Thursday, August 24, 2017

Change of Training Plans

Immediately after finishing the Aquarium Run Half-Marathon I just couldn't wait to start training for another half-marathon. I wanted another chance at a sub-1:30 so badly I started contemplating a summer half-marathon somewhere cooler. I got excited thinking maybe I could run the Mighty Mo Half-Marathon which I ran as my first half-marathon 10 years ago. It would be so awesome to go back 10 years later and break my half-marathon PR which I ran at that race. Yes, my PR half-marathon was the first one I ever ran. Same goes for my marathon PR. But it appeared they no longer run the race. I decided that was for the best as I was having serious shin splints which caused my shin to throb anytime I was sitting or laying down. It was so bad while laying in bed at night that I had a hard time falling asleep. I decided my best bet was to take the summer easy, just getting in base mileage and then start up with training for a fall half-marathon in November. After talking about my goals and my fears of again over-doing it, Ty and I decided to hire one of my friends from my race team as a coach. We figured I'd run easy over the summer and then I'd start in training with him in August. When I met with him to discuss my goals and what our training plan would be, he talked me into starting with him in May because he wanted to monitor my recovery to ensure I was starting the training block in August completely healed and ready to go. That made sense to me so we went with it.

After two weeks of running every other day my shin was starting to throb less often and I got the go ahead from my coach to run 5 days a week. I was so excited! Coming off the spring season with a mediocre half-marathon I was fired up to get back to training. At the beginning of May he asked me if I was ready to start in with speed work and I was a little bit scared but also so excited. My shin still hurt some but it was definitely getting better. Once I started in with speed work I loved it and was so ready to get back into hard workouts that I didn't voice my concerns over how things were feeling. I kept writing off that I didn't quite feel right on the fact that I was out of shape after coming back from my "injury". I feel silly calling it an injury after what so many of my friends have gone through with terrible injuries, but it was a slight injury. I was able to hit the times my coach prescribed for me, but I just didn't feel strong or feel like myself. My tempo runs tended to feel more normal than speed work which made me feel like it was just that I was out of shape. But it was also opposite from what I normally have which is killer speed workouts with just okay tempos for the most part. I started noticing that my easy runs were just crazy slow for me. My first mile tended to be anywhere from 9:30-10:00, normally around 9:45. I really couldn't think of a time I had ever run a mile that slow. Typically my easy pace is right around 8:30 and I'd run more like 9-9:30 pace with the double stroller. I was running my easy runs around 9:30 pace without the stroller. Again I figured it was just because I was out of shape. I mostly ignored the fact that the first mile of my runs I was in pain and my legs felt dead.

There were a few times I mentioned to my coach that I was concerned with how my legs were feeling. It was eerily similar to how I started feeling toward the end of the spring season, like my legs were fatigued and over-trained. I worried I hadn't taken it easy for long enough for my legs to really come back from what I'd put them through during the winter and spring. He tended to agree with me that I was just working my way back from injury and was a bit out of shape. But then came the Blue Moon 10k. I was so disappointed with how the race went. It was upsetting to run the time I did but I was more upset with how my legs felt. I knew I went out too fast the first mile, but that shouldn't have caused my legs to feel so dead and fatigued. That race weighed heavily on me but I decided to let it go. My coach had me scheduled for an 8 mile tempo the following weekend and I was a bit leery. I took off and everything seemed to be okay with a 7:31 first mile. But then the 2nd mile the fatigued feeling started to kick in and I was worried about how the run would go. By the 3rd mile which I went through in 7:48 I knew there was no way I could finish the workout. I decided to run a couple easy miles before trying to pick the pace back up a little bit for the final 4 miles. That way I could still finish out a 10 mile run. After 2 miles at over 9:30 pace I could tell there was no way I would be able to pick it up the last 4 miles so I considered it a win when I dropped my pace back down to just under 9:20 pace for the final miles. My legs had that dead, fatigued feeling I battled during the spring season and this tempo run was very reminiscent of many of my failed tempo attempts of the spring. As I slogged through to the finish I thought things over quite a bit and by the end I felt like I knew what I had to do.

After the spring season I kept going over things in my head. I wished that I'd just taken some time to run easy and get my legs back after that first scrapped tempo. I felt like if I'd done that I could have salvaged a decent season. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. But in this situation I felt like I could learn from the past and use it to improve my future. By the time I made it to the car I had decided to let go of a sub-1:30 fall half-marathon. I felt like chasing that right now would cause me to make mistakes similar to my mistakes in the spring. My plan was to take 2 weeks off from hard workouts and just run easy to get my legs back under me. Depending on how that goes, then I'll add in one hard workout a week for a while before getting back up to my regular schedule. I started toying with the idea of running the full marathon instead of the half marathon in November. That would take the pressure off trying to run a PR or doing anything spectacular in the half and I liked the idea of just going out and seeing what I could do. When my mom signed us all up for the Route 66 and I found out Jeremy was running the full, I was torn. I had talked to him about possibly running a full in the fall but that was when I was certain I would dominate the half in the spring. When the half dominated me in the spring I switched my focus to going after the half I had attempted in the fall. I really wanted to go for a PR half but I also really wanted to run Jeremy's first post-TBI marathon with him. Not to mention it would be both of our first marathons in a long time. My first since November 2009 and his first since Novemeber 2008, so nearly 10 years for both of us! Now that I had let go of my goals for a half-marathon I could switch my focus to the marathon.

Switching race distances 13 weeks out from the race isn't the most ideal situation but it still gives me plenty of time to prepare. The first thing I did when I got home (after running the idea past my dad to make sure I wasn't nuts) was to sit down and plan out how I could get my long run up to 20 miles in time. It's a little tricky because we have a lot of fall races planned but I can still easily get in one 20 miler and possibly 2 before the race. The timing of races isn't ideal for having my last 20 miler about 3 weeks out from the race like I'd like, but I'm not attempting to run a fast time so I'm not too concerned. I more so want to make sure I'm able to get through the race, not that I'm going to be able to get through it in PR time. Since I was focused on the half and trying to get my speed back, my longest run so far has been 10 miles but I've also gotten up to 14 during the last couple seasons so I'm not too concerned about jumping up in mileage a bit in the beginning. Just for fun, here is my plan for weekly long runs: 12 miles on August 27th (this weekend), 14 miles on September 3rd, 16 miles on September 10th, 18 miles on September 17th, 15 miles on September 24th, 20 miles on October 1st, Zoo Run 10k on October 8th, 15-20 miles depending on how I've recovered on October 15th, Twilight Thriller 5k on October 22nd, Tulsa Run 15k on October 29th, the Jenks Half Marathon is November 5th so if I'm feeling up to it I could possibly do that, then 8ish miles on November 12th, and the marathon on November 19th. For the first time in a while I am super excited about the fall season! I'm pretty pumped to do something different and to pick the marathon back up after 8 years!!!!
Running with the double stroller at a fun run.
Carter got out at the end to run with us.


  1. I don't know what to write first -- that I'm proud of you for listening to your body or that I'm so excited you're running a marathon with Jeremy! I know that it's harder to back off and change plans than it is to try to push through, so kudos to you. I remember you and Jeremy running Route 66 together many years ago, and re-creating that is going to be amazing. Your long run build looks perfect too!

    1. Thanks, it was a hard decision to make but I learned my lesson from the spring! I ran the Route 66 in 2008 as my first marathon and Jeremy ran it with me! We also ran the half together one year but I can't remember which it was. It seems perfect to run our first marathon after almost 10 years together after he ran my first with me! Thanks for the confidence on the long run build, I was hoping you would agree I wasn't crazy, haha!

    2. I think it will all be fantastic! And I'm not sure if I have the best judgement regarding crazy (bahahaha!), but I think the long runs plans will work just fine, especially considering you have a history of mileage/long runs and that you're not going into it with a time goal. You might surprise yourself, though! :-)

    3. That's what I'm telling myself! Your opinion means a lot to mean, even though you are crazy, haha!