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Marathon Training Update: March 25-31, Do No Harm

Posted on April 01 2013

“Listen to your body.” It’s one of those pieces of advice that every runner should heed. Unfortunately, it’s also advice that is all too often ignored. We runners can be rather stubborn when it comes to getting in our miles, especially when a race is looming, and the consequences of not listening when your body is telling you to ease off can be disastrous. I’ve been trying to do a better job of listening to my own body, and this week it was telling me that I needed to be careful.

My mantra for this week has been “do no harm.” I messed up my middle right toe last week during a speed workout, and it has been a cause of concern ever since. I’m not sure exactly what the problem is, but early on this week it felt like there was a lump under the base of the toe, and it hurt when I squeezed the proximal phalange or put weight on it. My biggest fear was that I somehow broke it.

My plan for this week included two quality workouts during the week, some easy miles, and a 16 mile long run. The speed workouts were mostly at marathon pace, but Coach Caleb had included some strides in one of them, and the second was supposed to be a bit harder than marathon pace effort. My fear was that pushing the pace too much (e.g., doing strides) might force me to push off hard and aggravate the toe. As such, I modified the plan to eliminate any running much faster than marathon pace (which hopefully will be somewhere between 7:45 and 8:00 min/mile), and I opted to do the easy miles very, very easy. The plan seems to have worked as my toe didn’t bother me much on my long run today, and it feels pretty good right now as I write this.

Here’s what the week looked like:

Monday: Planned off day for long run recovery.

Tuesday: 5.16 miles at 7:46 min/mile pace. First run with my local running club in several years. Toe felt sore during the run. Felt great to have some company, miles pass by so much faster! Saucony Virrata on the feet.

Wednesday: Toe felt sore in the morning so I took the day off.

Thursday: 10.61 miles total at 7:55 min/mile pace. I’m co-coaching a couch to 5K program starting next week and had an appointment scheduled to check out our meeting location. It was only 5.5 miles away and not formal at all so I decided to run to it instead of drive. Ran a few more miles to scope out some easy routes to start the program, and felt good enough that I opted to run home as well. The toe started acting up after a few uphill miles and luckily my wife passed me in the car (she was driving my sleeping 2yo around, the life of a parent!) and I opted to hitch a ride the rest of the way home. Asics Gel Lyte33 on the feet.

Friday: Toe sore in the morning, took the day off.

Saturday: 6.02 miles at 9:16 min/mile pace. Did Taekwondo in the morning for an hour, no toe issues. Wanted to get some miles in since it felt ok, but wanted to go super easy since I had 16 miles planned for Sunday. Took all three kids along with me to ensure a nice, easy pace (little guy in the BOB stroller, big kids on their bikes). Toe felt fine throughout, which was encouraging. Asics Gel Lyte33 on the feet.

Sunday: 16.06 miles at 8:10 min/mile pace. Another hilly long run, but not as bad as last week. Felt good until mile 13-14 when I started to feel a bit dehydrated (didn’t carry any water). Stopped at a gas station for a drink then finished up the final 2 miles. Tough run, but no major complaints from the toe, so happy about that. Asics Gel Lyte33 on the feet, hopefully will get a review up this week.

Elevation profile for the long run:

Elevation Profile

37+ miles on the week. Encouraged by how the toe feels, glad I scaled back the speed. On to next week!

Here’s what’s on tap, fearing the 18 miler just a bit…

Easy Miles: 6 (1 run)

Strength Routines: Taekwondo

Workout 1 (Tuesday/Wednesday): 9 miles total.  Warm/cool up to you.  Middle portion is 3 x 3k with paces descending from MP (first 3k) to 10-mile pace (last 3k).  Jog recovery for 3 minutes in between 3k’s.  If you are doing this by Garmin, 3k = 1.86 miles.  I would recommend trainers for warm-up and cool-down, flats (Virrata?) for the pacing work.

Workout 2 (Thursday/Friday): 9 miles total.  2 easy, 6 @ MP, 1 easy.  Complete 30 seconds each of side shuffles and backward skips after this run to open your hips back up.

Long (Saturday/Sunday): 18, steady easy effort throughout.

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