Sometimes when I write these training logs, I realize how I’ve evolved as a runner over the past several years. I used to run exclusively on the treadmill – partially because there was often rainy or snowy weather in the Indiana town everyone fondly called Val-pour-rain-snow – and then, when I did start running outside, I would bundle up at even 50 degrees.
In some ways, I’ve become more resilient to running in cold and inclement weather. I remember a breakthrough run when training for my first half marathon in Indiana, when I ran a 12 mile long run in a light sleet. The weather is just another training element to use to make me stronger (as long as I am safe and prudent about it!).
Weather in Seattle went from gloriously chilly fall weather to rainy season in a matter of days. This change in weather mixed up my training schedule – I wanted to enjoy the nice days and get in most of my miles before a nasty storm hit the Seattle area over the weekend. By my long run, my legs felt the fatigue of the week (since I hadn’t rested since last Monday) – but this also gave me some practice of running on tired legs.
Monday: 10 mile progression run with the last 3 miles at goal marathon pace
This run struck the middle ground between a race specific workout and an easy run – 3 miles at marathon pace isn’t too hard on the body, but it’s great for teaching the body how to hold that pace at the end of a run. I ran along a hilly route (since CIM has rollers for the first ~16 miles) and then increased my effort as I climbed the final hill. I focused on even effort as I ran up and down the hill.
Tuesday: AM: 7 miles easy; PM: 20 minutes strength training
I switched my rest day to Thursday and opted to run on Tuesday because Tuesday was clear skies and Thursday was supposed to be the first of many, many rainy days. Also, the temperature outside was below 40 and I couldn’t resist a chilly morning run.
I wasn’t alone in enjoying the chilly temperatures: as I rounded a hairpin turn, I encountered a heron in the middle of my trail!
With 8 weeks to go to the marathon, I need to focus on strength training, especially my legs and core. Still inspired by Crystal Seaver’s talk at the Rise.Run.Retreat, I incorporated lateral exercise and exercises using the resistance band into my routine this week. I did weighted squats to overhead press, 3-way lunges (forward, side, reverse), lateral band walks, front and lateral arm raises, and glute bridges with the band. Ouch. My legs were burning!
Wednesday: 7 miles easy
The longer I live in the PNW, the more I realize I have a Midwesterner’s tolerance for the cold. This is shocking to me because I always complained about the (well-below freezing and sometimes below zero) temperatures we would get during winter in northwest Indiana.
Well, now I’m the person who runs in shorts and a single long-sleeve shirt even when the temperature dips below 40.
When I left for my run, my car thermometer informed me that it was 35 degrees outside. I’m not sure how accurate my 11 year old Honda is, but that was cold enough to warrant wearing gloves and my Dr. Cool headband from the Rise.Run.Retreat. The weather was glorious. The sun was shining (what? in Seattle?!) and I soaked up every moment of rain-free running that I could.
Thursday: 18 mile long run with last 4 miles at marathon pace
The forecast predicted a nasty wind and rain storm to begin on Thursday, with severely high winds on Friday and Saturday. I opted to move my long run for safety (because I knew that I would quit if I attempted to run 18 miles on the treadmill). All 18 miles were in the rain, with wind (not as bad as on last week’s long run).
My legs still felt achy from Tuesday’s strength workout (that’s what I get for skipping a few weeks of weight lifting) and my calf cramped around mile 7 and stayed cramped throughout the remainder of the run. My calf probably cramped because I skipped my dynamic warm up (it was raining!) or because I probably slightly altered my gait due to the wet pavement. It wasn’t a bad cramps, just a nuisance.
So needless to say, this run wasn’t easy – but it wasn’t awful, either. Like every long run, there were good miles and there were rough miles. I started the run wondering how I was going to run a marathon even near my goal pace of 8:05-8:15/mile, but by the end, I felt more confident in my abilities as a marathoner. The final 4 miles at marathon pace were not as hard as I anticipated – I actually had to focus on holding back my effort a bit and averaged just under an 8:00/mile.
Friday: 40 minute Pilates sculpting workout from Pilatesology
I spent the entire day confused about what the day of the week was, since I am so accustomed to doing my long runs on Fridays. I was so happy to have a rest day – both after the hard long run and with the nasty weather outside. By the time I walked Charlie and Ollie at 7 AM, it was pouring rain and windy. Ollie does the sweetest thing – he tries to lick all of the water off of Charlie when we come in from our walks in the rain. Charlie hates the rain (and so does Ollie), but Ollie does everything he can for his little brother!
I did a sculpting workout from Pilatesology. I served as an excellent strength training workout (lots of focus on glutes, hamstrings, and hip mobility) while also stretching out my tight muscles and realigning my body after the previous day’s long run.
Saturday: 8 miles with 3 x 10 minutes at tempo pace
On the treadmill! I used to run on the treadmill every single day, trained on it regularly during Midwest winters, and even up through last year I still ran on it probably once a week. Now I can’t even remember the last time I ran on the treadmill – I think I have once during this training cycle, but I avoid it unless weather or schedule require otherwise.
Well, weather required otherwise. Saturday was the worst day of the storms, especially in terms of wind. Very high winds – along with lightning and ice – are too dangerous for running outside. The risk of downed power lines, falling trees, and flying debris is never worth doing that one run.
The workout on tap was a fun one – just enough tempo running to give an aerobic boost, but not enough to wear down the body as mileage is increasing. The treadmill throws my perception of effort off, however, so the workout felt hard. With the lack of fresh air to keep me cool, the claustrophobic feeling of the belt, and no variation of scenery, running on the treadmill always ups the mental challenge of a run for me.
We opted to stay at home rather than attempt to hike after the heavy rains and winds. After my first 50 mile week, I decided complete rest was exactly what my body needed. You can’t get faster or improve your endurance if you never let your body recover! And most of all, after all the time spent training, I needed some quality time with my boys.
At 50 miles per week now and 11 weeks into marathon training, I am feeling surprisingly good! My appetite is letting me know that I’m in the middle of marathon training, and I am listening to it.
And finally, I am excited to announce that I am partnering with Stonyfield as a blogger for their YoGetters team! I’ve been making sure I eat yogurt at least several days per week to keep my stomach happy from all of the probiotics, my bones strong with the calcium, and the healthy fats and protein to keep my runger in check. Stonyfield’s Whole Milk Smooth & Creamy yogurt has been my go-to snack recently. I am very honored and excited to be partnering with a company that emphasizes sustainability and nutrition of their foods!
Are you training for a goal race, maintaining your fitness after your fall race, or striving to improve your running? Be sure to check out the new This Runner’s Recipes Training Group!
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