Hi there! How was your weekend?
We had a heat wave this week in the Seattle area. For many of you, our heat wave temperatures would actually probably be a relief week from summer weather. I remember when Ryan and I lived in Northwest Indiana how awfully scorching hot August was. But when your body acclimates to mornings in the mid-50s and highs in the 70s, highs in the 90s feel unbearably sweltering.
And that’s why I’m training for a marathon that is known for cool temperatures and low humidity. I read the average race day temperatures is in the high 40s, with quite a few years when the starting temperature was in the 30s. The temperature at the Portland Marathon reached up into mid-60s near the end of the race and was just too hot for me.
Other than the hot weather, my third week of training for the California International Marathon went smoothly. The workouts got a bit harder, I hit 40 miles this week, and I finished feeling ready for more mileage. This next week will be a cutback week, and then I’ll bump up to 45-48 miles for most of September.
Monday: AM: 8 miles with 6 miles at aerobic threshold (hilly route); PM: 30 minutes strength training
After a mile warm up, I ran 6 miles over rolling hills at aerobic threshold – aka marathon effort or within the range of steady state pace. The effort was moderate – not as hard as a tempo run, but certainly not holding-back-the-pace easy.
I was pleased to see that my marathon effort pace had not changed much since my training for the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon!
For strength training, I tried a new routine. I warmed up with Myrtls, since I’m still working on improving my running form and hip mobility is an area in which I need to improve I did 2 sets of dumbbell swings (my kettlebell is too light for me now), rotating lunges, single leg deadlifts, Pallof presses, bent over rows, and planks.
Tuesday: AM: 6 miles easy run; PM: 15 minutes Pilates
My deep core muscles were sore from the Pallof presses – those are deceptively difficult! I kept my run easy and my Pilates workout short so I wouldn’t completely smoke my core before tomorrow’s fartlek run. I do this often during marathon training (and half marathon training in peak weeks) – cut back on strength and cross training here and there because I’m worried about being too fatigued for a hard or long run.
Wednesday: 8 mile fartlek run
Two deer jumped out of the trees in front of me during my warm up, which was fun to see! I didn’t snap a photo though – when I heard rustling in the trees, my first reaction was to prepare my mace. It’s a bit sad how cynical recent tragedies make us, and seeing two playful deer was a reminder that while we should be aware and safe, there are good things to see on a run outdoors and not everything is dangerous.
I had done this ladder fartlek workout previously in half marathon training – it’s one of my favorites. After a good warm up (the faster the paces, the longer I need to warm up), I ran 1-2-3-2-1-2-3 minutes at 3K-5K effort with equal duration recovery. The varied lengths make the workout fun and mentally engaging and by the final 3 minutes you’re really huffing and puffing. Even though it’s only 14 minutes of hard running, 3K effort is a very hard effort – especially for us distance runners.
Fast running finally clicked again with my body for the first time in a while. While the hard intervals felt quite challenging, I settled into them more naturally. My hamstring wasn’t tight at all either, unlike it had been on hill and fartlek workouts the past two weeks. Of course, I had slapped on KT tape before the run as a preventative measure. Whether or not it actually helped or was merely a placebo effect, I was happy to get in a strong fartlek run!
Thursday: AM: 4 mile recovery run with Charlie; PM: 30 minutes of strength training
Charlie and I took our recovery run easy and slow. Our average pace was somewhere in the low 10s, since Charlie needs a slow pace when it’s warm outside. But after hitting just over 2 miles yesterday at a sub-7 pace, I needed to shake out my legs with easy miles.
Friday: 14 mile long run with last 4 miles moderate
I feel like these progression long runs truly reveal where your fitness is and how you’ll fare in the marathon. It’s hard to pick up the pace, even to a moderate pace (near marathon effort), at the end of a long run. I relied on my breathing and perceived effort as a guide and chiseled down my pace to 8:11, 8:08, 7:53, and 8:02 (hilly mile).
This was a high-carb training run. I ran my previous two long runs without any mid-run fuel. This week, because of the nature of the run (it was a fairly challenging long run) I took a peanut butterHammer gel halfway through the run. I like the peanut butter flavor for training because it has a bit of fat, so it’s a steadier release of energy than a sugary gel.
Saturday: 20 minutes recovery yoga
When my glutes and hamstrings are extra tight, this Runner’s World yoga video does the trick in stretching everything.
Sunday: 5 mile hike
Ryan, Charlie, and I embarked on an easy hike at Heather Lake. The weather was finally cool and pleasant, albeit humid. The hike was leisurely and relaxing – the gain was only about 1000 feet. Ryan’s on a round of antibiotics for a mild lung infection (he’s doing well, if anything he wants to keep running and hiking more), so we skipped on camping overnight and just enjoyed some beautiful scenery.
We’ve spent the past three years attempting to teach Charlie how to swim and have all but given up. Then, out of nowhere, Charlie went straight into the water of Heather Lake, completely on his own volition, and waded out further than he ever had before!
After the hike, Ryan and I caught up on the men’s Olympic Marathon. It was so exciting to see Rupp win the bronze, and even more so I was so happy to see Meb finish his final Olympics with a smile on his face. I’m a super sappy person and I tear up a bit when runners cross the finish line and cross themselves, smile, or throw their hands in the air in joy. That joy and gratitude at the finish is one of my favorite parts of distance running.
Meb’s an incredible human in many ways – humble, kind, hard-working – and what stood out to me the most about him in this race was his gracious attitude. He wasn’t upset that he had stomach upset or tripped at the finish line. Instead, he handled it all with grace and finished with a smile. That’s the type of runner I want to be!
Red meat cravings hit me this week. During low training periods I can go weeks without eating red meat, but once the mileage and intensity sneak up my body craves the iron. Last Sunday night we grilled top round, sweet potatoes, and eggplant and I felt completely re-energized on Monday’s marathon pace run. We then had bison this weekend and again, I felt completely reset after a week of training.
Linking up with Weekly Wrap!
What temperatures do you prefer to run in?
How was your week of running?
What moment in the Olympic made you tear up the most?