Monday, December 12, 2011

Marathon Training: Week 4

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 four!

Last night, I went to bed at 8:30 and slept straight through to 7:30 this morning. I wasn't sick, I wasn't hungover, and I wasn't depressed. I was just really, really, really tired. I'm feeling much better now.

Lots of things - good and not-so-good - happened during this past week of training (turns out, 14 is an unluckier number than 13). I'll spare you the extensive prologue and jump right into the thick of things.

Monday: As you may recall, I didn't do a long run last week, deciding instead to push it to Monday of this week. I had planned to run 14 miles this morning, but at mile six I had to stop by the house to deal with some gastrointestinal issues. I ran one more mile after that, but it was clear that my stomach would not be silenced. I tried  to remember what I had for dinner the previous night and then remembered... half a bottle of wine, chocolate coconut bread, sweet potato fries, chips and guacamole, while hanging out at a birthday party. Not what I would consider top notch fuel. Decided to push this run back yet again. (7 miles = 1:12:24, or an average pace of 10:21.) 

Tuesday: I went to the 6:00 AM Ashtanga class at the YMCA again, and it was much different from last week's experience. This time, we did actual Ashtanga - the whole first series. It was tough and a good workout, but I don't know if I would enjoy a practice where we do the same thing every single class. I have mixed feelings about Ashtanga, but I'm grateful for the option.  

Wednesday:  I woke up sore all over from Ashtanga, but the weather was so beautiful I couldn't resist a short run before kettlebell class. Ran a four mile loop that ended at the YMCA, went to class, and then ran a slow mile back home for an even five. The run home was really hard, as kettlebell did a number on my legs, but I just imagined what the last mile of a marathon feels like and then it wasn't so bad.

Kettlebell was led by Christine, who is my favorite instructor. We swung and squatted for the first 15 minutes, and then did ab work for the last 15. I crunched and twisted until my abdominal muscles literally gave out. It was wonderful. 

Thursday: Ashtanga + Kettlebell = a very sore Chrissy. Rest day.  

Friday: Four mile run to the YMCA; Kettlebell; one mile run home. Same routine as Wednesday.

Saturday: Yoga at the YMCA. This class was taught by an older woman who used to be a ballerina. Slow and steady movements but a great stretch and definitely a challenge. I like this class a lot and the instructor was wonderful - clear, easy to follow, and radiating good energy. 

Sunday: This was my second attempt at the 14 miler, and it was going great until about mile ten. My IT band started to act up. I finished mile 12 right near my house (never a good idea) and rather than do another two mile loop I decided enough was enough. The perfectionist in me was disappointed to have fallen short of my goal, but the rational part of my brain said that two miles wouldn't make or break a training plan, that it's better to cut a run short than risk injury, and that 12 is still a decently long run. I ran 12 miles in 2:06:24, which works out to an average pace of 10:32.  

Total miles: 29! 

Final thoughts: I'm hoping the IT band issue will be resolved when I get new running shoes for Christmas. My current shoes are way past their prime (they literally have holes in them) but I've been too poor to replace them. In the meantime, I'm going to keep going to yoga (finally hit two classes this week!) and look up some additional stretches and strengthening exercises that will help soothe my poor legs. I know some of my readers have dealt with this issue before, so if you have any advice you're willing to share, please do!


  1. Loving your training posts!  What docs first thought was my IT band, then my piriformis, turned out to be an extremely pulled gluteus minimus muscle.  Two years worth of extremeley pulled.  Just a thought....I'm doing stretches with bands and planks...which ended up popping my knee and now I can't run. (so be careful with planks)  PT guy recommended elliptical to strengthen my butt muscle. If you are interested in the stretches, I can scan you a copy of the PT sheets and email them to ya :)

    If it's your IT, this may not be the right advice though.  Hope you get better and thanks for the motiviation :)

  2. Oh, Ashtanga! How do I miss going to mysore 2-3 days a week! I wish I had the discipline to do the full primary series early in the morning on my own or that my local yoga studio had more offerings that actually fit my schedule. 

    I hope the ITB problems clear up quickly!

  3. Oh, boy.  I just read Raquelita's post about feeling like she's falling short of her goals, and now I think that all three of us feel like we're just not meeting our goals the way we would like.  Things are going to get better, right?  I hope so :-/

  4. What are your running shoe plans for Christmas?

  5. 29 miles is great!

    I just signed up for another marathon, and will be starting training next week. I'm excited to get in a routine!

    I had IT band issues in my last marathon (ironically, not at all during training). My therapist said yoga, stretching with the foam roller, and one-leg squats to strengthen my quads, and these side- knee raises to strengthen my hip flexors.

  6. I really have no idea what it is, but I do know that I have been doing less yoga than in the past. I am going to up my yoga and see if that helps. Thanks for the input!

  7. I'm glad to hear from someone who loves Ashtanga! I am having trouble falling in love with it, but I'm committed to at least one class a week. Especially once the semester starts and the earlier classes will be a necessity!

  8. Just an end of the year bump in the road. Getting it out of our system before 2012!

  9. I'm sticking with the Kinvaras. I really like them and they have worked well for me thus far. I still have all my toe nails, so that's a plus!

  10. Thanks, Sarah! I really think my troubles are due to not enough yoga. Whenever I've trained in the past, I have practiced yoga really consistently (3-4 times a week). I am getting back into my yoga groove (finally!) so I hope that helps.

  11. I just signed up for Vermont City Marathon again. I've done it the past three years. Last year, I had the bad knee pain during the race.

    I'm working on my marathon schedule, and I did have weights two days a week and one day of yoga. Maybe I should take out weights and just do more yoga?

  12. I'm doing weights AND yoga. It's a lot (and probably why I'm so tired lately!) but I feel like strengthening and stretching are equally important. Everyone's different, though. If you start to experience pain down the road, you can always up the yoga later. Or even just find some good yoga stretches for runners and do those after your runs. I might try that as well, especially when I'm crunched for time.

  13. I did Ashtanga 1-3 days a week for almost an entire year. My arms looked the best they ever had. When I started really training for my first marathon, I fell off the yoga mat pretty much entirely, though. Then I moved and my local studio doesn't really offer Ashtanga very much and the times conflict with my teaching schedule.

  14. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That goes for shoes and toenails.

  15. I had so much to so about your plan and running but then I read about holes in your shoes and can't think of anything else.