MCM Week 18, Training Recap, & Post-Race Recovery

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.

Carb loading, one dumpling at a time.

Carb loading, one dumpling at a time.

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):

MCM training

Weekly mileage graph, from dailymile

Weekly mileage graph for the training cycle, from dailymile.

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:

The Good:

  • 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.

The Ugly:

  • 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!


Post-Race Recovery

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!


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, Trail running, Training
3 comments on “MCM Week 18, Training Recap, & Post-Race Recovery
  1. Dominick S. says:

    As usual, I may copy you and do an analysis of the last week. I figure I walked at least 12 miles on Thursday and Friday total and then at least 2 miles on Saturday…probably way too much now that I think about it.

    I think the switching up of surfaces and shoes made a huge difference for both of us (although you ran MUCH more trail, I wish!). I think core workouts and strength training help all runners so add that yoga/pilates and a weekly date with weights. I need to follow your lead and STRETCH more. 643 miles is insanity! I think it is safe to say that you are in the best shape of your life…thats what counts…the time goals are awesome but the time added to your life is even better!

    • Jen says:

      YES to the 2nd whole paragraph. The little bit of core I did yesterday is killing me — goes to show how weak I am currently. So there is always more to do, but you’re right — I am very happy about my health!

  2. […] at the Skirt n Dirt 25K – probably my toughest race yet. – Completing a high-mileage (for me) marathon training plan. – Surviving this year without any significant injuries (knock on wood). – PR’ing by almost 4 […]

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