Mile Markers: Easing Back

Mile Markers: Life in Running and Hiking for June 20-26

I alternate between two extremes when it comes to aches, pains, and potential injuries: “tis merely flesh wound” and hyper-sensitivity.

I once tripped on a run back in Valparaiso, scraped both knees badly, and kept running – only to return home with blood dripping down my legs and scars that lasted throughout all of summer. That mentality of “no big deal, I’m fine” is actually what exacerbated my sprained foot – well, that and the fact that for some reason my tendons swelled so much that they shifted a bone.

But now when I get the slightest hint of an out of the ordinary muscle ache, especially right now after my sprained foot, I panic and throw on the breaks. For someone who firmly believes in finding a happy medium, I’m not too great on doing that when it comes to aches while running.

Thankfully, I think this week I found a happy medium for easing back in. 11-20 miles was the range I set for myself this week; if I could do that, just for one week, then I could ease back worry-free. 

Monday: AM: 3.5 miles; PM: 15 minutes Pilates + additional core work

My plan was to test my hamstring with 5 minutes of easy running and, if there was no tightness or discomfort, to run for half an hour. Thankfully, I felt nothing, which is a good sign – so I ran! 

Mile Markers: Life in Running and Hiking for June 20-26

Even though it’s a bit humid outside, the mornings are still chilly enough to warrant wearing a long sleeve shirt on a run. 

Tuesday: AM: 3.5 miles; PM: strength training

Since I ran 3.5 miles the previous day, I had to run 3.5 today because I prefer my weekly mileage to be a round number. Every runner has their quirks. 

I began my run on a nearby trail, only to see a sign notifying me of trail closure. At first, I thought – oh, I can run past that – until I saw the word sewer. Ewwww, not worth it.

I briefly considered running 1/4 mile back and forth again and again until I hit 3.5 miles, but I mentally struggle with short loops like that (why I never run on a track). Instead, I just ran along the nearby sidewalks of a business park until my run was done. 

Mile Markers: Life in Running and Hiking for June 20-26

For strength training, I made up a short circuit workout that I actually enjoyed. I did 3 sets of: 8 step ups per leg with dumbells in each hand, 10 elevated plank rows per arm, 10 stability ball passes, 15 dumbbell flyes, and 15 stability ball ab pulls. 

Wednesday: 4 miles easy

I struggle to run slow on one of my favorite routes because it’s flat and fast – perfect for tempo runs or even long runs because there’s no intersections with roads for at least 13 miles. But on easy days, especially when I’m not experiencing any training fatigue, this trail tricks my legs into going faster. There’s no hills or crosswalks to slow me down, and the scenery makes the miles pass with ease.

Mile Markers: Life in Running and Hiking

The first couple miles I felt all the stability ball work from yesterday, but at the turn around point my body warmed up and my pace effortlessly increased up to 7:50. I reeled in after than effort but still ran a 8:18 for that final mile. These paces, especially since they were unintended, offer some reassurance that in running good for me paces once I begin marathon training, but I wasn’t pleased with my pacing abilities on this particular run.

Those of you who read my blog regularly (and runners who have trained with me) know how seriously I take easy running. Even though a 8:15/mile pace (which is what I averaged for this run) is significantly slower than the 7:30/mile pace I ran in my most recent half marathon, but even that crosses the boundary of too fast for an easy day for me. I’d rather have an endless log of 8:30-9:30/mile easy runs and race times I’m proud of than 7:20-7:50/mile easy runs and slower times for my races. 

Thursday: AM: 4 miles easy on the treadmill; PM: strength training

I don’t like the treadmill much anymore, but I can tolerate it for shorter runs. Most days I don’t mind running in the rain, but for 4 short miles it didn’t even seem worth it to break out all my rain gear, get soaked, and be cold the rest of the day (keep in mind, this is Seattle – it’s 50 degrees outside). So the treadmill won and I adapted my short fartlek workout to throw some marathon pace bursts of moderate effort in to beat treadmill boredom. 

Friday: 5 miles easy with Ryan

I normally don’t run in the afternoon, but Ryan and I were both moving around our schedule and decided just to run together since we were missing our normal weekend runs together. Plus, his presence would keep me from getting excited and running longer when I told myself to do a low mileage week. 

My stomach isn’t ridiculously sensitive, but since I run before breakfast I struggle to handle a day’s worth of food on my stomach during a run. I can’t eat my normal lentil, potato/squash, and veggie bowl or my eggs, potato/squash, and veggie lunch before a run, so I end up eating the weirdest combinations.

Oats are fine for breakfast, but lunch this day ended up being a baked russet potato with a dollop of Greek yogurt plus a banana with a spoon of peanut butter. Weird lunch, but worth it to get to log some miles with my husband. 

Saturday: 2.5 mile hike

My mom and sister were visiting Seattle, so we took them on part of the same hike we did last week to Barclay Lake. We then drove to Leavenworth to enjoy brats, German beer, and beautiful mountain scenery. 

Mile Markers June 27 4

Sunday: 3.2 miles on the treadmill, with 20 minutes at tempo (7:30/mile)

This was my first “hard” workout since I sprained my foot, and by hard I mean faster than an easy run. Thankfully, half marathon pace didn’t feel too hard at all – even better, it felt enjoyable and a bit exhilarating to run at a faster clip again. I kept my run short since we had a busy and fun day planned, but I can feel that I’m ready to go fast or long (and eventually, fast and long in the same run). 

We attended a Mariners vs. Cardinals baseball game. I’m not a huge fan of team sports, but I am a fan of beer so baseball is a good compromise. 

Mile Markers: Life in Running and Hiking for June 20-26

I ran 23.2 miles for the week and I feel good – ready to return back to normal running after injury. My foot and hamstring just feel a bit sensitive, which is likely more the result of being hyperaware than of any real ache. My goal for next week is 25-30 miles and then to build progressively back to the 35-40 range from there.

My legs and lungs are craving marathon mileage. I had just a taste of long runs and a good volume of weekly mileage back in April, during my brief month of marathon training before I sprained my foot. We booked our hotel this week for California International Marathon (our first choice one was already booked!) and even though December 4 is over five months away I’m eager. I am willing to be patient and take the conservative route, but there’s nothing like halted training to make you crave those hard weeks. It’s probably good for me, actually, because it leaves me completely ready to pour myself into 16-20 weeks of hard work. 

Linking up with Weekly Wrap

[Tweet “First fast run in a long time! Weekly workouts from @thisrunrecipes #findyourstrong #fitfluential #running #sweatpink”]

What are you wanting right now: a hard training cycle or a race-free time to enjoy running?

Do you enjoy baseball? What’s your favorite team?
Do you vary your running routes? How do you choose which one to run? 

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22 Responses

  1. So glad that your hamstring and foot are both feeling better! I am hyperaware of my foot now too- and really any little ache or pain. I am actually feeling very relieved that Im not training for anything or getting ready for marathon training because I think it would stress me out to feel like I have to run a certain amount. I am looking for some carefree running, and that includes not worrying about my foot!

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad to hear that your foot is feeling better as well. At least issues like this arise during non-training season – they are so much more stressful and harder to care for with the stress of training and mileage. I hope you get to enjoy some carefree miles this week!

  2. the pictures are so pretty! I am glad you got back to running this week! you know I enjoy baseball games, so much fun right? I think we are going to another game next week I just have to talk my son into switching things up and coming with me to a Yankees game instead of always the mets! they play eachother in the subway series at the end of july but he will be at camp then.

    1. It’s so fun how you and your son go to baseball games together! I thought of you when we were at the game yesterday and how you like baseball! And thank you – I’m so glad to be back to running also! 🙂

  3. It absolutely looks as though you have found that balance! Good for you as it is so, so hard. Since you executed your “easy” plan, you should feel much better next week. Nice work 🙂 And oh how I love the pictures!!

  4. I’m still trying to decide what I want right now – trail running, half marathon or full marathon training or… I thought for sure I was ready to go for a full in the fall but now I don’t know if my heart is in it. And I’ve got the same runner quirk – even numbers only please. 🙂

    1. Whatever you choose you’ll rock it, just like you did at Mt. Washington! 🙂 And yes on even numbers – especially since it’s so easy to run those with GPS 🙂

  5. My goal for the summer (I’ve decided) is not just to add some mileage back on, but to also get my legs working again and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Both when it comes to pushing myself and when it comes to holding back. I need to stop being a baby!

    1. Yay on the goal Susie!!! I know you’ll achieve it and more. You’re a champ at holding that pace strong and steady, whether it’s a fast pace or easy.

  6. I’m definitely preferring my race free runs right now. I know how you feel about the aches and pains stuff too–ever since my first injury, I know I can be hypersensitive with any little ache or pain that comes on during training. I always say better safe than sorry, but I know I take it too far sometimes. It’s hard sometimes finding the right balance! I’m not a baseball fan at all but I looooooove a good craft beer, so that’s pretty much the only reason I go to games!

    1. It’s such a delicate balance between being cautious and knowing the difference between soreness/discomfort and injury. Although I always think it’s good to veer on the side of cautious, but maybe I’m overly cautious. You would have loved the craft beer at this game – so many good local options that it was hard to stop at just one!

  7. I don’t vary my routes in NYC much but when I get to the long long runs later in summer I probably will want to venture out of Central Park and onto one of the river paths or something!

    I also have the round mileage number thing stuck on me – I am able to just have it be round for the month instead of the week, but still sticks with me!

    1. Long marathon runs are a great opportunity to vary routes – exploring helps the miles pass by quickly. Round number just have such a clean, organized feel to them!

  8. “I’d rather have an endless log of 8:30-9:30/mile easy runs and race times I’m proud of than 7:20-7:50/mile easy runs and slower times for my races.”


    Once I started slowing down my daily runs, I got so much more out of my workouts and my racing improved. Anyone who “PRs” during a training run is doing something wrong (unless it’s a distance you haven’t raced in years or something, maybe). It is amazing how fast people do their easy runs and call it easy compared to the pros. I did a group run on Thursday where an olympic trials marathoner was there and most of the other runners actually left her behind on the 4 mile route… because her easy days are more like 8-8:30 or whatever her body feels like… smart idea :).

    Glad you got some good workouts in and eased back in. I agree with you on avoiding injuries, that is the most important thing in training, more so than a specific pace or a distance. I’m not huge on rounding distances but it is always weird when my training weeks come out to like, .1 away from a distance. I’ll run a little bit extra just to make it even if it’s that close ;).

    1. I agree – I think I beat my 5K PR in training but it’s been YEARS since I ran a 5K race. Elites do their easy runs so easy – I’ve heard there’s a Kenyan saying that goes “On our easy days everyone can run with us, on our hard days no one can run with us” because of how polarized their paces are.

  9. The trail from your Wednesday run just looks beautiful and sounds perfect! One of the reasons I love running on the seawall in Vancouver – other than the beautiful views – is the continuous route without any stoplights, etc. Usually it’s just tourists who force me to stop! Haha.

  10. It sounds as if your plan to ease back in is working well. The picture of your favorite route is beautiful! I have to say I’m a bit jealous of your long sleeve shirt running. I know I should run slower on long, easy runs but I still struggle with that. I’ve somehow got to get that switch flipped over in my brain during this marathon training cycle. Thanks for linking with us Laura.

  11. I’m the same way! I brush things off like they’re no big deal most of the time until someone around me expresses concern and then I become hyper aware of every little thing. I’m glad you were able to enjoy some miles with your hubby and check out a Mariners game! I haven’t been for a couple of years but it’s always fun to go with good people!

    1. Thank you! The game was fun – I was impressed by the great craft beer selection. It’s hard to find that right balance in monitoring injury – especially when training hard and there’s just light aches from the hard workouts.

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