Portland Marathon Training Reflections: Week 14
Portland Marathon Training Reflections: Week 14
Holy moly! There are 3 weeks left to go until the marathon. I’m pretty sick of talking about it by now so thanks for reading these training recaps. One thing I wish had done while training for my first marathon was track how I was feeling, not just write down the workouts I was doing. It is super helpful to look back on prior weeks of training and see what works and what doesn’t.
I am really proud of this week and very grateful for the supportive running community in Vancouver. I did not want to get out for all of my runs this week but am glad I pushed myself to get it done. Sunday’s long run was very tough and having the support of my running buddies made a huge difference. Now we taper!
Monday was a rest day with plenty of walking to shake out my legs. I listened to Rich Roll’s latest podcast interview with Olympian Shalene Flanagan and Chef/Nutritionist Elyse Kopecky. The interview is about Shalene and Elyse’s new cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow (I am eagerly awaiting my copy to arrive in the mail) but they discuss a number of topics. I loved listening to Shalene recap her training for the Rio Olympics and her marathon tactics. Shalene’s sense of competition, focus and drive are incredible, although not surprising given her lengthy list of running accomplishments. I recommend giving the podcast a listen!
In the evening, we did a fartlek workout (Swedish for speed play) at my marathon clinic and I really enjoyed it. It is a nice break from the track, particularly mentally. After a 1 mile warmup on the seawall, we kicked off the first of 6 speed segments.
The speed segments were varying lengths (1000-1600m approximately) and we started and stopped at different “landmarks” on the seawall. I like the spontaneity and playfulness of fartlek workouts. In many ways, I find this easier than doing mile repeats on the track or treadmill, where I am constantly looking at my watch to see how far I have left to go.
Pre-workout I was feeling very sleepy. I took a 20 minute nap in between work and my run and I couldn’t believe what a difference it made. I woke up feeling pretty alert and not groggy like I usually do after a longer nap.
I woke up way sorer than anticipated from Tuesday’s speed workout. I guess I really pushed myself! Wednesday’s group training was a little lacklustre but I got it done.
I woke up early Friday morning to get in an 8 mile run with my friend Alyssa. We made our to the seawall and were surprised to find a spectacular sunrise, a nice way to kick off the run. Alyssa is much faster than I am so it’s great to run with her (even if she takes it easy on me). We chatted the whole way, which made the miles go by quickly. By Friday night I was wiped. I ended up sleeping almost 12 hours!
I woke up for 9 am group personal training and proceeded to come home and get back into my PJs. It was pouring rain outside and I had no desire to do anything else (except drink coffee). The rain stopped in the afternoon and it turned into a beautiful day. I went for a long walk in Kitsilano on the beach and over to Granville Island for dinner. By the time I got home it was 7:30 pm and I was seriously considered just skipping my 4 mile run. After eating a few handfuls of candy, I went down to my gym building with my iPad in hand. I convinced myself to run 4 miles on the treadmill by watching an episode of Gossip Girl at the same time. Sometimes you need all the motivation you can find!
Sunday’s long run was interesting. I was feeling pretty good energy-wise but my legs weren’t feeling so hot from the start of the run. In celebration of our last 32 km long run before the marathon, my marathon clinic leaders planned an epic one-way destination run.
We ran from the Running Room to Stanley Park, through the trails, and over the Lions Gate Bridge to North Vancouver. After getting lost, we returned to the Capilano Pacific Trail and ran past Capilano Canyon to Cleveland Dam. The trails, while scenic, are far from flat and my quads were burning. From Cleveland Dam, we ran back down the other side of Capilano Canyon. Eventually, we left the trails and hit the roads. This didn’t last for long! The final 8-10 miles of the run were a mix of road and trails.
This is by far the hardest long run route I have done. Because we got lost it ended up being 34 km instead of 32 km. The hills felt a bit relentless. We hit a very steep hill in North Vancouver at 26 km and that nearly took me down. The run was total of 2420 ft elevation gain! For comparison sake, the Grouse Grind has a total elevation gain of 2800 ft.
I was hurting for the last 8 miles – what a difference from last week’s relatively pain-free 20 miler! But what I am most proud of is that I didn’t give up on myself. I did my best not to let negative thoughts take over, especially when I was cursing our clinic leaders for planning such a hilly route. I remembered that I was out here by my own choice and to have fun. Over the past 14 weeks, I have certainly become a stronger runner, not only physically but also mentally and that is really exciting to see.