Marathon Training – Weeks 4 and 5 –

This post is going to cover my training from the last two weeks as I did not take time to reflect last Sunday. Starting with my rest day on Monday, March 7th through my run today I covered 46 miles. This is not as much as I had hoped to run the last two weeks. I missed out on about 3 runs over the last two weeks. Part of this was due to Spring Break and the other part due to listening to my body and knowing when to just take it easy.

One thing I have learned since my stress fracture last winter is to know when to listen to your body and not push 100% all the time. I had to learn the hard way.

Two weeks ago I ran an easy 4 mile run on Tuesday, March 8th. I was still tired from running 12 miles along the Mississippi River. Pace was picked up quite a bit on this run to keep up with group. I felt like crap and that did not help the breathing situation. I was breathing very heavy due to fighting a cold and it was just not an enjoyable easy run. I ran this at around 8:21 mile pace.

On Wednesday we ran a 5 mile hill run. I must have rolled over on the struggle button this morning because this was the worst I have felt for any run this year. I was sore from the run yesterday in my quads and hamstrings. I felt like crap with enough pressure in my head that I thought I would explode brains all over. I really struggled to breathe this morning and therefore could not get into a good stride. I think we jumped our pace up too quickly and it caught up to me. Despite feeling like poo, not being able to breathe, sore legs, and just not mentally into the run this morning I was able to finish without stopping which is a good mental test for me to prepare for the actual marathon when I will be dealing with many obstacles in that long run. In many ways, this was probably a good test for me and I would like to think I passed. I ran an 8:37 mile pace and this one is #1 in terms of intensity of measuring my heart rate where I was pushing at 89% threshold which is quite high for this run.

Thursday we had to run a mile test to see how fast we could run. I had never tested a mile before so this was all new to me. Today was the first time for testing myself in the mile. I was not sure how to figure out how fast to run so I just picked a pace and tried to keep that stride. Pretty happy with the results. The wind was brutal on the back 100, but I think once it warms up there is no reason to improve the 6:25 mile pace that I ran this morning to 6:10 or under as I continue to train. My brain was frozen from not wearing a hat like an idiot. We had a mile warm up and a short cool down run afterwards.

Friday we ran 4.16 miles for an easy run. I ran this morning on my own which I have not done in a long time. I listened to my ipod which I also have not done in a long time either. I took it nice and easy giving my legs a chance to recover from running for three straight days prior. It was cold out this morning with a fog/frost air that froze my face. I did not want to run this morning and really thought about not getting out of bed, but glad I got up and went because I feel much better about it now. I ran a 9:08 mile pace and body felt back to normal after a tough week.

Sunday for my long run I was to run 10 miles. I took Saturday off. I was supposed to run another 4 miles easy, but decided against it. I felt great today. I did not do my four mile easy run yesterday. I was burned out of running after four straight days so I took a day off. Today I had the 10 mile run and decided to push a little bit to make up for the run I skipped. As soon as my body warmed up I felt great. It was the best I have felt this year. The run felt easy until the last mile. I kept all my mile paces under 9 minutes finishing my last mile in 8:12. Had a slight asthma attack when I finished due to the cold air, but legs don’t feel bad afterwards. I ran the 10 miles at an 8:38 mile pace.

Monday, March 14th I ran again where I typically take Monday off as a rest day. However, being Spring Break I had to change up my routine as we traveled to Chicago. I was to run 4 miles with strides. Here is what the workout called for: Near the finish of your run, gradually accelerate over 100 meters until you reach 90 percent of all-out effort. Hold that effort for five seconds, then smoothly decelerate. Walk to recover. Repeat this cycle three more times, then cool down. The exact distance of each stride is not critical.
I did not stride at the end, but instead did one stride per mile. This caused my tempo to pick up without me realizing how fast I was running. I felt great. It was 50 degrees outside and I was shocked when I finished. Two great runs in a row. I have two days off for being in Chicago and then time to scale back and run slow for the remainder of the workouts. No need to risk injury or overdoing anything so early in training. Man, I feel great about my progress. Two miles of the run were at 7:24 and that is awesome!!!

I did not run on Tuesday or Wednesday due to traveling in Chicago with my family. However, I think we walked several miles when all was said and done.

Thursday, March 17th I had a 7 mile hill run. I picked a tough course. This morning I ran with another friend of mine who is training for a half marathon and we took off on a course that I put together to give us a good hill workout. We ran two pretty nice size hills that were gradual to really tax the legs. We hit these hills within the first two miles of our run with the idea of turning around and hitting those same hills at the end of our run. After finishing the hills we made it to Middle Road and took off towards the I-80 intersection. This area is nice and flat to recover from the hills and work on picking up the pace. The problem we ran into was the wind. The wind was brutal. If felt like we were fighting for every step and almost like we were pushing a football sled. This was supposed to be the easier part of the run and instead it was the hardest. We survived the wind to only hit the hills again and then finish the last mile in more wind. Since we are on Spring Break I was able to get in a really good stretch afterwards. This felt good after being in Chicago the last two days. We ran this at an 8:41 pace, but it felt like we were pushing much harder when fighting the wind.

Friday I did not run as my wife was out of town all day and I could not leave the kids. Plus I needed rest as I was sore from the hill workout. Additionally, I was playing in a basketball tournament on Saturday and I knew that was going to be a taxing day.

Saturday I played in a basketball tournament and we played three games in about five hours. Not sure how much I actually ran, but I know it was a lot. 3 games in 5 hours and I can barely move this morning. Needless to say I will treat this as a speed workout! 3 – 40 minutes games and I played all but 10 minutes.

Sunday morning I honestly could barely get out of bed. I was so sore from basketball. I had extreme pain in my lower back(probably from the 245 times I was pushed in my back rebounding) and hamstrings, knees and joints were just a mess. I got up to run but it was raining so my mindset was to just rest. However, the rain ended early and I felt like I should run. I was supposed to run 13 miles today as part of my program. I knew that was going to be tough.

I thought about not running at all. After playing 3 games in 5 hours in a basketball tournament yesterday I could barely move today literally. I hurt everywhere, but mostly my hamstrings and lower back. After the rain cleared out this morning I figure I would give it a try as I know these long runs are the most important and I only got two runs in this week so I was behind on my running. I hurt every on single stride. This run was not easy nor was any moment enjoyable. Not only did my body hurt everywhere, but I took a new route and this route just so happened to be the hilliest route I have ran to date. I check every run on my Garmin for elevation and this one takes the cake. At mile 6.5 I was dead, but was so far out that I had to continue. I took a new route home and that lead to two more monster hills that wiped me out. I overdressed as the heat rose quickly and I was overheating like a dog in heat. Finally, I found a stride for a while when it flattened out. I thought about pushing on through to get my 13 miles in today(that was the intended goal) at mile 10 because I felt I could do it. However, at mile 11 my foot where I had the stress fracture started to hurt pretty bad along with minor cramps in my calves and left hamstring. I fought it out for .5 miles and finally called it. Running another 1.5 miles was not worth fighting through the pain and causing more damage. Had I not played basketball yesterday I would have been fine.

Next weekend I am supposed to run 15 miles on Sunday, but I am in another basketball tournament where I could play up to 7-8 games. These two basketball tournaments are really screwing up my training.

As I type this I can barely move. My body is shot. It has been challenged these last two days and tomorrow I am resting. I am not going to do anything. I was thinking about lifting, but not sure I even want to do that.

Back at it on Tuesday. Somehow, someway I will get my runs in this week. I need to get them in. At this point I don’t know if I can do a marathon. It just seems like more running than what my body can handle. However, I have to remind myself that I am only 5 weeks into the training and have a long way to go. Time will tell, but I am not giving up on my goal.

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