Reflections on Marathon Training

I really did a great job of updating the blog with my training the last 4 months… Or not. I have a few drafts that I started but never turned into much. I was writing (a different kind of writing) a lot at work the last few months and just had no motivation to put my thoughts into coherent sentences in the evenings. Now my life outside of running has slowed down and words aren’t so hard.

Now without running the race I’m going to rate this training cycle. Overall I would give myself a B. This cycle was just so much different than early 2014, I’m in a much better place professionally, which has helped me have a much more positive perspective in life. I had so much going on during that cycle that I didn’t have to deal with this time, like interviewing for a new job, getting the job and having to transition 3 days after coming back from the race,  my best friend going through chemo but being across the country and feeling like I can’t do anything to help her, and my dad getting diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. Fortunately all of those things are done with and my stress level is back to my normal amounts.

Lots of time spent with this little guy

My weekly training looked mostly like this- two easy runs (3-6 miles); one speed workout (5-6 miles total, paces from 8- 8:23 min miles depending on interval length); one tempo run (usually around 9 min miles but higher 9s as long run volume increased); and one long run from 12-21 miles. I peaked at 42 miles this cycle and was usually in the mid to high 30s.

It was a hot summer

I had no problem hitting any of my speed and tempo paces. Now I’m not saying they were easy, some of them really sucked, but I used the speed and tempo workouts as mental challenges. I’m going to want to quit in the race and I really wanted to work on the mental side of things this cycle. I did have to back off of speed work for a couple weeks due to an injury, but overall did a good job with these. I think 400s are my favorite, they’re fast and they suck but they’re over quicker. Mile repeats are my least favorite because they’re hard and they last 8 min and 20 seconds.

Long runs are hard and they really suck when it’s hot out. However I never had to walk (except for one super hilly one, sorry for that route Sarah, I’ll never do that to us again) in any of them. While I did struggle in the heat for the first month or so, it got better and I only stopped for the bathroom or to fill up my water bottle. I ran both of my 21 milers alone, which was another mental strength tactic for me. I’m racing alone and I need to be able to pull myself out of the dark places late in the race. I feel really good about the amount of long runs that I did. I ran 16 miles at least 5 times (I think maybe 6 times), 18 miles twice (I think, it might be once) and 21 miles twice. Coming into this cycle with a good base really allowed me to start running these long runs pretty early on and build endurance (and confidence). But the long runs were my least favorite and something I dreaded most of the week.

This vest made long runs easier!
So yes I did get injured but it only caused me to stop running completely for a week and miss 1 of 3 21 milers. However it did get me to see a biomechanics guy to figure out the root cause of a couple nagging things. Now I know what’s wrong and I’ll really focus on long term solutions in the off season. And funny enough I had the same injury as my first marathon cycle but on the other foot. I probably should write a post about the biomechanics stuff because it was really awesome.

Biomechanics is fun! And that angle needs to get to 172 or below to keep my peroneal tendon for being mad. The 2 degree change is from a make shift orthotic in my shoe.

Now it’s race week and I’m focusing on obsessing over the weather and what I’m doing in DC instead of going crazy over the race. I have somewhat of an idea of what I’m going for in this race time wise but you’ll just have to wait until afterwards to find out what that is and whether or not I hit it.

If you’re interested in tracking me on Sunday, you can follow along on the marine corps marathon website or app, my bib number is 34861!

Also, I’m planning a whole post on this but I’ll start the plug now, I’m fundraising for the 26.2 with Donna (only running 13.1) to raise money for breast cancer research! 100% of the proceeds of the race go to breast cancer research and awareness and care for those with the disease and no means to pay for treatment. This cause is very close to my heart and if you would like to support me, you can donate here:

So this week I’m relaxing, doing one key speed workout and two easy runs, spending time with my Chiro and massage therapist and using the below wall for inspiration

See you on the other side of the marine corps marathon!!

2 thoughts on “Reflections on Marathon Training

  1. I love that wall – is that at your desk? Those hills were killer, but I’ll probably wish I did them more during the 10 miler this weekend.
    Congrats on a killer training cycle. I have a strong suspicion you’re going to crush this marathon.

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