Up’s and Down’s of training and Trumpeter Swans in the Natural state

Up’s and Down’s of training and Trumpeter Swans in the Natural state

Sometimes marathon training is a bit like a roller coaster.  There are definite high’s and lows.  I’ll admit, I’ve been on a bit of a high with my training the past few weeks but my long run on Friday once again reminded me that 20+ miles is a long way and I cannot take my training legs for granted.

I’ve never considered myself a high mileage runner but after doing a lot of reading on how to improve as a distance runner one of the obvious facts I’ve learned over the past year is that I need to be putting in more miles.  Every runner is different and obviously it depends on your goals, etc.  I spent most of my 20’s averaging 15-20 miles per week while I was just trying to maintain fitness between pregnancies.  When I started marathon training I was able to break 3:20 last January with an average of 35-50 miles per week.  It’s taken me about a year and a half of training to built up my mileage to where it is now (60-80). 

For some reason everything caught up with me around mile 14 of my long run.  I had planned a hilly route because I knew I needed it.  I have done quite a few treadmill runs this training cycle because of the weather and I know it is just not the same.  Anyway, after climbing the two biggest hills of the route my left knee felt a little off.  Not terrible but it reminded me of how my knees often feel after a marathon- especially a marathon with a lot of hills.  I had to decide whether to keep running (my schedule called for 21 miles) or to stop.  I decided to keep going.  I only have two 20+ mile runs in this training schedule and if I plan to run in the Little Rock Marathon on March 3, then I needed to get this first 20+ miler in the books.  The knee pain was not sharp or throbbing.  So I finished.  Then I did my stretches and took an ice bath.

I knew I needed to take at least two days off running.  Yesterday my knee still felt sore but today feels normal.  In fact, my calves are the only thing sore but I’m still not going to go for a run today.  I’d rather be safe than sorry!  I know I’ve asked a lot of my body the past several weeks and it needs a break.  I added up my mileage going into the 21 miler and I realized I had come off of 69 miles in the previous 7 days (including a PR half marathon).  Then throw in a hilly 21 miler and you have 90 miles.  In 8 days.  This is a lot for me! The next two weeks will definitely be lighter around here.  I have my 15K on Saturday and then my one and only spring half marathon is two weeks from yesterday. 

Little Rock Marathon Training- Week 6 of 12:

Sun. 1/20- 5 easy miles @ 8:17 pace outside before a.m. church.  COLD!!  My legs were still pretty sore from Friday’s trial half marathon.  I wore my new training shoes- Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12. (Love them! Light enough but still supportive- perfect for everyday training shoes.)  I wear my Brooks Cadence on speed/ tempo days.

love me some compression socks!

Mon. 1/21- 12 miles @ 7:59 pace on TM.  I was NOT in the mood to run but with it being a holiday J was home and I needed to take advantage of the extra running time I had so I made this a medium long run.  My girls wanted me to stay home so it was definitely a mommy-guilt kind of run.  I brought home donuts which was a treat and later in the day I ran one mile with Anthony around the neighborhood.  He is still plugging away with the 100 mile club.

Tue. 1/22- Off.  (After 9 days of straight running my body really needed a complete rest day.)

Wed. 1/23– 10 miles on treadmill with 7 mi tempo at 6:25 pace. This was not an easy workout but I pushed myself through it by telling myself several times that this is my only speed work this week so I needed to complete it and meet my goal.  My goal was to keep it sub 6:30 (15K pace). Later that evening one of my friends who happens to be my neighbor called me with a training question.  Long story short, I ended up helping pace her that night so I got in 6.5 more miles @ 8:45 pace.

Thur. 1/24– 5.5 easy miles on TM @ 8:04 pace.

Fri. 1/25- 21 miles @ 7:39 pace outside (hilly route).

Sat. 1/26– Off.  (SORE from the 21 miler!)

Total: 61 miles (5 days running/ 2 days off)

So there is the long (and boring!) training section of this post.  Basically, I’m just trying to stay relatively injury-free while putting in the necessary miles and workouts.  I think we’re all in that boat during marathon training.

On Friday afternoon I did something cool with the kids.  A friend of mine told me about a pond nearby that is the winter home to a large group of trumpeter swans.  Trumpeter swans are the largest waterfowl species in North America. Normally, they like to hang out in Minnesota, Alaska, and other cool places.  In the winter, this group comes to Arkansas. On Friday there were about 130 at the lake. 

the kids feeding the swans with my friend Pam

At the last second Ashton leans in to kiss me on the cheek out of the blue. So sweet and unexpected!!

It was a fun afternoon outing.  We left just around sunset and it was gorgeous out there.  Sometimes I get so caught up in the day to day “mom” stuff that I think I’m too busy for these kind of things.  This was a very last minute outing which didn’t cost a cent.  The kids loved seeing the swans and last night we actually started reading “Trumpet of the Swans” (remember reading that in elementary school?!) to them since it was fresh in their minds.

Just thought I’d share a little of our afternoon in Arkansas with you.  What are some cool things around your area of the country?

16 thoughts on “Up’s and Down’s of training and Trumpeter Swans in the Natural state

  1. I’m glad you were able to finish the 21 miler! I agree with you – treadmill running is definitely not the same. But I always remind myself that treadmill running is better than no running.
    I think I need to start incorporating some tempo runs with distances a bit longer than I’ve been doing. I’ve really only stayed at 3-4 miles but maybe I should look to increase those. Hmmm.
    Awesome week of running!! =)

  2. Tia, your training is ROCK solid. It has been so fun seeing you get faster and faster over the last year or so (whenever I started reading your blog). gosh, you’re just running strong. Keep it up! You inspire me. so glad you had this good memory with your kiddos too.

  3. There is nothing cool to do around here. At all.

    Ok, I take it back. There are a couple of things the kids like to do. We go have a “ghost town” about 40 miles or so away. The boys like visiting there!

    Your training is SOLID! Very impressed with your mileage. I did 2 60 mile weeks this past cycle and wow. It was tough. But you’re right… To get those low marathon times, you have to put in the miles.

    I wore Brooks Cadence for my marathon yesterday. I really like them!

    1. A ghost town?! Cool! I have never been to one of those but I plan to someday!

      I wore the Cadence in my last marathon too and loved them. I will definitely be running Saturday’s 15 K in them.

  4. I keep trying to comment on your blog- and it never posts. anyway, my group comment on your past few posts would be you are killing it with the training. AMAZING workouts you are getting in. all of them. So impressed. You are going to have an amazing year of racing, and it’s only the beginning of the year!!! Can’t wait to follow along this year:)

    1. Oh man! Not sure why the comment thing is doing that to you. I can’t see anything wrong on this end but please let me know if it does that again.

      Thanks for continually posting your new “elite” workouts! Gives me a goal to what I can maybe work up to someday! 😉

  5. It’s so much fun taking the kids to places where you get to see animals in the wild. They’ll never forget that – except maybe your youngest. Those moments are ones to treasure because all too soon they don’t want to do anything with their parents any more.

  6. First, you are killing it on the workouts. Great job!! And that tempo run- wow! I think you have a good plan to rest that knee for a couple if days. Finding the balance between hard workouts and getting injured is tough (well, at least for me!). Keep us posted on how you are feeling.

    Second- the picture of Ashton kissing you is so sweet. What a special picture and memory!

  7. That’s a lot of miles for me, too! Like you, I ran this last marathon on 35-50 miles/week and got a pr, but can tell that I could do more with more miles. I’m hoping to build up slowly this next year, but it’s definitely a tricky balance, as I’ve walked the thin line of injury before. Hope backing off a bit does the trick!

  8. Running high miles and still doing speed work is a challenge. I can do one or the other, but have some trouble doing both.
    Seems like you are learning so much about yourself with every training cycle you go through!
    I didn’t realize that you had moved to a stability shoe. Was this because of the knee problems? I am an in-betweener and have thought of getting one pair or Ravennas or Adrenalines just to rotate in.
    Love that you are able to find some fun free stuff to do! We get to the coast, but that isn’t free (gas and meals!). I saw a pair of trumpeter swans on the river here last winter, but hadn’t seen them before. They are out of range here! So beautiful.

  9. Running hilly long runs can be brutal. Not because of the uphill either, the downhills just beat up your legs. My long run course is very hilly, but I generally run it very easy (because of the downhills). If I try to run hard at all, my knees start to hurt, my shins hurt, my Achilles hurt. (And I haven’t run it at all recently because of the weather.)

    Anyway, that picture is super cute! Cool things around here? Well, we live about 25 – 30 minutes from Boston, and there’s a ton of stuff to do there. Museums and just walking around near the waterfront are a couple of our favorite things to do. When the weather is warm, there’s an awesome water spray part near us, and of course there are a ton of great playgrounds around here too. In the cold, it’s more difficult. We recently went to the MIT Museum, which was great. We’ve been thinking about taking the kids to a planetarium show at the science museum, which should be fun too.

  10. You sure have a beautiful family Tia! 🙂

    Great training and mileage. I agree with you on the highs & lows during our marathon training cycles. We kinda just have to go with the flow. I’m not the most patient person but, I believe when I became a mother I *learned* to be patient with most aspects of my life. I’ve learned that esp. with running. It takes months and months to reap the reward of hard work & consistent training. You’re reaping the rewards because of everything you put in. You impress the heck out of me with all you juggle & the intense training you put in.

    Love the pics of the swans & the kids. 🙂 The coolest thing in SoCal is probably the obvious…weather!! So thankful for that. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge