Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 5

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 5

As I mentioned on Thursday, I’m still not back to running, even though I’m technically in week 5 of Jack and Jill Marathon Training. I talked about on Thursday how I thought a lot of the symptoms were that of extensor tendonitis, but now I’ve realized it’s more likely an ankle sprain, that I dumbly made worse after it happened by running. I’m not 100% certain, but it all makes sense now. I have an appointment today that will hopefully figure out exactly what happened. And in the meanwhile? We went to the ocean!

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 5

A couple weeks ago, when Ryan and I hiked Greider Lakes, I slipped a few times over the wet rocky terrain. One slip caused my feet to fly out from underneath me and I landed on my butt. Ryan was convinced I sprained my ankle, but I was in denial about that and swore I felt fine (minus, you know, everything hurting from falling).

Often the simplest answer is the solution. Even thought I was in denial that no, I didn’t cause a running injury by something as simple as slipping, rolling an ankle, and running on it before the pain fully set in, it makes sense when I think about it. But my stubborn brain looks for something with a solution easier than just rest and wait, like wondering if my shoes caused it, overtraining caused it, not just that it was an accident and I need to let it heal. 

The pain near the top of my foot (by my ankle and then radiating back along the heel and then along the top and side) that popped up the next day does appear to match the pain that a sprain on the ankle could cause, and I thought of every cause other than a sprained ankle. Although I’m still now tempted to try new running shoes, even if extensor tendonitis isn’t the issue, but shoe obsession is just a straight up runner problem, regardless of injury status.

The great irony of it all is that my denial about spraining my ankle, because I feared sprained ankle would mean not running, ended up setting back my marathon training.

 Ryan sprained his ankle about 4 weeks ago when we hiked Mount Washington, and when I was describing in depth how and where my foot hurt this week, we realized that my symptoms were nearly identical to his (Ryan, smartly, recognized his ankle sprain when it happened and took that week off of running). 

I’m extremely hopeful that I can resume running this week. I’m now at week 6 of marathon training (T-11 weeks to race day), and very hopeful that I can jump back into training with no significant loss of fitness. If worse comes to worse, I will see if I can drop down to the half marathon. 

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 5

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 5

Monday: 5 miles, 8:18/mile average pace. 

I went at a pace that felt both aerobically easy and comfortable for my foot (slower quickly felt more discomfort) but by mile 5 I was feeling pain in a spot on my right foot where my foot and ankle meet and tightness in my left calf and shin (from favoring my left foot too much), so I called it quits on what I planned on being an easy 8 mile run. 

Meanwhile, poor Ryan has been the best support, even with how restless I get when I can’t run. We both know that injuries can and do happen when you run, hike, and spent hours per week on your feet, but there’s a difference between that knowledge and actually enduring it.

Tuesday: AM: 60 minutes/7.2 miles on the elliptical, PM: 25 minutes Pilates

Since I can’t run, I figure an hour on the elliptical is the best substitution for now. In the long-term, such a strategy won’t work for marathon training (because no way am I doing 20 milers on the elliptical), but it will at least maintain my VO2max and aerobic fitness for the meantime.

Wednesday: AM: 60 minutes/7.3 miles on the elliptical, PM: 30 minutes strength training

Using the elliptical is similar to running in the sense that the first 20 minutes feel like a slog as you warm up, and then the remainder of the workout flies by. 

Thursday: 30 minutes Pilates

Friday: 60 minutes/7.6 miles on the elliptical

I finally felt like I truly got the hang of the elliptical today. It’s a simple machine, but to push as hard as I prefer on it I feel it takes some coordination and practice. I wasn’t about to do long run on the elliptical, since 60 minutes is my current mental limit on that machine, so I just settled for something being better than nothing.

Saturday: 2.5 miles walking 

Instead of hiking, we left bright and early to see the Pacific Ocean! The coast of the Olympic Peninsula is a 4 hour drive from where we live, including a ferry ride across the Puget sound, but the entire trip through the Olympic Peninsula is breath-taking. 

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 5

Despite the grey skies and chilly temperatures, the beach was perfect. I love how we live in a state where we can see the ocean, mountains, or beautiful river valleys within just a few hours!


We went to Ruby Beach and spent about an hour walking along the ocean. Charlie loved the water, although we only let him play off-leash for so long since he kept trying to drink salt water. 

Jack and Jill Marathon Training Week 5

We had such a wonderful, fun time at the beach! California is way more booked for camping that we anticipated for Memorial Day weekend, so we’re probably just going to camp at the Olympic Peninsula instead. 

Sunday: 45 minutes/6 miles on the elliptical

I wanted to run so badly, but I opted to keep it up with the elliptical at least until after my podiatrist appointment tomorrow. 

[Tweet “What do you do when you can’t run? Head to the beach! Jack and Jill Marathon training week 5 #fitfluential #sweatpink via @thisrunrecipes”]

Linking up for Weekly Wrap!

How was your week in running? Did anyone race?
Have you ever seen the ocean?
Are you a stubborn person? What are you most stubborn about?




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32 Responses

  1. Isn’t it funny how as runners we can jump to extremes with running injuries, when the solution may be so much simpler? Hopefully your ankle heels quickly and you can get back to running. I am impressed with how much time you spent on the elliptical this week!

    1. Thank you! I did find an answer and it was indeed a sprain. Thankfully like you said the elliptical is a good equivalent – and at least it feels more like running than cycling or swimming!

  2. *hugs* I hope you get some answers soon on the foot and can resume running. Glad you are able to cross train and I know it’s still early in the cycle, but injury is not good :(.

    I ran a few races but that’s how it goes for me- I am basically racing myself into shape right now.

    1. Thanks! I agree, injury is never good – even though cross training can maintain fitness, we both know it’s not the same as building fitness. And that’s exciting about your races! You’re going to be in super fast running shape by the end of this season!

  3. Fingers crossed for you, lady. And you know what my first thought was when you said that you went to the ocean? DID YOU HAVE CAKE BY IT? The pop world has ruined me. And yes I am a stubborn person. Have you ever met me?

  4. I’m glad you have your appt today and that you get some sort of answer! I think you will be healed up quick though because you know how to take care of yourself and listen to the cues of when to back off. please keep me posted! I will be in the city all day but please please text me to let me know what dr says!

    1. So I know I already texted you all the details but it’s just SO good to know what happened! Thank you so much for listening to all my crazy theories of shoes or overtraining – you’re the sweetest 🙂

  5. Such a beautiful view of the pacific ocean! I spent some time in Portland last fall and fell in love with the mountains and took some trips to the coast. I don’t think I have yet mastered the elliptical – any tips? 🙂

    1. That trip sounds so fun! I’ve been to Portland a couple times but not the coast – I’ve heard the Oregon coast is just spectacular though! I’ve found moderate resistance helps with the elliptical – too low doesn’t get the right flow, too high makes it more like hiking than running (not that that’s bad) and using the arm bars helps! I noticed as a runner I wanted to lean forward a bit, but straight posture helped make it easier to get into a steady rhythm also.

    1. Thank you! We have so many photos of us at beautiful places with Charlie looking bored – you’d love them! We joke that he’s going through his teenage phase. It’s hard to admit to need rest, especially because there’s that twinge of guilt even when we need to rest!

  6. Ohhhhh a sprain makes complete sense!!! I think that’s the best case anyway because this way it’s not caused by biomechanics or muscle imbalance or something that is harder to fix. Nice job getting those elliptical workouts done. WOW. You’re going to be able to hop back into marathon training no problem.

    1. Doesn’t it? I agree – I was worried I overtrained, was in the wrong shoes, or had some imbalance. Nope – I just had a clumsy moment while hiking! And thank you!

  7. Fingers crossed that your appointment provides you with positive feedback today and that you can get back into running. But WOW, just think of the aerobic fitness you are building with all that elliptical time (and sans pounding!). I think you will be fine, because you’ve been so diligent about your XT. I’ve known people to complete marathons with surprisingly little running in their training regimen, even finishing in some pretty respectable times. Injuries are never good news but since it’s this early on, at least it gives you more time to come to terms with that potential worst case scenario, as opposed to the devastation of an injury the week before taper or something.

    1. Thank you – it did! It’s nice to know what is actually going on and not just be guessing, because of course it’s easy to worry about the worse case scenario. I admire those people who can get by on little training – even if my aerobic system is fit enough, I need to train my feet and joints for the pounding and my stomach for the running that long. But wow did I underestimate the workout that the elliptical can give!

  8. I’m happy to hear you were able to spend some time at the ocean over the weekend. It’s too bad the nice weather from the week didn’t translate into the weekend though!

    I ended up doing the spring beats 10k this weekend with a friend and had an absolute blast. We ran slowly and stopped for breaks and pictures throughout and it was a really great experience!

    1. Thankfully we didn’t get too much rain out at the coast! Just grey skies but those gave the ocean a stunning PNW-ish look. I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the Beats 10K! Woodinville is such a fun area!

  9. I’m still trying to catch up with blogs from my vacation, so I missed the injury 🙁 SO sorry to hear that! I hope you get better soon, and you’re being so smart to rest it. Hope you can start running soon!

  10. You should know as well as any of your readers that you have/will not be losing much fitness by not running for the past week-ish. Best of luck at your appointment today for a “simple” fix. Glad you had such a great trip to the ocean. WA coast is awesome…you, Ryan and Charlie should head down to the ORA coast soon. Seaside and Cannon Beach offer some amazing views!!

    1. Thank you! I’m not so much worried about maintaining fitness – I’ll know that will be fine – as I am about building fitness, because marathon training isn’t about maintaining what I have. Yes, we need to get down to OR soon – and definitely give those a check, thanks for recommending! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Janelle! I did get good news – no fracture and just a soft tissue injury is always a relief for a runner, because fractures mean a longer time off!

  11. I’m sorry to hear about your ankle. On the bright side, it’s my experience that a sprained ankle heals fairly quickly (if you can stay off of it–so hard!). You are very wise to stick with the elliptical. I do think you’ll be back to training in no time. There are many things you can do to maintain your fitness, as you know. The Olympic Peninsula sounds like a great place to visit. I hope you enjoy your trip on Memorial Day. Thanks for linking with us Laura.

    1. Thank you! My doctor visit on Monday found it was a sprained foot (where the foot and ankle meet) and that it should heal in 2-3 weeks. So I’m doing my best to stay off of it and haven’t run in over a week now! That’s comforting to know that you’ve had experience in sprains healing quickly. Thank you for hosting!

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