Jack & Jill Marathon Training Week 2: It Feels Easy Now

This was the kind of week I had hoped for in week one: straightforward, uneventful and—dare I say it?—easy.

Most of my running was at a relaxed pace; my speed workout felt really short; pushing my 30-pound kid in the running stroller one day felt pretty effortless; and my long run was mentally challenging due to the conditions, but definitely not the worst long run ever.

It feels easy now. I know it won’t feel that way for long, so I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.

I’m trying not to make the mistake of running too fast, too often, which is a mistake I’ve made plenty of times before. The only runs I’m trying to work really hard during are my Thursday speed workouts and Saturday marathon-pace runs (although they’re not every Saturday; this week was an off week). Every other run—especially my long runs—I’m going easy.

It seems like a counterintuitive method for getting faster, but I’ve read enough articles (like this one) to convince me it’s worth a shot. I’ve never tried it before, and I’ve never made huge leaps in my marathon finish times before, so why not? Plus, I’ve never run six days a week for a marathon training cycle before. I need to take it easy at the very least to avoid burning out partway through.

Not every run feels like a sweaty, breathless, confidence-boosting rush of endorphins—and that’s OK. I’m focusing on being patient, sticking to my strategy, and really going for it when it counts.

MONDAY: 3-mile easy run at 9:06 average pace.

I used to take Mondays off running to recover from my Sunday long run, but now I do a short recovery run instead. I don’t think I could run fast on Mondays even if I tried. ☺ My friend Stephanie had five miles to do, so I joined her for the last three. Her first marathon is on April 21—so soon! I’m so excited for her. I also lifted weights and did some ab exercises.

TUESDAY: 5-mile easy run at 9:08 average pace.

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I haven’t run with headphones since I very first began running in 2010, but for some reason on this day, I didn’t think I could get through these slower miles without something to entertain me. I listened to my friend Ali’s podcast, The Ali on the Run Show, which I’ve become obsessed with. She interviews a great mix of pro runners, regular runners, celeb runners (like Andrea Barber, aka Kimmy Gibbler!), doctors, nutritionists and more. Ali is one of those people who can chat with anyone and make it fun and engaging, so listening to her show on the run is sort of like listening to a good conversation while running with friends. I ran on a gravel trail, and the show was a million times better to listen to than the crunch, crunch, crunch of my footsteps.

WEDNESDAY: 3-mile easy treadmill run at 9:15 average pace.

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When I was dealing with my foot pain last week, one of the things I thought might help was replacing my orthotic insoles. I was originally fitted for them at a running store in Colorado, where we went on vacation last summer, because I had packed my running shoes but not my insoles. Anyway, I ordered those same insoles from Amazon, and realized when they arrived that there was an option to heat them up in the oven and mold them to my feet! (Or you can just let them mold to your feet over time, but where’s the fun in that?) I followed the directions, then did a super-easy treadmill run in my freshly baked soles. They feel great so far, and this method was definitely cheaper than having custom insoles made at Road Runner Sports, which is what I used to do. That costs $80 now! Noooo thank you.

THURSDAY: 4-mile tempo run at 8:34 average pace.

It was super rainy, but also warm, so I wound up ditching my jacket midway through and just getting soaked during this run. That was no big deal, but maybe it was being too warm/messing with my jacket that made me feel a little off. I spent the 15 minutes of running at tempo pace (7:50ish) doubting that it was fast enough for my marathon non-goal. But I ran comfortably hard at a pace I felt I could sustain, like I’m supposed to, so I don’t know. I just never settled into a good enough rhythm to feel satisfied with this run.

FRIDAY: Rest.

Rest day is the best day! We got a babysitter and went out for a kid-free double date with Stephanie and her husband at The Attic. Pizza, BBQ ribs and beer, oh my.

SATURDAY: 5.3-mile run at 8:38 average pace.

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Aaron went for a bike ride first thing in the morning, and I decided to attempt a stroller run with Evie since we hadn’t done it in a while. (I say “attempt” because she’s almost two… you never know what will happen with a willful toddler.) 

Luckily, she was happy as a clam for most of the run since she had a snack cup full of Goldfish and plenty of people and animals to say “hi!” to along the way. It started pouring rain about halfway through, but again, it was warm rain. I’ll take that over cold rain any day! And we literally ran into Hallie as she was heading out for her run, so we enjoyed the last two miles with her. 

SUNDAY: 11-mile long trail run at 11:51 average pace.

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Speaking of pouring rain… think of the most intense, relentless rain you’ve ever seen. Now imagine that going all day long. Welcome to Sunday in the Pacific Northwest! 

I was soaked within the first five minutes of this run, and it was not warm rain. Once I got onto the actual trail in the woods, the trees helped a little to mitigate the downpour, but not as much as I’d hoped. I also climbed nearly 2,200 feet, so it got reallyyyyy cold as I neared my 5.5-miles turnaround point and my hands went numb. I think it’s time to invest in some lightweight, waterproof running gloves! I borrowed Hallie’s for the Orcas Island 25K and they were so necessary. 

With the cold, the rain and the steep trail wearing me down, I had an internal battle with myself over whether I should keep running up the trail to hit 5.5 or turn back early and make up the mileage on the flat gravel path to the parking lot. The latter would have been easier, but I knew I’d be disappointed in myself if I chose to do that. During the Tiger Mountain Half, I won’t have the option to run some of the miles on a flatter trail. 

I’m glad I chose to push through my discomfort and keep going. It reminded me that, in addition to the physical rigor of running a race, at least half the battle—if not more—is totally mental.

Total weekly mileage: 31.3

Follow along in real time on Instagram @dev.on.running.

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