Marathon Training Week 18: This Wasn’t the Plan!

Weekly Summary 4/20/15-4/26/15

I could have added a “dammit” to the title, but there’s been enough cursing this week.

So instead of another week of fine-tuning and ramping up my training, it was week two of the calf strain problem. The calf now feels good — instead of a terrible knot and bruising feeling on the outside of my left calf, it’s now just normal-tight and loosens up with stretching, rolling, etc. It felt great most of the week and by Friday, even though I had committed to not run until next Tuesday, I emailed my FMC about running a couple easy 6-8 milers on the weekend if she thought it would be helpful to keep my conditioning up so my system didn’t go into complete shock next week when I would be going from 0 to 48 miles. I was totally willing to wait until Tuesday as I promised but got her blessing to get in a couple easy six-milers. I’m not sure how six miles could all of a sudden seem like a long run, but the first six-miler seemed to take forever. I guess the body forgets. Other than that, things went fine and the calf held up. Yay.

So happy to be out there again! The weeds grewer taller the week I was out.
So happy to be out there again! The weeds grew taller the week I was out.

One reason the first six-mile run took so long was I had an unexpected geese rescue. In the middle of my run I spotted two geese on the wrong side of the fence. Now this kind of thing happens sort of on the regular at Lake Balboa, so normally I wouldn’t have bothered, but then I looked across the fence, and OMG! Their babies were on the other side of the fence! Even a cold-hearted b-tch like myself couldn’t stand by and watch parents and children be separated by a City of Van Nuys metal fence! Another runner stopped (are we not the best people?), and we spent some time trying to shoo with our hands the adult geese into flight. No go. Finally, the other runner ran to the National Guard station nearby and got a broom, and we finally got them up in the air. Off they went to be reunited with their babies…only, yeah, turned out it wasn’t their babies. Just a friend’s babies. Those two bobo-heads cruised past the ducklings and went down the stream.

You can fly! Get up there!
You can fly! Get up there!
The little ducklings I thought would be orphaned if I didn't help.
The little ducklings I thought would be orphaned if I didn’t help.

So running twelve miles for the week was not the plan at all. Post-Hollywood Half Marathon, I was supposed to get into the meat of my program: 46-41-48-42 mile weeks with 9 and 11 mile tempo runs, and topping out my MP miles at 13. That was the plan.


46 turned into 27; 41 turned into 12. What the hell?! This wasn’t the plan!

I listen to a couple ultra-running podcasts, and I’ve heard not a few times that one of the greatest assets a runner can have is her/his ability to respond to the unexpected. A lot of things can happen over the course of an ultra and one’s flexibility and calmness in these situations are key and oftentimes can be the difference between a successful runner and one that struggles. While I’m not running an ultra, this marathon training is a long haul, and a minor injury is not the only thing that can come up unexpectedly during training (see last post). I’ve had bronchitis and other injuries interrupt training before, so I know this to be true in my own case. Still, it was full steam ahead and balls-to-the-wall just three weeks ago, and now…Well, now I have to regroup.

Here was the original plan for this week.

27-April X-train 7 miles hills 5 miles 11 miles tempo-1 mile warmup, 9 miles @9:22, 1 mile cool down Rest 20 miles
(13 MP)
5 miles

And here is the modified plan my FMC came up with.

27-April X-train 7 miles 5 miles 11 miles tempo-1 mile warmup, 9 miles @9:30, 1 mile cool down Rest 20 miles 5 miles

I’ve completely taken out hills or, as my FMC said “You can’t even look at hills.” My tempo pace has been adjusted to go a little slower, and there will be no MP miles during my 20-miler this weekend. All the mileage is there, but the intensity – save the one tempo run — has been removed.

Not only has The Plan changed, there is officially No Plan. It’s week-to-week, perhaps day-to-day depending on how my calf behaves. As someone who loves a plan and gets hard over creating schedules, it would be fair to say that this is freaking me out a little bit.

Mentally, I’m pretty much at the spot where I know this is no longer my “A” race. I’m disappointed as I put in a lot of hard work the first 16 weeks, but there will be another marathon (hopefully three months after). I also try to remember that I’m generally not the best gauge of results anyway. My last two training cycles have been spot-on, and my legs blew up in both races. Who knows? Maybe with lowered expectations, I’ll actually finish comfortably. I’ve had races where I’ve done everything right: ate well, got enough sleep, and then raced terribly the next day. And, I’ve had the opposite, where my training was inconsistent and there were bad weather conditions, and those turned out to be great race days. At this point, I’m just going to finish this training cycle the best I can, try to stay positive, and show up to the start line. I guess that’s the new plan.

OK, calf, here we go. Let’s do this!

Hope everyone has a great running week!

Total weekly mileage: 12 (Kill me now)
Long run: 6 miles (hahahaha)
Abs (8x); Upper Body (3x); Leg Strengthening (25 exercises-15 reps-3 sets)
Geese Rescues: 1
Diet Cheats: Two slices of pizza. Because you should totally eat crap when you’re not running, right?

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