New Jersey Marathon training update: Week 8

#marathon training  #new jersey marathon  #training 
New Balance 1600 running shoe

I took my seventh pair of New Balance 1600s out for their first run this week. Can you tell I like these shoes?

I think I might be turning this thing around! I started the week off really down about training. I was still in pain and close to writing it all off and changing my plans. Still, I kept with what I had been doing to recover and brought my mileage up a little while still staying under what was scheduled. By mid-week, the knee pain was starting to lessen and by my weekend runs it was significantly reduced. I’m still not entirely pain-free, but I’m headed in the right direction!

Last week marked one of the best weeks in terms of weather so far this training cycle. No real snow, ice, rain, or slush and the temperatures were mostly tolerable. We even got a lot of the snow still on the ground to melt! Definitely awesome!

On Tuesday, I made an appointment for a deep tissue massage. I’ve never really had one before so I didn’t know what to expect. When I was on the phone, I was very clear about what I wanted and why I was getting it. When I showed up, I again went over exactly what I wanted focused on and what my reason for being there was. I was very clear. Unfortunately, what I asked for isn’t what I got. The massage was focused on my back and barely even touched my legs, despite my asking for them to be the focus. I probably should have spoken up during the massage, but, again, I’d never had one before so I didn’t really know how it was supposed to work. When you’re laying there in the dimly lit room with the soothing music and having your body massaged, you have little concept of time so it’s difficult to really gauge how much time is being spent in one place versus another. So basically, I went for a deep tissue massage, asked for a deep tissue massage focused on my legs, and got a full-body “relaxation” massage. Blah!

On Wednesday, I pushed out a nine mile run that wasn’t too bad. The pace was good and my knee was starting to show signs of recovery. Thursday, I was invited to a happy hour after work at the last minute so I decided to move my run to Friday to simplify my evening. I think the extra rest day helped a lot and I banged out seven very encouraging miles, a few of which were entirely pain free. Saturday’s easy four miles were at a way too fast 8:31 pace, but it felt incredibly controlled and easy. I think all the rest helped my legs feel nice and fresh.

Sunday, I was supposed to run the E Todd Murray Half Marathon and then add on an extra five miles for a total of eighteen. I was planning two before the race and three afterwards. Unfortunately, the wife pulled a muscle in her back during a freak shoe-tying incident on Saturday and ended up spending the whole day immobile on the couch. When the alarm went off at 5:15 am on Sunday morning, she rolled over and said she thought she was still in too much pain to run so we decided to skip the race and sleep in instead.

After waking up, I took a couple hours to just relax before putting on the sneaks and heading out for my eighteen miles. I truly had no idea what to expect from my run. I told the wife I’d be out there for anywhere from “1 to 18 miles depending on the knee.” I was mostly hoping to hit 15 miles, but I wanted to still shoot for my scheduled 18. The first few miles went by pretty easy with no problems. I didn’t want to get too excited that I was almost entirely pain-free, but I was feeling good. Just after I completed the eighth mile, I started to feel a little pain, but I noticed it was only when going up or down hills and was mostly fine on level ground. Based on the low intensity of the pain, I decided to swing around and start my second nine mile lap. By mile thirteen, the pain had gone away to never return. Pretty awesome! I picked up the pace a little in the fifteenth mile and pushed it down close to goal marathon pace for the last two. The last mile was tough to push out, which isn’t surprising since I skipped last week’s long run and the two previous long runs were only fifteen miles.

Totaled up, I got 43 miles in last week. I was hoping for 40 so I did better than expected. I was scheduled for 53 so I think that’s pretty good.

So, it seems I might be able to get this thing back on track. I’m taking a rest day today instead of doing my five miler. I figured that I’d have to change something since I ran Friday and I didn’t want to end up running seven days straight and today made sense since it was my shortest run. Tomorrow, I’m planning to get back to my schedule and see how it goes. If I’m feeling good by the end of this week, I’ll start doing speed work again next week. I know I’m far from being in the clear, but I think I’m headed in the right direction again. Just need to stay on top of it all!

So with training halfway done, I really don’t know where I’m at. I’ve got reason to be hopeful again, but I did miss two weeks of solid training.