Between work, the blog, Friday morning long runs and weekend getaways I’ve almost been too busy to notice I’m training for a marathon. That was until last week’s 16 mile slog which was a brutal but timely reminder that I’m half way there, so I figured now was a great time for a check-in!
GEAR I’M LOVING
I never could justify splurging on a GPS watch before I started training for the marathon, especially with so many great, free running apps out there. On one hand they’re pretty accurate and totally do the trick for shorter runs, but they’re not always reliable and can eat up a fair amount of our monthly data plan, so I decided to splurge on a legit watch. Literally one day after I had started researching them, my friends at RunOutlet offered to outfit me with a sleek new Garmin 620. Man-o-man is this thing a dream, and attractive too! I can’t believe I ran without one for so many years.
I started off training in the new Mizuno Wave Inspires (my shoe of choice for the last few years) but as much as I wanted to love them, the new design seemed to lack the cushioning I need for these longer runs. I ended up in the Saucony Guide 5 which so far has been wonderful! I like them so much I’m planning on picking up a pair of the Guide 6 to get me through the rest of my training.
ACHES AND PAINS
With exception of a piriformis flare-up (which I’ve unknowingly suffered from for years, off and on) my training has been relatively pain free. What’s piriformis syndrome? Well, I’ll spare you the details but simply put… it’s a huge pain in the butt! I never bothered to get it checked out before because if it started bothering me I’d simply dial back the running. I knew that wasn’t an option this time, so–pardon the pun–I got to the bottom of it. So far it’s been responding well to stretching, rolling and strengthening exercises!
Experimenting with food-based fuel the past few long has been a learning experience to say the least. I’ve tried granola bars (too chewy), pretzel crisps (too dry), and even mashed sweet potato that somehow ended up all over my shirt last week (clearly, too messy.) I hate to say it but I think real food might just be a bit too complicated for me to handle at this stage in the game. Running 18 miles requires a fair amount of fuel but if I can’t get it in, what good is it? I’ve had blocks before but I think this week I’m going to try a couple of different gels which, again, is unchartered territory. Got any tips or favorite flavors?
LONG RUN RECAP
8 Miles: The first long run back is always tough. My initial thought afterwards? There’s no way… Pace – 8:55/mile
8 Miles: Thankfully this one felt easier than the first and was quite a bit faster too! Pace – 8:35/mile
10 Miles: Pretty sure I was asleep for this one because I don’t remember a thing about it––but with a 5:45am start time I’m not surprised. Pace – 8:45/mile
12 Miles: My new Garmin’s maiden voyage! I think I was so excited about my new watch I completely disregarded the run itself. Pace – 8:55/mile
14 Miles: Having only run half marathons before, Anne, my grad school BFF, told me 14 miles would make marathon training real–and man was she right. Unfortunately my piriformis made it feel really damn real. Pace – 8:53/mile
Half Marathon: A couple of weeks ago I ran the Muir Woods Half Marathon with Erin, my training buddy, and our dear friend Jacquelyn of Fitsouffle. It was a gorgeous but treacherously steep trail run with over 3,000 feet of elevation gain. I wasn’t breaking any records with that incline but did finish in just under 3 hours which was the goal I had set for myself!
12 Miles: We originally had 15 miles on the schedule but traded down for 12 after the 3,000 foot climb the weekend before. It was the right call in the end because those 12 actually felt like 15. Pace – 8:57/mile
16 Miles: I hate to end the long run recap on a bad note but sadly I’m still trying to forget this one. This was by far the toughest run of my life, both physically and mentally. I knew from the start my legs weren’t in it and somewhere between mile 10 and 11, I broke–mentally as much as physically. As I slowed to a walk I felt completely defeated, but looking back that’s exactly what needed to happen. Those 5-10 minutes gave my legs a short break and my mind room to overcome the self-doubt that had crept in along the way. I’ve heard these runs happen to pretty much everyone training for a marathon but let me tell you, that one nearly had me convinced I couldn’t do a full 26.2. Pace – 9:30/mile
LONG RUN REVELATIONS
- Long runs make me want to shop for cute, comfortable clothes and cashmere throw blankets. Like on a weekly basis.
- Weekday long runs make the weekends exponentially more enjoyable.
- Running more than 16 miles before work is probably not the best decision (see revelation #4).
- Really tough long runs will induce feelings of drunkenness afterwards… which is actually quite brilliant.
Marathon training will make you say some pretty ridiculous things. Why not share some of them?
- My legs are not looking forward to tomorrow. -Me
- Fingers crossed it doesn’t downpour. (It downpoured…) -Erin
- I’m definitely wearing flip flops with a blouse. #dontcare -Me
- I’m falling asleep at my desk. -Erin
- Coca Cola tastes like liquid gold… Maybe I’ll put that in my water bottle next week. -Me
- P.S. I still feel drunk. (4 hours after we finished our 16 miler, still at work) -Erin
- The drunkenness has worn off! [Insert balloon & confetti emoticons] Although my coordination is a joke so maybe not…(9 hours after finishing our 16 miler, on way home from work) -Me
After doing a bit of reading and chatting with a few experts about training fatigue, I’m taking this week off, with the exception of light walking and bike riding to/from work, and some stretching/yoga. Hopefully giving my legs a more serious break and time to recover will make this week’s 18 miler better!
Marathoners: How do you recover from those runs that leave you feeling mentally and physically beat up?