Jack & Jill Marathon Training Week 12: Step Back & Relax

Note: Week 12 was June 11-17. I did not run the marathon due to an injury suffered in week 15 of training, but I want to post these training recaps I had written for posterity. Once I catch up, I’ll share all about my injury and what’s next. In the meantime, you can get up to speed on Instagram @dev.on.running.

After running nearly 56 miles last week, it felt good to have a step-back week where I only ran about 40. My easy runs felt nice, and my two speedy runs went really, really well. I hate to say that my confidence keeps increasing week by week because I feel like that’s asking for something bad to happen (Ed. note: guess I saw it coming!!!), but it’s the truth.

I’ve been so in the groove of marathon training these past three months, so focused on the current week’s training and nothing else, that I haven’t really thought about what I would do after the marathon. Of course, if I’m lucky enough to qualify and register for Boston, I’ll have to start training for that sometime in December. But what would I do until then?

For one thing, I’d like to run some shorter races and update my 5K and 10K PRs. They’re from years and years ago—a whole other life, it feels like—and I’d like to see what I can do with my post-marathon fitness level.

I’d also like to refocus on strength training and possibly complete another 12-week round of Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide. I’ve written a long post about my great experience with it last summer; I just need to fine-tune a couple of parts and add photos to it! I’ll share it soon. I’ve never felt stronger in my life than I did after completing the program, and I’d like to get some of that feeling back. Plus, strength training can only improve my running, so if I can strike a good balance after this marathon, I’ll be in great shape to tackle whichever big goal comes next.

MONDAY: 4-mile easy run at 9:42 average pace.

Evie has been asking to run with me, so I happily loaded her up in the stroller for a suuuuper easy post-20-mile run. We chatted, sang “Old MacDonald” and stopped at a playground about three miles in for some playtime. I hadn’t run with Evie in a while, and it’s much nicer now that she’s a little bit older and not constantly taking off her shoes, throwing her water bottle on the ground, etc.!

TUESDAY: 6.2-mile easy run at 9:09 average pace.

WEDNESDAY: 5-mile easy run at 9:03 average pace.

Stephanie and I ran under some pretty dark, threatening clouds, but luckily managed to finish with only a few raindrops on our heads! The skies opened up not long after; love it when we manage to outrun the storm. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere, I’m sure.

THURSDAY: 8 x 800m speed intervals (7.5 miles total) at 8:36 average pace.

I was all fired up over a landscaping snafu, so this workout went really well! I don’t get angry very often, but when I do, I guess I should run intervals. ☺

Targeting 3:30, I ran 3:27, 3:26, 3:23, 3:28, 3:27, 3:33, 3:28 and 3:28. The one time I didn’t hit 3:30 was when I spaced out and accidentally veered off my intended path. I doubled back once I realized my mistake, but it cost me a few seconds to turn around. No matter! I’m sure I could have hit 3:30 or below if it weren’t for that mistake, and that’s what counts.

This was the first time I actually hit the goal time for (almost) all of my intervals! Usually I hover in the mid to high 3:30s, hitting 3:30 or below just a few times. One big difference this time was that I ran on a straight path through a park vs. my usual round loop around a different park. I switched because my usual park is now host to a lot of summertime activities that make it very crowded and not ideal for running fast. I don’t know if the straight vs. circular path was what made all the difference—I’m sure my angry energy helped, too—but I’ll take it!

FRIDAY: Rest.

SATURDAY: 6-mile marathon goal pace run at 7:54 average pace.

I spent the late morning/early afternoon with girlfriends sipping champagne, eating brunch and catching up, so I wasn’t sure how this run would go. It was also hot (low 80s, I think?), and high temps tend to throw me off my game.

Seeking as much shade as possible, I chose a tree-lined out-and-back route that went uphill near the midway point. It was a bit challenging to hold close to 8:00 pace, but not too bad. When I turned around to head back, I realized my next mile was essentially the last mile of the marathon. I tried to run what I thought felt like an 8:00/mile effort; thanks to the downhill, it turned out to be 7:35. Here’s hoping I can summon that sort of speed when I’m running it as mile 26 rather than mile 4!

For the last mile, which was relatively flat (14 feet of elevation loss), I again tried to run 8:00 pace and hit 8:00 on the nose. It felt good to know what my goal pace feels like!

SUNDAY: 12-mile long run at 9:19 average pace.

12 miles seems like nothing compared to last week’s 21, but it felt long since I ran it alone and was just counting down every mile until I could be done. There’s a lot to be said for running with friends. Listening to podcasts helps pass the time, but not as much as actually interacting with other people! This run was slow, steady and uneventful—nothing exciting, but the perfect end to a rejuvenating step-back week.

Total weekly mileage: 40.7

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

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