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Portland Marathon Training Reflections: Week 14

Portland Marathon Training Reflections: Week 14
Portland Marathon Training Reflections: Week 14

On October 9, 2016, I will be running Marathon No. 2: the Portland Marathon. Follow along as I post my weekly training recaps. All training recaps can be found here.

Here is week 14 of my marathon training: 

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!

Processed with Snapseed.

September 12: rest (walking) 

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!

September 13: group personal training in AM + 8.25 miles (13.25 km) speed workout

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.

September 14: group personal training in AM + long walk and stretching in PM

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.

September 15: group personal training in AM + stretching in PM

September 16: 8 mile (13 km) run in AM 

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!

September 17: group personal training in AM + easy 4 mile (6.5 km) run, stretching and epsom salt bath in PM

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!

Fall Kitsilano Beach Park

September 18: 21 miles (34 km) long run + stretching 

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.

Cleveland Dam

P.S. on the hunt for healthy food in Vancouver? In case you missed it, last week I shared 15 of my favourite healthy restaurants in Vancouver to try. 

How was your weekend?

  • Wow, 2400 elevation gain? Dang girl. That should prepare you well! Is Portland’s marathon a flat course? That sunrise is so beautiful! I find that mentally, speed workouts NOT On the track do wonders and are way more fun!

    • says:

      Here’s hoping! It was a little brutal all those hills. I’m pretty sure Portland only has 1 minimal hill! Haha. But after that run on Sunday, I was thinking I better study the course.

  • Bri says:

    I’m just about done listening to that podcast too and plan to order the book! Apparently she was in Seattle when I was there and did a book signing and I missed it 🙁 🙁 Congrats on your last long run! Woo hoo taper time!

    • says:

      My copy just arrived in the mail! I’ve heard great things so I’m excited to get cooking. Too bad you missed Shalene and Elyse! Maybe they’ll stop somewhere in BC.

  • Syd says:

    Whoa! That Sunday run sounds epic…and epically hard! Good job sticking it out, especially since it ended up being longer than planned!
    I am definitely going to listen to that podcast and have been meaning to order that cookbook!! How is your on the run fuelling going by the way?!

    Can’t believe our races are so soon! Enjoy the taper!

    • says:

      It was epic indeed. I’m so glad I wasn’t doing it alone! It’s so much harder (thank goodness) to go in a negative head space when you know everyone else around you is suffering just as bad! Haha.

      I’ve actually just been taking the Vega gels on my long runs. Honestly, at first I hated the taste but I bought a big box of them on sale at Winners and wanted to use them up. They’ve actually grown on me and I really like that they’re less sugary. Between that and eating less grains, I’ve felt a lot more stable energy-wise and that I don’t need as much fuel during my runs compared to before!

      YAY TAPER! 🙂

  • You’re so close! Congrats for making it through another training cycle! TAPER TIME!!!

  • Marcia says:

    Happy taper! The hay is in the barn, now you just cruise it in to race day. Seeing your gorgeous pics of Vancouver makes me wanna visit. It’s been way too long since I’ve been there. Excited for you!

  • Great week of training and oh my gosh your pictures are so ridiculously beautiful.

  • […] clinic long run. The run went by pretty fast – I guess that’s what happens when you run 34 km the week before! The hills also didn’t seem bad after last week’s rather (or very) hilly run. We […]

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