St. Jude Memphis Marathon Training – 7 Weeks to Go

7 weeks?!?!?!?

I’m so behind in writing this that it’s really closer to 6 weeks, unless I’ve made a grave counting error (says the CPA, crossing her fingers that it’s a counting error, but too lazy to check).

Week t-minus-7 was a really critical week for me mentally, since I went on vacation during week t-minus-8 and was barely able to train. I got back and had the worst long run ever, which was really damaging to my confidence.

The week in training:
Tuesday: 6 miles easy @ 11:00/mi
Wednesday: 9 miles; miles 4-7 @ tempo pace
Thursday: rest day
Friday: 6 miles; miles 4-6 @ steady state effort
Saturday: 3 miles easy @ 10:47/mi
Sunday: 17 miles @ 10:54/mi
Total: 41 miles

This is my highest ever weekly mileage and longest run ever, but I didn’t get the same I FEEL SO ACCOMPLISHED! feeling I got last time I achieved those milestones. I think I just don’t have the energy to be too excited. You know what else I don’t have the energy for right now? Keeping my house clean.

The tempo workout was the first hard effort I attempted after the worst long run, and it went just ok. I was going for for a pace of 8:45-9:00 for miles 4-7, but ended up taking my sweet time easing into the workout in mile 4. Miles 4 and 5 were run on a slight uphill. Miles 6 and 7 were slightly downhill. My legs felt stuck in molasses for the last 0.15 of mile 7 after it turned uphill again, and I slowed considerably.

Tempo run

Splits for tempo run

On a regular week, I’d be unhappy with this workout.  But 2 days after the worst long run ever, it was actually a confidence boost, because it showed me that I could bounce back quickly after missing some training and that horrible attempt at a long run.

I’m learning to accept that you can’t enter every workout at your peak readiness – sometimes you’re tired, or have a headache, or whatever. But if you push through at the right effort level, you’re doing what you need to do. (On the other hand, I want most of my workouts to be in line with the plan, and having a blog is really helpful for being able to revisit old workouts and figure out if I’m consistently training the way I want to be training.)

New to my training plan this week was the steady-state effort, which is half marathon pace to slightly slower (9:00-9:20). While I really wanted an easy run that day, it was nice to get in some quality miles that were a bit less taxing on my body than a full-fledged tempo run. Other than having to take a pit stop in mile 4, the workout went well.

Steady state

First time doing a steady state run.

This week’s long run was, again, my longest run ever. It was anything but noteworthy. I ran it slower than I wanted to (I am oddly happy when long runs come in below 10:30/mile), but it wasn’t horrible like my last long run. Mentally and emotionally, I was all over the place during this run. I passed many of the landmarks from the worst long run ever – most notably, the spot where I was picked up by Uber – and was thankful at how much better I felt on this run than I did then. While I often briefly consider quitting before I’m finished with a training run, it’s no big deal and I’m able to quickly brush the thought aside. This run was different – I had a feeling of wanting to quit that was more persistent and sincere-feeling than I’ve experienced in a long time. And by “quit,” I don’t mean just that day’s run. This time, I didn’t want to run a marathon at all.

Long run

Longest run ever splits. Yay?

I’m going to write off that feeling for now, since I haven’t felt it again since. But I do think it’s important to memorialize it, and be honest in acknowledging it, just as I memorialize the feelings of OMG I LOVE RUNNING!!!

This week’s podcasts/audiobooks: The best podcast I listened to this week was an old episode of Fresh Air with John Oliver as the guest. It was funny and entertaining, but not so overstimulating that I couldn’t focus on my tempo run.  Also, I love Terry Gross’s voice. I’m really excited to get into Serial next week.

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