Marathon Training Recap: Week 7

Over the last week, I’ve been watching a lot of soccer, judging players by how well they know their own National Anthem, and yelling more than usual at the television (Giuseppe just sits there looking at us, bewildered).  But also, during the “down time” when people are just running back and forth across the field and not scoring, I’ve been thinking a lot about the conditions in which they have to play.

1) These dudes are sprinting for about 50 minutes at a time (almost non-stop).

2) They are playing in an jungle where it is hot and humid.  I imagine it might feel something like playing soccer in a steam room, but with more clothes.

3) There are no porta-potties on the field (I don’t want to dwell on this too much because I’m sure things have been done).

4) They are having to actually think and communicate and strategize while sprinting (potentially needing to pee) in the hot humidity.

Stefano Rellandini, Reuters

They look hot. And scary. 

4) They have to put forth a 100% effort, then they only get 3-4 days to recover before having to put forth another 100% effort…they do not get a “taper.”

5) Apparently they do most of this without water breaks or nutrition breaks (much was made of the fact that a referee let everyone take a HISTORIC 30 second water break during the USA vs. Portugal game).

6) ALSO: sometimes, they break their noses…or they get bit.

Basically, these people are having to play well and win in conditions that would cause most of us to go into breakdown mode if we encountered them during our runs.

I’ve determined that I need to adopt the mentality of a World Cup soccer player…preferably a good one.

10422554_818327120465_4633195273892978387_nIn front of Maracana Stadium in Rio, they have the footprints of the great Brazilian futeball players.  Time to channel my inner Pele.  

Adverse conditions are a given and even then, working hard will be uncomfortable/painful even in perfect conditions.  But to allow myself to give up or slow down will result in personal defeat (admittedly, less scary than international defeat), so the only option is to keep fighting. Otherwise, I will be the England of marathons.

I don’t think anyone in England is walking right now around saying, “they didn’t bloody win, but it’s ok because they were playing in the bloody jungle.”   No, I think those soccer chaps will be buying their own beers at the pub for a while.

Workout Recap:

Monday: 4 mile recovery run

Tuesday: 6×800 (with 1 mile warm-up and 3/4 mile cool-down): Kept it at a 3:35 average for the 800’s.  These need to be faster.

Wednesday: 4 mile recovery run

Thursday: Tempo Run 10/20/10 Kept the tempo average pace to 7:46 which is great! I’d like this to be closer to 7:30 by the time training is done, but I did notice that it felt a lot more comfortable this week, so I think my body is finally accepting that sub-8 miles aren’t sprinting.

Friday: REST

Saturday: REST (we went kayaking).  Marathon training has prevented us from participating in a lot of recreational warm-weather activities, so this was an awesome way to celebrate the first day of summer!


Sunday: 13.1 miles at half marathon pace: My half marathon pace is 7:47.  I ran this at an 8:32.  I knew I would never be able to hold half marathon pace without actually running an organized half marathon.  I mostly just wanted to get as many sub-8 miles in as possible, and push it harder than I have been for long runs.  Overall, I did okay/meh.  My slowest mile was my first at 9:20. I stayed sub-9 after that, but I couldn’t get myself any faster than an 8:07.  I hit a mental wall at around mile 8, but I know that I could have pushed harder through it if I had adopted the mentality of a World Cup soccer player.

I do think this run was a good “real world” indicator of where I’m at.  I know what I need to work on over the next 6 weeks before taper begins, and I still have confidence that I can hit sub 3:30, even if I don’t make it all the way down to 3:25.

This coming weekend we have 19/9 (OHMYGOD), and then we are up to 20! This training cycle has been flying by.

Hope you are having a great week! GO USA!

11 thoughts on “Marathon Training Recap: Week 7

  1. I’ll adopt the biting technique. It might allow me to win a couple of small 5ks. Then we can be ‘World Class Soccer Player’ twinsies. Except I might have a few restraining orders out on me.

    But really, I am in awe of your casual sub-8 minute miles as ‘non-sprinting’.

    • I feel like biting as a means to winning/expressing feelings is finally getting the popularity it deserves! And yeah, I wouldn’t call sub-8 miles “casual”…more like I feel less like death than I used to!

  2. Don’t sweat the 13.1. It’s not truly possible to do 13.1 at half marathon pace unless you basically execute a solid race and that’s not something you’re going to do as a training run in a marathon cycle. I have a general rule of thumb that you’d be 45 seconds/mile faster in a race than in training, and that’s exactly what you were (7:47 -> 8:32). So figuring you more-or-less trained like a 1:41, 1:42 half runner, that translates to low 3:30s in the full if everything is lined up. No clue how you would have held up for another 7. If you would have maintained, then that translates a little better. Either way, you seem to be within reasonable striking distance of where you want to be.

    Curious to see how your 19/9 goes. I presume that’s 19 w 9 @MP? Hope it goes well — that run will tell you a lot about where you are. Keep on training hard — it’ll pay off when you get to the flat, shaded course in Santa Rosa.

    • The 19/9 is actually 19 on Saturday and 9 on Sunday. Since it’s a ramp up week after a down week, the 9 miler will probably only have a few miles at marathon pace. I try to get in at least 1 mile at goal marathon pace per long run, but we’ll see how that goes!

      I think part of the reason the 13.1 training run was annoying is because I DON’T think I could have maintained for very much longer. It was a good wake-up call for me to incorporate more faster miles because I really had to work to keep the pace in the low 8’s. Next week starts my 5 weeks of hard work before taper though, so I know what I have to do to get where I need to be!

      AND SO HAPPY to hear that the course is shaded! I’m nervous about a summer race because it could go either way in the Bay Area, but shade helps!

  3. My daughter, who is a soccer player, and I were just having a conversation the other day about the athleticism of soccer players. From what I remember from playing when I was younger, watching my daughter play over the years, and observing collegiate and professional matches, I’m convinced that the game of soccer ranks at or near the top of the list for being the most physically (and maybe most mentally) demanding!
    Great insight and great job on your training!!

  4. Soccer players are badass. And they bite. 🙂 You’re training is ZIPPING BY! 19/9 is 19 miles followed by 9 miles? I’ll be feeling your pain. This 50K training plan has me doing similar insane back to back runs which I can only hope make me stronger (and exhausted). And hey, if the don’t, I figure I’ll just bite everyone who tries to pass me.

    Keep on runnin’ Amy! You’ll definitely get to where you want to be!!

    Colby the Cannibal

    • I’m just happy that biting as a form of defense if finally getting the recognition it deserves! Especially during a 50k where I assume the trails are narrower and thus easier for contact to be made!

      Good luck with 50K training! That is just as badass as soccer playing I think!

      • I just ran hill repeats in a concrete jungle and nearly died. It’s 90. With 90% humidity. And zero damn shade. This better make me stronger!! Or I will bite! 🙂

        Ps….I just nominated you for the Inspiring Blogger Award! You rock Amy!

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