Marathon Training Week 7: Stealth Strength Training

Weekly Summary 2/2-2/8/15

Even though I ran the Surf City Half Marathon last week, this wasn’t a reverse taper week since the race fell right in the middle of marathon training. In fact, I ramped back up, running a total of 34 miles. I am happy to report that my legs feel great! I think the race was a real confidence booster, and whatever annoyance was lingering in my right calf seems to have been knocked out for now.

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Besides putting in more miles, I also added some hill training to my schedule. In going over my prior injuries with my FMC, we pinpointed something in my training which seemed to trigger injury: interval speed work. I LOVE speed work, and I’m pretty good at it. In fact, I would say my body is much more of a natural sprinter than a long distance runner, and I used to very much enjoy a regular track workout on Tuesday nights. Unfortunately, I may be too good at speed work as I tend to go balls to the wall, and while at the time my body feels great, the day after usually sees me hobbled.

Thus, I’ve had to find a replacement for track workouts that won’t leave me trashed for a week, or worse, injured. The answer: hill training.

Being an older runner, I’m even more cautious and have taken hill training down a notch by removing the interval part and just doing hill runs. My schedule now calls for two hill runs, one on rolling hills on the road, and the other is on the trails. I continue to do these at my regular easy pace, but am sneakily adding muscular and cardiovascular strength. Plus with trail running, I use other little muscles I wouldn’t use on the road, which improves my overall strength and balance. And oh yeah, it’s a lot prettier.

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Another bonus is that running hills has mentally prepared me for those little effers on race day. Believe me, I have been the victim of a deceptive race elevation chart before (ahem, Mile 18 of the LA Marathon), and I won’t be surprised again! (Don’t fall for that “net downhill” BS either.)

When I enter sharpening phase, I will add tempo runs, but for now, this stealth strengthening plan of adding hills will get me ready physically and mentally for the hard work that lies ahead. Finding that balance of pushing it and being smart is where it’s at for this runner.

Hope everyone has a great running week!

Total weekly mileage: 34
Long run: 14 miles; 3 miles at MP
Cross-training: Abs (3x); Upper Body (2x); Leg Strengthening (40 min.) Push-Ups: 135

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