Sunday, August 9, 2015

Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon Training: Week Two

I was surprised last week just how hard truly putting in the work to train for a marathon is, and I was honestly a little concerned about the following 15 weeks. However, I think my body remembered much more than I gave it credit for, and this week was 100 times easier, even though it had slightly higher mileage and intensity than week 1. I'm still really excited to train, and that slightly "off" feeling I had last week is gone.

My main takeaway from this week is I really need to be serious about doing my foam rolling and stretching every single day. I slacked off here and there when I wanted to sit on my butt instead, but I found the next day would leave me achy and craving a good roll all day at work, to the point it got a little distracting. (You know you're a runner when....) I have no excuse not to spend 15 minutes every night doing those little extras.

Sunday, August 9

I honestly don't remember what I did this day, but it involved a lot of sitting around, which made for the perfect rest day.

Monday, August 10
AM - 3 mi easy (11:24 min/mile)
PM - 10 min spin WU, NROLFW Stage 2A-2

We finally had some rain overnight Sunday, so it was very pleasant out Monday morning! I even saw a hummingbird zipping by when I was in the wetland protection area.

Tuesday, August 11
AM - 320 yd swim
PM - 6 mi easy (10:55 min/mile)

I'm really surprised and pleased how fast this easy run was. When I saw my splits creeping to sub-11s, I stopped looking at my watch and focused on really going easy. The fact that this truly was a sub-11 pace was a great confidence booster!

Wednesday, August 12
AM - 2.8 miles hills
PM - 10 min spin WU, NROLFW Stage 2B-2

Last week, my hill workout felt really hard and I was discouraged about if I would ever improve, considering in two weeks I'm supposed to go from two sets of hills to four, but this time I felt great! Obviously the workout was still hard and my heart rate really got up there, but I didn't lose my form and didn't feel like I wanted to die.

Thursday, August 13
AM - 320 yd swim

Friday, August 14
AM - 5 mi tempo (1 mi WU, 3 mi @ 9:53, 1 mi CD)

I'm not sure if the heat and/or humidity were down from last week, or if I was just better rested, but this tempo run felt a million times easier than last week's! It was still uncomfortable, but I was able to just zone out to my podcasts and enjoy it, rather than counting down the seconds.

Saturday, August 15
PM - 11 mi long w/ FF (8 mi @ 11:22, 3 mi @ 9:53)

I had an allergist appointment Saturday morning and didn't feel like getting up early enough to get my long run in before then. I do really enjoy running in the evening, so it didn't bother me all that much. In the reverse of most days this week, this Saturday was much more humid than the past Saturday, and I could really feel it! 

I have started taking a salt capsule every 45 minutes on my long runs, and this time I noticed a huge difference in my energy levels and mental state. I really notice it when I get back and, while I am still sweaty and gross, I am not the abomination I once was.

I was also pretty nervous to try the fast finish Hal Higdon recommends in his plans for non-beginners. Since it was so humid and because I had had three vials of blood taken at the allergist (to confirm some things my skin test was showing), I gave myself permission to back off if necessary. I spent the whole first segment counting down until I had to speed up, which actually made those eight miles fly by.

It turns out all the worry was for nothing - I held slightly under my goal marathon pace for the last three miles without too much of a struggle. The first mile was really hard, but I found by the third my heart rate and breathing had settled back down - my body was plenty capable of what I was asking it to do. I'm only going to incorporate these every three weeks, but I think they're going to give me a ton of mental fuel for the last 10K of the race.

Run Miles: 27.8 mi
Bike Miles: 5.1 mi
Swim Miles: .4 mi
Lifting Time: 1:14
Total Time: 6:56

I'm so delighted with how this week went, but I am pretty fatigued from increasing the training load. This coming week will be my first cutback week of the training cycle - no speedwork and a shorter long run (only eight miles). This break was a great motivator in giving it my all the last two weeks. I know some people only cut back every fourth week, but I find three works much better for my body.

I also finally(!!) had luck in finding a great allergist. He needs the results from my bloodwork to determine the final make-up of my serum, but hopefully I will be starting back up on my shots in the next week or two. This fall will not be the best, because the shots won't have had much time to get into my system, but he gave me a few new things to try to help mitigate the symptoms in the mean time. They all rely on steroids, which I've found give me bad side cramps while running in the past, so it will be an interesting challenge to balance everything.

But the best part is this coming week has multiple days of rain in the forecast! Here's to hoping for some nice cool weather.


  1. Awesome week! I always have a hard time finishing a long run strong. Are you liking your lifting program? I like to lift but could probably use more structure. Also, what do you take for salt pills? I bought a sample of one, but haven't tried yet. I'm curious if they may help me on my longer runs, but I'm afraid to take the leap and try them!

    1. Yes, I really like NROLFW! It can be a bit time-consuming once you get past the first stage, but I love not having to think at all when I get to the gym. I got SaltStick tablets (that's just what REI had in stock). I was really nervous to try them, but on my shorter long runs, I've already noticed a huge difference! I feel more energized, and I don't get the uncomfortable swelling in my hands. I'll be interested to see if it helps with cramping when my mileage gets up there. I think the only downside is I seem to retain lots of extra water the next day, but I'm assuming that's pretty normal.