Week 24: Marathon Training

Well, this week’s recap is short and sweet because it was also a recovery week! That’s right! I did the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon this past Sunday. It was a great experience AND I had a 15 minute PR! (my race review is on BibRave.com here).

[ week 23 / 6 weeks until 26.2 ]

Sunday – Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon! 13.13 miles, 1:51:18, 8:29 min/mile.

I did my first-ever half marathon earlier this year on a whim with no training at all – never having run any further than about 8 miles in my life with a time of 2:05. I am truly happy with improving that time by almost 15 minutes with my second-ever marathon time of 1:51. Training really does pay off! Mostly, having a coach really pays off. I truly thank Coach Simmons for all his hard work. Without following his training schedule that he lays out for me week after week, I wouldn’t be talking about a 15 minute PR right now.

The race was enjoyable. It was hot and muggy (of course this was the day before the cool weather hit Texas) AND started pouring rain but, lucky for me, I only dealt with the former because  I finished just about 5 minutes before the downpour. So, I didn’t have to run in the rain, but most importantly, I had time to grab the hot post-run breakfast before high-tailing it out of there to get dry!

The race was really well-organized, plenty of porta-potties (this is important!) WITH hand sanitizer stations, plenty of pace groups (I aimed to stick with the 1:55 pace group), no traffic jams (hallelujah!) AND awesome post-run snacks (most important!). I ate some kind of squirtable applesauce that they had at one of the aid-stations and, though I spilled half of it on my crotch, I really liked it! Might be getting some for my long runs…

As for how the run went – in my journal I mostly went on about the hot breakfast – “eggs, bacon, hash browns, cinnamon rolls, yogurt, chocolate milk, bananas…” – just some of what I ate afterwards… I needed it ! I was starving. That applesauce mid-way through was really a life-safer (which reminds me, I need to have a better pre-run breakfast than 2 Eggo waffles).

Anyway, the run was tough – HILLS. So many hills. I had no idea there’d be hills. It’s just not a thing I worry about in Dallas. I mean, where did all these hills even come from? It was fine, though – I didn’t let them slow me down! The last few miles were mentally tough, and at the final stretch I felt like I was SPRINTING to the finish – the race photos aren’t quite what I pictured… I pictured myself majestically speeding over the finish line like some kind of Gazelle when in fast I looked as if I was lucky that my legs were moving while having a death grip on my handheld water bottle. In the end, I did it an that’s what matters! I felt extremely accomplished with my PR and completion of my second half marathon.

Didn’t I say this one would be short and sweet? Moving along…

Monday – Rest day!

I felt fine today! Nothing hurt and the only thing that was sore was my left bicep (thanks to the water-bottle death grip).

Tuesday – Cycling, 45min.

So, I was going to swim today, but I showed up to the gym in my suit and flip flops and walked over to the pool area to find and empty pool! Yep, pretty hard to swim in a dry hole in the ground. They were doing some kind of construction on it, so I turned around and walked out. I wanted to get some kind of workout in, so I ran home and threw on some “real” workout clothes and signed up for a spin class. Gotta expect the unexpected! I had a great ride and worked up a nice sweat. It felt good to get the legs moving.

Wednesday – Rest day!

No run today – for the third day in a row! I’m not complaining, though. Even though I felt fine, I was happy to take a day. I looked ahead at my training for the next few weeks leading up to the marathon and, well, let’s just say I will look back and be happy I took the day to rest.

Thursday – Tempo run, 6.5 miles, 55:55, 8:36 min/mile.

It felt good to run today! It had been a while and the weather was AMAZING (only 75)! It was tough having the first 3 cool-weather days be the first time in forever that I didn’t have runs scheduled, so I was really happy to get out there today. At first I was just going and easy pace, happy as can be, and looked down at my watch to see that I was going at a 7:something pace! I slowed myself down, and though my legs felt heavy after a little while, they snapped out of it and felt better towards the end. A few parts of me were stiff but nothing to where I thought I’d have to cut the run short. I guess just normal stiffness from a long run. Happy run!

Friday – Rest day!

Saturday – Rest day again! Good Form Running class (some easy drills on the track).

So, a PR and lots of (much needed) rest this week! I’ll take it! Ready to get to work this week!

Miles for the week – 19.63

Miles for the month of September – 116.83
What’s your go-to/favorite pre-run breakfast/meal?

What, if anything, do you like to take along on long runs for fuel?

19 thoughts on “Week 24: Marathon Training

  1. Very nice blog post! I always look forward to your fun posts!

    What’s your go-to/favorite pre-run breakfast/meal? I really wish I ate breakfasts. I haven’t for as long as I remember. I know just how important it is to start your day or prepare you for races and I need to learn to properly fuel the tank.

    What, if anything, do you like to take along on long runs for fuel? I always use GU for long runs or some of the gummy’s. I haven’t experimented with anything else and look to others posts to see how they do it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Frank! So if you run in the morning you go on an empty stomach? I’m not sure I could do it! I did once bc I was fasting for a Dr appt but it was torture. Maybe you would prefer a smoothie – something not too “food” like. Plus sometimes sweeter things are easier to have a taste for in the morning (in my opinion 🙂 ). Also I will have to let you know what those apple sauce things are called – really liked those and they had different flavors! Thanks again!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Hey Jenna,
    Hope you are well!

    Congratulations on your finish, that is definitely impressive!

    You may have already covered everything that I am asking below, and if so no worries, I can always go back into your past posts. Also, I know that for some people questions about goals is a personal topic and not something they want to share publicly, so I understand if you are not interested in answering any of the questions.

    I am curious have you asked yourself what you think your maximum potential/absolute best could be for the half marathon time? I would not be surprised if it was somewhere around 1:30-1:35 based on your progress so far. I only ask, as I find it to be an important exercise to make sure, assuming you are interested in improving time, to have an outrageous goal to inspire yourself towards, then place focus on the milestones to get there. You might already be doing something like this with your coach.

    Mine is sub-4 hour trail marathon. The one I am doing this weekend has 5300 feet of elevation gain so it will be a good test to see where I am at, and to figure out the steps/milestones working backwards to accomplish that goal, will be task 1 for next week when I am enjoying a well deserved break and junk food extravaganza!!! As I came very close to sub-4 on the roads and believe I have it in me to do the same on the trails, or in the mountains at altitude ie Sky race.

    Favourite pre-run meal well usually nothing or Vega pre-workout energizer. But more often lately I have been doing nothing, especially anything under 2 hours (which includes a lot of my runs during the week), at all to test my bodies capability to tap into fat reserves with higher and higher efficiency. It was tough at first, and still has its unpleasant moments, but seems to be getting better all the time, and I definitely see the benefits in needing less and less fuel on my long runs.

    During my long runs I use Tailwind all day long, which is literally how long they take sometimes, but I love it!😃.

    Do you have any goals for your marathon, time or any others? Personally I always have 3 time goals (good, better, and best), but also a community oriented goal like I will try to connect with at least one new person, and end up being able to connect with them on social media. This is what makes race day awesome for me, as from experience I never know what can happen on the trails; all time goals might go out the window due to having to scare off a mountain lion or walk down a mountain due to a rolled ankle, or the most gut wrenching experiences of dnf , as examples of possible worst case scenarios, obviously no mountain lions or mountains on the roads, lol😃, and dnf is a big plus. And most of all enjoy the scenery is always a must for me!😃 Just curious if you had thoughts of any goals for your marathon?

    Anyway thank you for a well written blog post, this my first time reading, and I look forward to your future posts.

    Have a wonderful weekend,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Adam! Thanks so much for the insight. I really appreciate you sharing your goals with me and I think it’s really interesting and helpful to see how you think about your goals (I like the good, better, best idea). I’m glad you brought this up because, since these races are all “firsts” for me, I find it hard to have a goal in mind. The past half marathon was a second ever half marathon – but even then I didn’t know quite hat to expect. My goal was under 2 hours. I haven’t ran many races therefore don’t quite know my potential (or goals). Previously, my race was the 400m dash. So, the distance running is new therefore unknown territory. Now that I have been training for a marathon for the first time I am gaining a better understanding of what I can do and what times to expect. I think I could do a half marathon in about the time you suggested. I really think the races I could get really good at are the 5, 10 and even 15K because I have the speed (and enjoy it). I find it tough sometimes (mentally) to do a lot of slow running for marathon training. I am glad I am taking this challenge, though, because I know I’m capable. As far as a marathon goal time – I’m not quite sure! Before the big day I will see what coach suggests for my pace. I think I could keep about a 9:30-45 pace. We will see! I am impressed with the goals you have for yourself and with your attitude and mindset, I have no doubt that you will reach (and crush!) all of them. Thank you again for your thoughts and support.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Jenna,
        No problem. I sat here chuckling reading your comments, seeing so much of myself in them from 9 years ago.

        First off I am going to say that you can do anything you put your mind to!😃. I know, I know, it sounds corny, but it is true. There was a time when I could not run more than 50 meters, now I am in pursuit of my first Ultra Marathon finish.

        The reason I say this is because completing a marathon, and pursuing essentially a sub-4hr marathon time is a something requiring faith, hope, of the magical kind, and I. But what I want you to know from one amateur to another, it is not only possible I know you have what it takes. Based on you dedication to your training, and the way you wrote the blog post it seems you have the mindset to make it happen!

        400 m dash wow, that would be to short for me. It is amazing how we can all be runners and yet there are so many niches.

        The thing about slow running is yes it is for the body to develop the capillaries properly for good blood flow and delivery of the nutrients for long periods of time. But also, this is where you develop your mindset to be comfortable with the long distance, and running on tired legs. In other words this is where you learn to run the first 30km.

        Thank you for your support, but unfortunately yesterday was not my day. I got yanked from the race at the last aid station due to time cutoff at 7 hours, and 38 km.

        Have a wonderful day.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much! I love hearing people’s thoughts on distance running and how to mentally prepare. I agree with you – I think you can do anything you set your mind to. Like I always tell myself: “pace yourself… and to run faster, pace yourself faster.” Lol. I mean it really comes down to how much you want to push yourself. Well even though yesterday may have not been your day, your day is coming and you will get there. You have a hefty goal and I really admire that! You got this!

        Liked by 1 person

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