RnR Savannah / St. Jude Half Marathon Training: Weeks 3-5

Consistency hasn’t been the forte of my last few weeks. I’ve battled SI joint pain of varying intensity, tough work weeks, and illness. I’m doing my best to adapt to the situation and hoping things will return to normal soon.

This recap includes three weeks, because I’ll be honest, blogging is the first thing to go when life gets a little crazier than normal.

Week 3: 22 miles

Monday, 8/3

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: Rest

Tuesday, 8/4

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace; 2:00 rest; core; strength training
  • Actual: 4 miles @ 9:46/mile; 2 sets of 20 kettlebell swings; Myrtl routine

I felt like I was coming down with a cold, so I decided to put off the harder workout and push forward an easier day. Since I was also skipping my planned strength training, I got in a couple sets of kettlebell swings after my run. I felt a little unstable doing swings in my Hoka Cliftons (I typically wear a more minimal shoe for this kind of activity). In the evening, a pain I’d been having in my lower back really seized up. To the touch, I had a knot the size of a lima bean. I curse myself for swinging in max-cushion shoes.

Wednesday, 8/5

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace; 2:00 rest; core; strength training
  • Actual: rest and corrective massage

All day, my back just felt like owwwwwww, even just walking or sitting. I got a last minute massage appointment, with fingers crossed that the therapist could unlock whatever had seized up in my low back.

I learned from the therapist that my SI joint was the source of this pain. The issues with my SI joint had further underlying causes, including tight spots in my adductors and obliques. The massage helped release these spots and took the edge off the pain coming from my SI joint. The therapist also gave me some homework: glute activation exercises (proving I’m still a work in process), and spots to self-massage.

Thursday, 8/6

  • Plan: 5 miles; strength training
  • Actual: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace; 2:00 rest; strength training

I finally got the workout in! It started out pretty easy and ended up tough but doable. Pacing was pretty consistent among the one-minute repeats, between 8:20-8:30 pace. I’m pleased with it, since pacing shorter workouts hasn’t been easy for me in the past.

In the gym that evening, I was nervous to re-aggravate my SI joint so I didn’t go a full 100% effort. It was a good day: squats, pistols, TRX rows, assisted pull-ups, weighted lunges, hanging leg raises, and one arm kettlebell swings.

Friday, 8/7

  • Plan: rest
  • Actual: 3 mile recovery run

Had I done the fartlek workout Tuesday, I would have done this recovery run on Wednesday, so I decided to plug it in on my Friday rest day for a little active recovery.

Saturday, 8/8

  • Plan: 9 miles; core
  • Actual: 9 miles @ 9:15/mile; core

I met up with Jessica for a group run with MARC. I enjoyed the group atmosphere, met a lot of nice people, and had a good run. I kept trying to slow myself down to a 9:30+ pace in accordance with the training plan, but I ran faster than prescribed while still feeling comfortable on the run. I’m not going to read into it; I think it was just a day when I felt really good. I’ll take it.

Sunday, 8/9

  • Plan: 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: Travel, dinner, and rest

I packed up for another week in Boston. My flight was delayed 30 minutes at the time of departure, made up the delay time in the air, then we were delayed nearly an hour on the ground in Boston waiting for a gate.

My view for an extended length of time.

I’d planned to do my 3 mile recovery run before dinner, but with the delay, my hunger, and my unquenched desire for Neptune Oyster House, I opted to go straight for dinner. It’s gotten so hard to get in Neptune that I specifically planned to go on Sunday night when I’d be dining alone without coworkers. I had some delicious oysters, several (too many) delicious glasses of wine, and their lobster roll makes little angels sing inside my head. This is a meal that is worth skipping a recovery run for.

the BEST.

Week 4: 15 miles

Monday, 8/10

  • Plan: Make up Sunday’s 3 mile recovery run? Or rest.
  • Actual: Rest

I’m just going to be real here, I was a little hung over first thing in the morning.

I drank a bunch of water, slept another hour, and was a champion for the first day of what proved to be a tough work week.

Tuesday, 8/11

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest
  • Actual: 5 miles @ 9:29/mile; 4 strides

I slept horribly on Monday night, so yet again, I pushed up an easier running day on my harder workout day.

I didn’t do my evening strength training as planned because we had a team dinner. We went to Bricco, which may be my new favorite Italian spot in the North End. A couple of coworkers and I went family style with a bunch of dishes, and everything was great. Two thumbs up.

The meatballs are awesome.

Wednesday, 8/12

  • Plan: 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: 4 miles with friends, untimed; core/hip strength

Miles with friends on the Charles River Esplanade are the best. I followed up the run with a core circuit and some hip strength work.

The day just kept getting better from there. For lunch, we went to Sam LaGrassa’s deli (the corned beef and pastrami sandwich is great but HUGE!), and we picnicked in Boston Common on a gorgeous day.

After work, a colleague and I booked it to Harpoon Brewery. If you like beer/the brewery scene, I’ve got to recommend this to anyone visiting Boston. The atmosphere was great, I liked the beer, and the pretzel with IPA cheese made me extremely happy.

Thursday, 8/13

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest
  • Actual: Rest

I really regretted not going ahead with this workout on Tuesday. I also regretted not resting enough over the week…WHO AM I KIDDING, it was a great time. But with a big day of work ahead of me, I decided to put my focus there and run in the evening or the next day.

When the work day was over, all I wanted to do was take a nap and go for a late run. So naturally, when my friend/coworker Heather suggested we have a glass of champagne to celebrate getting through the week…YES PLEASE. A glass of champagne turned into another delicious dinner at Bricco and a cannoli from Modern Pastry. So much for those plans.

Friday, 8/14

  • Plan: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest
  • Actual: 6 miles w/ 8 x 1:00 @ 10k pace, 2:00 rest

I got the workout in eventually. It was beautiful and the run went great. Other than one repeat that I ran a tad too fast (8:12/mi pace), the rest were all in the 8:20-8:30 range.

I always pack a carry-on for work trips. This particular day, I didn’t feel like dragging it through security, so I pulled a rare move and checked my small bag.

When I got to the Atlanta airport, I saw my bag on a crowded carousel, stacked above a couple of other bags. I reached awkwardly to grab it, and felt almost a cranking sensation in my SI joint.

It hurt to walk, sit, even shift positions while lying down. Normally a tosser/turner, I had to lie completely still while sleeping because the slightest adjustment of my hips sent my SI joint pain into fury.

Saturday, 8/15

  • Plan: Rest or 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: Rest

I woke up feeling as miserable as when I went to sleep. I couldn’t do anything bending at the waist – I could barely touch my knees. I found a chiropractor whose office was open on Saturday, and it was good to get out of the house with a glimmer of hope, but I didn’t notice any improvement in the pain. I spent most of the day standing and hanging out on our friends’ front porch, because sitting was more painful than standing.

Sunday, 8/16

  • Plan: 9 miles
  • Actual: Rest

The SI joint pain was somewhat less than the day before, but I wasn’t about to risk running 9 miles feeling that way. I toyed with the idea of a short easy run, but decided that would be horrible judgment given the level of pain I was experiencing.

Week 5: 22 miles

Monday, 8/17

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: 3 miles easy @ 9:56/mile

My SI joint pain was steadily improving, but I was getting a little grumpy from not getting any exercise. I tried to think of what I could do to get a good sweat that wouldn’t irritate the SI joint, and realized that running made the most sense – no bending at the waist necessary.

I had a really excellent run. The hills were no big deal. It was odd, except now I’m wondering if something I did to avoid aggravating the SI joint is actually better running form and allows the glutes to activate better. My theory is that it’s keeping my pelvis neutral, so I’m going to try being more conscious of this going forward.

The other great thing about this run was that my SI joint pain was decreased compared to the pain pre-run, and I was a lot more mobile than before (I could actually touch my toes after the run).

Tuesday, 8/18

  • Plan: 7 miles w/ 3-6 @ tempo pace
  • Actual: 5 miles @ 9:54; strides; strength training

Even feeling a lot better, I wasn’t sure about jumping straight into a tempo run, so the streak of putting off Tuesday workouts continued.

Strength training went pretty well. The trainer modified a couple of exercises to avoid aggravating anything, but I was able to do almost everything according to plan.

Wednesday, 8/19

  • Plan: 3 mile recovery run
  • Actual: 3 miles @ 10:37/mile; corrective massage; mobility class

Thursday, 8/20

  • Plan: 7 miles w/ 3-6 @ tempo pace
  • Actual: 7 miles w/ 3-6 @ tempo pace; strength training

I didn’t wake up early, so I had to do this one on the treadmill. 2 miles @ 10:21/mile, 4 miles @ 8:41/mile, 1 mile @ 10:21/mile. The workout felt exactly as it should: comfortably hard until the last quarter mile or so, when it was pretty stinkin’ hard.

We had squat day at the gym, and I decided to attempt pull-ups with a band for the first time. It was a success and I felt like a badass. That is all.

Friday, 8/21

  • Plan: Rest
  • Actual: Rest

Saturday, 8/22

  • Plan: 10 miles
  • Actual: Rest

My throat felt really scratchy and I felt more fatigued than normal, so I hoped that putting off the long run would keep the sick bugs at bay.

Sunday, 8/23

  • Plan: 10 miles
  • Actual: 4 miles @ 10:21/mile; core/hips

I still felt kind of sick and decided to play it safe.

Overall, I’m disappointed that I haven’t been training as consistently as I planned, but sometimes life happens. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, hoping all the obstacles to my training came at once. 🙂


3 thoughts on “RnR Savannah / St. Jude Half Marathon Training: Weeks 3-5

  1. Yikes! Better to take care of yourself now and rest up. Maybe swimming would be a good option while healing your SI joint. Hope to see you at another MARC run soon!


  2. Pingback: RnR Savannah / St. Jude Half Marathon Training – Week 6 | Racing Oprah

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