Monday, December 05, 2011

Marathon Training: Week 3

To aid in my quest to run a four hour marathon on March 18, 2012, I'll be writing training recaps each Monday, documenting the previous week. This is week three!

If there's one thing that marathon training (and life in general) has taught me, it's that every moment has extenuating circumstances. Things rarely go according to plan. Often, your best tool for a happy and productive life is the ability to be flexible. This past week was no exception.

Despite a plan that calls for 26-30 miles a week, I only ran 19 last week. This can be blamed entirely on the fact that I skipped my long run yesterday. I know! I said in the beginning that if I had to skip a run, it would most certainly be an easy workout and never a long run or speed work. And yet! The last week of the semester, an extra class with a visting writer, and an overnight trip with my Pedagogy class make fitting in a 14 mile run really, really hard. While I'm definitely dedicated to marathon training, I didn't move to Wilmington expressly to run a four hour race. I moved here to become a better writer. Sometimes I have to remind myself of this fact and, rather than beat myself up for skipping an important workout, I should applaud myself for putting school and writing first.

Luckily, week four is a step-back week, so I have decided to run my 14 miler today, as soon as I hit publish on this post. After that, it's easy runs for the rest of the week. And just in time - it will be nice to recover from training and from this past semester simultaneously. I definitely need it.

Monday: Rest and recovery from Sunday's 12 mile run.  

Tuesday: An easy four mile run, at an average pace of 10:11. After talking with Chip about pace and training, I decided that even though these easy runs feel too easy, I'm going to trust the experts and slow.the.eff.down. This was my first attempt doing so and it went pretty well. While the first mile was tough and I had to keep adjusting my pace, by mile two I fell into a groove and was able to remain fairly consistent until the end.  

Wednesday: In the morning, I went to a 30 minute kettlebell class and then decided to stick around for the spin portion, to make a full hour long workout.

I decided to wait to do my tempo run until the evening, when Nathan got home from work, even though I prefer to run in the morning. I am a very kind and generous girlfriend. This was my first time running in the dark in Wilmington and I am sad to say that my neighborhood, while gorgeous and awesome, is not very well-lit. That, combined with uneven sidewalks and streets, made for some treacherous running. Nevertheless, we pressed on. Plan called for a 4 mile tempo run with 1 mile warm up and 1 mile cool down. We skipped the cool down and ended up walking about a quarter of a mile home, just because I didn't want to push my luck with the whole running-in-the-dark thing. If someone were to trip and fall during a cool down, it would be me. Guaranteed.

The splits:

1 mile warm up: 9:28
Tempo mile 1: 8:36
Tempo mile 2: 8:35
Tempo mile 3: 8:25
Tempo mile 4: 8:30
.25 mile walk home

My plan called for the fast miles to average 8:57, however! The whole point of a tempo workout is to run at a "challenging but manageable pace" and a 9:00 minute mile (for four miles) is simply not very challenging for me at my current fitness level. While I don't want to over-train or wear myself out, I do want to feel challenged in my workouts. And since I'm committed to slowing my down my easy runs, I feel okay about speeding up my tempo to a pace that feels right for me. 

Thursday: Finally made it to the 6:00 AM Ashtanga yoga class at the YMCA and it was just as I suspected - the best class I've been to since moving to Wilmington. I will have to make this class a habit. A very, very early habit. 

Friday: I wanted to do my long run on Friday but I had so much work to do for school that there just wasn't time. I spent all day at my desk and took a break around 2pm to run an easy five miles, average pace 9:48.  

Saturday: An extra rest day, as I spent the entirety of it either at school or traveling to Bald Head Island for a class retreat. 

Sunday: I planned to make up my long run on Sunday, but after getting back from the trip around 11am I was just way too exhausted (and dehydrated) to attempt it. Instead, I ran an easy five miler with Nathan (pace: 9:43) and decided to move my long run to Monday (AKA, right now!).

Total miles: 19

Final thoughts: Still need more yoga in my life. After Tuesday I will basically be done for the semester. I'm excited to see how my training improves when all I have to do every day is write, read, and run. Sounds like a perfect life to me!