St. Jude Memphis Marathon Training – 4 Weeks to Go

Now that I’m officially tapering, I’m catching up on old training updates. This one is for Marathon Minus Four Weeks.

Total Miles: 33

Monday: 4.5 miles easy @ 10:44/mi; strides

First treadmill run of the cold, dark winter. Felt like a 2 hour run. My attempt at “strides” on a treadmill actually went really well, they felt surprisingly good.

Plan: 10 miles // 4-9 @ tempo pace
Actual: 8 miles // 4-7 @ tempo pace

I honestly felt so nervous going into this workout. I wasn’t sure if I could do it. My 10 mile run a week before with 5 tempo-pace-miles had been hard enough.

When I started the tempo-pace-miles, I felt a little pain in the upper part of the outside of my left thigh, almost the hip. It wasn’t IT band pain, it was a little further forward and didn’t go down very far. Anyway, as I kept running, the discomfort increased, so I ultimately decided to cut the run short and hope for the best in advance of the Savannah RnR Half Marathon that I planned to run on Saturday.

I did feel that 8 miles with four at tempo pace (hovering around 8:50/mile) was still a solid workout, and a little extra taper for the half marathon wouldn’t hurt. I recommitted myself to core and hip strengthening work that I’d been doing only sporadically for the past couple of months.

Wednesday: Rest day

My left leg felt like death, to the point of hurting when I walked. Over the course of the day, I realized that the pain went away almost entirely when I consciously engaged my core and glutes to pull my pelvis into a straight line with my torso and legs. I suspect I’ve been running with my pelvis angled forward, and this has caused strain on whatever muscle/tendon is bugging me.

pelvic tilt

Illustration of my bad running/walking form. Photo courtesy of

Did some clamshells, leg lifts, and single-leg bridges at home after work.

Thursday: 5.5 miles easy @ 10:45/mi; strides

Another treadmill run. To make things worse, Fox News was on my work-gym’s TV WITH SOUND (barf). I can really only handle Fox News segments when they’re on the Daily Show. Counted down every 5% increment of the run. I would hate running if I could only run on a treadmill with Fox News blaring.

Quick tangent//Book recommendation: The Loudest Voice in the Room by Gabriel Sherman, a biography of Roger Ailes’ life and building of Fox News. This book is certainly from a liberal perspective, but it sticks to well-researched facts, so I wouldn’t say it’s specifically for a liberal or conservative audience. Rather, it’s for an audience who wants to be aware of the driving forces behind the man in charge of a highly influential news source. I “read” the audio version on Audible, and for my nerdy taste in books, I thought it was sufficiently scandalous/interesting for a boring treadmill session or long run.
Recommended if: you find the media/politics/Washington power structure interesting.
Not recommended if: you believe President Obama was born in Kenya or is a Muslim, think there is a “War on Christmas,” etc.

Friday: Rest day; travel to Savannah
Saturday: 2 miles easy @ 10:49/mi (pre-race)
Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon: 13.1 mile race @ 8:50/mi (13.2 miles @ 8:47/mi per Garmin)

The only thing I really have to add to the race recap linked above was that I did feel some pain during the race, but managed it by consciously running with my pelvis aligned correctly. It was pretty easy to be conscious of any misalignment because my leg basically screamed at me every time I let my pelvis tilt forward. I felt some discomfort, but it certainly wasn’t as bad as Tuesday’s tempo run, and the next day’s pain wasn’t as bad either.

Sunday: Rest day; travel to Atlanta; travel to Boston

Highlights of the trip back to Atlanta from Savannah included a gas station petting zoo and a South Georgia Sunday lunch buffet, both in Metter, Georgia off of I-16.

Regrettably I didn’t get any pictures of the buffet food, but if chicken and dumplings, pot roast, collards, mac ‘n’ cheese, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, etc. are your cup of tea, it’s a good spot. I’m generally not a huge buffet fan, but this place was busy enough that the food was pretty fresh.

Regarding the gas station petting zoo: it’s one of those roadside absurdities that is 100% worth seeing. I was against the idea in theory, but we had so much fun.

petting zoo

Feeding the animals // Mike is way braver than me.

petting zoo

I can’t make this up, y’all.

petting zoo

I spent about 30 minutes packing at home before going to the airport for a week of work in Boston. It was such a busy day, and I’m really glad the race was on Saturday and not Sunday!

What’s your preference, Saturday or Sunday races? Why?


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