Marine Corps Marathon Week 7

I made it – 40 miles completed for the week!! None of my runs were very inspired or fast, but the important thing is that I got them done. Here’s how it all went down (“planned” workout in green/“actual” in bold):

Monday: Rest or cross-training/physical therapy exercises. Hip and ankle strengtheners.

Tues: 4/4. I had ZERO energy on this run as my legs were still a bit tired from last weekend’s 10K and trail run. Also, there was something psychologically/mentally more challenging about the increase to 4 miles from 3. I know part of the reason is that Lake Merritt, my usual running route, is about 3 miles around, but to make it 4 miles, I have to add a few loops here and there and it’s less straightforward. It all really amounts to #firstworldproblems. 😉

Wed: 8/8. I woke up tired again, though this was probably more due to the 3 glasses of wine I had the night before. Oops. Luckily, I was working from home*, so I got to sleep in. I got the 8 miles done with some bonus butt kicks too.
*working from home = not really working and procrastinating. Don’t worry, I get paid hourly, so I wasn’t taking advantage of the situation!

Thurs: 4/4. Another sleepy run, but not caused by wine this time. I had really intense hip flexor soreness/pain all day, so I spent a lot of time in the evening stretching and rolling.

Fri: Rest or cross-training/rest… unless eating lots of Korean food counts as cross-training.

Banchan (small pickles/appetizers): GET IN MY BELLY!

Banchan (small pickles/appetizers): GET IN MY BELLY!

Sat: 8 @ marathon pace/8 trail miles with 1900′ elevation gain. I went to scout out part of the Skirt n Dirt 25K course. Since I’ve been on a few of the trails before, I knew it would be quite challenging, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be! I only ran about 5.3 miles of the course and it took me ~1:20 (15 min/mile pace)! I was reminded that not only are the uphill portions tough, but the downhills are really steep and tricky. There are several sections that I find really scary/nearly impossible to run down. Race day should be really interesting! Hopefully I won’t get stung by a yellow jacket like I did yesterday. 😦

At the top of Madrone (aka Woodmonster) in Redwood. I've only seen it from the other side.

At the top of Madrone (aka Woodmonster) in Redwood. I’ve only seen it from the other side.

The namesake redwoods of Redwood Regional. The trails are challenging, but at least the scenery is totally worth it.

The namesake redwoods of Redwood Regional. The trails are challenging, but at least the scenery is totally worth it.

Sun: 16/16. I met up with DD and AL on the Iron Horse (paved) Trail to run the first 10 miles, then I ran 6 solo. The first 10 felt good — we ran at a nice conversational pace, and I noticed a bit of fatigue only a couple of times. After I parted ways with DD and AL, the run became less pleasant. Unlike the partially shaded trail we ran on for the first 10 miles, this part of the trail was mostly exposed and next to buildings and a dried out “canal”. Not the most scenic, plus the sun was coming out in full force. I started really dragging after 14 miles, staring at my Garmin every 30-60 seconds to see how much longer I’d have to run. My HR was high for the very slow pace I was running, another indication that I was really getting tired. Eventually, I made it to 16 miles — hooray! My legs are sore, but not too terrible. The worst part is that my back is all chafed from the combination of the heart rate monitor and sports bra. Boo.

Wrap-Up: 40 miles/40 total. Biggest weekly mileage EVER!!! 🙂 I’m so happy to have survived all 40 miles. Hopefully, the little nagging pains that usually arise when I run higher mileage will remain at bay — I think they’re usually a result of intensity rather than quantity anyway, so it helped that I ran all of my miles very, very slowly this week. I’ve been foam rolling and stretching like a fiend, which I think helps a lot too! Psychologically, this week was sort of weird. I didn’t feel all that excited about most of my runs, and I don’t know if it was because I was scared of not being able to meet my goal mileage or because I needed more rest. I know that running slowly all week definitely doesn’t help fuel the running excitement, but it was the safest and smartest thing for me to do.

On tap for next week: mostly the same as this week, except that the long run increases to 17 miles, for a total of 41 miles for the week. Another weekly mileage record if I achieve it!


HRM update:

Just thought I’d give a short update on how I’ve been using my heart rate monitor (HRM) during marathon training. Since I haven’t been doing any speed work, I’ve been wearing it mostly to make sure that I stay in the easy to moderate aerobic zones. During my trail runs, I want to make sure I don’t exceed tempo/lactate threshold HR. I don’t wear it all of the time — I usually leave it home for shorter runs (Tues/Thurs). I hope to be able to use the HRM as a tool throughout this cycle, then only use it as needed in the future (e.g., as a training tool to ease back into running after a break).

I think the most helpful thing has been using the HRM as another way to monitor effort, i.e., to hone in on running by feel. When I use it, I try to make correlations between HR, breathing, effort, and cadence (or number of steps). Very generally, this is the break down for me:

Easy aerobic HR: 3-4 steps per exhale
Moderate aerobic: 2-3 steps per exhale
Tempo/LT: 1.5-2 steps per exhale
VO2 max: <1.5 steps per exhale

I know these types of things are highly individualistic, so my data may not very applicable to others, but I thought I’d share this information just in case it might be useful.

I think that using the HRM has already been beneficial to me in a number of ways. For one thing, it’s helped me to legitimize and prioritize running by feel versus what pace I “should be” running. Second, even though I didn’t wear it last week during the 10K, I applied what I’ve learned from using it to race by effort and not by the clock. I ended up finishing a whole minute faster than my A goal — which, BTW, has *never* happened when I’ve used my Garmin for pacing.

In conclusion – so far, so good. I’m still not a fan of having one more gadget to prepare pre-run, not to mention having to lick the electrodes (a little gross). Now that I’ve gotten my first chafing from wearing it, it makes me rethink using the HRM on long runs. Maybe I just need to apply the Body Glide more strategically next time?


Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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Posted in MCM, Training
12 comments on “Marine Corps Marathon Week 7
  1. Kate says:

    I don’t lick my electrodes, I just put them under the faucet. Run the water on low so the whole strap doesn’t get wet.

    Congrats on reaching your highest weekly mileage yet!

  2. Yes! The big 4-0! I’m getting sweaty palms just thinking about getting up in that zone… Yay for you!

  3. Dominick S. says:

    I HATE having to adjust specific routes to include mileage…I totally get it. I go up to 7 on my Wed and Saturday runs this week and it totally F’s with my routes!!! 1900 feet elevation gain…WTF…are you crazy! At least your marathon course will be chump change when it arrives, you’re insane. As for the heart rate monitor…I definitely see the benefits of staying in your zone and running by feel, I will explain how I was forced to use my natural heart rate monitor in my post.

    • Jen says:

      Thanks for understanding re: mileage/route issues. It makes me feel less like a nut job.
      1900 feet is nothing compared to what I’ll be facing on 8/31. At least it will be great training, as you said. The hills pay the bills!

  4. BT says:

    Super impressive week! Welcome to the 40s.

    I’ve never wet the electrodes at all on my HRM. I’ve found that there is usually enough moisture on my skin already, and if there isn’t at the beginning, there sure is after a minute or two. But, I’m a super sweater, so perhaps that’s just me?

    Also, BACHAN!!!!! (Jealous)

    • Jen says:

      Yeah, I think I get sweaty enough after 5 min. I was getting really erratic readings at first, even after wetting with a wash cloth, so I thought I’d try licking the electrodes. But I’m beginning to think that the 1st 5 min of data isn’t worth the licking part.

  5. Cathryn says:

    Your mileage is amazing, and really impressed your body is handling it so well. I’m sure it’s because you’re being sensible with pace etc…every time I check daily mile I’m blown away by your mileage!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks Cathryn! Yes, I’m definitely doing all of my miles super slowly. It’s a bit boring, but whatever gets the jobs/miles done!

  6. Angela says:

    Nice!! Way to get it done!! 🙂

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4/28/19: London Marathon

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