Tuesday, June 3, 2014

SRM WEEK 3: I Ran A Marathon This Week!

....By which I mean, I ran 26.25 miles over the course of the last seven days. Ha ha ha. No but seriously, this is the most I've run in a week since December and I'm not (re-)injured yet (*knocks on wood*), or even kinda-sorta trending toward injured (*knocks harder*), so it's kind of a big deal.

The story of this week is the story of running six days a week for the first time since high school (WHAT). In the past I've done five days at most, taking off Monday & Wednesday since those are karate days & finding time for a run was tricky (particularly back when I was still teaching high school). It actually worked out well, though, to have a non-running day between my Sunday long run and Tuesday track workout and then another between the track workout & four straight days of running.

Mainly I decided to give the six-day plan a shot this time because I needed to ramp up the distance of each individual run reallllly slowly, but without compromising my overall mileage buildup (since I only have 15 weeks to train for SRM & usually do more like 18ish). Also, five months of doubles (in terms of cross-training) has revealed to me that I have more time each day than I think, even on karate days, so I'm more confident in my ability to fit in a Wednesday run without the rest of my life collapsing around me.

The one remaining question was what my body could deal with. Not to scare any of you young'uns out there, but while 33 is still pretty young in the grand scheme of things, it is *definitely* not the same as 24-25-26 in terms of how quickly your body bounces back from things. Back in the day I could get up at 7am on Sunday to play polo for six hours, go for a run in the afternoon, get the crap kicked out of me at dojo Fight Night from 8-10, & be at work bright-eyed & bushy-tailed & feeling great by 7am Monday morning; trust me, those days are gone & they are not coming back.

Check out that that young, svelte, 24-year-old polo player.

I figured I would give the six-day plan a try, and if I found it was just too much in terms of relentless pounding more or less every 24 hours, I'd replace the Wednesday runs with equivalent time on the bike (which is INFINITELY easier to recover from). I've been mostly worried about my chronically tight calf muscles & doing anything & everything I can to baby them, including but not limited to:

  • rocking compression socks or calf sleeves on most runs
  • keeping the compression socks on afterward for ~2 hours or so whenever possible
  • alllll the calf raises
  • stretching them every time I think about it
  • instituting an all-flats-all-the-time policy (okay, like 95% of the time)
  • getting my post-run protein & antioxidants
  • lacrosse ball, lacrosse ball, lacrosse ball.

I doubt if any of these things are a silver bullet but I'm pretty sure none of it can hurt.

So, I'm happy to report that three weeks on, my body in general and my calves in particular seem to be holding up just fine. I have little twinges here & there, but it usually goes away while I'm running and doesn't feel any worse after. This isn't to say that my legs don't need every minute of those 24 hours in between runs, even short ones, to recover; they absolutely do. But right now they seem to need only 24 hours, and then they're ready to go again.

* * * WEEK 3 * * *
(12 to go)

By my reckoning, that puts me 20% through SRM training. Well; time-wise anyway. I've knocked out 3 of 15 weeks, but only 62 of 611 miles, which is just barely more than 10%. I don't know whether to feel relieved or terrified about this.

Grand Total: 26.25 miles

    * 1.75 speed
    * 24.5 easy


    * 30 miles bike
    * 1.5 hours strength/stretch/roll


    Memorial Day for me was a much-needed rest day. I did nothing more physical than cooking, cleaning, & doing laundry, & it was absolutely beautiful.

Tuesday: a.m. strength work / p.m. speed work (1.25 warm up, 2x[3x(300m @ 6:15, 100m jog), 300m jog], 1.25 cool down = 4.25 miles total).

    Haven't seen this place in a while!

    Not my fastest track workout ever, but I survived it + no one pointed & laughed = #winning.

Wednesday: a.m. 15 bike / afternoon 4 easy / p.m. karate

    This was without a doubt the hardest run I have done so far this cycle, which, given the heat, hills, and my post-first-speed-session-since-the-Pleistocene-Epoch-legs, I was expecting. I mean, I had kind of *hoped* it wouldn't be that bad, but when I was half a mile in running a minute slower than marathon pace & desperate to stop & catch my breath & stretch my insanely sore Achilleses, I knew it going to be a looooong 4 miles. Perhaps the route with the two giant hills was not the best choice.

    In any case, I'm pretty sure I have to give up that particular route. Honestly, I don't mind running up the hills, but coming back down them is a) incredibly hard on my body, and b) frankly, dangerous. It might make sense for me to work on that particular skill if I were in the business of running trail races with steep descents, but since I'm not, it seems smarter not to take the risk.

Nope nope nope nope nope.

Thursday: a.m. strength work / p.m. 4 easy

    Every time I approach the Olympic lifting platform & start adding weights, dudes be like

    I mean seriously, guys; get over it. I don't even lift that much.

    Running-wise, my legs were still tired Thursday, but MUCH improved over Wednesday. I did a little 4-mile jaunt through my neighborhood, kept it nice & easy, & did not feel even a little bad about all the stop lights.

Friday: a.m. 15 bike (15:00 warm up, then 4:00 hard/1:00 easy) / p.m. 4 easy

    Tired legs again on the bike Friday morning, but after some warming up going faster actually felt better than slow, so I passed the time with some comfortably hard intervals. Friday's run was still tough, but easier than the previous two. It definitely helped that the city had cooled off some & it was overcast & breezy by the time I headed out.

Saturday 4 easy

    I had some sore spots on my shins & was feeling a bit trepidacious given that this was run #5 in a row, but it ended up being my best run of the week so far. For that, I'm going to credit actually getting a solid 8-9 hours of sleep.

Sunday: 6 easy + stretch/roll

    I spent Sunday afternoon at Jen's new digs, which meant I got to catch up with her & Cathryn for the first time in ages. After that it was long run time, and although no one training for a marathon should ever bat an eye at six miles and CERTAINLY should not be thinking of it as "long," I was a tad nervous about it, having a) not run that far since December 22, and b) just run five straight days in a row.

    Speaking of views I haven't seen in a while, hey there west end of the Panhandle!

    But I needn't have worried. The run felt great, my legs felt great, and I even let myself race a few people up the Panhandle at ~half marathon pace, which I know I really should not be doing right now but c'mon; a girl's got to have a little fun. For the first time in so, so long, I had just the faintest glimmer of speed & strength & the runner I was in early 2013. She's still in there somewhere, & it may take me a few months, but I am determined to dig her out.

    Hold on to your hot dog carts, Golden Gate Park; I am coming for you.

Next week: Mileage in the low 30's (a 5-month high) & my first threshold run since November. Weeeeeee!


  1. Aw, look at young Angela - cute! Great job with your week, and it was great to see you Sunday! I think cutting out that hill for downhill reasons is a great call -- steep downhills are when I usually feel the niggles come on, and one of the reasons (among many) that I'm thinking I shouldn't run Big Basin (5000' elevation LOSS). Good luck getting into the 50K/week zone!

    1. Thanks!! Good to see you too -- I hope your hip is better soon & we can all FINALLY run together!

  2. Haha, great work this week! That's more than I would run when I first started running. Back then three miles a day sounded like plenty...
    Also, I had to go and check out runningahead.com and um, I have to sign up. I'm a hopeless nerd about data. Can it be hacked to show not just what type/intensity of running you did, but also how you felt? If you tracked your pain and fatigue levels, could it actually warn you if an injury was imminent?

    1. I love runningahead! I know it has LOTS of fields & ways to customize the reports, but I have to admit I haven't played with them too much. It would definitely be cool if there was some way to display how you felt.

  3. So happy to hear you are back to feeling good enough to dabble in higher mileage/extra days. Six a week is definitely beast mode status. Nicely done, and I can honestly say I've never known anyone who actually played polo. That is pretty sweet!

    1. I was a lot of fun - I definitely miss it at times. We'll see how long six days a week lasts!

  4. You're really doing well. A marathon in a week is nothing to be sneezed at.

  5. It was so nice to see you on Sunday and catch up. Hurrah for 26 miles in one week, things are definitely looking up!