Well, with an unexpected trip to Little Rock on the horizon, I desperately needed to get back to a regular running schedule this past week.
I was worried that I might injure myself if, after three weeks of basically not running, I just jumped back in and attempted to run a week’s worth of miles as if I had never stopped. So instead of doing what I would usually do at this point in a training plan, 3-4 weeks before a marathon, I decided to do 4 training runs, all a little shorter than what I normally would plan to do.
Monday, Ran 3 miles, 8:26 pace
Speed run: Oof. This was the best I could do, I guess, and I definitely saw the loss of speed considering my inconsistent training over the past 2 months. At my peak of training for the Dallas Marathon, I ran a 5-mile speed run at a sub-8 pace. So to be 30 seconds slower for a 3-miler is a little upsetting. But I earned that. I have to now try and regain what I lost.
Wednesday, Ran 4 miles, 8:39 pace
Tempo run: I actually went out and did this run at 9 PM. I had to work a little late that evening, so I had decided to push the run until Thursday morning before work. But the more I thought about having to wake up extra early, the less I wanted to do that. Since I felt good enough, and our neighborhood is safe, I decided to go out and quickly do this tempo run late that night. I wore my reflective, blinking light clips and a white shirt to make sure I was visible to any cars, though I didn’t see too many.
Friday, Ran 2.4 miles, 9:33 pace
Hill work: Little Rock apparently has some difficult hills, so I’ve decided that what I used to call my “easy runs” will be dedicated to focusing on running some “hills” … Since we don’t have too many of those, this is mostly going to be the outside steps of a local arena, which go up pretty high. So whenever I do these “easy” runs, I will run at a comfortable pace and incorporate climbing those stairs several times. I didn’t get to do this for too long on Friday because I went after work, and it started getting dark soon after.
Sunday, Ran 17 miles, 10:24 pace
Long run: Well, this would normally be the week where I run 20 miles for a second time during a training cycle, and I did think I might get up to that, but I also was really determined to listen to my body. Running 20 miles when I hadn’t run double digits (or even longer than 35 minutes) since Jan. 14 didn’t seem very wise. But I was going to maybe try.
I got a late start Sunday morning, getting out to the running path around 10 AM. It was gray and cold and windy. It had rained off and on all day Saturday; while it wasn’t raining on Sunday, the air still just felt kind of wet. Needless to say, it was not the most pleasant running environment at 33 degrees. I ended up wearing my Nike hoodie jacket over my running shirt, unplanned, because it was colder than I expected, made worse by the wind. I felt pretty strong throughout the run, though I didn’t do very well with my fueling and that definitely was felt in the later miles.
I listened to podcasts by Ali on the Run and Reality Steve for most of the run, and they really helped the miles go by. By mile 14, the top of my left foot was really starting to hurt, and I kept thinking, “What if I get a stress fracture?” I’ve never had one, but I know they often are in the top of the foot, and they are usually caused by over-training or doing too much too fast. I was still a couple of miles away from my car, but I decided that I would probably call it quits whenever I got there because I really didn’t want to risk actually hurting myself. I did feel that, without the foot pain, I could have gone 3 more miles. Finishing 20 miles was not a question. So I got to my car at 17 miles and though the pain in my foot had subsided a little, I still ended my run.
I haven’t noticed my foot hurting since then, but I am going to be careful. Better to run the race under-trained than to not be able to run it at all.