Grand Rapids Marathon – 10 weeks!

Just 10 weeks of training remain before my first marathon! Eeek!

Rest Day! After a crazy weekend with family Monday was a much needed rest day. I had the day off work and, after a tearful goodbye to my sister, I took the most wonderful nap.

Distance: 10.25
Pace: 9:05 average

I believe this workout called for 5 miles at half marathon pace. I wasn’t really feeling it with the heat (low 80s) so I decided to break it up a bit. I started with a two mile warm up and then ran three miles with each mile getting progressively faster (7:59, 7:43, 7:33). Then it was another easy mile followed by 2 fast miles (7:57, 7:42). I wasn’t sure if I would be able to manage a 6th fast mile, but after a recovery mile I managed to finish out the run with an acceptable 8:04 mile.

I drank plenty of water during my run, but I still felt pretty dehydrated after the run. I had an upset stomach and the chills for the rest of the evening. It was pretty awful. I might try Gatorade or something for my next hard run.

Distance: 4.0
Pace: 10:14

This recovery run was hands down the hardest run of the week. My legs were destroyed from Tuesday’s workout. I thought about cutting it short/walking home/quitting-running-forever for the entire 4 miles. Somehow I made it through and I was happy to discover that on Thursday my legs felt much better! I could not have handled another run like this one.

Distance: 11.2
Pace: 9:36

I was worried that I would want to bail on this run so I made plans to meet up with my friend Maria part way through my run. We live quite close to each other and whenever I see her out running, I switch up my route so that we can run together. I know from experience that her company will make the miles just fly by.

I ran 5 miles on my own and then ran another 4 miles with her. We finished our run about 2 miles from my house it worked out perfectly to get to 11 miles for the day.

Rest day! After logging 25 miles over the previous 3 days this rest day felt well deserved!

Distance: 7.25
Pace: 9:29

Hands down the best run of the week! My only issue was trying to keep it easy so I would be able to make it through Sunday’s long run. I felt amazing!

Distance: 17.0
Pace: 9:25

I had originally planned on running 16 miles, but I decided to bump it up to 17 at the last minute. I kept thinking about how I’ve already had two great 16 mile runs this summer, but anything longer than 16 has been a struggle. I thought doing 17 this week might make it mentally easier to take on 18 next week (or 19 if I’m feeling crazy).

The first 3 miles of my run had some pretty big rolling hills. I was definitely glad to get that part of the run out of the way first! The next 3 miles had an overall elevation loss with a few small climbs to keep it interesting. This was also a nice twisty road through the woods. The remainder of my run was pretty much straight and flat and repetitive (to get the needed distance I ran the same portion 3 times).

I was feeling pretty good as I approached the 12 mile mark. I noticed that my pace had moved from the 9:30s to 9:10! I knew that if I didn’t try to reel in the pace I was going to be struggling to finish my run. I also noticed that after 2 hours of running my legs were getting tired. I read somewhere that running short bursts at a faster pace can help wake your legs up when they are tired/sore. So I gave that a try and it definitely helped! I just had to be careful not to get too carried away and end up picking up the pace. I feel like miles 12-15 were the hardest part of the run, but it was more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge.

I was able to get the pace back down to the 9:20s until I hit mile 15. At that point I decided I didn’t need to hold back any longer. I let myself speed up a bit, and found myself running at my sort of goal marathon pace for the final two miles (8:38).

Total: 49.7 miles 

This week has me feeling so much more confident than I was a few weeks ago! I feel like my training is back on track and that taking it easy for a couple weeks was just what I needed. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself, since anything can happen in the next 10 weeks (including a possible half in 6 weeks, I haven’t decided!), but yeah, I am feeling pretty damn good right now!

ETA: I’ve decided to link up with Tuesday’s on the Run, since, you know, it’s Tuesday and per usual, I’m talking about running. 


12 thoughts on “Grand Rapids Marathon – 10 weeks!

  1. Regarding your Tuesday run and the chills, I would recommend trying saltstick caps. They help me SO much on hard runs, especially when it's warm out. They completely eliminated my nausea and dizzy feelings during runs and I feel much better afterwards as well.


  2. Thanks, Erika!

    You must be following Hansons! I'd like to try that training plan at some point, but definitely not for my first marathon. The shorter max long run would make me so nervous. But hopefully once I have more experience and am comfortable running 6 days/week I'll be able to give it a go.


  3. Great job this week! It's funny how adding one measly mile onto a long run can make such a difference mentally. I had planned to do 15 this weekend, but I had to do more than 14 to hit my goal of getting in 30 miles for the week so I actually did 14.5. Somehow that half mile made it feel so much more manageable, and during the run when I was struggling, knowing that I had 3.5 miles left instead of just 3 felt like hell. It's weird how much it can mess with your mind.

    Also, I don't know why but I just cannot do odd-numbered long runs. 14, 16, 18, 20 is it for me, with the exception of 13 because it's like a half marathon. I've thought about doing 19 before but then I'm just like “oh for goodness sake, if you're going to go that far just make it 20!”

    There are more experts these days questioning the gospel of the long slow distance run. I want to try some new longs runs this cycle, such as adding a threshold effort every 3 miles and other variations. It's an injury risk, but I think when done safely it's a great alternative method to training your body to run on tired legs if you can't squeeze as many miles in as you'd like. Plus, it will probably really help break up the monotony!


  4. Oh I like that idea of adding a threshold effort every 3 miles. Keeps it interesting and adds an element of challenge, without creating too much risk of injury (assuming the rest of the speed work for the week is a reasonable amount). Plus since this is your third marathon I think it makes sense to be experimenting with different strategies and seeing what exactly works best for you.


  5. Awesome job this week! You had lots of great distances and paces in there. I think you did the right thing bumping your run to 17 miles – it makes each jump way easier for sure. And your tempo run on Monday, WOW! Awesome!!!


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