Marathon Training Recap - Week 9
I'm still training away for the virtual Boston Marathon (9/12/2020) and the virtual Marine Corps Marathon (date to be determined). I did not do very much different as far as training goes and continued to focus on building my aerobic strength.
My runs during the week were again at a relatively easy pace, but longer in time. My long run this week was another 2 hour and 30 minute. It was a hot run! I started at 5am and the temperature 77 degrees and only warmed up from there. After warming up pretty quickly, I was able to lock into my 7:20-7:30/ per mile pace that feels comfortable for long runs and ended up covering 20.04mi in the 120 minutes. That is a 7:29/min/ mile pace for those interested.
My weekly mileage total was 67 miles and I did swim twice for about 30 minutes on my easier days.
This is only my 4th marathon training cycle ever, so I am still fairly new to the marathon event. My first marathon was back in 2012, so that doesn't even count toward my current fitness. I use to think of training cycles as just the 12-16 weeks before a race. I would be pretty dedicated to running during those weeks, run the race, then fall right off the band wagon as soon as the race had passed. I would go back to running about 20 miles a week at whatever pace I wanted until I signed up for another race. That was fun, relaxing, and enjoyable. There is nothing "wrong" with running this way. BUT if you do want to get faster at an endurance event like the marathon or half marathon, having a plan in between your races and building your aerobic strength will significantly help you reach your goals.
Your running training should still be periodized with weeks that have more intense workouts and other periods of time that have less workouts, but having a plan for in between races will keep you from just dropping off and literally running around aimlessly.
It is also helpful to think about your training from a more long term perspective. When the Boston Marathon was cancelled in the Spring of 2020, I took the opportunity to focus on speed and shorter distances, before starting to train for a fall marathon. If I had gone back to my olds ways of dropping my mileage way down and not doing a whole lot, I would not have had the opportunity to work on speed before I had to focus on adding mileage and marathon specific work.
Now that I have spent some time focusing on shorter distances, my workout paces have gotten faster, and that means the paces my coach gives me for marathon workouts will also be faster. If I can hit those paces and stay healthy, hopefully I will run a fast (virtual) marathon this fall.
To experienced runners, this may seem like, "Duh, that's how training works." But if anyone else is newer to the sport like I am, I just wanted to lay it out and share what I have learned in the last two years.
If you are interested in hearing more details about my training over the last two years, I had the honor of being asked to be on the Rambling Runner podcast this week. Matt Chittim (the host) and I talked about my progression from 2018 when I ran my first 5k postpartum in 20:44 to my recent 5k time trial personal best that I ran in May 2020. You can listen by clicking the link and going to episode # 259
I was so nervous to be on show, but it was a lot of fun. I appreciate everyone who has listening to the show and reached out to me and let me know that you enjoyed it. It really means a lot to me.
My goals for the next week are to focus on recovery! I shared yesterday on Instagram that the effects of life stress (starting to homeschool my 4th grader) where showing up in my ability to recover from workouts.
Over the last 3 weeks I have been wearing a WHOOP strap. https://www.whoop.com WHOOP is a fitness wearable that calculates your recovery based on 4 physiological markers: Heart Rate Variability (HRV), Resting Heart Rate (RHR), sleep, and respiratory rate. These metrics are calibrated to your baseline, and gives you a personalized each recovery score each day.
This week, I started off 94% recovered (I am usually between 85-95% recovered) and as the week went on, my recovery level dropped off significantly, down to 64%. My training did not change at all from the previous 2 weeks but I had a big added life stress. It was a good reminder for me that mental, emotional, and physical stress all tax our body and our ability to recover.
I'm going to use this information to focus on relaxing as much as I can this weekend and trying to get more sleep this week.
As an interesting side note, my Garmin 735XT gives me a "Performance Condition" score within the first few minutes of starting a run. According to Garmin's website, Performance Condition is a real-time assessment of your ability to perform compared to your average fitness level. This metric ranges from -20 to +20 with each point representing approximately 1% of your VO2 Max. During the first 6-20 minutes of an activity the device will alert you to your current Performance Condition. This can also be used as an indicator of fatigue level, especially at the end of a long activity. Performance Condition is calculated using pace, heart rate, and heart rate variability. When the WHOOP strap indicated that my recovery had decreased, my Garmin also gave my a lower "Performance Condition" score. I thought it was cool that the two devices were so spot on.
I hope everyone's training is going well and you are able to get some R&R this weekend too.