CIM Training Week 8 of 12: Unplanned Step Back Week


Random sunset photo, just because.

Well, there’s usually at least a couple of hiccups during any marathon training cycle, and mine arrived Thursday in the form of a sore throat. As (what I hope to be) a mild head cold moves through my system, I had to make some adjustments in my training. Fortunately, I feel secure enough in my fitness to take a little bit of extra rest here and there and not freak out (yet). Anyway, here’s how last week went:

Monday: Rest.

Tuesday: Fartleks (14 x 1 min on/1 min off). Nothing notable about this run except I realized that it’s probably not the smartest idea to be sprinting around uneven sidewalks in the dark – especially given my clumsy nature. 6 miles @ 10:20/mile

Wednesday: 60 minutes easy. My slowest run of this cycle. I seriously questioned whether I’d be able to run fast on Thursday (for Yasso 800s). In retrospect, it was probably my body telling me I was about to get sick. 5.2 miles @ 11:24/mile

Thursday: Yasso 800s — 10 x (800m, 4:10 recovery). I woke up with a sore throat and a sense of dread, but I was determined to get this workout done, especially since my last attempt was with a not-fully-functional Garmin. Due to my trepidation about running in the dark from Tuesday, I decided to bring a headlamp with me, which helped tremendously. The community track in my neighborhood is temporarily closed during high school football season, but I discovered recently that running the square block around the track is actually pretty convenient, as it involves no road crossings. Plus, there aren’t any private driveways, so no random cars pulling out without looking (not that I blame them; I wouldn’t expect to some crazy lady to be running around in the dark either).

It wasn’t until halfway through this workout that I realized that I had forgotten how freaking LONG this workout is. OMG. It’s also really tough. Sure, you get a pretty long recovery period, but you have to run TEN intervals…translating to 5 miles of fast running. On top of that, you have to concentrate for a really long time. For me, the actual workout (between warm-up and cool down) was more than 80 minutes long. I guess that’s why Yassos are a good marathon predictor.

Anyway, my splits were: 4:07, 4:09, 4:08, 4:05, 4:11, 4:12, 4:06, 4:08, 4:09, 4:10. The average was 4:08.6. I was pleased with the splits – not super happy, but at least the times were within the range that I was shooting for (4:05-4:10). More importantly, I dug deep towards the end and kept fighting, despite my fatigue. Some say a more realistic marathon prediction is to add 5 minutes to your Yasso 800 average split. So for me, that would be 4:13…which, if I’m being honest, I’d be mildly disappointed with, even though it would be an 8-minute PR. I feel that, as long as I get over this cold and show up to the start line healthy, and with the help of decent weather, I should be able to run 4:10 or faster. Go big or go home, am I right??

(On the other hand, I have to remind myself that I ran an average of 4:10 before Marine Corps Marathon, which I ended up finishing in 4:33 (due to a spectacular bonk). So there needs to be a huge asterisk next to any Yasso 800 time.)

Altogether, I ran 10.1 miles at 10:00/mile. Should I have run this workout, having woken up with a sore throat? Maybe not, but I wasn’t full fledged sick yet and I was really curious about how this workout would go. I figured that I could get this key workout done and deal with the fall out later.

Oh, and I also had this thought during Yasso 800s:


Friday: Rest. Sore throat, continued.

Saturday: 60-75 min easy. Another rest day, as my cold morphed into sniffles.

Sunday: Fast finish long run (FFLR) – pacing Dream Mile Half (2:20 group) + 5 marathon goal pace (MGP) miles.  I pretty much knew that the MGP miles weren’t going to happen on Friday, but I was still hopeful that I would be able to pace at the Dream Mile Half Marathon. Since my cold hadn’t gotten substantially worse, I decided Saturday to go ahead with pacing and if I felt good, I could run additional miles after the race – no specific pace in mind.

I managed to run the half marathon just fine, finishing in 2:19:46, but I saw that my heart rate was really high the whole time. Plus, I could tell towards the end of the race that I was getting really tired, despite the good weather, regular fueling, and easy course. So, after crossing the finish line, I decided to relax, eat a tray full of delicious Indian food, and hang out with my fellow pacers. Stay tuned for a pacing recap! 13.1 miles @ 10:40/mile


It’s always easy to smile 1 mile into a half marathon 🙂

Total mileage: 34.4 miles – lowest mileage of the training cycle, but for good reason

How I’m feeling: Despite my cold, I actually feel good. I think completing the Yasso 800s was a relief psychologically. As long as my cold doesn’t devolve into a complete snot-fest/sinus infection, I think my training will get back on track soon.

Looking ahead to next (this) week: This coming week is the last high mileage week for me – long 90-105 minute run tomorrow, 5 x 2000 m on Thursday, and 20+ miles on Sunday. My plan is to try to do as much as I can but as easy as I can to speed up recovery. I may scratch the 5 x 2000 m workout on Thursday depending on how I’m feeling. I’m looking forward to having some company for Sunday’s long run – Sesa, Angela, and I are all doing our last 20-milers for CIM. If we gotta suffer, we might as well do it together!


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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13 comments on “CIM Training Week 8 of 12: Unplanned Step Back Week
  1. Mike says:

    YES, absolutely agree that a huge asterisk should accompany any Yasso 800s time – the workout relies more on reputation than reality. But great job toughing it out and getting ’em done, I’d say you won the week right there!

    Congrats too on a brilliant pacing job (based on your finish time) despite what sounds like a nasty cold. Hope it’s on its way out, and that your last 20-miler before CIM is every bit the fun-filled delight it should be! 😉

  2. Angela says:

    BOOOOOO. Hope you’re feeling better soon!!!

  3. Cathryn says:

    I love that ‘what I look like’ thing – it makes me laugh so much because yes, me too.

    Get better soon xx

  4. bt says:

    Yassos are no joke. Well done, badass!

  5. Grace says:

    Well done! Hope this week is going well for you, and then you can breathe because it’s TAPER TIME!
    Yassos – I like the workout, but they’re a shitty predictor for me. Last one I did I ran them in 4:00s, which is patently ridiculous.

  6. brightsuzanne says:

    nice!!! What pace are you hoping for at the CIM? I’m also running it! Trying to figure out what I want to aim for!

    • Jen says:

      Hi there! I’m not sure what time I’m aiming for yet. Maybe 4:10? Maybe I’ll see you at CIM?

      • brightsuzanne says:

        Maybe! I’ll look out for you! I’m hoping for around the same pace, but I honestly I think it may be slower. Right now I’m in a ‘just finish’ mood.

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