Ventura Marathon Training Week 9: Consistently Inconsistent

Weekly Summary 8/17/15 to 8/23/15

After nine full weeks of training for the Ventura Marathon, there is no real gauge of how this training cycle went. Up until my calf strain at Week 17 of training for the Mountains2Beach Marathon, there was a steady and marked improvement. My weekly mileage advanced, and my long runs increased in length and MP miles; the trajectory was measurable. But this cycle, well, it feels like my training log must resemble a failed polygraph test.

I've watched enough Forensic Files to know it's almost always the husband.
I’ve watched enough Forensic Files to know it’s almost always the husband.

Check it out.

Cross-training: So I did yoga for like three weeks. And I tried to make it to Pilates once a month. Cross-training was more than its usual hit-and-miss. I mean, one week I did a total of three leg exercises, another week I cross-trained so hard in one hour that I couldn’t run for three days.

Nutrition: After finally getting into a comfortable place with my nutrition last training cycle, a bout with allergies led me to going vegetarian in the middle of this one and concluding that it made me a faster runner. After my cross-training debacle, I decided to test this theory and switched back to eating animal protein. I have no idea what effect, if any, this has had.

Marathon Pace Runs: This may be the most frustrating one. I’m sorta used to some inconsistency with my cross-training and nutrition, but last cycle I steadily increased my marathon pace miles weekly. This training cycle it’s gone like this: 5 MP; 6 MP; 7 MP; 2 MP; 0 MP; 8 MP; 9 MP; 0 MP; 0 MP; 10 MP. Um, WTF?

Perhaps these last two head-scratching weeks of training best illustrate the inconsistent results I’ve been getting and why I can’t really seem get a handle on how things are going.

8/10-8/16: Failed tempo run. Out of the 8 miles I was supposed to do at 9:00-9:10 pace, I did two, with one done at 10:44. My 22-mile long run consisted of zero marathon pace miles and at times hit sluggish 12:00-plus min. mile paces.

8/17-8/23: I aimed for seven miles done at tempo pace, and hit 8:55; 8:37; 8:52; 8:55; 9:19 (huh?); 8:55; and 9:07. Um, OK. Then I ran a 20-mile long run that included 10 miles done at MP paces that rivaled my failed tempo run: 9:33, 9:26, 9:13, 9:28; 9:25; 9:30; 9:19; 9:14; 9:21; 9:22. This is nuts. In addition, my long run was done on tired legs because instead of taking a day off, I did six miles in between my tempo run and long run. Oh, and I also switched to Perpeteum tablets instead of gels because y’know, why not fuck with my race fueling strategy with three weeks left to go in this training cycle?

I even look faster this week!
I even look faster this week!

I searched my brain for possible reasons for this inconsistency, and what I came up with was Vegas (blame everything on Vegas), a bad allergy season, and the dog days of summer. But perhaps another cause of this inconsistency is one of those pesky character traits of mine that can be both a blessing and a curse: my eagerness and rush to problem solve. So yay, I’m not one who has to be prodded into action, and cool, things get done….On the other hand, well, I can act prematurely before collecting enough information, which can lead to my solutions being worse than my problems. That’s how I ended up with my second tattoo and my dog Esme (I love her!).

So part of this inconsistency may be my micromanaging each run and week, which is probably not uncommon since runners are typically Type-A personalities, and well, if you have a Garmin, you know you can practically perform pre-Calc on that thing. This hyper-analysis may have led to some over or unnecessary correction. In fact, let’s not forget that the first weekly summary of this marathon training cycle was entitled “If It Ain’t Broke Don’t Fix It”. Oh, the foreshadowing, friends!

Like it’s possible my allergies would have worked itself out without having to radically change my diet. And maybe I should have waited until after the marathon to go from zero to 100 on the cross-training aspect of my fitness. Perhaps some slow runs or weeks can simply be attributed to bad days or summer temps. In fact, maybe these training cycles are just a time to gather information, and only after the race make adjustments. After all, I’m not going to meet my goal of breaking four hours this marathon or most likely even in the next two, so this is a long game. It’s impossible to see what is and what’s not working when I’m constantly changing any number of things within a training cycle. So with one week to go of training, I am promising you no more tweaking things to “make it better.” Harumph.


Today has been a busy day at work, and I have an uncharacteristically social night out since my high school friends want to treat me to a birthday dinner. I came thisclose to not posting a weekly summary, but ultimately the weekly summary may be the only thing I do consistently this entire training cycle. Et voilà!

One more week of hard training, and then I hit taper, fam.

Hope everyone has a great running week!

Total weekly mileage: 46
Long run: 20 miles (10 MP)
-Leg Strengthening: 18 exercises; 15 reps; 3 sets
-Abs: 5 sets
-Stretching: 3 days
-Weights: Biceps-triceps-shoulder 2 exercises each; 15 reps; 3 set

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