Marathon training: Weeks 5 & 6

Just 12 weeks to go now. Time is really flying! I typically just log all my workouts in these posts, but I want to try something a little different. Let’s talk about how I am feeling six weeks into training.

A lot has happened in the past six weeks, but I feel like over the past two weeks especially my mental aspect has shifted. The first four weeks I was a little apprehensive of the plan and my ability to really do well with the training. I was nervous about injury and how my body would respond to speed work and the increased mileage. I think the turning point for me was the ASICS & AskMen Summer Series 5K that I raced on the first day of week 5. I shattered my expectations in terms of my abilities and that really built some confidence. I didn’t think I could race that hard or that PR was possible that morning. My finish time seemed to legitimize myself to myself as a real runner. It also reinforced that the training is working–even better than anticipated by myself or the coach who wrote my plan. Our run to Coney further built my confidence. I was able to run a 2:23 half marathon and it felt easy. (Aside from the oppressive 6lb pack I was wearing.)

The biggest confidence builder has definitely been the bunched runs that I did at the end of week 6. It was two runs–one 8.18 miles with one bridge crossing and the other 9 miles with two bridge crossings. The first run felt super easy which was awesome. I was super nervous about the second, but really surprised myself. I was so proud during the last two miles which ended up being my fastest despite having just done two bridge crossings. I remember thinking to myself that if the last two miles of the marathon feel even better in terms of accomplishment than these do, that I am probably going to end up being one of those crying runners. I couldn’t believe how strong I felt or how amazing it felt to get that much mileage done in one day. I am sure it will be different when it is all one run, but it was a real confidence builder in terms of feeling like I may actually be able to do this thing.

So a lot has changed for me mentally in the past two weeks. Looking forward, I am hoping to focus on getting in more cross training in the form of an additional full body circuit a week and at least one, if not two, 60-90 minute cycling sessions a week. I’m shooting for 2 circuits in week 7 and possibly adding in one cycle session–doing these all as doubles on top of runs. Still a little nervous about doing too much, but also don’t want to sell myself short out of fear!

Week 5 workouts

Sunday: I kicked off week 5 with the ASICS & AskMen Summer Series 5K. I raced harder than I have ever raced and managed a two and half minute PR! The race was bookended by a few miles. I did two miles before the race as a warm-up. After the race I still had 3 miles to get in. I was so spent from the race that I headed straight home after. Dropped my stuff at the apartment then headed right back out for the three. 8.12 miles total for Sunday.

Monday: Rest day!

Tuesday: We were in the middle of a heat wave and I had hill repeats on the schedule. Got a 1.5 mile warm-up in on the way to the bridge. The route I chose seemed to be uphill the entire time. Once I got to the bridge I put in 6 x 150 m repeats on a pretty steep grade. It was hot and hard, but I got it done. Then it was 2 miles for a cool-down. 4.57 miles total.

Tuesday: Hill repeats
Hill repeats in a heat wave. Oof. 1.5 mile warm-up + 6×150 hills w 150 recovery + 2 mile cool-down. The repeats ended up being a little over 150 since I was using my watch and each were run ~1:02 which is just a few seconds slower than my 200 track reps. Was definitely feeling it by the end!

Wednesday: Got my full body circuit in that evening. Was hoping to get in a 60-90 minute cycling session in, but decided that since I was doing 13.1 miles on Saturday and was going to hit my highest mileage week yet that I should wait until next week to add in cycling.

Thursday: Easy 3 miles into a storm and then back out.

Thursday: Recovery
3 easy miles into the rain and back out and then back in. Really glad tomorrow is a rest day. Am feeling the past 2 days hard workouts.

Friday: Rest day. I was so happy to get a rest day in. Hit REI and Brooklyn Running Company in the evening to pick up a new pair of shorts and new sports bra. The sports bra sitch is becoming bleak, but I was optimistic the Nike bra that I picked up would be the one that works.

Saturday: Run to Coney Island! I planned my first summer group run and it was soooo much fun. My friend, Hayley, drove in from Long Island early that morning and we jogged over to the Williamsburg Bridge to pick up another friend, Laura, who ran in from Manhattan. I was shooting for a half marathon and planned to finish on the boardwalk on Coney Island, just in front of the Wonder Wheel. We headed out early (6:45am) to beat the heat. It was an easy pace all the way down. Little things hurt for a bit here and there, but overall I felt great for the entire run. The only thing I wish could have been different was the weight of my pack! I had about 6 lbs strapped to me and felt oppressive. But I got my 13.1 in right in front of the Wonder Wheel, as planned, in 2:23:18. The shorts worked out great, but unfortunately the bra didn’t. I really hope I can find a bra that doesn’t chafe soon!

After the run, we spent the rest of the day lounging on the beach and having a few drinks on the boardwalk and at the Freak Show bar. It was an epic day!

Saturday: Coney Island
Such an awesome adventure today with two awesome ladies! We ran from Williamsburg to Coney Island then spent the day enjoying the beach and the boardwalk. This was an easy paced run and we managed to leave early enough and find enough shade that it felt great the entire time.

Week 6 workouts

Sunday: My recovery run hardly felt easy after my epic Saturday. Did 3 miles easy and was happy to rest for the rest of the day. I headed to Westchester for a friend’s birthday party and started to feel really horrible on the train. My stomach felt really off and I was really exhausted for most of the rest of the day.

Recovery run
Three easy miles hardly felt easy on top of yesterday’s epic 13.1 to Coney. Feeling pretty exhausted and my tummy is a bit off today. Hoping I can nap a bit on my train ride to Westchester to visit friends. I am determined to not have my training affect loved ones as much as possible.

Monday: I’m supposed to be getting in a workout on Mondays, but that hasn’t been happening. I’m just tired from the weekend’s workouts when Monday comes. I think I am going to start doubling up on other days to fit everything in.

Tuesday: 800s are least favorite thing. I seriously hate them. Had to get in 5×800 this morning after a mile warm-up. It was warm out and 800s are just torture. I was so glad when they were over. My mile cool-down felt challenging after that workout. I can’t recall if I gave the new sports bra another chance for this run or my Sunday run, but it didn’t perform any better than it had on Saturday. Bummer. 5.62 miles total for Tuesday.

Tuesday: Speedwork
800s are the worst. Seriously my least favorite thing to do. And this morning I did 5 of them (at 4:07). 1 mile warm-up + 5×800 w 3 min recovery + 1 mile cool-down = 5.62 miles. Glad that is over!

Wednesday: I was supposed to get in my full body circuit workout after work, but because of commuting issues/delays that morning I ended up working late and not getting it in. I hit the hay early and planned to double up the next day.

Thursday: Got out the door early and got in my 3 easy miles easily. Afterward I did my skipped full body circuit from the night before and then wrapped with 15 minutes of gentle yoga. I felt surprisingly good after my double, but ended up being quite tired at work later in the day.

Thursday: Double workout
Worked late yesterday so had to double up this morning. 3 miles easy + 45 minute full body circuit + 15 minute gentle yoga. Grateful tomorrow is rest day! Saturday is a double with 8 miles in the morning and 9 in the evening. Eek!

Friday: I was so grateful for a rest day! I was in the office that day instead of telecommuting like I typically do on Fridays and was so tired and ravenous. That evening I didn’t get much done other eating dinner and washing my run clothes for the next day.

Saturday: My first bunched runs! I planned a route for Summer Streets that started at Union Square, went down and over the Brooklyn Bridge then up to and over the Williamsburg Bridge, back passed Union Square, up and passed Grand Central to 63rd where we turned around and headed straight back down to Union Square. The course was 14 miles total, but we didn’t all run that distance. I hopped on just before the cross back into Manhattan over the Williamsburg bridge. I was shooting for 90 minutes of easy running which ended up being 8.18 miles. I wore my pack again, but since I only had 40 oz of water in it, it felt much less oppressive than the previous Saturday. After the run, I brunched with some of the runners and actually felt really good. One run down, one more to go.

After I got home from my first run, I stretched, showered, and then napped. I woke up and ate again. I was feeling pretty exhausted and was a little nervous about the second run. I headed out around 7pm, less than 12 hours after heading out for my first run. Since I had such an awesome run in the morning, I was a little concerned about this run feeling boring and like a slog so I planned my route a little differently than usual. I planned for an option to go out-and-back over the Williamsburg bridge for miles 4.5-7 or to head up and over to waterfront park for something easier. By the time I got to mile 2, I knew I wanted to do the bridge and really hoped my body was up for it. I wore my 2 bottle belt and ended up stopping twice to refill because it was so hot. Around 8pm I passed the spot where I had waited to meet-up for my morning run–just 12 hours after. I headed up the Williamsburg Bridge and hoped I wasn’t making a horrible mistake. The 2.5 miles out-and-back over the bridge were challenging, but as I was making my final descent I felt empowered. When I got off the bridge with 2 miles to go, I felt strong and determined. My last two miles were my fastest and finished feeling great (mentally). After the run I went out to dinner with a friend and felt pretty spacey, but my body felt okay. I had a little bit of tightness in right glute/hip again, but the rest of me just felt tired.

Saturday: Summer Streets
Me and two of the gals during our Summer Streets run this morning. I’m on the right with the white calf sleeves. 😉 Photo by our friend, Jenny.
Saturday: Summer Streets
Another great run this morning! The route was 14 miles total. Started in Union Square went down and over the Brooklyn Bridge, up to and then over the Williamsburg Bridge, all the way up Lafayette and Park Ave passed Grand Central to turn around at 63rd Street then all the way back down to Union Square. Phew! Only 3 runners did the full 14. The rest of us hopped on a different spots and we all finished together. So much fun!
Saturday: Double run day
That’s 17 miles in one day, 2 runs, 3 bridge crossings, and one very happy lady. This is the same spot I waited at this morning to start my run. This was about 12 hours later and 4.5 miles into my second run before I did an out and back over the Williamsburg Bridge. My last two miles after the bridge were my fastest and felt good!

Additional notes: My stomach has been off since the Coney Island run. I have been trying to get in probiotics every day and watch my diet. My right glute/hip have also continued to bother me and I am wondering if it might be related to my 2 bottle belt. Going to run without it the next few runs and see if that helps.

Week 5 total weekly mileage: 28.8 miles
Week 5 total training time: 6 hours and 59 minutes (Runs, post-run yoga, and strength training)
Week 5 long run mileage: 13.1 miles

Week 6 total weekly mileage: 28.8 miles
Week 6 total training time: 7 hours and 4 minutes (Runs, post-run yoga, and strength training)
Week 6 long run mileage: 8.18 + 9 = 17.18 miles (two runs)

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