I’m halfway through training for the LA Marathon!!! WOOHOO!!!!!
I honestly have no idea what happened to the last two months, they’ve just flown by. Looking at a training plan is intimidating. There are so many workouts to complete before making it to the finish line. It can be scary to look at how many miles are ahead of you and easy to doubt your ability to finish the miles and complete the pacing. There are so many unknowns in the process, like weather, schedule, aches and pains, and there are so many clues to listen to from your body. Some days it’s hard to know if the best thing is to follow the plan and complete the workout, or take a day off to give your body a little rest. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. In many situations there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. Training for a marathon is a beautiful metaphor for life. You might have a goal and a plan, but you never know exactly what’s coming. All you can do is strap in, trust in the process, and see what happens on the beautiful journey.
The second quarter of training started during my finals week for university. Thankfully I only had two exams so I was able to get my workouts and recovery in without too much stress. My tests were at the end of the week and I was so ready to be on break and celebrate the holidays. Finally the week was over and all I had to worry about during break was getting all of my workouts in and teaching yoga.
My long run for week 5 was my first 16 miler which felt great! I was so excited to feel strong and energized afterwards. Unfortunately the next Saturday it snowed, and a sudden change of pressure brought in icy winds. My easy 14 miler scheduled for week 6 was not so easy. I ran against cold icy winds and crossed my fingers I wouldn’t slip on the harsh fragments of ice on the side streets. I was grateful that the city of Fort Collins is so good about clearing off the bike paths so I was able to run on those without too much trouble. I didn’t see many other people, and those I saw didn’t look super excited to be out. It felt like one of those nightmares where you’re running in place, unable to actually move anywhere no matter how hard you try, but I just kept running, knowing that every step was a step closer to the end of the run. I worked to focus on all of the positives. That I was strong enough to be out there, that I only had to run 14 this week and that time didn’t matter, and most importantly that I was building my mental grit.
Now that break was in full throttle I started teaching up a storm! I taught the most classes I’ve ever taught in a week, and helped out by subbing as much as I could. On December 29th I drove back home to Boulder. My mom had a knee replacement the next day, and I went home to help take care of her. I could not have been more excited to train and teach yoga in Boulder, hang out with my parents, and have a few weeks before the intensity of school kicked in again.
Running on my favorite trails or even just around town made my heart so happy. I got to take yoga classes from some of my favorite humans, and was constantly reinspired by the love and light that surrounded me.
I definitely had days where I overdid it. Instead of teaching a “regular” schedule of classes, I was subbing whenever I could to help people gone for the holidays and so forth. I wanted to teach as much as I could because I love it so much. I was excited to teach my students in Boulder again and have more time and space to work on my craft. I taught everyday, and many days I taught 3 or 4 classes. The majority of these were sculpt classes which are more demanding physically, especially on my voice. I loved helping out whenever I could, but it was definitely difficult balancing teaching so much, taking classes, making sure I got my runs in, and trying some of the new fitness studios I’d been wanting to try in Boulder.
My 7th and 8th long runs were 18 and 20 milers. I was so happy to run them in Louisville/Boulder and use part of my favorite routes from training for my first marathon. I was inspired to complete my first 2 long runs of the decade strong!
It’s not always an easy thing to start off a morning by running that many miles. I battle mentally the night before getting pretty anxious about the task at hand, but it’s all worth it once I start running. I know that I am capable of finishing and I know how proud I’ll be of myself when I’m done. Now that I’ve completed the distance before it’s not a question of if I can, and more of a perseverance of yes I can. Both runs went well! It’s incredible to think back to the first training cycle when my long runs really wore me out. Now I’m still a bit tired but I’m able to go straight back into my day, teaching yoga, hanging out with friends, and feeling productive for starting the day on a high note.
It’s also super fun to look back at the times for my long runs in the last marathon training cycle. I only did one 20 miler last time, but it was 15 minutes slower than the one I recently ran, and I still have 2 more 20 milers of the cycle to get my speed dialed in before race day. I’m also seeing faster paces for my easy runs where I’m not thinking about time. My body is responding to training which is such an amazing feeling and leaves me hopeful that I’ll be able to accomplish my goals come race day.
The Knitty Gritty
Of course when you’re training for a marathon you’re going to be sore some days. You might feel parts of your body you didn’t even know existed, and have aches and pains in places that seem to have nothing to do with running. Most of these aches and pains are simply your body getting used to doing something it’s never done before and go away pretty quickly. My rule of thumb is if something is bothering me for more than a week, then I can start to investigate more and maybe worry just a smidge.
I started getting foot pain in my left foot, but followed my protocol of not worry unless it stuck around. Some days it would be pretty sore and I couldn’t wear some of my normal shoes that put too much pressure on the top. I worried that it might be a stress fracture, but the pain would migrate from different parts of my foot, so I didn’t think that was very characteristic of a stress fracture, and was more likely just “growing pains”. I used KT, CBD muscle recovery gel, I massaged my foot, and I iced it a few times a day. It never really hurts when I’m running, so I’m not forced to change my gait which can be problematic and cause other injuries. So far it hasn’t manifested into anything more than migrating random pains. I haven’t had any days lately that I’m limping from pain, so that’s a good sign. There’s no reason to worry about something that hasn’t even happened. (It did prompt me to start taking calcium supplements again though! Gotta protect those bones!)
My nutrition and hydration are still works in progress but I’m constantly trying to figure out what will work best. I personally like to run fasted or after 4-5 hours since the last meal, but the science on this is pretty limited and controversial. I focus on listening to my body and trying to optimize my fueling and hydration so I can be successful on my runs!
I’m so excited to continue on with this journey and see where the next 8 weeks take me. I’m proud of all the accomplishments so far and am already looking forwards to a couple of days in the sunshine in LA!