There is a reason why people say they don’t have time to train for a marathon. Training plans can seem daunting when you first look at them – long runs every single weekend, cross-training, speed work, tempo runs and recovery runs throughout the week. No training plan has a scheduled weekend off. You have to modify your training plan to fit your life, and unfortunately sometimes that means missing some workouts.
I was thrown off of my training routine this past week for a couple of reasons. First, after running the half marathon on October 7, I went straight into a week of very high mileage – 40 for the week but since I did my long run on Saturday and the half marathon the Sunday before, I hit a new record 53 miles in 7 days. The reason that I ran my long run Saturday was because on Sunday Mike and I volunteered at a charity paddle boarding event called Paddle Fest, to benefit Urban Surf 4 Kids. The inaugural event was a huge success but it did require that I be on my feet for about seven hours – not exactly the best recovery from a huge training week.
Going into the next week, I knew that it’d be hard for me to get in many workouts over the weekend since I was going to Vegas for work from Thursday to Saturday and then immediately making my way to a wedding on Saturday afternoon. I positioned my week to be heavy on the miles Monday-Thursday, including a 12 mile “long” (shorter than it was supposed to be but the longest run of the week) run which was to include 6 miles at half marathon pace, for Thursday morning before we left for Vegas. Basically I was trying to front-load all the miles.
Monday’s run was a 8 mile run with 10 100 meter strides. I went into this run not anticipating how hard it would be. 100 meters seemed really short (it’s about 0.06 miles) but I was instructed (via my training book Advanced Marathoning) to run these strides at basically all out pace and then “float” for the final 20 meters. I was pretty exhausted after the run but still decided to wake up early for a 6 a.m. Dailey Method class on Tuesday. That evening after Girls on Track, I headed to Torrey Pines where I ran up the huge hill and back down for a total of 5 miles. My legs felt heavy and tired. Wednesday I slept in and decided to do my recovery run at lunch. Unfortunately, a heat wave came through San Diego and by lunchtime the temperature outside was nearing 90. Luckily I dragged a co-worker out with me to run, but it was pretty miserable. That night when I got home and told Mike of my intention to wake up extra early the morning before we left for Vegas to run 12 miles, 6 at half marathon pace, he reminded me that I hadn’t been feeling great and putting myself through such a strenuous workout the morning before a very long night out would only make things worse. I listened to his advice and ended up running just 6 miles that morning – my legs felt like lead and I thanked Mike in my head the whole way for convincing me to shorten the run.
I had all the intentions to run at some point over the weekend – either on Saturday after we arrived back from Vegas but before the wedding, or Sunday after the wedding. However, I had a little too much fun in Vegas and at the wedding and hangovers and lack of sleep kept me away from physical activity for three days, with the exception of the 6+ miles of walking on the strip we did on Friday (3 of which were in high heels!) and the impromptu 4.5 mile walk we took on Sunday in San Diego.
My intended 37 miles for the week (which was shortened from the amount prescribed in my training plan to start with), ended up getting reduced to 23 miles of running. Considering my lack of recovery from the prior couple of weeks and my overall lack of energy during my runs, it was probably a good thing for me to take a short week last week. I’m really hoping to come out of this with a bit more energy and feeling stronger since hopefully my legs had some time to recover. I’m still trying to get the balance right with my training. The plan I’m following is quite ambitious as it is, and I think it’s not wise for me to try to alter it and cram all the miles in at the beginning of the week when I have weekend plans.
The next test will be this weekend – we are headed up to San Francisco for four days starting on Thursday for another wedding! Luckily, I have a running buddy up in the SF area and have plans for a long run in the city with her on Saturday. That should help keep me on track!
How do you alter your training for long weekends and vacations? How do you handle missing an long run during a training cycle?