last week thinking last week's pain had gotten better, but here I was again.

Giant patches of ice.

Giant patches of ice.

I was planning to do 6 or 7 on Tuesday  but looped back for home after only 3 anxious, slippery miles. That night I felt positive an injury was creeping up on me. I had built miles very, very slowly over 16 weeks, and I've taken perfect care of myself, enforcing the "slow" part of long slow distance. My only goal during this entire time was to add miles and not get injured and I wondered if I had failed.   

I Thursday off, and on Friday I opted for the controlled environment of the gym so I could eliminate environmental variables and mental distractoins and try to assess the damage. I climbed on the treadmill cringing expectantly, but found both my legs to be curiously painfree for the most part. They felt tight, but after warming up and stretching I went on to finish 8 completely fine and even pleasurable miles. Psyched and jacked on adrenaline, I wanted to keep running, but I talked myself down.

Nice to look at, but bad for my shins.

Nice to look at, but bad for my shins.

I felt confident enough to set out on Saturday morning for 10 miles. I was at the park before leaving and saw it had flooded during the rainstorms we had earlier in the week and frozen over.

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It looked like there was about 3" of solid ice covering the east end of the park. In a few places, the ice had cracked or showed trapped air bubbles, but I walked very carefully all over and the ice didn't make a sound.

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When I started running I was nervous about how my legs would feel, but everything was in good working order. I stuck to a leisurely pace, swooping up and down the blocks and listening to podcasts. The sun was peeking out and the rooftops dripped melted snow on my head every few minutes. 

On Sunday I did another twenty minutes or so of running to test them again: No pain -- which is great, but also, this is how I felt at the end of last week only to find myself cycling through it again!

February 4 - February 10

  • Monday -Rest
  • Tuesday - 6.5 easy miles with my running club
  • Wednesday - 3 easy miles
  • Thursday - Rest
  • Friday - 8 miles
  • Saturday - 10.5 miles
  • Sunday - 2.5

Total: 30.5