Life as a Marathoner

2 weeks since Toronto Waterfront. 2 very long weeks spent in recovery. I don’t do well with rest days. I workout 6 days a week, the first week I didn’t do anything. I don’t like it. I planned to up my cross training game last week.

I decided it was a good idea to start this off with stair repeats. Which turned into a stair climb/run circuit which turned in to a very bad idea.

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I made a rule I wasn’t allowed to do any back to back running days for the next few weeks which I essentially broke immediately. My first run post marathon was an easy 5k Saturday. I then did an easy 6.5k Monday night, after both I finished with pretty tried legs. And then Tuesday I did the circuit which ended up being 5k and 4 sets of escarpment stair climbs (well over 300 steps each). Significantly bad idea.

Nearly a week later and my calves still haven’t fully recovered. Woops.

I have an 8k race this Saturday I’m pretty much only doing because it’s part of a series. I know I won’t be in prime shape for it but I still want to do as best I can given the circumstances. In order to be as ready as I possibly can be means I need to force another week of extreme rest. I ran Saturday for my first time officially leading the group run. I wanted to run tonight but with calves that are still sore and knowing now how easily damaged my legs still are, I’m skipping the run and swimming instead. Between now and then I’ll do an easy 8-10 Wednesday and some very light cross training only. After Saturday I can see how my body takes the faster pace. If i can run it without any soreness after I can step it up a bit next week running 3 days and getting some yoga/strength training in.

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My plan is to stay in recovery mode for another couple weeks, I’ll be in San Diego for work 2 weeks from now so I’ll take it easy in terms of running that week too. Then once I’m back hopefully I’ll be good to start building my base milage back up and start getting back in to maintenance with long runs and speed/hill work. My next goal race is Around the Bay at the beginning of April which I really want to do well at since I was only able to use it as a training run last year. During the marathon seeing that 30k mark I was like yeah, this would be a fab place to end. It’s a distance that commands alot of respect but doesn’t completely destroy your legs at the end.

I’ll probably start official training for ATB in January or February, until then I really want to focus on speed as a build, no tempos just track work and hill repeats. I’ll be continuing with hill repeats in to ATB training of course but the speed work will have to transition over to tempo/tempo intervals. This of course it weather dependant as tempos in the winter are nearly impossible to execute since you legs never get warm. Days I’m forced inside on the track will have me back at shorter repeats, probably about a km but given my speed that’s actually likely still tempo (tempo intervals are a minimum 5 minutes).

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Sunday I was able to give back to the running community by volunteering at the Hamilton Marathon, it was alot of fun being there and reliving how I felt at my marathon as well as last year since I ran that race last year as my first half.

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Post-half Recovery Week 1

The Mississauga Half Marathon marked the end of a 4-month intense training cycle.   By the end I was counting down the days until taper and recovery. I was wiped, and sore. Very sore. The last couple of weeks my hip was so tight I couldn’t even walk properly I ended up doing a much more significant taper than I’d originally planned just to give my body more healing time before I went to go beat it up again in the half.

I actually wasn’t very sore coming out of this half. I guess my training this spring paid off in that sense. I still wanted to take it easy and give my body a break to ease slowly back into maintenance.

Monday, the day after the half. I took to the pool. I’m a regular swimmer and it’s my main mode of cross training. Swimming is great for recovery and cross training as it lengthens muscles and is zero impact. You will always come out of the pool feeling better than you did when you entered. I only swam for about half an hour, maybe a bit longer and focused more on pulling with my arms and just let my legs move gently. I do this most of the time when I swim to give my legs a break and to give my upper body much needed work out. I often use paddles in the pool to help keep my arm strength up since I gave up weight training.

Tuesday I went out for a short 5.5km recovery run. I’m not sure if I was pushing the pace or if I’ve just gotten faster. But my average pace by the end was 6:20 which was about 30-40 seconds faster per km than what I was expecting. So we’ll see what my next solo runs bring.

Wednesday finally took a rest day and went for a wonderful 90 minute massage. I went to a new rmt who is a certified sports massage therapist and it was awesome. At the end she stretched out my legs, focusing on the IT Band which was great as it’s hard to get a good stretch there myself.

Thursday feeling pretty great, minor lingering stiffness and my knee was feeling bit weak still but mostly I was better than I’d been in weeks. I met up with the MEC Burlington trail group and we went out for a nice and slow 8km run with minimal hills for the trail. Felt great the whole run.

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Fridays I always take a rest day. I’m generally too tired and lazy to do anything Fridays so seems like the best day for one. And leaves the evening free for me to socialize and have a life if I choose without messing with my training. The past couple months I’ve been going to a Sweat Relax Restore yoga class most weeks which is great. You mostly just lay in the hot room and do some mild stretching. Always come out feeling better. This was my last class for this though as I had a 2 month groupon that is now over and I won’t continue with this studio as it’s just not in a convenient location. I will be joining a new studio though, just haven’t picked where yet.

Saturday was meet-up trail group again. I don’t always go on Thursdays but Saturdays I do unless I’m racing that weekend. I really love this group and the people there, I’ve been running with them since the end of February and joined as a way to meet other runners since none of my local friends do. This week we were on flatter more groomed trails so it was a pretty easy run which was great because it was crazy hot. I was not a happy runner. My water went warm almost immediately so I didn’t want to drink it. Still, I struggled through to run 10.5km we somehow managed a pace much faster than normal. Probably due to the lack of hills. Generally we walk alot of the steep long hills and the group will stop at the top of them to let everyone catch up and take a breather.

Sunday my plan was to take my bike out for the first proper ride of the season. I was out in the morning though so it was later afternoon and horribly hot by the time I was ready, and I was feeling pretty lazy. So I didn’t end up going out. I could have gone out in the evening but I wanted to go to yoga too and came down to figuring yoga would benefit me more as I need to get more serious about strength training, especially now that I’m in maintenance I have no excuse of tired legs. I ended up being the only one at yoga so I got a private class and she focused a lot on hip openers and such for me since I said I was a runner. Good choice there.

So in the end I ran 3 times this week, for 24km total. Not too bad for an end of cycle recovery week. This week I’ll be bringing back some speed work but still taking is pretty easy, keeping my mileage low. I have a 10k race on Saturday I want to PR. Next week I’ll start adding mileage back in and slowly build back up to whatever I want to be around for the next couple of months before marathon training kicks into high gear.