Even though Week 18 of MCM training happened 3 whole weeks ago, I’m posting it anyway for the sake of completion. Not to mention, I wanted to reflect on the training cycle as a whole, as well as make note of what I’ve been up to post-race in terms of recovery and starting back up with running. This is mostly a “note to self”-type post, but maybe someone out there will find it interesting or useful? Anyway, get ready for the biggest mish-mash post ever!
MCM Week 18 (“Planned” workout in green/“actual” in bold):
Monday: Rest or cross-training/rest.
Tues: 3/3.1. Best Tuesday run ever, since my legs finally felt fresh.
Wed: 4/4 with strides. Last run around Lake Merritt before getting on a plane to head to D.C.!
Thurs: Rest/Rest. Very relaxing day at my sister’s house doing almost nothing.
Fri: 2-3 miles shakeout/2.7 with strides. Woke up to 35 degree temps and was feeling less than excited about going for a shakeout run, but I wanted to test out what race morning temps might feel like to run in. I wore my throwaway sweatshirt which kept me warm for 2 miles, then took it off and ran in just long sleeves and mittens. My shorts-wearing legs were freezing, but I figured that might not be so bad (to keep them numb). I also got a lot of people in winter parkas gawking at me as they walked their dogs. LOL. Later in the day, I did some walking to and from the metro to the Expo, and stood in several lines for a long period of time. Carb loading officially began with a sushi buffet for lunch, followed by dumplings for dinner.
Sat: Rest/Rest (mostly). Had a really fun, low-key potluck at my sister’s house with lots of good friends. Caught myself standing a lot more than I should’ve been — I think I was trying to be social and move from group to group. At some point, I forced myself to sit down and everyone else sat down with me. Should’ve done that earlier!
Sun: 26.2 Race Day!/26.47 + a couple of miles of walking, before and after the race. Here’s the recap, in case you missed it.
Wrap-Up: 35-36 miles/36.3 total. I feel like I peaked a bit early — I felt my best on Tuesday and by Friday’s shakeout, I felt kinda “blah”. Maybe the 3 week taper was too long, or not intense enough?
Training Cycle Recap
I used Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 2 training plan as a baseline and adapted it according to my schedule and whims. Here’s the spreadsheet of my workouts (click for larger view):
Total planned mileage: 643 miles.
Total actual mileage: 638.36 miles (99.3% completion rate!)
Even though race day did not turn out the way I expected or wanted, I don’t have any significant regrets about how this training cycle went. I’m still a bit shocked (in a good way) that I ran 638 miles in 4.5 months. That’s something I never thought I’d be able to do, and I’m very grateful that I completed the training injury-free. Of course, me being me, I had to analyze the training cycle in more detail, so here it is:
- As mentioned above, 99.3% completion rate AND I made it through the cycle without significant injuries. Hurrah!
- I completed all of my long runs and nailed down my pre-long run routine.
- I ran with friends as often as I could and I’m so happy I did.
- I stretched and foam rolled a lot, on average 5 times a week for 30 minutes at a time.
- I did consistent 800 m interval workouts in the latter weeks of training.
- Maybe it’s all in my head, but I believe that variety in running surfaces (road vs. trail) and shoes (3 pairs) helped to keep repetitive injuries at bay.
- Lots of trail running = strength training and speed work in disguise.
The Bad (i.e., things to improve on for next time):
- I started off doing some cross-training, but dropped it about halfway through. Strength training and core work would have been helpful.
- I started speedwork a little late in the cycle, and didn’t do nearly as much “fast-finish” long runs as I should have.
- I started marathon pace runs too late in the cycle.
- I could’ve used some mental toughness workouts during taper. For example, I could’ve practiced really pushing myself past the point of comfort in some of my runs or intervals.
- Maybe concentrate less on 800’s and more on cruise intervals (e.g., 2 x 3 mile, 3 x 3 mile)?
- Even though I did a lot of trail running, I also walked the hills a lot more than I should’ve.
- Chafing! I may not have had any serious injuries, but I’ve never had issues with chafing until MCM training. I finally got some new sports bras and became very adamant about using Body Glide before every long run, which helped tremendously. (Sorry if TMI!)
In summary, I learned a lot from this training cycle. Now that I know I can handle the mileage, it gives me confidence to boost my game the next time around!
Week 1 post-race: Immediately after the race, I had no appetite but I forced myself to eat lunch anyway. It wasn’t until about 5 hours after I finished that I became ravenous. I swear that I ate for 3 hours straight! In terms of soreness, I did the marathon hobble for most of Sunday and into Monday. I did a gentle foam rolling and stretching session Sunday night. Monday morning, my sister wisely suggested that we go for a short walk. It was probably the slowest 1.5 mile walk of our lives, but I think I felt a bit more human after that. By Tuesday, I was ambulating normally and only felt the remnants of Sunday’s effort when I foam rolled. I took the rest of the week off, except for a short trail run with the Gypsy Runner on Saturday. I purposely left my Garmin at home so that I wouldn’t focus on pace at all. I’m sure I was going very slowly, but I actually felt much stronger than I anticipated.
Week 2 post-race: I returned to running with easy runs around Lake Merritt on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Saturday, I went on an awesome run in the Marin Headlands with Cathryn, which was totally what I needed. The theme of the week was to find the joy in running and not let it be a burden, which I hope to continue with until I start training for Big Sur at the end of December. I have to constantly remind myself to relax — I’m actually forcing myself not to decide on a training plan for Big Sur until after I get back from Taiwan. Even though I’m eager to conquer the next marathon, I also know that I need the mental and physical break between training cycles. Time to hit the reset button and enjoy the break!