Marathon Training Recap (Weeks 2-3) + Irrational Runner Syndrome

I really need to get the training recap for the last two weeks out of the way before I get THREE weeks behind.

But first, I did want to offer a little insight, into my brain, and maybe yours too.

Ever since Jen asked if we thought marathons were healthy last week, I’ve been considering some of the commentary that followed.  I think all but one commentator had run a marathon before, so it probably wasn’t the most diverse set of answers, but I think the point was made a few times that marathoners (particularly ones who spend time training and trying to improve speed and skill) usually have the type of personality that values getting the job done no matter what, even if it includes personal injury.  And not only that, we are actually tough on ourselves when we don’t push hard enough or when we don’t meet those goals. “Results-orientated” is our resume term of choice. None of this is groundbreaking information. And I really think this is a source of pride for many of us.

Anyway, on Tuesday, we did our first set of 800 repeats since the puking incident three weeks ago.  Except this time it was 88 degrees outside on a high school track with some teenage pole vaulting club team practicing on the sidelines.

I didn’t push myself to my limit (likely out of fear of making myself sick again but in front of snotty teenagers) AND I FELT SO GUILTY. I was a sad panda all evening.  WHY didn’t I push harder? WHERE was my mental strength when I needed to talk myself through the discomfort? HOW am I going to run a 3:25 marathon when I can’t hit my 800 goal pace more than once per workout?

And then I felt guilty for feeling guilty over something so stupid. People out there have REAL problems, Amy.

And then I just felt crazy.

20140530-130212-46932644.jpgThis is me, wondering if I’m crazy.  Also, I need to get better at taking selfies, because this is scary. 

(Sidenote: I’ve been hanging out in the Run Disney Facebook page the last couple of days because I’m trying to figure out if the Star Wars Half Marathon will be the one that finally gets me to shell out $195 for 13.1 miles, and I’ve come to learn that those Run Disney people are a whole different kind of irrational!).

Did I really want to push myself so hard that I made myself sick again? Was I that upset over my repeat times which were actually not bad considering the heat? Am I making decisions that are causing marathons to be unhealthy for me? And is this something I do regularly?

In addition to the usual stuff like running when something hurt or pushing when I should not have, I have definitely done things like loading up on ibuprofen before a race to make myself more likely to push through the pain (I don’t care if I break my foot during the race as long as I can run through it!).  And last weekend we did the final 4 miles of our long run in the middle of a lightning storm (we had the option of cutting the run short…but we didn’t).  While I tend to think I’m somewhat rational about the running thing…there is a very good chance that I am…NOT.

So, please tell me: what is one crazy thing (or 10) you’ve done for the sake of training?  Yes, I am using you to make myself feel like less of a weirdo. 


Monday: 3 mile recovery run

Tuesday: Hill repeats:  We did 8 1/10 of a mile repeats.  I never really have pace goals for hill repeats just because it really depends on the steepness of the hill, and the distance is all over the place.  I mostly just aim to push hard and stay consistent for each repeat.  I think this workout went well.  There was a hawk circling around us though, probably thinking that we looked near death.

Wednesday: 3 mile recovery run

Thursday: REST DAY (we moved Thursday’s workout back a day since we had sod delivered.  I got a fantastic strength workout carrying the heavy rolls of sod around.

Friday: 10/15/10 Tempo run: This workout was wonderful! I hit 2 miles in just over 15 minutes, averaging about 7:47 per mile. The angels sang.

Saturday: 6 miles (this was supposed to be faster, but we didn’t want to do back-to-back speed workouts followed by a long run, so we cruised it).

Sunday: 12 mile long run (10:14 average pace)  This went much slower than last week for a whole bunch of reasons, but mainly because I ran with a hydration pack for the first time ever (I’ve always used belts before).  I also had run out of sports bras, so I had to wear a supportive top from Lululemon with a decorative cut-out in back. Those two things didn’t mix.  The pack rubbed my skin so raw.  Luckily, I met up with Aaron at one of our long run “checkpoints” (since we don’t run at the same pace), and he had a bandanna that I could use as a bandaid.  It still sucked.

20140530-125620-46580470.jpgCathryn the Brit said this looks like a ninja and I agree! 


Monday: 3 mile recovery run

Tuesday: 3 miles at half marathon pace (ran it with a 8:08 average pace): We ran this as part of a running group on a course that we didn’t create.  The course had 2 long stretches of uphill that really slowed me down on the last mile, ruining my average, but overall not a terrible run. Pushing speed on hills is never a bad thing.

Wednesday: 3 mile recovery run

Thursday: 10/15/10 tempo: I ran the tempo part with a 7:52 average pace which is slower than last week, but still within my goal range. The angels didn’t sing as loudly.

Friday: REST DAY!

Saturday: 13 mile long run:  I forgot to charge my Garmin and it died about 6 miles in.  Up to that point, I was at a 9:50 average, but I know I got faster towards the end because of a lightning storm (nothing like the threat of getting struck to push the pace!).

Sunday: 6 miler: uneventful, and actually feeling really good.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!


15 thoughts on “Marathon Training Recap (Weeks 2-3) + Irrational Runner Syndrome

  1. OMG she is totally right. Ninja all the way.

    The stupidest thing I have done (repeatedly) is doing a run as planned when I’m having “orange flag” type pain–ie, not excrutiating, but bad enough to distract me the entire time–because the thought of missing EVEN ONE RUN seems horrible, only to end up with a more serious injury that results in multiple weeks off. I think regular stretching/rolling/strength training has helped a lot with preventing that, but I have also gotten (marginally) smarter about just sucking it up & skipping a run when I know I’m having a semi-serious issue.

    • Isn’t it stupid how hard it is to skip a run once you get into training mode? I think I’ve also gotten better at recognizing those orange flags, but I haven’t quite got to the point where I don’t feel guilty about missing runs. Hope training is going well for you!

  2. Re last week’s post, I’m a huge believer in running the day after a long race/long run to help with recovery. That was critical for me the year I ran all those races. As you progress through your cycle, mix in some marathon-pace miles into your long runs to get used to the pace, preferably later in the run so you get used to running them on not-fresh legs.

    Re crazy things I’ve done for training, hmmmm … I’ve done some nutty mileage things, but beyond that, several years ago on days when I would do a moderate amount of miles and cross-train with weights, I’d get up and go to the gym at ~2 a.m. or 3 a.m. bc my wife got tired of me always not being there when I woke up. So I’d go, shower, come back and get back into bed at 5.

    Oh, and DON’T RUN IN LIGHTNING! Not worth the risk! That’s something I’ve never done and never willingly will!

    • HI SAM!!! Getting up at 2 in the morning to run and lift is pretty crazy, but nice that you did it to help out your wife in the mornings! A

      And I completely agree about the double weekend long runs…last training cycle I let doubt and well meaning advice sway me away from that, and I didn’t do as well. We’ve started incorporating marathon paced and faster miles into these runs last weekend, and so far so good. Thanks for the advice, as always!

  3. You’re pretty nuts. You already know the stupidest thing I did during training…running with the cracked rib…in all seriousness, it taught me how to breathe more efficiently and find my cruising pace…soooo +1?

    As for your training…you’re doing well and I have no doubt you will get there. Type A personality.

    • Yeah, the cracked rib thing still hurts me to think about. And wasn’t that for the race that you didn’t even get to run? (the last 2 years are one big blur in my head, seriously). Also, I signed up for a Star Wars race at Disneyland in January which seems right up your alley! (They sold out within 2 hours though).

      • The cracked rib was part of the cycle for this year, its all gooood! I saw that you signed up for the Star Wars Half in January, that would’ve been fun to run! If I am still in the LA area come January, a meet up is required, especially if I don’t show up at the Santa Rosa Marathon…which I am still pondering.

      • Absolutely to both LA (ish) and Santa Rosa (if you’re leaving LA, then better load up on the Bay Area getaways while you can)!

  4. I tend to be pretty bullheaded about training, even if injuries start to rear their ugly heads. That’s where I get a little irrational and adopt that “crazy runner” mentality. While I’m not completely stupid and know when to stop running and take a break, I have definitely run through injuries for completely stupid, meaningless reasons. There was one month where my knee was hurting pretty badly but I was 8 miles away from continuing a 100-mile month streak, so I went out and ran. It sucked and likely extended my recovery period longer than needed, but I DID log 100 miles that month (and not a single inch more).

    • I think this tends to be a very common issue amongst runners, especially where arbitrary goals like reaching 100 miles a month are concerned. The problem with being married to a runner…we completely enable (and maybe even encourage) this type of behavior in each other.

  5. I think we all do irrational things when we’re aiming towards a goal – it’s pretty normal. Running in lightening sounds pretty terrifying though. And I would never push myself so hard I puked, so you’re automatically badass-er than me.

    The thing you said that struck me was about keeping perspective of how unimportant running is in real terms – how we might obsess about times and race performances, but actually none of it is important. I try to remember this all the time to keep things in perspective. We are so lucky to be healthy enough to run, anything else is just icing on the cake!

    Hang in there – Santa Rosa’s going to be fab!

    • It is a bit difficult to keep race times and and performances in perspective because we invest so much time and effort into reaching our goals…I’m trying to get better at remembering that this isn’t the most important thing in life. Acceptance is the first step!

      I hope you are having a wonderful time across the pond!

  6. I don’t think I’ve done anything really insane yet in the name of running, though it did hit me while flying over to MCM that I was actually flying across the country to run a frickin’ marathon. A lot of people (non-runners mostly) would consider that crazy.

    The stupidest thing that I might do in a less than a week is run a trail marathon with a slight injury. I’ve totally considered loading up on ibuprofen to get through it… though the rational side of me is like, “WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??”

    • I’ve used ibuprofen to get through my last 2 marathons based on complete paranoia, and I am bound and determined to go “natural” this time around! Glad that you made the SMART decision about your trail race!

      And yeah…the flying across the country thing. We’ve been able to make vacations out of our destination races thus far, but it is kinda silly how much we spend travelling to run (I mean…expenses associated with running Boston were more than we what we spent for an all-inclusive week in Jamaica which I find to be kind of outrageous).

      • That’s crazy about Boston! I knew it was expensive, but I didn’t realize how costly it is. Hopefully I’ll still have friends living there who can put me up if I ever qualify.

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