Training Purgatory Week 1: The Blogining

I got the itch to write about running again and I was assured by a couple of my running partners that people do in fact, still read running blogs. So welcome! or welcome back! if you have been around for awhile.

While I’d love to bore you with an overly long recap of the last, um..year! of running since I last blogged, I’ll try to keep it brief: I spent most of 2016 working on my non-existent speed which netted a few short distance PRs. Ironically, even though my focus was on speed and I never ran a marathon (or any single run over 18 miles), I also had my highest ever year at just over 3000 miles! 2014/2015 were 2600-2700+ miles each, so I was really happy to bump things up a bit.

The beginning of 2017 brought a shift in focus. As a plodder, I was decidedly OVER IT with all the speed work. But, I also didn’t want to waste the little bit of quickness in my legs, so we opted to get ready for the Myrtle Beach half marathon on March 4th. I really only spent about 8 weeks getting specifically ready for this race, but it worked out well. I had something of a breakthrough, running 1:26:11 for 2nd place female. I was admittedly upset that I didn’t dip under 1:26, but this was the first half where I went sub-90 so I tried not to dwell on what I did poorly and focus on what this meant for my future running.

And that future is a fall marathon.

I’m a little nervous since I haven’t raced a marathon since Fall 2015, and two years suddenly seems like a LONG TIME. But it’s not like I took two years off. It’s been, marathon excepted, the best two running years of my life. And according to the various equivalency charts (which I know all have their faults), my 1:26 half puts me right at or under the 3:00 mark for the full. Eeeek! Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet, though…

As for Training Purgatory, I couldn’t think of a better thing to call this in-between time. After the half in March, I was excited to use that race as a springboard into a couple of fast 10ks. My body and mind were not as on board as I thought. I struggled to recover from the race, unable to hit easy times on the track, and I was feeling a bit burnt out. On the upside, I think this shows I peaked really well for Myrtle Beach, but what goes up must come down, after all. After a little break in April, I put in a couple of easy running weeks while trying to decide what next. It was obvious to me that a fall marathon needed to be the overall goal. But it’s now the beginning of May, wayyyyyy too soon to start a proper marathon cycle. The idea of doing a spring/summer of 5-10ks again gives me an eye twitch, so that’s out. I don’t want to take any more of a break, and I’m excited to be running again, so the only choice I see is to go back to doing the thing I do best:

All. The. Miles. (For the next 8-10 weeks, until we narrow down exactly which full.)

Training Purgatory isn’t going to be just jogging around however; my fitness and goals are too evolved for that now. Sure sure, there will be plenty of days that aren’t much more than a jog, but that’s the nature of recovery miles. I’ll write more about these in specifics later since this post is getting obnoxiously long (I tried!), but I’ve revisited a lot of training literature in the last few weeks and what I’m doing is best categorized as a hybrid of Lydiard Base (which I’m convinced most people interpret incorrectly, and I’ll get into that), and the Summer of Malmo (don’t worry if you’ve never heard of that; it’s relatively obscure). It’s all pretty simple really: lots of miles, some of them fast, even more miles, add some strength work.

This first week was straightforward and unexciting, which is exactly what I hope for the rest of Training Purgatory:

Sun 4/30: 8 miles easy. *iron supplement*

Mon  5/1: AM- lifted upper body PM- 10 slowww miles

Tue  5/2: 10 miles with 10 sets of 2min on/1min off with Hannah and Porter. *iron*

Wed 5/3: 12 miles. Rolled out my left plantar fascia. It is unamused by the mileage jump.

Thu  5/4: 5 miles. A wee bit overzealous with the beer last night plus a rainy dreary day means I was a lump.

Fri  5/5: AM- Weighted core work while watching the first Diamond League meet of the year in Doha. PM- 15 miles with a little progression at the end. It was rainy and grey, and everyone else in Greenville was either at the Swamp Rabbit 5k, already drinking for Cinco de Mayo, or just avoiding the weather because I had the downtown SRT area and Cleveland Park almost entirely to myself at 6pm on a Friday. It was glorious. And I felt really good, so that helped. *iron*

Sat  5/6: 10 miles in the morning. Not an ideal turnaround from a long run the evening before, but I had plans, so early was the only time I had to get these miles in.


Total: 70 miles…time to do this again 8-10 times, but more! Also, kudos if you made it this far!


4 thoughts on “Training Purgatory Week 1: The Blogining

  1. Hey, it was great to see your blog pop up :). And holy cow at your miles! I do know what Lydiard base training is and what Summer of Malmo is, but holy cow at 70mpw already. I hope that base training goes well for you, and it seems like it is so far, but I hope your plantar fascia cooperates too! You train at a completely (much higher) level than me and I’m not sure what you’re used to and how big of a break you’re coming from, just hope it all works for you and be super careful with running so many summertime miles. Good call for taking the iron supplements because all the pounding and also the sweating from the heat can deplete runners pretty quickly (I know from experience).

    It was cool to see you at MB and the Bridge Run, and glad you did so well. Good luck picking out a fall full marathon, too.

    • Side note: As high as a 70 mile week one of base building seems to me (maybe because my body can’t handle a 50 mile week without falling apart).. it’s quite refreshing to see a running blogger who respects the marathon distance and isn’t trying to “train for a marathon” on 25 miles a week. This is why you need to keep blogging…

      • I think maybe I didn’t name it properly! While it was Week 1 of this phase, I definitely wasn’t starting from zero. It was still a big jump (50-70), but I’ve honestly been pretty reckless many times over when getting my mileage up. It’s not something I would ever ever recommend to anyone else, but historically speaking as long as I slow wayyyy down as needed and can just be desperately tired for a couple of weeks, it works out. This phase is new in that I’ve never done an extended dedicated base to this level, but I’m no stranger to fairly big miles (I averaged over 80/week the month of December, for a recent example). But I can’t stress enough how slowly I run the majority of them!

        I don’t even know how people finish a marathon on such low mileage; it just seems unnecessarily masochistic, even for a marathoner!

        I’m glad to see you back in the consistent running game though, and you are definitely taking a much more sensible approach!

      • LOL yeah, going from zero to 70 would be a recipe for disaster. I certainly didn’t think you did that. Honestly, if you were averaging 80/week in December and not marathon training then it sounds like you’re on a good path. I haven’t trained for and run marathons enough to know, but just looking at the training plans, I would want to be running the training mileage *before* starting the training officially since that includes workouts and harder runs. And we did have relatively nice temperatures next week, at least.

        Still, it’s so good to see you back and blogging! Best wishes with training and with getting through it with the summer. I feel like summer miles count more. A 40 mile week in the summer feels like 50 miles in the winter on the body!

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