NYC Marathon Training Recap: Week 12

Week 12…I am so glad that you are over. My job, the wedding planning, and an enormous lack of motivation collided at the detriment of my marathon training, and I’ve been feeling pretty guilty and frustrated as a result. I dragged my feet before starting every. single. workout. I couldn’t even get myself to run before work on Tuesday and only managed to squeeze in 3.5 out of the scheduled 5 before it got dark the next day. Thursday? Only 3 out of the called-for 7 completed (on a dreadmill).

I lost my mojo. It happens.

I’m trying not to let it rattle me too much. As a first-time marathoner-in-training, every deviation from THE PLAN feels like a big failure, but the more rational part of my brain knows that failing to complete 4.5 miles this week won’t prevent me from finishing my marathon. I’d have more reason to worry if I couldn’t finish the long run, but I did! There was a silver lining, but I’ll get there in a minute. First, this week looked like…

Week 12 (Monday, September 19) 
Monday: Rest 
Tuesday: Rest 
Wednesday: 3.5 mile run 
Thursday: 3.0 mile run 
Friday: Max level class at Yogaja
Saturday: 4.0 mile run 
Sunday: 12.0 mile run 
Total Mileage: 22.5 miles

The bad: I’ve already bemoaned enough of the bad stuff up there.

Cute pup doesn’t care if you didnt finish your run or not, just if you have treats and cuddles

The good: A return to studio yoga! I’ve been trying to do Adrienne‘s
“Yoga for Runners” video 1x a week, but I haven’t stepped into a studio since I lived in D.C. There was a non-profit studio in NoMa that I loved to visit – inexpensive classes, a favorite teacher, a 6-minute walk – but it’s been months since I took a class. I have zero excuses (with the exception of cost) because I live within a mile from Yogaja. Anyway,  it was wonderful. I sweat. I stretched. I kicked up into a headstand on the wall for the first time (!!!). My hamstrings are still sore three days later, and I will be back for more.

Most importantly, I practiced a lot of “mental toughness” – especially on Sunday’s long run. For the most part, I’ve had some really awesome long runs, and even the bad stretches (“how much longer? why am I doing this? owww”) don’t ususally last more than a couple miles. This weekend, however, I was ready to turn around after mile 2. I shouldn’t be too surprised seeing as how the rest of the week went, but it still sucked.

It’s not that my legs hurt or that I went out to fast…mentally, I just wasn’t in it. I was bored. I wanted to go home and crawl back in bed with episodes of Parenthood. I wanted to eat a big, slow breakfast and clean my house or unpack the explosion of wedding presents in the living room. Maybe bake something. Anything but run 12 miles. Each mile was a battle. I chose an out-and-back route instead of my usual loop, and as a result, the way back was especially painful – I knew exactly how much more was ahead of me.

Okay, okay – I know! This was supposed to be part of “the good.” I’m getting there.

I think that you learn more from bad runs that you do from the great ones. I secretly welcome the mid-run rain, side stitches, high temps, and cranky knees because when I work through them, I know that if I’m plagued with the same problem on race day, I’ll be able to call up those moments and remind myself that they are surmountable. On Sunday, I learned to push through almost 10 straight miles of “Are we there yet?” I took it one mile a time. I practiced breaking the run into pieces – to that road…to that sign…through this loop…etc, etc. On the way back, on a convenient, but boring stretch of bike trail, I practiced a suggestion I’d learned for the NYC Half. After the excitement of running through Central Park and the Times Square, the course takes you down the West Side Highway, and it can be tough – I was told to focus on the Freedom Tower (within sight, and near the finish), and “lasso” it to me. This time, I focused on giant electricity towers along the path and lasso’d them bit, by bit, until they were right in front of me and then I’d choose a new target. It really did help.

Week 13, 14, and 15 are peak mileage weeks with corresponding long runs of 16, 18, and 20 miles. If I was going to flail around any training week, I guess it might as well have been this one because the next ones are going to be work!


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