Chicago Marathon Training: Week Eight

I can’t believe I’m only 10 weeks away from my next marathon. Week eight brought some challenges, but it seems that after two months the time would be right for that.

Week eight was my second cutback week. My schedule is set up to cut back the fourth and eighth week, but coincidentally those weeks also have the fastest tempo run and a 15 minute increase for the steady state runs. The only thing that truly cuts back is the long run, and only by about 2-3 miles. I had a rough week five and I think it was partially because my body didn’t get the recovery it needed during my cutback. I decided that I would adjust a little for this week to really allow some time for recovery. My plan was to take my tempo run at an easier pace and run the extra 15 minutes of my steady state run as a slower cool down.

The week started out fine. I headed to the track Monday morning for some 400 repeats and the air felt a teeny bit cooler. My workout felt good, but by the end my right calf was feeling tight. I had forgotten that it had spasmed/pulled in the beginning of my run the previous Thursday. When that happened, I stopped and massaged it and then slowly worked back into my run. It was fine and I totally forgot about it.

Fast forward to Tuesday. The speed work definitely aggravated it. I woke up Tuesday morning and my calf felt like it was knotted in a million spots. My whole body actually felt really tired and over-worked, so for the first time this training cycle, I decided to skip my strength work and go back to bed. I figured I had made it seven weeks without skipping a scheduled workout and now my body really needed it. I spent some time with the foam roller Tuesday night and confirmed that my calf was a knotted mess.

Wednesday I had an eight mile run on schedule with five at tempo. I woke up to a stiff, sore calf. I figured if I took it easy I could loosen things up, so I threw on a compression sleeve and headed out to meet my weekday group. I knew my friend Angela would be there and she runs at my easy pace, so I did two miles solo and then six with her. It didn’t hurt during my run, but felt sore later.

Sometimes I feel like foam rolling makes my tightness worse, especially if the knots are too deep to hit with the roller. I really felt like I just needed to rest it. I made the decision on Wednesday night to skip my Thursday run. I knew pushing it could lead to a full-blown injury. It was really hard to skip my run, pretty typical stubborn-runner feeling, but I’ve come too far to blow a whole race cycle with stubbornness. Friday is a scheduled rest day which would give me two days of rest before my long run on Saturday.

Things started to improve by Friday afternoon and I felt validated for my decision to skip Thursday. On Saturday morning I decided to wear my calf sleeve for extra support just in case.

It was drizzling, but a bit cooler on Saturday. There was also a nice breeze that made it feel like early fall. I have been obsessing over the arrival of fall (my favorite season), and I was really happy with what felt like a preview to September weather. Our route on Saturday was beautiful. It took us through some great neighborhoods and also some big hills! Things leveled out for the second half of the run. Morgan and I were so busy chatting that we missed a turn and ended up running an extra mile – oops! It would have been an extra two miles, but Morgan was cool with doing a cool down walk. She had been hit with strep mid-week and didn’t mind the extra mile, but was in the same boat as me of not wanting to push it.

By Sunday my calf was feeling almost back to normal, but still a little stiff. I have a massage scheduled for Tuesday and I believe that will take care of it and get me back on track for training. I’m glad I took full advantage of my cutback week so I could avoid being injured.

The week was also pretty busy life-wise. My husband has been playing (percussion, not drumset) in the pit for the regional theater’s production of In the Heights. His past week was the final week of shows, so he was working late Wednesday through Friday night and worked all day Saturday. Thursday night I went to the Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness concert (you may know him as Jack’s Mannequin or the lead singer of Something Corporate). It was an awesome show and I had so much fun!

Saturday my mom came into town and we went to see In the Heights. My husband received complimentary tickets, and our seats were second-row center! The woman that played Vanessa had played Nina on Broadway and in the National tour so naturally, she was amazing. The rest of the cast was super talented and the show was great!

Back to running – after this coming week I will be halfway through training! The time is just flying by. My husband and I actually already made a reservation for dinner the night before the race and are starting to think about what else we want to do that weekend. Our trip to Chicago is our vacation this year, so we want to make the most of it.

I hope everyone had a good week of running!

5 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training: Week Eight

  1. I thought you had stopped blogging because I haven’t seen any new posts in my reader in a long time…I somehow completely missed that you moved to a new domain. I have a lot of catching up to do!

    It sounds like marathon training is going very well if you have made it to week 8 without any major issues. And at least you caught the issue right away and didn’t try to stubbornly push through. I had a similar issue this week and ended up cutting a run early and walking home. Past me definitely would have tried to push through it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jennifer @ Dashing in Style

    Great job listening to your body and allowing for the recovery you needed. So much better to play it safe than face an injury down the road. I do remember reading something about foam rolling that said rolling a very sore area is not good to do, so I think you’re on to something there.

    Liked by 1 person

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