Sunday, August 6, 2017

Marathon Training: Back at it

Things have (somewhat) returned to normal after having returned from the Alaskan running cruise. I spent most of the week dealing with lingering symptoms from the virus I picked up while traveling. I was well enough to run, but I was still coughing quite a bit, and on Thursday morning I woke up with
half of my face swollen. Greg fell victim to the virus on the flight home with a sore throat, and he was knocked out for a few days with the same fatigue and chills that I experienced early on.

It seemed that I had brought the Alaska weather home with me for the first few days back. But then the DC humidity came back with a vengeance midweek. On the one hand, I do want to stay acclimated to the weather because my upcoming races are likely to be hot and humid. On the other hand, its just so much nicer to be running in lower humidity.

Monday: 5.8 miles @ 8:37 average
I was relieved to see that I only had a 50-minute run on the schedule. I woke up with the area under my tongue very red and swollen and the back of my mouth was burning. Energy wise, I felt fine, so I did the run, but I was glad it was relatively short. Afterward, I went to the doctor to make sure my swollen tongue thing wasn't an infection. The doctor said that this wasn't abnormal with the virus I had caught. She told me that this was a 10-day bug (I was on day six), and the cough would likely last for 2-3 weeks. Lovely!

Tuesday: 8 x 75-second hill repeats
I told myself I would attempt this workout and if I felt bad during it, I would cut it off. Thankfully the humidity was still low and the temperature was 66. Definitely manageable. My coach told me to run these at 5K effort, and typically I end up running them closer to 5K pace. On Tuesday, I was very disciplined about running by effort and not pace. In fact, on the first one, I ran what felt like half marathon effort. And then 10K effort on the second one. And then for the final six I was at my 5K effort. I made it through and I actually felt decent, given I was still fighting off the illness. The hill was about 35 feet of elevation gain over 75 seconds, and I used the jog back down as recovery. With warm up and cool down, I logged a total of 6.6 miles.

Wednesday: 7.1 miles @ 8:29 average
Wednesday was the first day I felt good. My throat/mouth no longer hurt and I felt like I had returned to 100% energy. This happened just in time for the heat and humidity to come back. 8:29 is a little bit too zippy for an easy run in warm weather, but I was happy to be feeling energized, so I went with it.

Thursday: 10-mile progression run @ 7:54 average
This run was not pretty. I woke up with the right side of my face swollen and painful. It was as if
someone had removed my wisdom teeth while I slept. I did my run anyway, but I was torn between
pushing hard and not wanting to make myself sick given the state of my mouth/face. I later researched it and it seemed like it was a swollen parotid gland. This was likely caused by having used so many antihistamines and also dehydration- since I had been having severe night sweats all week (another fun symptom).

Anyway, the workout called for 30 minutes easy, 30 minutes medium, 30 minutes hard. I've done this workout about 3-4 times in the past and I've always executed it well. But on Thursday I think I underestimated the humidity so I was not able to complete it. I ran the first 30 minutes at 8:34, and the second 30 minutes at 7:41. This felt like "medium" effort when I started, but as the half hour went on, it started to feel more like hard effort. I began the hard portion and I wasn't able to speed up as much as I typically have in the past. My pace was 7:19 and I cut it off after 19 minutes (when I reached 10 miles) instead of the full 30. Back in January, I had run 11.6 miles at an average pace of 7:42 during this workout. But I guess I can't compare summer weather to winter weather. Humidity is tricky. It doesn't feel that bad when you start out, but it hits you like a ton of bricks later on.

Friday: 7.1 miles @ 8:28 average
Just like Wednesday's easy run, this was perhaps a tad too fast. But the pace felt easy and I was really enjoying it. I think once the miles really start to pack on I will need to be better about slowing these easy runs down. The swelling on the right side of my face had gone down, although it was still tender, so I decided not to go to the doctor again.

Saturday: 14 miles @ 8:32 average
This was a pretty typical long run. Greg and I ran together for the first hour (8:42 pace) but then he decided that he wanted to slow it down a bit, and I wanted to do more of a progression, so we parted
ways. He is about 4 days behind me with the illness, so I totally understand him wanting to keep it really easy. I ran the second hour at a pace of 8:22 and everything felt pretty good. I felt myself getting pretty tired around miles 9-11, but then I pepped up for the last three. Amazing how you can go through "rough patches" in a long run and if you wait it out you can suddenly just feel better. That's important to remember during races too. You can feel awful, and let that get into your head. Or you can feel awful and tell yourself that things will likely turn around if you stick with it.

Sunday: 3.5 miles @ 8:41 average
I polished off the week with a recovery run this morning. The humidity was lower than normal, so this run felt really nice.

Total mileage: 54.1
Based on my upcoming training schedule, I think I will probably stay in the mid 50's throughout the rest of August, and then really start to ramp things up in September. The marathon is on November 4th, so I have 13 more weeks of training ahead of me.


  1. Thorough report of your entire week's runs. Yes, I would say you were pushing the "pace" or intensity a bit too much on some of those runs, given lingering illness and perhaps warm & humid conditions on some of the runs. But you seem cognizant when to taper back or cut workout short based on feel. 13-weeks is a long way to go, so you have plenty time to build-up, and assuming a 3-week taper? Keep it up! The shoes you running in pretty snazzy. What are they....Nike what?

    1. The Nike Lunarglide! Yes, my coach doesn't even classify my current training as marathon training yet. Plenty of time!

  2. Looks like a great week to me, I'm glad you're feeling better and able to get the runs and workouts in even if it's not 100%. We had some cooler temperatures here too but I'm like you, I want to stay heat acclimated (I actually ran at lunch on a cooler day to try to do that). Hopefully this week will bring more recovery from your sickness and some other quality runs!

  3. Nice week, hope you continue to feel better. Your feelings about "pacing feels too fast" is typical for me when I'm recovering from a that's probably it. Snappy shoes too! (P.S. - thanks for bringing the cooler weather with you, helped my allergies)

  4. Once again, I am so impressed by how you hold back your pace while training. I hope you feel better soon!

  5. Armchair diagnosis: You have mumps.

    1. I considered that. But I did get the immunization as a child, and most people around here are immune so where would I have gotten it from? All of my symptoms are classic mumps, though, and it could be possible.

  6. I am always impressed at how many miles you are able to log week by week!