Boston 2014 Training: Week 6 & 7 of 16

A belated training update!  Week 6 was a bit of a wash because of a silly foot issue that lingered from a tough 15-miler in the snow and Week 7 was spent getting back on track but being smart about monitoring my foot. I think I was able to get a decent amount of work in despite the challenges.

Note:  This is probably the longest post I’ve ever written. I started writing and this is what came out. If you read all the way to the end, I’m both confused and flattered by your interest. :)

Week 6: Recap

Week 6 RecapThis is somewhat depressing. But it had to happen. (I keep reminding myself we’re still early in the cycle!)

To be honest, I spent a majority of this week just holding my breathing and hoping that I didn’t have a stress fracture. {Cue classic runner dramatization of actual events} I’ve never a stress fracture and basically have no idea what one feels like but I knew that any kind of constant, localized pain in my foot was a bad sign. {I realize a lot of this stuff may sound super silly to anyone that has dealt with a stress fracture. It even sounds silly to me.}

Week 5’s training was fine, following that one snowy run. And I was even able to run 16 glorious, fast miles on Sunday Feb 2nd. My foot felt perfectly fine.  There was no sign during the run that it was struggling and I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort. It was a bit tender that night before I went to bed but seriously nothing to worry about.

Still, I was over-cautious alllllllllll week. [Corey and I have been talking about how we have "injury PTSD" because we're really, really good at reading into every little ache and pain after minor injuries this past fall.]

Monday:

50 min recovery spin 

My legs felt pretty heavy and sore after the 16 miles the day before and my foot was still a bit cranky so I hopped on the spin bike.

Tuesday:

8 miles, 7:51 average [speed]

Took some sadness, frustration, and anger out on the treadmill today. It helped. (Don’t worry–I’m ok. Just dealing with an unexpected personal situation. And, as usual, running was my therapy.)

2 mi up, 2 x 1200 (400m RI), 4 x 800 (400m RI), 1 mi down
Splits: 4:44 for both 1200s, and consistent 3:06s for the 800 repeats

This felt surprisingly strong after heavy legs on Monday. My foot didn’t give me any problems until the cooldown, when I felt a small ache. (Noted: If I can get through 7 miles and several miles of speedwork, it’s a good sign.)

Wednesday:

1 hr recovery spin Hip Strength Routine 

I forced myself to not be stubborn or stupid or idiotic today. (Listening to my body and all that jazz.) I woke up to a cranky foot despite it feeling fine the day before. I put compression socks on and iced it after Tuesday’s speedwork, but resigned to the spin bike for my scheduled shakeout. At this point, I’m not losing fitness by recovering on the bike as opposed to on the treadmill (or so I keep telling myself!).

Thursday:

Complete rest day. I had a tough tempo scheduled today, full of goal marathon, half marathon, and 10k paced miles but again, trying to be smart about this foot thing. If it’s sore upon waking, a workout isn’t happening. Taking it day by day, but Thursday was this week’s low point for sure. I convinced myself that I MUST have a stress fracture (heh) and continued to putz around the house (+ sip a beer or two that night). In general, I was a crankypants.

Friday:

50 min spin class with steady climbs + Core Routine x 2  + ART! 

Ok, this is the day when things start to look up, I promise! :look it! progress!: I had a regular ART appointment scheduled with my PT and, once again, this guy proves that he’s some sort of magical healer. We talked through my foot issue and spent about 20 minutes manipulating specific parts of my foot. He’s 75% certain that I have a small ligament strain on the top of my foot. My pain pattern doesn’t seem to match a stress fracture and my foot felt noticeably better after an ‘adjustment’. (A good sign!) I agreed with him when he said that ‘something is just stuck’. That’s exactly what it feels like. His diagnosis made me relieved but I know that I have to take it with a grain of salt.

Anywho, I was pretty peppy after the appointment and went to spin for lunch. Which leads me to….

Question: What do you call a spin for lunch if a run over lunch is ‘runch’? After submitting this question to the Twitter world, I received some awesome answers:

  • spinch
  • spunch
  • sprunch

I think spunch works. What do you think?

Also, this happened….

2014-02-07 09.09.07Basically, you know you’ve made it when the local weatherman tweets ya.

Saturday:

Longish run at Morton Arboretum: 12 miles, 7:40 average.

Headed out to Morton Arboretum with Chanthana and Corey this morning. I was excited for my first run since Tuesday! I had 16-17 easy miles planned today but told myself to be happy with anything over 12 miles. Goal was just to run up until the foot became uncomfortable, if at all. I ran 10 with absolutely no problem and it started to feel sore around 10.5 so I called it quits once I finished the east loop. I’m definitely patting myself on the back for not being stupid & running the 16 miles as planned. I felt stronger on the hills this time than I did 4 weeks ago (I didn’t do any hill training for Boston 2013, so this bodes well!) Plus, as always, my motivation was ALL THE BACON at brunch with the girls post-run.

Sunday:

8 easy miles, 8:11 average. 

I woke up this morning and my foot felt noticeably better than it did all last week. Psyched to get to the gym for an easy shakeout. Watched the Olympics, the biathalon and cross-country skiing. 90% of those athletes collapse at the finish line because they’re so tired. Inspiration.

Totals, Week 6: 

3 runs, 28 miles; 1 x ART; 2 x Core Routine; 2 x Hip Strength Routine; 1 complete rest day; ~3 hrs spinning!

It’s hard not to look at this week and think, “what a waste”. I missed one workout and about 15 miles. Running isn’t fun when it’s painful (duh), so of course I’m glad that I rested. If it wasn’t for that ONE long run through the snow, this week would have been different! Three days off running seemed to help and I was able to let out a big sigh of relief on Sunday. I’m also pretty happy to replace running with spinning these days — it’s the closest you can come to a runner’s high while cross-training I think. As Chanthana pointed out, I was still able to run 20 miles in two days over the weekend. #brightside

Week 7: Recap

Week 7Woot! That’s more like it!

Because Week 7 was slated to be a recovery week, but that ended up happening early (ahem…Week 6!), this week included some good workouts. Still, the goal was to balance strong workouts with not being a big f***ing idiot and running through pain if it presented itself.

I wrote that at the top of my training log for this week in very bold writing: DON’T BE A F***ING IDIOT, JENNY! 

Monday:

5 recovery miles, 8:18 pace. + 1 hour Bodypump

Anther good sign- woke up to a happier foot than I did last week. Just ran easy on the treadmill before going to Bodypump. Again, my neglected, sad upper body was in a bit of shock after a full hour of strength work but I know it’s good for me. Plus, you pretty much feel like you can take on the world when you do an hour of strength training on MONDAY MORNING.

Tuesday:

9 miles (7 mile steady state at 7:13), 7:23 average pace.

First workout since last Tuesday and I have to say I’m pretty relieved about this foot  at this point. No discomfort to report (and I’ll take it as a great sign that I was able to run 4 days in a row). Ran 2 mi w/up and then settled into a steady state at 7:13 min/mile. I likely could have run this a bit faster but I started at 7:20 for steady states last cycle. Baby steps.

Wednesday:

Cross-training: 1 hour LIVE DJ SPIN Class (REST or Cross-Training Day)

Returned to my favorite spin instructor for a live DJ class at the gym tonight. Another puddle found under the bike tonight. Success! One of the last song’s of the class was Spice Girls “Wannabe”. Not.kidding.

Thursday:

8.16 miles {6 x 800s speedwork}, 7ish  min/mile average

Ok, these are the fastest 800s I’ve ever run in my life. And I have no idea where this came from. I’ve never consistently run 800s at 3 min or faster before. I think it’s all because I felt like I was finally freeeeeeeee. I ditched the treadmill today in favor of warmish temps & sunshine on the lakefront in the morning and I really couldn’t have asked for a better day to get this done (especially with a dry, clear lakefront). With a half mile left in my warm-up, I glanced at my watch and it read 7:20/mi. And that felt like I was trotting. Everything really does feel easier running outside versus the treadmill to me. I extended the recovery period after each 800 from 2:30 to 3 min, which was definitely necessary. Splits: 2:56, 2:58, 2:59, 3:00, 2:58, 3:03. I felt like I was going into survival mode on the last 2 and my foot started to hurt a bit (the pain seemed to dissipate during cooldown). I seriously doubt I’ll be able to hold this pace for 8 -10 x 800s later this cycle but I guess I have something to shoot for now!

Friday:

ART + Complete, beautiful rest day. 

Today’s highlight: punch!

2014-02-14 22.07.31

Saturday:

17.17 miles, 7:28 average pace long run. 

17 miles without a single twinge of silly foot pain! I drank approximately 3.7 too many punches at Punch House the night before and only slept 6ish hours so this one really could have gone down the drain fast. I’m pretty shocked I even dragged myself out of bed for this one, especially with some serious puppy cuddles happening. I kept telling myself to slow the effffffff down. 7:30/mi is feeling easy these days, but I know that I need to get some slow, steady long runs in the books in the next few weeks. I may or may not be doing myself any favors by running this a bit quicker than I normally do. Jury’s still out on that one! The HiGuy was out there riding his bike–normally don’t see him much in the winter.

I showered and headed over to Corey’s to watch the Millrose Games along with Chanthana and Tim. We ordered delivery twice, drank several beers, and put PJs on her dog. (Ahem…sorry for sticking around for over 7 hours, Corey!)

2014-02-15 17.38.24

Sunday:

5 easy peasey recovery TM miles, 8:20 average pace + core routine

Just an easy run while watching the Olympics at the gym.

Totals, Week 7: 

5 runs, 44 miles; Bodypump x 1, Spin x 1, ART x 1, and Core x 1 

Some general thoughts on Boston 2014 Training thus far:

:Insert tremendous relief that the foot pain dissipated by the end of the week:!  I was so happy to be able to run some pretty solid workouts this week. Now that we’re entering Week 8 of 16 (halfway!), I feel like I’ve really started to turn a corner. That said, I still have moments when I’m really worried that training will turn into a disaster because training is going so well (flashbacks to last fall).

Over dinner one night this week, I was talking with Man about my training and I told him that I’m basically scared that my body is going to breakdown like it did last fall; that just when I seem to turn a corner, my body will fail me. He had some really insightful things to say, but he said something that made everything ‘click’.

He said, “Jenny, you just need one good race.”

The more I thought about it, the more I realized how true it was. The last race that I can remember being completely satisfied was the Bastille Day 5k in July. And that was race mostly satisfying because it was an unplanned “redemption race” after the Chi Women’s 5k. I haven’t raced since then. I haven’t raced in 7 months…. (wut.) I sat out of a 10k when my left quad gave out and then Grand Rapids was out of the picture. 2013 was a rollercoaster year. Realizing that it’s been over 7 months since I’ve had a really great race experience (regardless of the outcome, PR or not), has made me even more motivated to work hard this year. I think I’ve made some smart changes to my training this time around and so far, so good.

To be honest, I’ve been hesitant to write about my training this time around because I feel like I could jinx myself. One of the hardest aspects of the last training cycle was that it seemed to be going soooooo well. Until, it just wasn’t anymore. I’m trying to keep a level head and continue to be patient & smart, to work hard, and to see where that takes me. No one likes to share their training when it’s not going as ‘planned’, but for now I’ll continue to share–in hopes that there are some strong weeks ahead.

On the bright side, my PT was encouraged by how my foot is progressing when I saw him on Friday. And I know that it’s gradually getting better. He says we should realistically allow 4-6 weeks for a slight sprain like this to return to normal. It’s been 3 weeks since that run in the snow and I’m hoping that he’s right about the timeline. If so, the New York Half might just be that one good race that I’ve been working toward (and the mental reset for Boston that could come with that would be nice too!).

Do you like sharing your training logs? Would you call a spin at lunch a ‘spunch’? When was the last time you raced and felt like a badass? Do you visualize the course of your upcoming race during your training? ALL THE QUESTIONS!

- J

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15 thoughts on “Boston 2014 Training: Week 6 & 7 of 16

  1. Nice write-up, glad your foot turned out ok (and I can totally relate to the “injury PTSD”. Been there, done that.

    Re/ course visualization: Yes, all the time. I think there is not a single run where I’m not thinking about the next A race. Usually also makes my heart-rate jump up by at least 10bpm.

    Cheers,
    Henrik

    • I typically visualize the course during my long runs but I haven’t been good about doing that lately. It usually makes my long runs go by pretty quickly because I’m excited about getting to that start line.

  2. sorry to hear about this lingering foot pain. Maybe a softer sole shoe would help? I do post my training but I think it can be a bad thing for some ppl. And it makes them run faster than they should be in training. Bc they know they will be posting it. I look at some and I’m like whyyyyy are running that fast in training. Ive seen some long runs faster than ppls marathon PR’s. Crazy to me.

    • Yeah, I think I’ve realized that I need a softer sole for some runs, especially in the winter. I rotated in some different New Balance on my recovery runs this week and it seemed to help. I hear ya! — I’ve seen people post really fast times. I’m sure some people think I’m running my long runs too fast lately too. To each their own, I suppose!

  3. So much to say! I love Andy Avalos. Anyway, you made a lot of really good calls in the past fortnight regarding your training. That will surely pay dividends later. It can be super tough to battle the emotional and rational side of training–I was there last week–but you came out ahead. Really nice work. You’re kickin’ bootay, lady.

    And hmmm… I enjoy sharing training with folks. It has been really helpful for me to get feedback from friends whose experiences (and expertise) I trust, and it keeps things super fun, too :)

    • Haha, I love Andy too! Is it weird that I think he somehow protects us, even though he just reports the weather as opposed to creating it? Just go with it…

      This post is all over the place because I try to post from a daily perspective — you better be ready for an emotional rollercoaster during my taper! Haha. Really relieved the foot is with the program now. You’re right, it’s nice to hear from others about what’s worked for them in training and racing — learning from you all the time, lady!

  4. i love and appreciate honest posts like this so much! You obviously had some pain and things didn’t feel right on your foot and you BACKED off, and weren’t … in your words… ” a fucking idiot “. And now it looks like you’re back on your feet the next week. Hard to believe we’re already halfway there to boston, almost two months to go!

  5. Nice post and wishing you the best in your Boston training

  6. Girl you are my inspiration. I love your blog & the level-headed way you approach training. I will never be as fast as you are but I hope to be as dedicated!

    • Lauren! You’re making me blush! Thanks for reading. I feel like a rambling, dramatic idiot when I recap my training most of the time so that’s really nice to hear. :) What’s next on your race calendar?

  7. So happy to hear your foot is feeling mucho better and that your training is mostly back to normal.

    Keep sharing your training! I love reading about people’s runs (good bad or whatever) :) ps- you can’t jinx your training- it’s Impossible. That quote you posted on twitter today sums up how I feel about this nicely. “”Luck is the dying wish for those that believe that winning can happen by accident. Sweat…is for those that know it’s a choice.” Such a wonderful reminder.

    I also love “a dream is a goal without a plan.”

    I’m totes with ya on the having just one good race to bolster your confidence. For me it’s been almost 2.5 years since my “one good race” where everything came together. Dude… We will get our good races soon. 2014 is our year!

    • Sigh.of.effing.relief. on that one! It’s still a bit tender after hard efforts but definitely not like it was 2 weeks ago. You’re right–I can’t jinx it. I think I’ll feel differently after the NYC Half. Regardless of what happens there, it will just feel good (and probably weird!) to race again. I have a really good feeling about your marathon, X—you’ve been putting in some serious work!

  8. Glad that your foot is feeling better! I cant believe Boston is less than 9 weeks away now!

    I visualize a lot while running, it helps motivate me. I’m struggling to do that right now as I can’t even begin to imagine what Boston marathon is going to look and feel like. Maybe once it gets closer it will be easier!

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