Ventura Marathon Training Week 1: If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It!

Weekly Summary: 6/22/15-6/28/15

The alternative title was “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

Or, how about “More Isn’t Better.”


So after PRing last month, suffering no injuries post-marathon, and a strong high-ish mileage week the prior week that included some perky marathon pace miles, I entered last week really feeling myself, if you know what I mean. I should have known that was the pre-cursor to a little ego-leveling.

I pushed myself a little harder than I needed to, wanted to, or planned to, and as I type this, I’m wearing compression socks and nursing a slight calf strain. Again, Grrrr. I’m quite familiar with calf strains, and this is one that — if my civilian Web MD knowledge is on-point — should be fine with a few days rest. I hope to not miss any runs, but if I do, I still shouldn’t be out more than a week tops.

Here’s the good thing about this calf strain, I totally get why it happened, and since it was my doing, it’s certainly fixable. Just don’t do it again.

My calf was already feeling a little tightness to start the week due to my addition of a new foot strike. Exactly. Why? A few years ago I had my stride tested all high-tech-like with video and consultation. I have a pretty good stride as was confirmed by the professional testing me, but of course, I want the perfect stride. The stride that will make me as fast as possible. The one thing he pointed out that needed improvement was that I was a bit of a heel-striker. Not terribly bad at all, just needed to shift a little more forward and get a lighter stride going as I am a bit of a Clydesdale. I had tried to shift to this more forefoot strike before these last two weeks but always found my calves would tighten up, so I’d back off. You’d think I’d leave it alone, right? I mean, despite sticking with my pretty good but not perfect stride, I was still getting faster. Well, during M2B, our pacer also mentioned that I needed to lighten up my stride as she could hear it and was worried I’d be paying for it in the later miles, so I decided to add “do some mileage with new forefoot strike” to my Ventura training schedule. Luckily I told my FMC and, you know, of course she told me to be careful and that it takes time to switch to a new foot strike. And, of course, you know I had to test it out myself. Result is my calf started tightening up a little.

Now this in itself probably wouldn’t have caused the strain. I was a couple weeks in, and it was very manageable. However, then I added an unscheduled three-mile hill workout to my scheduled five-mile hill workout. The route is rolling hills, and nothing steep, but as I was already trying to be cautious, this did not help. Unfortunately, it was the only route I could do to get my mileage in during my little window of time.

Then came long run Saturday. I had 17 miles on the books with 6 of them at MP, which I’ve been toying with dropping from 9:55 to 9:40. Oh, if only I had stuck with 9:40. My Garmin stopped working for the first couple MP miles, so I just went with my friend’s pace…and the first two miles were done at 8:55! Shit, I don’t even go that pace for my tempo runs. I was like “Dude, this is fast!” Turns out she had some anger to burn off. I prayed for some anger. Anyway, I hung back a little bit for the last four MP miles, but they were still way too speedy: 9:29, 9:31, 9:01, and 8:58. Post-long run mid-afternoon is when I started feeling the calf tightening up.

Even though I was able to run my last run of the week, an easy three-mile recovery run, I could tell I had to start actively treating the calf. Ice-Advil-massage-compression socks, then Epsom salt tub. It’s loosening up well, and I hope I can do all my runs this week, but mostly I hope I’m just smart about this. It’s super early in training, so taking a few runs off now is way better than later.

Well, lesson learned. I’ll have to stick with a B/B+ stride for now. As a competitive person, this is annoying, and as an Asian, it kills me. (Please please don’t tell my mother I’m settling for pretty good.) Until my race times start stagnating, I think I’ll put the kibosh on trying something out of the ordinary or, for that matter, not suggested by my FMC. I think most of her “job” is to save me from myself — not an easy task, but hopefully this last experiment keeps all experimenting in check until Ventura.

Hope everyone has a great running week!

Total weekly mileage: 33
Long run: 17 miles (6 MP)
Cross-training: Another B/B+. Got in a decent amount of leg strengthening, core work, and stretching.

5 thoughts on “Ventura Marathon Training Week 1: If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It!

  1. Wow, thanks for pointing this out. Just moved to the area and now contemplating this race. Benefits of blog reading!

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