Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Post Marathon Blues & Running Through the Holidays

I had a plan all mapped out. Well, sort of. I hadn't plugged in all the mileages, but I had decided on how I'd set up my weeks to train for Shamrock (base miles on Monday and Thursday, Speedwork on Tuesdays, lifting on the "off" days of Sunday and Wednesday, and long runs on Saturday).

I need to bounce back quickly -- March 18 is not that far away! -- but I'm feeling like I'm already a bit behind schedule. I missed my run last night because of working late, and so I went out this morning instead of doing speedwork tonight. I'm ok with that, and from my uninspiring runs the past two weeks, it seems like waiting another week before hitting the track for the first time in almost a year is probably a good thing.

I've now run three time since the marathon: 3 miles on wobbly legs on Thanksgiving, a 6-miler on Saturday where everything below the knees really hurt, and today I felt really exhausted after 5 miles. In my defense, it was 60F with 90% humidity. That's definitely not my best running weather, but I weathered (ha!) a lot worse in the summer and I ran most of a marathon two weeks ago. I can't have lost that much conditioning in two weeks, right?

I'm not sure if the problem is in my head, my lungs, or my legs (or all of above!). I am very committed to running a better marathon and even doing a better job sticking to the parts of training that I hate (hello, speedwork!), so it seems like my head's in the right place, but I've also had probably the most stressful month of work that I've ever had, and that's definitely taken it's toll both physically and with my level of focus. My legs feel like they're still tired. We'll see what happens on Saturday, but the good news/bad news is that I'll probably take some extra days off from running due to a business trip. Lungs? I can't tell. I'm not breathing as badly as I was earlier in the week before the marathon, but I don't seem quite all there. Of course, it was warm and humid today, and I never feel like my lung capacity is at its best then. If Saturday is dry and cool, it'll be a much better indicator of my respiratory health.

I bounced from Shamrock pretty quickly, I think, but then didn't have push myself. The marathon was a Sunday, and the following Thursday I ran a slow 7 miles, and then for about a month I didn't run longer than 7 or 8 miles. In April and May, while I still had cool weather, I started getting back into the double digits and then pushed myself to my best-ever months in June, July, and August. I don't have the luxury of a month off now, especially when it will be extremely challenging to get the miles in around the holidays.

Last year, I kept increasing my distance in the weeks after the Philly Half. On the next two Saturdays I ran 14 and 16 miles, my two longest-ever runs at the time. I don't think I hit double-digits again until I ran 13.1 on January 1, but I feel like those long early December runs helped me get caught back up quickly in January. Our weekends in December are packed, mostly with fun holiday stuff, but it means I have to get good long runs in when I can. If I can get back into the double digits this Saturday and on next week's long run, I'll feel like I'm at least starting from the same place I was last year. The weekend after that, I have the Celtic Solstice 5-miler, which several people have told me is a great race. Depending on how much I actually "race" the five-miler, I may do a longer run on Sunday to supplement it or I may just be content with it.

Either way, I think a nice long run is on my "nice" list for Christmas Eve.

Sorry for the boring post, but this IS my running blog, not my creepy cat ornament picture blog.


  1. Darn it! I thought I had FINALLY found a creepy cat ornament picture blog. ;-)

  2. I ran once since the marathon. It was difficult. I need to pull the remaining part of my toenail off before I do more than five miles. I am so glad the pressure of marathon training is over and I look forward to reading about yours.

  3. Brian,

    I think you need to come over to my school of thought. It sounds like the training itself is stressing your shit out.

    I'll be your pro-bono zen coach!

    Looking forward to the cat ornament pictures, we don't all have those?

  4. I agree -- I'm having trouble walking the line between "staying motivated" and "worrying too much".

    Today I had the first run since the race where I felt good -- approaching normal energy level and very good (for me!) pacing on a tough course. Now I feel like I'm health and bouncing back and can dial the concern back quite a bit :-).