Mile Markers: Easy Before the Marathon {Training} Storm

Mile Markers: Easy Before the Marathon Storm

I start training for the Jack and Jill Downhill Marathon today (the race is July 31) and so this past week was my last week of unstructured training. A week of easy before the marathon storm of 2-3 hour long runs, higher (for me) mileage, and runger descends upon the Norris household. 

I was a bit lazy this week: all easy miles and several nights where I opted for a glass of cabernet over a strength workout. Okay, so I shouldn’t call myself lazy, because getting out there and logging any miles is never lazy. But you know what I mean: taking it extra easy before a marathon to mentally and physically prepare for the next 16 weeks of demanding training.

This week I listened to a fantastic episode of the Run to the Top podcast in which they interviewed Stephanie Marie Howe, who’s an ultra runner and Ph.D. in sports nutrition. Howe discussed intuitive training and listening to your body, which is an approach I’ve adopted in the past few months and hope to continue throughout marathon training. I highly recommend you give the podcast a listen! 

Monday: 8 miles easy

Nothing remarkable about this run, except the usual beautiful scenery. 

Mile Markers: Easy Before the Marathon {Training} Storm

Tuesday: 7 miles hilly on the treadmill + 15 minutes strength training

I convinced myself that if I ran on the treadmill, I would be more motivated to weight lift immediately afterwards. Yeah, right. Instead of sticking to my plan for 5 mile run and 30 minutes of strength, I ran for an hour (because running beats weight lifting, am I right?) and then half-assed my way through 2 sets of four basic strength moves. 

Wednesday: AM: 7 miles easy; PM: 30 minute Pilates workout

I planned on only doing 5, but as soon as I started running I knew I would go longer because it was so incredibly beautiful outside. Allergies used to make spring running a sufferfest for me in the Midwest, so I’m reveling in the fact that spring allergies in Seattle are virtually nonexistent compared to St. Louis, Dayton, or Valparaiso. 

Thursday: AM: 30 minutes plyos + kettlebell; PM: 1.75 mile run/walk

I literally almost feel asleep at my desk without a run on Thursday. I strength trained mid morning, which may have made me feel more tired as well, but that morning dose of exercise and vitamin D helps so much for my productivity. 

Ryan and I planned to take Charlie for a run along the river, but we had to stop and walk less than a mile in because the poor puppy was struggling in the heat. The temperature had randomly spiked into the 80s, and Charlie’s shorter nose can make it more difficult for him to breathe on hot days. His well-being is always more important than a workout when we take him on a run, so we walked the rest of the way back. Actually…we carried him at one point, because the beagle stubbornness and the pug laziness is a powerful combination. 

Mile Markers: Easy Before the Marathon {Training} Storm

Friday: 12 mile long run

I had wanted to try the long run workout Meredith shared when she guest posted back in January. Since I start marathon training on Monday (the day this post publishes), this run was my last chance for a while. I maintained a steady effort (easier than half marathon pace) on the “on” segments and by the end of the run definitely felt like I had gotten a good workout.

Mile Markers: Easy Before the Marathon {Training} Storm 

Saturday: 5 mile hike, ~1000 feet elevation gain

We debated up until the last minute on whether to do a hard hike (9 miles & 3200 feet gain) or an easy hike. The easy hike won out because Charlie wanted to come along and he needed the exercise after skipping his run on Thursday. The three of us headed out to Heather Lake along Mountain Loop Highway bright and early to beat the crowds. We hiked 5 miles total and spent nearly an hour just exploring around the top of the lake, where the ground was still covered in a layer of compacted snow. 

Mile Markers: Easy Before the Marathon {Training} Storm

Sunday: 4 mile easy run

Ryan and I decided to start running on Sundays together, so he can lengthen the duration of his weekly long run and we can regularly run together. Marathon training miles can get lonely, so it’s well worth it for both of us to switch our rest days around. We ran 4 easy miles along the river and then, of course, headed out for a post run beer (or two) at our favorite local brewery. 

Linking up with Weekly Wrap!

What does your running look like in the weeks before you start formal marathon training?
How was your week in running? Did anyone race?
Do you train intuitively or follow a more set-in-stone plan?

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28 Responses

    1. It was such a fun workout! I may use it but with keeping all the miles easy (just at different ends of the easy range) to pass time on more long runs. Time is just flying by – and it certainly doesn’t feel like April!

  1. Those views from your hike?!? I’ve been craving a good hike. We are in the thick of mud season so it’s always complicated with two kids. Fingers next weekend is THE weekend we get out there! And I’ll have to listen to that Podcast this week – I’m usually a week behind anyway!

    1. Fingers crossed you do get out there next weekend! It is hard to find hikes this time of year – the really good ones are still buried in feet of snow out here. The hike we did was SO muddy that we had to bathe Charlie in an alpine stream before getting back in the car!

  2. I like to take it really easy the week before marathon training starts- it definitely helps me mentally to be ready to jumping into training! Looks like a great week! I am excited to follow along as you start training.

    1. Thank you! The mentally easy definitely helps! Marathon training is as mentally hard as it is physically, especially getting back into the mindset of very long long runs.

    1. Thank you! Yeah that glass of wine definitely turned into a couple beers a day over the weekend – maybe not deserved but it’s nice to indulge before hard training! 🙂 Hope your marathon training is going well!

  3. I tend to train more “intuitively” which really means not a set training for any half marathon I’ve run so far. Obviously that has to change for marathon training, but it’s worked well until now to let me do what my body tells me when I need to run less one week, or to work with the weather when it’s being weird, or adjust for life events.

    1. That’s so good you listen to your body! I definitely think that even on a structured training plan it’s important to listen to what you need and rest more or take it easy more. Not to mention like you said life, which takes precedence over running. I don’t like super strict plans for that reason!

  4. I love that pic of Charlie!!! He looks so happy. Dogs are just the best. I definitely take it easy before I start training for a race so I have more to give once training starts. Hence why I didn’t run a single day in Cabo!

  5. Ha ha! Beagle stubbornness and pug laziness. So cute. I’m excited to see you start marathon training! And I’m definitely going to have a listen to that podcast.

  6. During my peak weeks of marathon training I have been training a lot more intuitively than I planned. Of course I’m still mostly following a schedule, but I have really been playing it by ear in terms of what workouts I do for the week and I have also been better at giving myself permission to cut out a few runs that were just going to be junk miles and serve no purpose for my training anyway. I love the idea of training intuitively but I fear if I tried to take that strategy full on, I’d end up undertraining because my laziness and excuses would take over. I work best with some kind of balance of a plan to keep me on track and flexibility to help me stay healthy and motivated.

    Glad you had such great weather this week! I always take it easy in the weeks before marathon training starts. Gotta save that energy!

    1. I do think having a plan helps, but being intuitive about when to take it easy or when to just straight up rest is important. Sometimes even that intuitiveness helps me see I can take on more miles or harder workouts – so it goes both ways 🙂 I think the peak weeks are definitely when it’s important to listen to your body!

  7. That picture of the mountain you hiked is breathtaking! Your posts always make me want to MOVE to the west coast!! Poor Charlie…although I wish the weather would randomly spike to just 60 around these parts 🙁 So depressing!
    Glad you tried to take it a little easier and enjoy your last week of unstructured training. It’s always kind of bittersweet, right?
    Looking forward to ALL the marathon posts to come!

    1. Thank you! It is definitely bittersweet to start training back up, especially because I do enjoy that unstructured time a bit too much. It was so beautiful at the top – and SO sunny! Hopefully some warmer weather comes your way, it’s too cold out there for April! Or maybe you should just move to the West Coast where it’s 60s all this week 🙂

  8. The reflection in that lake picture is amazing. I will start training later this year for my 2nd marathon, if I can ever choose. 😉 Getting injured last year really shifted my perspective about proper training, cross training and staying injury free. That’s the goal this year. I will definitely take it easy several weeks prior to starting. I’ve run one all down-hill half and simply loved it. What elevation drop will you have during the Jack & Jill? Good luck with your training. Thanks for linking with us Laura.

    1. Thank you – and thank you for hosting. It’s hard to choose a marathon, there are so many good options but you can really only do one a year. 🙂 Proper training and staying injury free are definitely important priorities – those are always my goals as well. The elevation drop is about 2000 feet over 26.2 miles – it begins in the mountains and finishes near sea level. Glad it’s not going the other direction!

  9. This week was recovery for me as I did the Paris marathon on April 3rd. I have 3 weeks of recovery training on the plan then I am looking for a bit of downtime before training picks up for my fall marathon.
    Your photos are gorgeous ! Looking forward to following your training.

  10. Wow yes I agree it’s a good thing your marathon is not the other way around meaning uphill! I did my first marathon in January and went with a 18-week plan, mind you it started mid-September but I had already been training for a half that started in July. So yea I felt like I was training for 6 months leading up to it. Not good and I was so dang close to burn out it was not even fun right at the end. When I do my next one I will cut that training time in half! Good luck to you Laura and thanks so much for linking with us I look forward to keeping up with your training!

    1. I agree! 2000 feet of uphill gain would be one tough marathon! Training for 6 months is definitely a long time, wow! 4 months is a lot better for a full I think, last time I trained for 18 weeks and it felt too long. Thank you for hosting 🙂

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