Week 12 Training (3/19-3/25): Oh look, it’s taper time!

You know how there’s a fine line between marathon training niggle and an injury that could wipe you out of the race? Well I’ve been walking it like a lightweight who’s had one drink too many.

But I made it through peak week! So now it’s all about making sure I don’t do anything stupid before the race.

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My race, the Darß Marathon (more on that later, when I have too much time on my hands because: taper), is the same week at the Boston Marathon and the same weekend as the London Marathon, so by the time I get to write about it, readers will have probably gotten their fill of marathon recaps. Hope you save some reading eyes for me, though!

But first, I have to run the race. And if it were tomorrow, there’s no way I’d be doing it. My hamstring just wouldn’t put up with it.

It started on Monday during intervals. While I’ve been putting up (see body, I put up with so much from you, why can’t you just work with me a little more?) with a pain in the butt for a while now, which the doctor confirmed is actually a back issue, it looks like I’ve been altering my form a bit to get the range of motion prevented a bit by the tight piriformis muscle caused by the tight back muscles. So now my hamstring has apparently been working double duty, and it started to hurt after the long run Saturday before last. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve also been missing my normal gym cool-down routines (I’m home for three weeks) and my normal amount of sleep, but that’s a new paragraph.

See, people who say 8 hours of sleep aren’t necessary clearly don’t put their bodies through so much stress that needs to be recovered from in order to get through the next day. Given marathon training, I know I should have been getting more than the 5.5 hours average I have been… but the jet lag combined with family schedules that don’t include my running plans has meant I’ve been getting less than what I really need. I also haven’t been stretching or foam rolling properly after my runs, because while I have a foam roller at home, it’s 3 years old and the cheapest thing on the market. It’s also about half the width and cushion as the one at the gym, so I’m really missing my gym roller! I also miss the wide expanse of floor space that I have at the gym! But those are excuses. Really, I should have been smarter about the post-run routine.

I also should have been smarter about the running and listened to my body more. I should have taken Tuesday off, or at least not pushed for the 9 miles in the morning, and the 5k in the evening. As one can see in my chart, I took Wednesday off, which is my usual tempo run day, and I ran Thursday instead. This is because Tuesday was the no-good-dirty-rotten-run-from-sauna-land. While the north had snow storms that rendered them a winter-wonderland in Spring, south Florida had a tropical summer with oppressive humidity that gave everyone and their dog a headache. But I was up at 5 AM, doing that 9 mile run on my plan, and it was the hardest run all training cycle.

But oh! I forgot to finish talking about Monday. Before Tuesday, Monday was actually a good interval session. I had dropped down from 5 to 4 1-mile intervals, and my recoveries were 0.5 miles, not 0.25, so I didn’t exactly follow the plan, but I did get the average of 7:03 mpm, so I guess it’s alright? I don’t know. I was glad to get it done. And the hamstring still put up with it, so I thought I was okay.

I guess I ignored the signs of over-training: tiredness and no motivation, because I thought it was just my TOM, and I already noticed a soreness in the hamstring on Monday that seemed to still be fine afterwards. I don’t know. While I pulled the brakes on Wednesday, I probably should have pulled them much earlier.

But then Thursday was a great tempo run! Right on target with 7:30 mpm for 3 miles and I felt decent again. This meant that I was overly optimistic about all the other signs to just take the rest of the week off.

The final (really heavy) straw was probably the 22 miles … and then garden work. You know how people advise you to not do any strenuous activity after a long run? Well, I should listen to advice more often.

So, tl; dr: I’ve got a light injury, which I think is a hamstring strain, and the only way to make that go away is to take a break. My back may be happy about that too. Still, I hope it’s just for a few days and that I’ll at least have some running to report in a week.

Either way, it’s 27 days to the marathon and officially taper time, so it’s all downhill from here. My plan originally wanted me to do 20 miles next Saturday as well, but for now, I’m just happy if I run at all. and I probably will. Just need to be patient.

I guess I could ask, have you ever done something stupid while training that you know you probably shouldn’t have done and then regretted later? It’s pretty lame. I can’t even be mad at anyone!

On the bright side, training was great until now, so I guess I’m pretty grateful that all the hard work is done and I was pretty lucky to be able to enjoy most of it.

Hope you have a good week. Happy running!
Dorothea

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13 thoughts on “Week 12 Training (3/19-3/25): Oh look, it’s taper time!

  1. I think most every runner has done something stupid with their training at some point. Most of the time we get away with it, but sometimes we don’t. I hope for the best for you, whether you decide to go stupid or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t recall all of your charts now, but it looks like you’ve done all the groundwork to help you reach your target time. We used to have a saying “It’s all about getting to the start line”, so if I were you, I’d listen to your body and wind it down a bit to make sure you get there. Perhaps in 2 weeks you’ll be itching to go for a long run, but I’d do no more than 13 miles. Another tip I once read was to make your last run, maybe 3 days before the marathon, a ‘fast’ 2 miler (or so) – after warming up properly of course. The effect is psychological on race day, as you feel the marathon pace is very, very easy. The only thing then is to make sure you don’t go off too quickly. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh no, hamstring strains suck. Learn from my stupid mistakes and rehab it patiently and consistently. Don’t jump back in full force — that’s how I sidelined myself for months. Mine also was a back/pelvis problem that manifested in my hamstring. Clamshells are miracle exercises for that! Here’s hoping you heal up fast!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, thanks for the clamshell tip! And yes, I’m stuck racing April 22nd, but I’m keeping it easy until then (going to try and avoid hills and intervals) and then going to figure out how to properly rehab. Thanks for going through it so that I can learn from your mistakes! It’s good to see you’re slowly getting back to old form!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re doing the right thing by resting and taking a little break, but you know this, :D . Praying for a super healthy and awesome marathon for you. You’ve had a great training course.

    Liked by 1 person

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