Sunday, June 9, 2013

"You're Training For a Marathon? So THAT's Why You're So Slow!"

Let's start with the weekly digits:

Monday: 5 miles, easy, Pace Gloves
Tuesday: 9 miles with 4 x 1.5 miles (9:30 average), Pace Gloves
Wednesday: rest
Thursday12 miles with 10 tempo (9:40 average), half Connects/half Pace Gloves
Friday workout: 3 miles, treadmill, 11:38 average, socks
Saturday workout: 10 hilly miles, 10:11 average, Pace Gloves
Sunday workout: 7 miles, treadmill, 12:00 average, socks

Total: 46 miles

I ended up shifting my runs back a day now as opposed to during my "taper" so I'll run my last hard workout 10 days before the marathon instead of 9 (for any newcomers, I found out my marathon's on a Saturday and not a Sunday). According to the brothers Hanson, it takes ten days for the benefits of an "SOS" workout to kick in, and according to Jeano's sanity, running a hard workout 10 days prior instead of 9 will make for a successful race instead of a catastrophe.

I was planning to do 5 miles on Friday, but I couldn't muster the energy for an additional two miles and since I was doing 10 instead of 8 the following day, 3 miles kept the mileage unchanged. And yes, I did agonize over the best way to shift my runs for hours and hours and hours because I'm so obsessive. I'm admitting that to give you all an ego boost because no matter how much your day/week/year sucks, at least you're not that girl who obsesses over a couple of miles for hours on end. Let's end this unnecessarily long paragraph, shall we?

Shifting my runs made me realize that I should have been on a Saturday LR schedule this entire time. Being "healthy," "responsible," and "getting adequate rest" on a Saturday night because you've got a long run the following day can get stale after a while. Only having 5 (well, 7 this week) miles to get through on Sunday is way more conducive to a fun and carefree Saturday night. But hey, live and learn, right?


Let's talk about that long run. I've been pretty vocal about dragging ass the past couple of weeks because it seems marathon training finally caught up with me. For the first 3 months of this training program, I kept waiting for the fatigue to set in. But even though I was killing some pretty intense runs and breaking weekly mileage PRs left and right, I just wasn't feeling it. This was great because it meant I was really excited to run each and every day, but it was also slightly worrisome because I was afraid I wasn't doing enough to prepare myself for a marathon.

Anyway, I won't shut up about being tired because I've really been feeling it. So yesterday I did what any sane person does and, recognizing that it was going to be an extremely difficult run, decided to make it as hard as possible. That meant hills. And running during the hottest part of the day (almost 90 degrees in the sun!). And no music. Because trying to kill yourself is totally normal.

Well, shockingly enough, my crazy plan worked-I felt great! I think there's something about preparing yourself mentally for a really difficult run that "over-prepares" your body and actually makes the run easier. It's the same reason that I always feel faster and stronger on hills than on flat ground. If you're me, at least, you prepare yourself for Everest so when faced with, like, Heartbreak Hill or its equivalent, it's not that bad. Because you prepared yourself for Everest. Which you could totally climb if you wanted to. Marathon shape = Everest shape, right? Don't crush my dreams.

 I ran here! This is from a Bailey trip earlier in the day, though.

I was also reminded of how much easier it is to run with someone than alone. I wish that meant I did the entire run with someone else, but what it actually means is that I ran with a nice stranger man for three or four minutes.

I was working my merry way up, up, and up

Oh, you know, just 300+ feet in 1.8 miles. NBD.

when I ran past a gentleman walking on the side of the road. He asked me if I was Clara (?) and yelled that he'd see me soon. I thought he was making a joke but replied with a "Wonderful! I look forward to it!" Well, he wasn't kidding; approximately a minute and a half later I heard him slapping towards me (he was an extraordinarily loud runner). He caught up and we got to spend a few minutes chatting.

He was really friendly and I was appreciative of his company, however brief, but the thing that stuck with me from the conversation was him calling me slow. Which, coming from a run-walker, was surprising, to say the least. There's absolutely nothing wrong with run-walking, but telling someone "Oh, you're training for a marathon? So that's why your pace is so slow" when you're probably doing 13:00-14:00 miles is, um, nonsensical? A wee bit. I was about to go into how "Well, I'm following this plan that's really specific about pace and today's prescribed pace is 10:30 so blah blah blah," but I just didn't care enough to get into it. Plus, I ran that mile in 10:06 with a 200-foot hill so suck it, run-walker! After a few minutes, I left him to his walking ways and pushed onward.

But really, despite all the hate I just spewed, it was really nice to chat with someone while running. When I started running in college, I did nearly all of my runs with other people. I remember my first (and only) 10-miler with my roommate, which we spent on the verge of tears because we were in so much pain, but also because we were having so much fun. I want that again! When I'm not using the most specific training plan ever, that is. I'm not sure a running partner would be cool with my training plan OCD.

Perhaps motivated by my stranger friend's diss, the rest of the run went really, really well. I could not keep my pace to a 10:30 no matter how hard I tried to slow down, so I ended up with a 10:11 average. I felt like I was running at a 12:00 pace. It was fantastic. Also, the heat didn't get to me as much as usual. I was able to accept that it was going to be a warm run and get over it. That doesn't mean I'm not going to cry if it's hot on race day, but it's progress.

I hope that wherever you are, you're having great weather like we are! But let's face it, you're probably not because it's perfect here.

  • Are you a solo runner or a social runner?
  • Do you ever have runs that initially seem impossible but turn out to be relatively easy once you do them?


  1. What a peculiar comment. I probably would have responded with "Ohhh, you're a creeper?! THAT'S why a stranger is running next to me making small talk." Also probably why I have approximately three friends.

    I always find that when I'm dreading a run and thinking it's going to be horrendous, it usually turns out to be just the opposite and lots of fun. You're rocking this training outttt! So close, so close!

    1. Ahaha, I wish I could have. I'm GREAT at trash talking people like that the second they leave, but in the moment I never have the courage unless I actually know the person. I'm too polite.

  2. Yes, that dude is a creeper. I had a guy run with me once when I was running (I wrote about this months back, maybe in Nov or Dec??? one of my more fun posts!) and the whole time he was complementing me on my great pace. I enjoy the company of a runner on a long run, regardless of whether or not they are creepers or not! ha! I am almost always a solo runner.

    1. Ahaha, that is SO WEIRD. Complimenting you on your pace? Running fast is great and all, but to continually compliment someone for it is really bizarre. And yes, I appreciated his company even if he was less than polite.

  3. I usually run alone, but can sometimes be found with a group. Depends on the day, and the purpose of the run. Since I don't have many "real life" friends (outside the blogosphere) - and even fewer who are perfectly paced for me, I often find it easier to run alone. If KMN's around, he'll sometimes join.

    I usually find that the "scary" runs are considerably worse in the anticipating than execution.

    1. Yeah, it's certainly more convenient to run alone, especially when you don't want to go through the time and hassle of driving somewhere and meeting up with people first. But some of my runs could have been infinitely easier had I had company...