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2020 Fall Marathon Training - Week 14

I have never met anyone who has gone through a marathon training cycle where everything has gone smoothly. If you have, please e-mail me; I would love to hear how you did it. To me, there always seems to be some bumps along the way. This marathon training cycle has been relatively smooth for me until this last week. I have somehow avoided the things that typically derail marathon training cycles; injury, illness, and missed workouts. Then the wildfires hit the West Coast with vengeance last week and brought with them, horrible air quality. I would have never thought that poor air quality would be what derailed my training cycle, but I should know by now to expect the unexpected in 2020.

I have lived with subpar air quality my whole life growing up in Central California. What we experienced last week was unlike anything I have ever seen. There were days when you could not see the sun because the smoke was so thick in the air. Ash and other particles where floating in the sky. I did not feel comfortable letting my children play outside for a few days. I have to say that being cooped up and watching such a tragic situation unfold, made me feel a little down last week. I considered pulling the plug on marathon training and not running another marathon in October. I had to take a few days off and I did not get in my scheduled track workout for the week.

I feel very fortunate that I was able to get a break from the bad air quality for a few days. My family and I already had plans to spend time at my dad’s home in the Monterey area this weekend to celebrate my youngest son’s fourth birthday. The air quality in Monterey has improved drastically from last week and it even rained a little bit on Saturday morning. I was able to get in 4 runs during our visit including my long run for the week, which went a lot better than I thought it would. My long run was 20 miles with 10k at marathon pace. I woke up on Sunday morning not feeling ready to execute the run, but I decided I would just start and see how I felt. I practiced my race day breakfast; oatmeal with PB2 and a Vespa Junior before I started the run. An hour into the run I felt pretty good and had been able to comfortably maintain 7:30/min mile pace. At the 13 mile mark I started my marathon pace miles. I was not sure if I would be able to hold the pace for the whole 10k, but I decided to just lean into the hurt for the next 40 or so minutes and do what I needed to in order to hit the pace. As I started the 10k at marathon pace, I was surprised that it did not feel super difficult. I was able to go even a little faster and still feel good. My miles splits for the 10k where – 6:22, 6:36, 6:22, 6:00, 6:18, 6:17.

It always amazes me how marathon training starts to “come together” in the end and you can start to run paces that you didn’t think possible just a few weeks before. I only got in about 60 miles this week and since the training week was not completely lost, I will continue training and still shoot for my October marathon.

The air quality in the Central Valley has gone from “hazardous” to “moderate” so I feel comfortable running outside again. Hopefully, the air quality continues to move in a positive direction, which also means the wildfires are being contained.

Three things I am loving this week:

1. I loved seeing everyone’s Virtual Boston Marathon finish line pictures and results. The running community really came together to cheer each other on and make the most out of a less than ideal situation. The Rambling Runner is starting a “Boston Marathon Virtual Series” of episode featuring a variety of runners who completed the Virtual Boston Marathon. The first episode can be found here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/269-alexis-mccoy-boston-marathon-virtual-series/id1257440830

2. My new most used app of the week is the IQAir AirVisual App. You can put in any location or use your current location and get the current air quality. Available here: https://www.iqair.com/us/air-quality-app

3. I know it is not anything new, but I have tried a lot of different apps for in home workouts and I feel like the Peloton App is the best bang for your buck. I do not even own a Peloton bike, I have another brand “basic” spin bike. I have used the app to guide me through cycling classes on my “none Peloton” bike and I get a great workout. I have also tried a yoga and strength class, which were both excellent. The price for the app is only $12.99/ month. If you are stuck working out at home, with limited equipment, I do think you get a lot of bang for your buck with this app. There are also guided outdoor runs, bootcamp classes, and meditation classes. You can download the app here: https://www.onepeloton.com/app

Thanks for stopping by to check in on my training. I hope you have a great week!



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