Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 4

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 4

Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 4

This week was a scheduled cutback week, but I ended up reducing my mileage even more due niggles on the top of my right foot and in left calf this week. I can’t quite pinpoint whether the cause was not taking a rest day for two weeks or slipping while hiking last week. Stiffness in my left shin on Sunday’s run came and went, but then on Monday and Tuesday an ache set in on the top of my right foot (along my extensor tendon), followed by an extremely tight and sore knot in my left calf on Thursday. 

By Tuesday’s run I could tell that these little aches needed some babying, so I opted to cross-train on Wednesday at the very least rather than push myself. By Friday, aching gave way to just tightness. It’s still early in marathon training: one week of missing a few miles will not do any damage, but aggravating a minor ache into a potential full-blown injury will destroy my training cycle. 

I’m fairly certain (thanks to digging through all of my coaching materials) that tight calf muscles caused a minor inflammation in my right extensor tendon and a tight knot or slight strain in my left calf. My calves are my “problem area,” so to speak, even though they don’t give my much trouble. Nothing hurts except when I run on the treadmill, which can trigger further irritation of the extensor tendon. Easy outdoor runs don’t cause pain, thankfully, so I’m logging only easy and moderate miles (no faster than near marathon pace) until the tightness subsides. 

Thank goodness also for icing, foam rolling, compression socks, and athletic tape!

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 4

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 4

Monday: 5 miles easy on the treadmill, 8:58/mile

A weird work schedule meant an early morning run, so I swapped my scheduled tempo run for a few miles on the treadmill. I followed Meredith’s easy run treadmill workout and threw in some hilly inclines to keep my pre-coffee brain engaged in the workout. 

Tuesday: AM: 8 miles easy, 8:39/mile; PM: 25 minutes of Pilates

To avoid aggravating my foot (sort of the theme of this week’s workouts), I scaled back a tempo run to 8 easy miles, which felt good. My theory is that if I can run without any pain, I can run on the niggle. I also relaced my Kinvaras to put less pressure on the top of my foot, based on this article in Competitor

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 4

Wednesday: AM: 65 minutes elliptical; PM: 30 minutes strength training

I exercised for just over an hour on the elliptical and managed not to cry or scream. The last time I used the elliptical was probably 6 years ago when I had sprained ankle, so I always associate it with injury. 

Thursday: AM: 30 minute Pilates; PM: 2 mile walk

In order to scale back my training overall (6 days of running per week just does not work for me), I decided to take Thursdays as my rest day from running. I did a Pilates for athletes workout in the morning and then took Charlie on a long walk while Ryan ran. Actually, Charlie was supposed to run with Ryan, but couldn’t wrap his little puggle brain around why I wasn’t running with them and kept stopping. Although part of me thinks he just wanted to play in the grass at the park. 

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 4

Friday: 12 mile long run with 3 mile moderate progression, 8:39/mile avg. pace

Oh my goodness did it feel good to run again. After what felt like weeks of rainy long runs, clear skies and warm weather made this run feel fantastic. I felt as if I could have run forever, but capped it at 12 miles per my training plan. My foot and calf felt tight but there was no pain or discomfort. 

I let myself ease into a comfortable moderate pace over the final 3 miles, since I felt no pain in my foot. I finished with 8:13, 8:03, and 7:55 – a perfect progression and a good idea of the range where marathon pace may possibly fall if my foot does not ache for too much longer.

Saturday: 10 mile hike, 1400 feet elevation gain

One of our favorite hikes from last season, Goat Lake, was finally snow-free, and the gentle terrain would not stress my foot or calf, so we headed out on an easy long hike for Saturday. I love this hike! The trails and views at the top are stellar! 

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 4

Sunday: 10 minutes treadmill running + 20 minutes elliptical

Because of rainy weather, Ryan and I opted to take our Sunday run inside. Within a few minutes I knew treadmill running was not going to work, since something about the treadmill caused my foot to hurt. I’m fairly sure I alter my gait on the treadmill, which would probably cause my foot to hurt more due to further stress on the tendons on the top of my foot. I hopped on the elliptical but just wasn’t in the mood to work out for too long because I was frustrated, so once I hit 30 minutes total I quit to ice and elevate my foot.

26 miles run | 85 minutes cross-train | 10 miles hiked | 2 supplemental workouts

Linking up for Weekly Wrap!

How do you handle niggles and aches during marathon training? 
What muscle group always gives you issues?
How was your week in running?

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22 Responses

  1. Good job being smart this week! Any time I have a lower leg issues (foot pain, shin pain, etc) I always find it’s due to tight calves. I find that the calves are an easier area to treat because I can get in there with my own hands plus a stick/lax ball. My problem areas are around my low back and hips, which can be a downward spiral once one thing start acting up! Hoping you feel better and can get back to your regular training schedule!

  2. Ugh! That stinks that you have a niggle. But it seems like you did the smart thing and cut back. my week was similar with my back flaring up all kinds of not fun things. A few days of no running seemed to do the trick. Hope this week it’s all better for you!

  3. How happy is Charlie in that picture??? SO HAPPY. I try to tend to aches and niggles ASAP before the turn into something bigger. Like right now. I don’t know what I am dealing with in my glute/pelvis/hip, so I am resting the ish out of it. No, I am not marathon training, but I would be doing the same thing! Hope everything gets and stays better for you!

  4. I don’t know if my comment posted so I will write it again lol — I am glad you like that treadmill workout and also glad your foot is feeling better. I used to get top of the foot pain all of the time until I switched to the energy boosts – the sock like fit relieves that pressure that used to build up on the tops of my feet. we need to discuss this in further detail today!

    1. Thank you for all of the help on this foot issue the past couple days! My Pure Connects do have a more sock like feel so I may switch back to those for my longer runs when I return to running. Who knows how these things happen!

  5. I used to have issues in my calves and shins from running on the treadmill. My physio told me to run on an incline so that my calves weren’t pulled taut during extension. It helped immediately. Another thing you can do is buy those blue gel heel pads (not the contoured ones–the flat ones) and slide them into your shoes underneath the insoles just to shorten the tendons and muscles in the back there and let them heal a bit more while you keep running a bit (delicate balance).

    1. Thank you so much, Suzy! I usually run with an incline on the treadmill and have especially been doing so lately, so I’ll keep that in mind next time. If this keeps up I’ll look for those gel pads as well – I’m getting everything that I can from compression sleeves to KT tape to fix this quickly!

  6. No marathons, but I handle niggles similarly… more cross training on the elliptical or Arc Trainer. Like you, I equate the elliptical with injury, and it is similar to running but not quite running… which seems to remind me that I can’t run! So for my cross training, I usually opt for the Arc Trainer instead. You still got some great workouts in and way to not push the potential injury so early in marathon training.

    1. Thank you! My apartment gym doesn’t have an Arc Trainer, but I can’t complain since the gym is included in rent! I read on Competitor.com that after aqua jogging the elliptical was best, so fingers crossed it maintains my fitness until I can run without issue!

  7. Depending on the ache/pain, I will usually (mostly) ignore the feeling. As I said, depending on what it is. sometimes I feel that you need to push yourself a bit (or test the limits) to figure out if it might just be a quirk/bad day, or if it is really something to be concerned with.

    Running felt pretty good last week considering all I did last Sunday. By my Friday run, though…I think my legs were finally saying “okay…ENOUGH”. I was trying to go for 8 miles, ending getting in 6. Between some of the heat and some hills that were on my route everything was just kind of D-O-N-E!

    1. Good that you listened to your legs – you jumped straight back into it after your PR race! I do tend to back off of any aches/pains – as you know I’m a bit paranoid about injury, and I’d rather play it safe for a day. I’m eager to push again, but I need my foot to fully feel good first!

  8. Beautiful pics! And I just cannot get enough of Charlie! Obviously you know I know how you feel with the foot/calf issues–my hope is that being aggressive with PT (I’m now going twice a week leading up to my race) and running smart will help me come race day. I can feel it getting better slowly each day, but my foot, especially near my heel, is still tight. I think I may treat myself to some new running shoes this week to make myself feel better ūüôā

    1. Thank you! Oh and me too – he is too adorable in that photo! He’s a happy boy when he plays outside. I think you should definitely treat yourself to some new running shoes after all that your foot has been through these past couple weeks! ūüôā

    1. Thank you! I think I nipped this one in the bud before it became a full blown running injury – resting, icing, compression, all that good stuff will hopefully fix it up soon!

  9. I too associate the elliptical with ankle injuries! I can’t run on the TM because it aggravates an old Achilles injury. To me, it’s like a completely different sport. I just don’t run the same on the TM. You are very smart to address the niggle now while you still have plenty of time to train. I was very unfortunate in developing a fracture on the top of my foot while training for Chicago last year. I had to DNS. Any time you need extra motivation to skip a run, you just think of me! LOL. Goat Lake is simply beautiful! Thanks for linking with us Laura!

    1. Thank you for all of the encouragement! I did worry a bit about it being a fracture, which is why I’m making sure to get it checked out but the symptoms aren’t quite like that of a fracture (it doesn’t hurt at rest). That’s tough that you had to DNS but it’s better to DNS than to make an injury worse. Thank you for hosting!

  10. Niggles? I’ve had my share. You did the right thing slowing down and sounds like it’s not going to be an issue for you.
    I am just loving these beautiful pictures oh wow!!!
    My knees and ITBand are usually what has given me the most fits but here lately I had a foot problem that just came out of nowhere! Weird.

    1. Thank you! Spring and summer are when the mountains are just beautiful – still some snow but then there’s green coming in! That’s frustrating about your foot! Those issues just seem to come out of the blue, don’t they? I hope your foot feels better soon. Thank you for hosting!

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