Boston Marathon Training: Week Five to Week Twelve

I had every intention of blogging weekly for my Boston Marathon training cycle, but clearly it kind of fell to the bottom of my to-do list. There’s a lot to juggle with training and life. I kept my Believe Training Journal updated each week and shared some photos of it on Instagram, but I do want to play a bit of catch up with this blog post.

So, week five to week twelve. WOAH. I have to start by saying how quickly this training cycle has gone by. I really feel like I just started, but I think that’s a good thing. I had a freak out. I thought I was injured. I took a few days off. I shed a few tears. I got over myself. I chose to trust the process. Marathon training is SUCH a journey. One day you’ll feel like you’re doing everything right and the next you’ll feel like you can’t even run 10 miles – how the hell will you run 26.2 at your goal pace? It’s a struggle. Always is. But it’s a struggle I love and I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

I have been working with a coach for the first time this training cycle, so I never knew what my week would be like. I couldn’t look ahead from February to April and know what mileage I was running on April 2nd. To be honest, that scared me. I am a planner and I do not like not knowing what is coming in the upcoming weeks. I had to adjust and I’ll tell you – it was tough. But I’ve come to like the week by week thing. It’s refreshing and I haven’t been bored or felt like I was logging the same routes and same workouts week after week. The biggest change though? No 20 miler.

Yes, you read that right. I am three weeks away from the Boston Marathon and I have not run a 20 miler. Or an 18 miler. The farthest I have run at one time is 16.35 miles. This still freaks me out. I was always the girl running 2-3 20 milers in a training cycle and still not feeling like it was enough. I loved hitting 20 and mentally knowing I’d only have 6.2 more to go. And I’m still pretty freaked out. My weekly mileage has matched about what I was doing last year, but the long runs have been shorter or split into two days. My coach is a smart guy and I have chosen to trust him. My ‘A goal’ of this training cycle was really just to make it to the start line healthy and injury-free. Straining my Achilles last year devastated me and I knew I had to do whatever I could to prevent that from happening again, so here we are. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but I know I have run a marathon before and I will be able to cover the 26.2 miles either way.

Here’s a look at what my weeks have looked like:

WEEK FIVE – 31.31 miles

A race week. I was excited to race a half marathon on Saturday even if it was only on five weeks of training. Mileage wasn’t high during the week in hopes my legs would be fresh. And it worked. I had a new half marathon personal record by over a minute and I felt so strong. It was such a great confidence boost.

  • Monday – 5.10 miles easy
  • Tuesday – 5.0 miles with 10 minute tempos + strength
  • Wednesday – 5.05 miles of speed work
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class
  • Friday – 3.10 miles easy
  • Saturday – 13.10 miles NEW PR 1:35:22 (7:17 pace)
  • Sunday – Rest day

WEEK SIX – 30.80 miles

Recovery week. I was on vacation for the first half of the week, so I was on my feet a lot, but I loved it. Hiking is one of my favorite ways to spend the day and I got in my runs too.

  • Monday – 4.60 miles easy + hiking
  • Tuesday – 5.70 mountain miles + hiking
  • Wednesday – 4.0 miles easy
  • Thursday – 45 minute cycling class
  • Friday – 6.25 miles easy
  • Saturday – 10.25 miles easy
  • Sunday – 75 minute yoga class

WEEK SEVEN – 29.93 miles

Another recovery week. I was pretty consistently building from the start of training, so these two weeks were a reset. I needed the extra recovery coming off my half marathon PR. I had a speed workout back this week and my first hilly long run out in Barrington!

  • Monday – 5.60 miles easy
  • Tuesday – Hot yoga class AM + strength
  • Wednesday – 6.48 miles of speedwork
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class AM + 45 minute cycling class PM
  • Friday – 6.85 miles easy
  • Saturday – 11.0 miles easy – first Barrington run (hills!)
  • Sunday – 75 minute yoga class

WEEK EIGHT – 49.82 miles

Woof. This week kicked my butt. It was a big jump and a tough week personally. I lost a family member this Tuesday after saying goodbye on Sunday. I didn’t realize how hard it was going to hit me. I moved my long run to Sunday since the services were on Saturday and I wanted the time with my family. I did get up and hit all my paces during my 14 miles on Sunday morning, but it was complete with a sobbing break down on one of the recoveries. I am proud of getting all this work in despite what I was dealing with. I thought I was tough and that I should be fine. In hindsight, I wish I had taken Friday-Sunday off. You learn as you go though. I’ve been fortunate not to have dealt with a lot of grief in my life, but when I do – it hits. I think I’ll have to be more upfront with myself in the future because my freak out in Week Ten was really due to me not dealing with things.

  • Monday – 10.06 miles of tempo
  • Tuesday – 4.71 miles easy + strength
  • Wednesday – 10.55 miles of speed work
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class AM + 45 minute cycling class PM
  • Friday – 10.50 miles easy
  • Saturday – Rest day
  • Sunday – 14 miles of tempo AM + 75 minute yoga class

WEEK NINE – 45.55 miles

I still followed my schedule as planned this week. I hit all my paces/mileage. I felt okay. Tuesday was a lot for me with the long run and strength double. I was just really tired. My long run felt good though. I love being out on those hills!

  • Monday – 6.10 miles easy
  • Tuesday – 10.68 miles easy AM + strength
  • Wednesday – 8.51 miles of speed work
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class AM + 45 minute cycling class PM
  • Friday –  5.01 miles easy
  • Saturday – 15.25 miles in Barrington (tempo)
  • Sunday – 75 minute yoga class

WEEK TEN – 21.03 miles

Whoops. This week was the freak out. It had been building and I was ignoring it. I was feeling a lot of pressure about not making it to the Boston Marathon start line. I was coming up on the anniversary of my Achilles strain. I was stressed. I was sad. And I broke. Monday night I struggled to run 1 mile and I ended my night crying in my chiropractor’s office. He told me my pains/feelings of injury were 90% mental. I didn’t really believe him at the time since I literally limped into his office fearing I did something to my Achilles again, but he told me to take a few days off anyways. And to go home and drink some wine and take deep breaths. So, I did. I ran on Thursday and felt perfectly fine. Friday my head won and I took another rest day, but I got it together for Saturday and ran 15 miles without pain. I knew I needed to just stop telling myself I wouldn’t make it to the start line. I wasn’t doing it intentionally, but that is what I was thinking. I needed Week Eleven and a fresh start.

  • Monday – 1.03 miles
  • Tuesday – Rest day
  • Wednesday – Rest day
  • Thursday – 5 miles + hot yoga class AM + 45 minute cycling class PM
  • Friday –  Rest day
  • Saturday – 15 miles easy in Barrington
  • Sunday – [solidcore] pilates reformer class

WEEK ELEVEN – 47.85 miles

A new week with a better mindset. I was ready. And I crushed all the miles I was supposed to run including my Yassos 800s test on Wednesday night. My predicted time after 10 800s was 3:18 (my fastest ever) so we will see. I finally felt like myself again and it was so refreshing. It was a good week.

  • Monday – Strength
  • Tuesday – 8 miles easy
  • Wednesday – 4 miles easy AM + 11 miles of speed work PM
  • Thursday – 45 minute cycling class AM + 4.50 miles easy PM
  • Friday – 4.01 miles easy
  • Saturday – 16.35 miles easy
  • Sunday – 75 minute yoga class

WEEK TWELVE – 36.36 miles

This past week was a recovery week and a check in. I felt solid. I took things one day at a time. And I was prepping for a little racing on Sunday at the Shamrock Shuffle. I didn’t think my coach would want me to race on Sunday coming off the long run, but he told me to go for it – so I did. And I wanted to beat Kyle. I finished with a 7:06 average pace and was really happy with it. I’m in the mood to try racing shorter distances not in the midst of marathon training and the day after a long run, but I’m going to save that for later this year. Still felt good to get some speed in my legs!

  • Monday – Rest day
  • Tuesday – Hot yoga class AM + 5 miles easy PM
  • Wednesday – 8.57 miles of speed work
  • Thursday – Hot yoga class AM + 45 minute cycling class + strength
  • Friday – 6.75 miles easy
  • Saturday – 11.04 miles easy in Barrington
  • Sunday – Shamrock Shuffle 8K 35:19 (7:06 pace) + 75 minute yoga class

Phew. Eight weeks of work filled with lots of emotions. I am an emotional person and I often find myself trying to suppress or ignore that part of me, but it always comes back to bite me. I have teared up on probably a quarter of my runs. I visualize that finish line and I feel this ‘swell’ that is hard to describe. I’m embracing it because it makes me who I am. I can bet you I will be crying across that finish line, but I’m okay with it. I’ll smile too, promise. Boston is emotional for me. It’s cool to see something you’ve worked at for years finally start seeming within reach, but it’s also scary. It comes down to one day. But no matter how I perform on April 16th, I am SO proud of the work I have put in up to this point. From marathon number one to number seven – I learned a lot along the way and I never lost my determined attitude. I knew I would make it to Boston. And I did. I’m going. I get on my plane in 18 days. AND I CANNOT WAIT.

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