Marathon Training Week 9: Return of the Ice Bath

Weekly Summary 2/16/15 to 2/22/15

This week really tested my old body’s limits. Not only did it match the most mileage I’ve done in any week of this training plan (38 miles), I also completed all three of my tough runs. So far, looks like all limbs are intact and working.

Hurdle number one was cleared when I woke up on time to do my Tuesday morning hill run. I’ve been having trouble getting up early enough to get over to the hilly residential route I like, which, unfortunately is also a popular morning commute shortcut and can get pretty congested by 7:00 a.m. Last week, I couldn’t wake up on time, so I had to do a flat run, but this week I made it before the sun came up – yay.

The second tough run is my long run, and this week was my longest long run yet – 18 miles. Damn. Let me say it again: 18 miles. Can I get an Amen? Plus, as I mentioned in an earlier post, this training season I’m running some of my long run miles at marathon pace so I don’t blow up on race day, and this past weekend I had to do five of these eighteen at MP (9:55 min. miles). Right now I’m doing them in the middle of my run, but I may move them to the end of my run as training goes on. I hit the paces pretty easily, in fact, I averaged about :30 seconds faster. Part of me thought I should slow down, but I didn’t want to keep checking my Garmin, so I just kept it at comfortably-uncomfortable, and the numbers I came out at were 9:30, 9:29, 9:09, 9:23, and 9:21. I was tired but felt strong, and I really felt good about those MP miles. I’m very hopeful that this will be the key ingredient for a marathon PR in May.

Lastly, I have two scheduled hill runs in my training plan, but since I’ve been watching my right calf, I’ve been playing the second one by ear. Just in case. It’s post-long run, and last week, it really didn’t seem like a good idea to test it. However, the calf was feeling pretty good the day after my long run, so I went ahead and gave it a go on the trails. My legs were tired and my quads a little sore, but my calf felt great. I was able to get out before the rain hit, and ahhhhh, it was just what I needed. This place really clears my head. There are some annoying and odd things about living in LA, but being about 15 min. away from mountains and trails like this is not one of them.

mountain

Part of me wonders if I recovered so well because of my post-long run routine. Basically, my entire Saturday is devoted to a long run and the recovery from said long run. This is what my recovery afternoon looks like:

  1. Get disgustingly sugary, fatty treat that is super off-limits during the week (chug Gatorade on the way to the store);
  2. Pick up bag of ice;
  3. Ice bath for 20 min.;
  4. Pop two Advil, lay in bed with compression socks, watch TV, read, veg out;
  5. Massage.

After that, it’s basically more food that I wouldn’t normally eat, but much healthier, maybe more Advil, more ice (packs, though) and more relaxing.

I definitely did the massaging, eating, and relaxing, but the ice bath is a new addition. Once I started jacking up the mileage again, I knew I would have to be doing it but was pretty much dreading it. Until my friend S., who is incredibly disciplined, told me about her ice bath routine. She makes her ice bath a “treat.” She gets it ready like any ice bath, but gets in with a Mai Tai and two pieces of NY cheesecake. I mean, come ON, right? She’s like “Oh, yeah, this is my reward.” And she was very clear: TWO pieces (and maybe more than one Mai Tai). After she told me this, I couldn’t wait to get into my ice bath! OK, slight exaggeration. I couldn’t wait to eat dessert and was willing to sit in ice water for it.

So my ice bath looks like this. Two giant pieces of Sweet Lady Jane’s White Chocolate Lemon cake, iPad, one bag of ice (next week it will be two, but I’m just easing into it), and my little booties. The booties make the bath tolerable. My feet used to get so cold that I could hardly stay in the bath for a few minutes even after the rest of me warmed up, but the booties give me enough insulation so I can stay in there for 20 min. fairly easily.

cake

I had been scheduling a lot of errands and even some work on my Saturday afternoons, but by the time all this is done, I just don’t have the energy mentally or physically for much else. So I’ve surrendered to relegating my Saturday afternoons as “non-productive” afternoons, meaning, I just do light errands or stuff around the house – nothing that taxes me too much (i.e., not the day to clean out the garage, which was on my list). Husband is in the middle of tax season and working crazy hours, but Saturday is his day off, so it works out well. We ended up taking a nice stroll in the park at sunset. It was nice to hang with hubby, shake out the legs a little, and look at bird island.

bird

Confession, though. While my running was on point, my cross-training continues to be below average. I’ve gotten away with it injury-wise so far, but I’m playing a little Russian roulette here. This is a cut-back week, so hopefully while I take it easy on the running, my cross-training can ramp up. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to the week of relative rest.

Rest

Hope everyone has a great running week!

Total weekly mileage: 38
Long run: 18 miles; 5 miles at MP (9:55)
Cross-training:
Abs (0!); Upper Body (2x); Leg Strengthening (35 min.) Push-Ups: 0!

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