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Get me through my marathon! (Read 162 times)


Not dead. Yet.

    I have my first marathon scheduled for March 9th.  I was about 8 weeks into training on Pfitz 12/55 feeling super strong, hitting all of the workouts with motivation through the roof and was kind of feeling like a 3:50 was possible... Then after a strong 17 miler, I got the flu.  It knocked me out completely for a week, and almost completely for another week.  During that second week, I felt much better, but couldn't run because of the chest cough that was still haunting me.  So I ended up sitting around a lot eating poorly, and drinking too much.

     

    I managed to get myself back on track the following week and log a 50 mile week, but skipped the scheduled tempo run and VO2 max workouts...I did easy miles instead.  I had already gotten off track with the speed work, and by this point it was just too intimidating.  I logged my first 20 miler that week and it was much tougher than I expected.  It hurt a lot, and I had to take walk breaks the last 5 miles.  The 17 miler I did before I got the flu was super strong.  I even sped up the last mile and still had stuff in the tank.  So now it was tough, but at least I got the miles in.

     

    I was mildly excited to have gotten back on track, but then all of a sudden I had a different problem.  I just didn't feel like running.  I had lost that loving feeling, my mojo was gone, my motivation; kaput.  So I didn't run.  After work I came home and ate bad food and beer most nights.  I'm not sure what changed.  Maybe Pfitz was just too much for me.  I've only been running a year and a half, after all.

     

    I started to get a few twinges of wanting to run late in the week.  This morning the weather was beautiful, and I really felt like getting out there for a run for the first time in a week.  So I went out to do 5 miles, but only ended up doing 3.  It felt good to be out there, but I had lost a significant amount of fitness and probably gained 10-15 lbs, so I probably ran it too fast.  It wasn't easy and it should have been.  I am also planning to run my scheduled 17 miler tomorrow, but after today's run I'm not even sure I will be able to pull it off.

     

    So, the question is...what's the least I can do to get through this marathon.  How can I get back on track enough to get through it and not be too upset with myself?  I really want to break 4:00, but I realize at this point that's only a maybe.  I almost feel like I need to start building up from 25-30 miles a week again to feel the same confidence I had before.  I'll do that after the marathon, but first I need to get through this damn thing.  Any advice?  TIA.

    How can we know our limits if we don't test them?


    The Irreverent Reverand

      Others here can give you advice on adjusting your training plan to get ready - minimally, even - for the marathon. I can't do that.

       

      What I can do offer is this:

      - Be realistic about your goals. For most of us, the primary goal for a first marathon is to finish. I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I had a time goal in mind for my first (and thus far only) marathon. But all along my primary goal was to finish.

      - You hit a serious wall, dude. Spend some time reflecting on this. The flu sucks, but then it seems like you hit a mental wall, a wave of depression, or something. Gaining 10-15 pounds is serious stuff this deep into a training program (and serious for any short period of time, whether you're training or not). For your own health and self-understanding, spend some time (now or in the coming months) trying to figure out what happened here. Pray. Meditate. Talk with a counsellor or a close buddy. Spend some time alone on a long run or a mountain top. Or whatever works best for you to get in touch with yourself.

      I've been there. I've had the weight gain, the training interruptions, and it wasn't just benign. Something was there - personally, emotionally, spiritually - that I had to wrestle with. Sometimes I had to wrestle before getting back into running. Sometimes the running was the wrestling.

       

      Hoping for the best for you and for your training.

      Husband. Father of three. Lutheran pastor. National Guardsman. Runner. Political junkie. Baseball fan.

       

      Goals for 2014:

      Sub-3:30 marathon; run for a year free from major injuries or interruptions

      PRs: 3:27 marathon; 1:41 half; 45:07 10K; 23:26 5K; 6:02 mile; <12 parsecs Kessel Run

        Looking at your log a little bit, I think you still probably have a sub 4 hour marathon if you get back on track.  That 20 miler is a downer, but it looks like you went out very near marathon pace after just getting over the flu so it's no wonder that you struggled at the end of it.

         

        Just try to jump back into your plan, at least try to knock out the easy miles even if it means slowing down a little for a bit.

         

        Knock 30 seconds off your pace at the start of your 17 miler tomorrow and you might have a whole new attitude when you get to the end of that run.

         

        MTA - This coming from a 1 time marathoner, but someone who is about your pace.  I walked on the end of my first 18 miler in my training last year and I was only running 9:30 pace for the first 16 miles or so.  And I didn't have the flu during my training.

        Age: 46 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

        Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

        jimmyb


          You haven't been running long, and aerobic development is what you need more than anything. The speed workouts aren't very important at this stage. Due to the hard speed workouts on top of a lot of volume, Pfitzinger training can be very stressful, and for some it's too much training load. Exceed what your body can handle and you can end up with a depressed immunity, over-training, or injury.

           

          You have one month to prepare for the race. Consider this perception: the race doesn't matter at all.  If you bag the race, you'll have at least 7-9 months to prepare for a marathon in a slower, easier manner. One in which you can work on building your aerobic volume (easy miles) up to at least 50 miles per week, building up a few miles per week. You should gain speed at the same easy effort (you can use a heart rate monitor or breath rate or feel). Once  you don't feel like you're gaining speed at the same easy effort, add some tempo runs or cruise intervals in. Maybe once a week, tops. Or do a race every few weeks instead (all the anaerobic work you'll ever need at this stage for a first marathon).

           

          Think more long term. If you go into your first marathon with a huge aerobic engine, you'll have a much better time (it'll still be hard, but probably won't have a horrible death march).

           

          Good luck.

          Log    PRs


          Not dead. Yet.

            Awesome advice!  I'm not worried about anything long-term, and I am totally behind your plan for my next one Jimmy.  I just want to get through this one as best as possible.  It makes sense that Pfitz was just too much for me at this point.

             

            For tomorrow, I will do like you say Nathan and knock 30 seconds off my pace, and just try to get through it as best as possible.  If I do well, it might give me a needed confidence boost, but I'm not counting on anything.  I'm going to scratch any speed work for the rest of the plan and just do easy miles.  Not sure if I will even keep the mid-week long run.  Doing 12 miles midweek is intimidating to me at this point.  Maybe I will just scale it back to 8 miles or something.

             

            Duckworth, you have a lot of insight.  I think there are probably other things going on that might have contributed.  Could be that I was using all the miles to cover them up, and when I got sick and couldn't run for a few weeks they came back up subconsciously.  I'll try to figure it out.  Like I mentioned though, I'm not worried about anything long term.  I know I can scale back a bit and do what jimmy says and get back up to these 50 mile weeks in no time.

             

            Thanks, guys!

            How can we know our limits if we don't test them?

            prideandjoy5


              How did the run go today?

               

              Just for perspective, I have run a 4 marathons to this point and am about to do the 5th on the 15th so I am still learning.  If it was me, I would finish the plan as is mileage wise and drop the speed work.  The volume at this point is way more important.  12 miles mid week sounds intimidating, but it is really just time spent on your feet.  Don't be afraid to slow down a bit if you need to.  Put in the miles, finish this upcoming marathon, and then focus for the next one.


              Not dead. Yet.

                How did the run go today?

                 

                Just for perspective, I have run a 4 marathons to this point and am about to do the 5th on the 15th so I am still learning.  If it was me, I would finish the plan as is mileage wise and drop the speed work.  The volume at this point is way more important.  12 miles mid week sounds intimidating, but it is really just time spent on your feet.  Don't be afraid to slow down a bit if you need to.  Put in the miles, finish this upcoming marathon, and then focus for the next one.

                 

                It didn't go great.  I ran 30+ secs per mile slower than I did on the last 17 miler and my average heart rate was 15 beats higher.  I made it 11 miles, walked about a half mile, then called a cab to pick me up.

                 

                I'm going to do lots of shorter runs this week, maybe doubles to get in some mileage, but I've only got a few more weeks to get the runs in.  I'm wondering if I can even run the distance at this point.  I have my second (last) 20 miler next weekend.  I'll run it on a flatter course and see if I can get it done and get some confidence back.  I'm not overly worried about it.  Either way I'm going to get it done.  It's just another learning experience and there are plenty of more marathons to run.

                How can we know our limits if we don't test them?

                  I think a few of us are in the same boat here in that we've finally gotten the idea of consistency in running and have been doing it for 1.5-2 years. We're feeling proud of that. We're realizing that not only is 40-50 miles a week not high mileage, it may be considered relatively low mileage. But we're getting there. I'm training for my second marathon (March 2) right now and have had some really fantastic long runs (look at me!) and some really shitty long runs (wtf!, i thought things were going great). I've built up mileage slowly, been consistent, done all the things I'm supposed to and I expect success! But it doesn't always work like that we're figuring out. I had a few weeks last year after a spring half marathon where I was really pissed that my time wasn't reflecting all the work I was putting in. And then, barely ran, and drank and hung out and then got back on the wagon and realized that this takes a long freaking time at our age. But we will see results. 2, 3, 4 years from now when the 40-50 mile/wk or whatever becomes the norm. Keep at it man.