Week Ten was hard. I didn’t really expect it to be hard. That was probably naive of me. Classes started this week, so there are suddenly many, many more demands on my time and attention than there were even a week ago. This shift isn’t a new thing. I’m entering my eleventh year at Converse, after all, and my professional responsibilities haven’t increased in any significant way.
But this is the first time that I’ve entered a new semester in the middle of a marathon training program. I had tried to do this last year but was derailed before I could even begin with a nagging injury. In 2015, training didn’t start until the term was well underway (the marathon, Los Angeles, was in February).
I’ve now completed ten weeks of this training cycle. The cycle is twenty weeks long. The next several weeks are going to be intense and probably pretty tiring. Cumulative fatigue is the hallmark of the Hanson’s Marathon Method, the training strategy I have been following for years now. The idea is to get used to running on tired legs. So for example, as of Saturday, I’ve run 40 miles this week. Sunday has me running 16 more. But here’s the deal: I’m training to run 26.2 miles. Most of those miles are going to be on tired legs. Even with a taper factored in. So we practice. We get our legs accustomed to the feeling of running fatigued. More importantly, we get our brains accustomed to the feeling of running tired, and we learn how to distinguish between physical fatigue and mental fatigue. Barring serious injury, the mind, it is said, will give up and give in well before the body. I’m trying to internalize that truth. I’m training to be resilient psychologically as much as I am physically.
The weather was noticeably cooler this week, and that’s been a welcome change. It’s still incredibly humid, but it’s amazing how much difference even ten degrees can make. My mileage jumped up from 50 to 56, which feels significant. Also, my left hip, which has been tight over the last several weeks, became actually painful in the end of Thursday’s tempo run. The marathon pace miles felt pretty good, or at least they did when I was running marathon pace and not marathon pace -30 seconds. (I’m still figuring out how to read my Garmin apparently). But the last mile of my cool down was painful enough to have me consider stopping. I did and swung it out, which helped, and I’ve been rolling it like it’s my job. That has also seemed to help, and I’ve not had any further issues. Fingers crossed.
M: Easy 6–took it back to the Cottonwood Trail.
T: Mile repeats. 8:12, 8:09, 8:02, 8:00, 7:52 (target was 8:13). In the rain, which I actually really enjoyed, in no small part because the rail trail was pretty much completely empty.
W: Off. I almost made it to the pool. In fact, I made it all the way to the parking lot before realizing that I forgot my ID and had to go back to get it. Once home again, I didn’t make it back out. But it’s okay to rest on rest days. In fact, it’s better than okay; important even.
R: Tempo 8:08, 8:34, 8:21, 8:11, 7:58, 8:02 (target was 8:23).
F: Easy 6. Had thought about going to the Cottonwood again, but it was pretty wet, so easy 6 around Duncan Park.
Sat: In previous weeks, this would have been fewer miles than Friday, but not today. Easy 8, which felt pretty good. Slow, but I have a good book to listen to and dragons to keep me company.
Sun: 16. This was okay. I wasn’t sure how I would feel on this run since my hips and legs have been noticeably more sore the last few days. But I was okay. It got hot by the end, and I was definitely ready to be finished as I got closer and closer to home, but today was fine. With more dragons.
[Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Geoff Livingston]