Surviving “Peak Week”

Surviving “Peak Week”

How do you survive the hardest training week of a marathon cycle?  One day at a time.

Last week was hard.  I knew going into it that it would be but I had to get through it and remind myself that it would all be worth it.  Peak week is the week with a lot of miles and some killer workouts.  It all builds up to this and then… hello taper.

Going into last week I was already sore.  I ran a 5K last Saturday and even after a long cool-down and an easy run the following day my quads were still pretty tight.  I knew the week was going to be tough but I couldn’t ease up just yet.

I think I was suffering from trackaphobia last week

The week:

Monday- Hill repeats.  9 miles with 14 x 300 m hard effort uphill with 300 m slow recovery jog downhill between sets. 

Tuesday- Easy run with a friend.  10 miles @ 8:05 overall avg. and helped pace a friend for most of it.  She had progressive tempo (7:40, 7:28, 7:19, 7:08). Nice to get to run with her and she nailed her workout.:-)

Wednesday- Death by 400’s.  Ok, not really but it was close.  18 x 400 m repeats.  (10 miles total.) Fortunately, my coach texted me this workout the night before because if I would have had a lot of time to think about this one I might have lost it!  The most I had ever done was 15 and that was hard enough.  The warm-up and cool-down was a 1.5 mile easy jog from my house to and from the track.  Also, I had some company out there (HU guys basketball team) the first half which always makes things more interesting.  The girls and guys basketball teams have been out there early several times the past few months and the coach even asked me during one of my recovery jogs if I could be in the early morning track “team” picture.

Let’s see…. Feeling a bit short next to these guys!

The workout:
2 mi w-up, 18 x 400 w/ 200 easy recovery jog between
(82, 83, 80, 82, 77, 83, 83, 82, 83, 83, 84, 82, 83, 84, 83, 83, 80, 78)
*My goal was low 80’s (82) so for the most part I made it. Really wanted to keep it under 84.
 2 mi c-d

Thursday- Easy run with the girls.  7 miles @ an 8:40 pace. Excellent recovery run.  I needed this!

Friday- Mile Repeats.  I’m not sure what was worse- this or the 400’s.  My coach wanted me to do 6 x mile repeats. I needed to keep them right at or under a 6:00 min. pace.
2 mi w-up, 6 x 1 mi w/ 3 min jog between, 2.5 mi c-d. (11 miles total.)
(6:00, 5:59, 5:57, 5:56, 5:58, 5:54) * almost a perfect negative split- I’ll take it!

Saturday- Rest Day. Originally my last 20 miler was scheduled this day but after Wednesday’s workout I knew my body was going to need a little more time to recover.  The mile repeats Friday sealed the deal.  I would have liked to run a little but I knew my body needed a full rest day.  I did go roller skating with Anthony that afternoon since he was invited to a skating party.  He’s only been skating once before and wanted me to stay to skate with him.  It was fun spending some one on one time with him. 

Sunday- Last 20 miler! (With 15 m @ MRP). Yes, this was another tough one.  I also had to do it EARLY Sunday morning so I could be home by 7:30 am since we go to early service.  I would have much rather run long Saturday to avoid this but sometimes listening to your body isn’t always convenient on your schedule! My body needed me to go Sunday not Saturday.  So I woke up early (4:30 am!) and did the best I could.  I ran the first 3 mi around an 8 min pace.  Then I got some water and reset my watch.  Then I ran the next 15 @ 6:45 pace.  I had planned to stop at some point during the MP portion but once I got into a rhythm I really didn’t want to stop so I kept going.  The last two miles were tough.  Once I finished the marathon paced miles I stopped  my watch, got some water and stretched.  Then I jogged the last two miles back home and made it there by 7:30.  Unfortunately, I did not have time for an ice bath but I did get my protein smoothie and after my shower I put on some nice compression socks which I wore under my boots. 

I’m going to be honest- this workout or maybe the entire week wiped me out!  This week I have really cut back on mileage and am watching my right leg.  The 20 miler seems to have brought back my pesky tendonitis.  I dealt with this in the final weeks before Boston.  It is manageable but annoying and even with contrast therapy the only way I’ve been able to get rid of this in the past is by taking some time off- which will be the week after the marathon!

Tips on Surviving Peak Week:

1.  Take it one day at time.  If you look at your week as a whole it might seem overwhelming.  Just focus on each day and during your workout focus on each mile or each lap.  Breaking it down always helps me.

2.  Make sleep a priority.  Get to bed early! You will need your rest if you are putting in the long hard miles.  I try to start making lunches after dinner and have them in the fridge before the kids go to bed.  Then once the kids are in bed I start getting my stuff together for the morning so it’s all ready to go.

3. Eat smart. During marathon training it is important to make sure you are drinking enough water and eating right. 

4.  Listen to your body.  You may need to make a scheduling adjustment and this is ok.  I knew on Wednesday that I was going to have to move my long run from Saturday to Sunday because I needed a rest day. I also had a massage at the end of peak week (after mile repeats) which was wonderful!

5.  Hang in there and know the taper is coming.  It helps me knowing that I will have some relief soon. I also remind myself what my goal marathon finish time is and I know that I have to put in the work if I want to see that number when I cross the finish line.  It will be worth it!

This coming Saturday I have another 5K.  Yes, I tend to go a little 5K crazy in the month of October but this is one that is special to me.  It will be my 10th year in a row to run in the Arkansas Race for the Cure.  I have yet to break 19 minutes on this course so I am hoping to see a low 18 this year… I’ll keep you posted.

9 thoughts on “Surviving “Peak Week”

    1. Thanks Stephanie! I just keep trying to stay positive and envision seeing a 2:50-something at the finish line but it was getting hard towards the end of that MP portion Sunday!

      And speaking of a sub 3 marathon—- so ready for your race report! Happy for you! 🙂

  1. That’s definitely a tough week – of course you have a little tendonitis, geez! Hopefully that will leave with some rest. I think I have the shirt you’re wearing in the skating picture 🙂

    1. Yeah, while I was running the 20 I felt fine (as far as not having an injury) but I was wondering what the damage was going to be… And nice on the matching shirt! Mossimo from Target?! 😉

  2. Great tips! I did exactly that leading into taper. The biggest thing that got me through was just looking at the workout that I had to do – not the sum total of the week. I’d say to myself that I’d just do this one and if I had to, miss the next and apart from once I didn’t skip the session. It’s tough but soon it’ll be done and you’ll be starting to feel better.

  3. Those workouts are just crazy and you crushed them. I cannot wait for you to run this marathon. Enjoy your taper…you have definitely earned it! Good luck at your 5K!!!

Leave a Reply

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

CommentLuv badge