Paris Marathon Training – Weeks 7-9

The recap in which training gradually falls apart

I’ve gotten behind on these training recaps. I’ve had more than usual going on personally and professionally – some good, some bad, none expected. I had already written most of the week 7 recap, so it’s more detailed than the others.

Week 7: 1/25 – 1/31

Monday:

  • Plan: 3 miles easy + 4 strides + rehab exercises + strength
  • Actual: 3 miles @ 10:00/mile + rehab exercises + strength

Um, totally forgot the strides, but it was a gorgeous day for a lunchtime run. I decided to go ahead and deal with the nuisance of getting a running photo, which I promptly forgot to Instagram.

atlanta beltline running

So I’ll add my graffiti running photo to the Internet’s collection.

Seriously, this was more of an ordeal than it was worth, and I seriously wonder how people who Instagram running photos multiple times a week do it. #shareyoursecrets

I went to the gym for my strength workout, and it was – unfortunately – a day to get the opportunity to check off new feats of strength to see how strong you’re getting! Unfortunate because I get way too competitive with myself in these kinds of situations and work harder than I should considering I’m also training for a marathon. So shortsighted. Anyway, the feats of strength were related to variations of squats, strict pull-ups, and bar dips. I did a lot better with dips than pull-ups, and right now I’m just not limber enough to do what’s next for squats, which is a full butt-to-heel pistol squat. After attempting the feats of strength, there was a workout to challenge the muscles I had just worked to failure – pull-up negatives, rows, stuff like that – so it was hard. Even lunges with racked kettlebells made my arms feel like chicken wings.

Tuesday:

  • Plan: Rest day
  • Actual: Rest day

HOLY MOTHER OF DOMS. There was not one direction that I could move my arms without nearly recoiling from the soreness.

Wednesday:

  • Plan: 5 miles w/ 6 x 1:00 @ 5k pace, 2:00 jog recovery + rehab exercises + strength
  • Actual: Rest

The thought of swinging my arms for just an easy run would have brought me to tears, so after a full day of lecture-style training with a nasty headache, no way was I getting through a faster workout, even if it was a relatively easy cutback-week workout. No unplanned rest day has ever been such a no-brainer.

Thursday:

  • Plan: Rest day
  • Actual: 5 miles w/ 6 x 1:00 @ 5k pace, 2:00 jog recovery + rehab exercises + mini-strength

Annnnddd we’re back. I didn’t get to this workout until after dark, so I decided to take it to the treadmill in my office gym. The faster portion was fine, but the other miles were so boring.

I didn’t have time to get a proper strength workout in, and my upper body was still pretty angry, but I did a mini-strength workout focused on lower body after my rehab exercises. My office gym has a few kettlebells, so I did 3 sets of 20 kettlebell swings, 3 sets of 10 kettlebell deadlifts, 2 sets of 10 goblet squats, and 2 sets of 10 Bulgarian split squats.

Friday:

  • Plan: 3 miles + 4 strides + Myrtls
  • Actual: Rest day

I thought about skipping the rest day and taking this run really easy, but I ran about one minute and decided my body needed the day off.

Saturday:

  • Plan: 12 miles w/ last 3 @ GMP (9:25) + core
  • Actual: 3 miles @ 9:52/mile + 4 strides

Slacked on the Myrtls. GUILTY.

I’ve had a couple pairs of shoes wear out on me lately, and since I’ve had an injury recently, I decided to head over to see what the pros recommended shoe-wise.

I don’t want to take over this post with the nitty gritty of what went down (although I learned some interesting things that may warrant a future post), but a proper video analysis at West Stride confirmed what I expected – mostly neutral/slightly supinated gait. I tried on a few pairs in the “daily trainer” category, and to my surprise I ended up in the Brooks Ghost. I’ve previously tried out Brooks shoes from the Pure line, which never really felt quite right on my foot. But the Ghosts were the shoes that felt so comfortable on, fit like a glove, and allowed me to go through a comfortable stride without feeling like I had to really “muscle through” any part of my stride (unlike others I tried).

IMG_6905

Sunday:

  • Plan: Yoga
  • Actual: 12 miles w/ last 3 @ GMP (9:21/8:59/9:09) + 26 minutes core + 15 min stretching-oriented yoga

The elusive marathon pace. I’m not of the mind that “I ran faster, yay me” because I don’t feel like I’m ready to run a whole marathon at those paces, so I kind of screwed up the point of the workout by running faster than I should have. But it did feel nice at the time.

During the GMP miles, I felt my shorts chafing my right thigh, but decided to sacrifice my skin for the confidence that would come with executing my GMP miles. I implore you, please never do this to yourselves. One week has passed and my skin is still not 100%. Once I was finished with the run, I looked down and saw blood all over my right thigh. This wasn’t just a slight chafe.

silver comet running

You didn’t think I was going to show a bloody chafe photo, did you? I’m far too queasy to ever see blood on purpose.

Week 7: 23 miles

As for my resolutions to run healthy in 2016:

  • Rehab/core work – C: I did 3/4 of the planned core/rehab/Myrtl routines on my schedule.
  • Sleep – B: I hit my 8 hour goal every night except one, but I didn’t feel rested. Most nights, I was waking up in the middle of the night and I’d have a hard time going back to sleep. By Thursday, I was exhausted and went to bed before 9pm, which may have helped me “reset” – I haven’t had serious sleep interruptions since then.
  • Nutrition – C: I’m going to have to find a reliable way to track my fruits and veggies. I didn’t do it this week. I know I had some good days, but the point was to actually keep track.
  • “Body maintenance” – B: I did the bare minimum of stretching and foam rolling, and I checked the box with Sunday yoga, but after moving my schedule around I wasn’t up for much more.

I didn’t track these resolutions over weeks 8 & 9.

Week 8: 2/1 – 2/7

Monday:

  • Plan: 3 miles easy + rehab exercises + strength
  • Actual: 3 miles @ 10:20/mile + rehab exercises + strength

Felt some discomfort near the bottom-inside portion of my left thigh, close to my left knee. UGH.

Tuesday:

  • Plan: 4 miles easy + 4 strides + core
  • Actual: Rest

I was at work late (unexpectedly), then saw my late night as an opportunity to let whatever was bothering me on Monday’s run rest and heal.

Wednesday:

  • Plan: 7 miles w/ 3 x mile @ tempo, :90 jog recovery + rehab exercises + strength
  • Actual: Rest day

I had a morning dermatologist appointment, and I told the doctor I’d had my eye on this spot on my chest. He said it didn’t concern him much, but he’d do a biopsy to be safe. This was my first skin biopsy, and it took more skin than I expected. When the nurse gave me care instructions for the wound, one of the explicit instructions was to keep it dry for a day.

Me: So, does that mean I can’t go for a run?

Nurse: Well, do you sweat when you run?

Me: [head drops] yes.

Thursday:

  • Plan: Rest day
  • Actual: 7 miles w/ 3 x mile @ tempo (8:35/8:32/8:28) + rehab exercises + strength

Left quad pain was still there, maybe at a 3/10 on the pain scale.

Friday:

  • Plan: 3 miles + 4 strides + Myrtls
  • Actual: Chiro + 3 miles @ 10:08/mile + Myrtls

I got in to see my chiro that morning, who worked on the area and diagnosed insufficient quad strength as a contributing factor. He gave me an exercise to do, which I could do at my desk (it’s just using the quads to straighten the knee from a bent position).

My run did not go well. I had to stop around the end of the second mile to stretch/massage that spot in my quad. It started bugging my left knee a little bit as well. I skipped the strides.

Saturday:

  • Plan: 15 miles + core
  • Actual: 1.6 miles @10:42/mile + lots of foam rolling

Since I’d moved my tempo run to Thursday, the plan was just to get in 3 easy miles and some strides. I stopped as soon as there was discomfort – no point in sabotaging the long run.

Sunday:

  • Plan: 15 miles + core
  • Actual: 15 miles @ 11:04/mile + core

This run was horrible on so many levels. 1) I didn’t feel fit at all. 2) that spot in my left quad was bugging me for the majority of the run. 3) I was angry at everyone and everything because of 1&2. (How dare that asshole on the bike pass me so quickly? Brag about your modern technology a little more, jerk.)

In the last 6 miles or so, I made a concerted effort to be positive. One thing I noticed was that my right ITB didn’t hurt at all. That was the best thing I could come up with (and it was indeed a good thing!)

I got home and alas, my right ITB felt like the last two months of rehab hadn’t happened. Mega pissed. Mega discouraged. I don’t have anything positive to say, other than I’m glad I have other things going on right now to distract me from how training is going (or, not going, as the case may be).

IMG_6879

Current mood.

Week 8: 30 miles

Week 9: 2/8 – 2/14

Monday:

  • Plan: 4 miles easy + rehab exercises + strength
  • Actual: Nada

Right knee at ITB insertion point hurt just walking around. Lot of ice. Lot of foam rolling. Panicked call to the chiropractor’s office.

Tuesday:

  • Plan: 4 miles easy + 4 strides + core
  • Actual: Chiro + rest

My chiro was out of town, so I got squeezed in to see his partner, Dr. Glass (who is so nice – I really love their practice). Dr. Glass wasn’t as concerned about the whole situation as I was, seeming to think it was just a setback. As he was testing my hip range of motion while I was lying on my stomach, it was so obvious that my right hip isn’t moving nearly as well as my left. The difference was pronounced.

I got some homework which is just a simple variation on foam rolling + static stretching, but I really like it. The idea is to sandwich some light static stretching into your foam rolling – so if you’re rolling your quads, take a break in the middle and do 5 5-second static stretches, then resume rolling. As for hip mobility, Dr. Glass’s recommendation was just to do a few leg swings intermittently throughout the day. So simple. That I can do.

He recommended a test run Thursday, and to do my long run on a loop so I could stop if needed.

Wednesday:

  • Plan: 7 miles w/ 3-5 @ tempo + rehab exercises + strength
  • Actual: Rest

I considered going to the gym and cross-training, but after staying late at work again, I decided to focus on rolling and stretching. Oh, and I found out Jeff had the flu. Influenza B. So there was some care taking involved.

Thursday:

  • Plan: Rest day
  • Actual: 3 mile test run @ 10:30/mile + rehab exercises + PT

This run didn’t feel too bad. I could sense that my quad pain was worse the more I flexed my knee, and I also felt a dull ache under my left kneecap post-run.

I had a PT appointment, and holy smokes did that spot in my quad freak out when he needled it. I felt cautiously optimistic that it would really help.

Friday:

  • Plan: 3 miles + 4 strides + Myrtls
  • Actual: Rest day

I was pretty sore from the needling. Much needed day off.

Saturday:

  • Plan: 16 miles + core
  • Actual: 3 miles @ 10:15/mile + strides + Myrtls

I really got after the foam rolling and stretching post-run. I felt ready to take on my 16 miler after this run.

Sunday:

  • Plan: 16 miles + core
  • Actual: 8 miles @ 10:37/mile + core

I normally actively avoid repeating loop routes for a long run, so the loop I chose was one I’m not terribly familiar with, and it really wasn’t ideal (unavoidable road camber + too much opposing traffic to get off the side of the road). I called it quits shortly into the 9th mile. My left quad and right ITB had been feeling angry, then my left ITB started hurting. I felt like collapsing on the ground in dramatic fashion, but I would have probably hurt something else picking myself up. So I just stopped running and walked the rest of the way back.

None of the pain was horribly acute, and if it had been a race, I absolutely could have kept running. My level of discomfort felt about like last week’s run did, which sidelined me for several days. I hope that by cutting it short, I gave myself a fighting chance to get back on track with my training. What I did last week didn’t work, so I’ll just try something different and hope for the best.

Week 9: 14 miles

Right now I don’t have anything positive to say about training. I don’t want to train for a marathon anymore. If I were training for the Publix Marathon or something else close by, I would absolutely throw in the towel and let all this junk heal properly before training for another race. Any hopes of a PR in Paris are wild dreams right now. All I can hope for right now is to be healthy enough to continue training, finish the race, and stuff myself with croissants, cheeses, and Bordeaux when it’s done.

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20 thoughts on “Paris Marathon Training – Weeks 7-9

  1. Marathon training is tough! Luckily for you (and me!), Paris marathon might not be PR-races, but incredibly scenic and fun all around! I am getting so excited to run the marathon as part of a great running tour around the city. It looks like a great course and is relatively flat, so that will keep you going! Good luck with the next week’s worth of training runs! Only 1.5 months to go!!

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    • Hi! It’s so good to hear that you’re running Paris too, and thanks for your encouraging comment. I’ve heard great things about the Paris course too. I’m so glad to only have a little over a month left of hard training. Good luck with your training!

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  2. It sounds like a really tough couple weeks of training but sometimes this period can be the hardest and it’s when the nagging injuries seem to be that much more worrisome, and annoying. Hang in there…you actually sound like you are handling it very well and are able to still write with some humor so there are some positives. And, you’re right, how do people take the time to get all those running pics? I mean, really, it takes me for-freakin’ ever to get the devices synched, get ready, run, cool down, stretch, roll, stretch, and shower…adding photography to the endeavor just doesn’t seem to fit unless it can be done quickly – mind you, some people do get some cool shots so maybe they just have a designated photo taking day on a non-running day?!!! You have much to look forward to running Paris…it will be an awesome experience to run an international marathon event in a really cool venue. And, like you said, you got the wine to numb the pain afterwards anyway…best of luck with rest of training. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really appreciate this comment, because until you pointed it out, I didn’t give myself credit for maintaining some humor in the situation. That gave me the confidence to know that at least if I’m hobbling around Paris, I can find a way to laugh.

      I’m with you on the time thing: running takes so much longer than actually running once you add in all the warm up, cool down, stretch, etc etc. Sometimes if I’m working from home, I don’t shower until well after my run (gasp!).

      Thanks for the encouragement, and I hope you have a great week of training ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Given all that you’ve dealt with the past couple weeks, it really was a great post and had me smiling several times! Have a great training workout week…you are getting there!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great run photo! I can’t believe about your IT band though. You say it feels like you haven’t even been rehabbing it? That’s crazy. I don’t want to sound all hippy-like but sometimes when I’m doing everything right and all the rehab and the runs, I turn to what I’m eating. I start eating foods that reduce inflammation or ban foods that are inflammatory. I know it sounds nuts but it has helped in the past. I’m sure you’re doing everything you can do though! Worst case scenario you dial back and rest it a just a little bit more. Try not to let this bum you out. You have great a great rehab team! And you never really know what will happen on race day. I’ve never predicted good or bad race days based on build up weeks. Not ever! That’s the great “fun” of racing marathons right?! 🙂

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    • So I haven’t been paying a ton of attention to what I’ve been eating; funny you should bring that up because I realize one difference between now and when I was training for my last marathon, and running higher mileage, is that I’m about 5-10 lbs heavier now (more impact force?). So I was just thinking I should start watching what I eat. I’ll google inflammatory foods, or do you have a source you recommend on the topic?

      I love your perspective on the fun of racing marathons being the unpredictability. And it’s true! Thanks for bringing that up, it’s something fun to look forward to.

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      • I read “Clean” by Alexjandro Junger, M.D., after seeing his name come up a lot. I had been having back pain and the IT band pain and it just seemed ridiculous b/c I am young and fairly fit. So I figured I needed to look into other explanations. Long story short this book really worked wonders. I was able to see what my particular sensitivities were and when I got rid of them I got rid of the pain. I just don’t tell many people that whole story b/c it might sound crazy, but I do believe what we eat affects us like that, especially after I changed my diet and those issues stopped. But I’ve recommended it to 3 friends now who have all found success with taking certain things out of their diets that irritated their systems/bodies. Also I lost a lot of weight on his plan with changing how I ate. And that wasn’t even my goal. If you go to his website (cleanprogram.com) it gives you a faster synopsis if you want to jump right into the plan. Don’t get freaked out about how long the verbotten list seems! It’s not forever! It’s just until you see what affects you. Gwyneth Paltrow wrote a whole cookbook following his “elimination” eating (“It’s All Good”). Just so you know he’s not like some vagrant hippy writing books. 😉 I just went to this program b/c I was tired of ibuprofen and all the other rehab! Maybe it will help to at least look at the list.

        Liked by 1 person

      • This is so interesting, and I agree that what we eat impacts a lot more than calories and nutrients. I haven’t had a chance to read all the details yet, but the idea is appealing. When you started out with this, did you feel like you were able to get enough energy from the foods you could eat for training/running? That’s my only real hesitation. Thanks for sharing that info, I’m excited to learn more and give it a try.

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      • Yes I felt like I got enough fuel. I also did a couple of calorie count days to verify input/output calories and it all added up. When I first did his 21-Day plan I wasn’t in a marathon buildup though. When I WAS in a marathon buildup later, I could still eat elimination but I’d have a proper dinner instead of the shake. So shake-lunch-dinner sort of thing instead of shake-lunch-shake. Just b/c you know how it is after a workout and you want to EAT. But as long as it was from the non-inflammation food list it was fine. Actually even if you just do 3 reg meals a day elimination eating you’re still going to find out what affects you (I hope!). It all sounds like a pain but I’m so happy to know what foods work for me, even if I don’t eat “clean” all the time.

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      • It’s great to hear that you figured out how to fit it in to a marathon buildup. I cook most of my meals anyway so I don’t think it will be too painful…cook these foods instead of those?

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  4. Oh Sarah, I was so sorry to read this. Hang in there lady – you are tough and you are doing all the things you should be doing.

    Even if you don’t PR, it will be such a unique experience. I’m not counting you out yet though! Sending good vibes your way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the encouragement. There’s definitely more to look forward to in Paris than a PR, so at this point I’ll just be happy to finish the race (and eat all the cheeses after!). Thanks for the good vibes…I think I feel them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So sorry to hear about your setback. I understand your frustrations and discouragement especially when you had your goal set on a PR. I wonder if part of your strength training may have somewhat contributed to the injury? Hopefully with rest and rehab, you can return back to training to simply enjoy the experience of finishing a marathon in Paris.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Elaine, I really appreciate your encouragement. It’s a good question about the strength training. I asked my chiro the same thing when I was first injured. He didn’t seem to think it contributed to the injury (and thought some of the posterior chain strength work was a good thing, long-term), but he also advised not getting back into strength training (other than bodyweight stuff) until I wasn’t feeling ITB pain. Now that you mention it, I’m going to check in again and see if/how this relates to the quad thing. Until it feels like it’s reasonably resolved, I’m just doing bodyweight core/hip/glute/quad stuff. And more work on hip mobility.

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      • I have access to a spin bike, which I was planning to use last week before some life-stuff I didn’t want to excessively vague-blog about got in the way. (Although if I’m totally honest with myself, I probably would have still found a way to run with all that was going on.)

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  6. Oh man rough couple of weeks. I’m sorry that you have been having all kinds of problems lately!! Never easy especially when you are training for a marathon!! I’m sorry you are going through this!! Hopefully you will be able to go to Paris and have fun!!!

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    • Thanks Leslie! I was pretty down when I wrote this post (and I’m still frustrated that I can’t seem to get it together), but I am definitely going to Paris and I am definitely eating all the croissants! In the big picture, I can’t complain too much 🙂

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  7. Pingback: What’s the worst that could happen? | Racing Oprah

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