Boston Training: Weeks 10 and 11

By Carissa

Just like that two more weeks are completed.  I wrapped up the eleventh week of training with a twenty mile run.  I checked the last workout off the second mesocycle (or phase) of my schedule.  The mesocycles I have completed now are endurance and lactate threshold and endurance.  The next two phases will be race preparation (intimidating!!!) and tapering (my favorite.)  The Boston marathon is now seven weeks away.  It finally doesn’t feel so far in the future.  
Top: The whole schedule
Bottom: Mesocycle 2

I like to study my training schedules.  Looking at the big picture or even just the next few weeks helps me wrap my head around what is ahead of me.  It was the process of looking ahead that brought about some anxiety and concern last week.  I looked at the next five weeks of training and saw that they were all 50+ miles a week. It dawned on me how much more demanding this schedule was going to be.  I wasn’t sure I could handle it.

Last spring when I followed the Hal Higdon marathon training Advanced 1 training program the high mileage weeks alternated with a recovery week that were lower mileage.  The Advanced Marathoning schedule I'm following this time stays high for five weeks in a row.  That's over a month of intense training!  Considering how many times I have lost and found my mojo during this training cycle I had to ask myself what I was going to do if I couldn’t keep up with it.  Would I bail on my schedule and go back to the tried and true Hal Higdon one?  I can be very stubborn when faced with a challenge. Could I count on myself to be wise and alter my training to my individual ablity?
Sleeping, taking vitamins and eating brownies.
Pretty much sums up how I recover.

It turned out that was not the only concern on the horizon.  My tempo or threshold workout for week eleven was eleven miles with seven at half marathon pace or faster.  That’s the hardest sustained speed work out I’ve ever faced midweek in a training schedule.  A little hard work and an hour and twenty-two minutes later it was done.  I couldn’t tell anything was amiss, but when I got home I had an incident that made me question what was going on with my body.  Was I okay?  The next question I needed to ask myself was whether this was going to get in the way of training for and racing Boston.

I asked around, sent out a request for prayer, scoured the internet for information and went to see the doctor.  He told me what I had experienced was not uncommon for runners.  He also said it was not something to be concerned about.  My response was that I am concerned and I want it to stop happening.  One teammate was very helpful sharing with me her experiences and what she does to avoid the same problem.  To be given hope that it would/could go away was a gift and answer to prayer.
A (not very clear) picture from my 20 mile run
compliments of Soggy Runner Girl

It was with this concern and uncertainty that I headed out on my twenty mile run last weekend.  A dozen of my teammates from Team Athena met to run part of the Portland marathon course.  It’s a pretty route that goes over St. John’s bridge and along the river.  I am the slowest of the group and as we set off the miles were ticking by 8:07, 7:46, 7:45, 7:45... I was nervous because I didn’t want to work too hard and bring on another post run incident.  A few of us dropped back agreeing we wanted to hit an 8 min/mile pace, but we stayed under 8:00 for most of the run.  By mile fourteen I started to feel lightheaded.  I didn’t know what to do.  Should I stop? Drop back and go solo at a slower pace?  Was the lightheaded feeling a sign my body was reacting poorly to the run?  I hung in there for the last few miles and to my relief my recovery at home was completely normal.  If fact, despite some really sore muscles I felt pretty good for the rest of the day.  Those are the highlights and lowlight of the past two weeks.  

I’d love to hear from you Sole Sisters.  Have you ever had to change your training schedule in the middle of a cycle because it was too hard?  Have you ever faced health concerns while training for a race?


  1. You are rocking that training schedule! Great job for sticking with it. I KNOW it will pay off for you in April! :-)

    Without going into too much details over the internet I am wondering if what happened to you happened to my good training buddy last year. I might message you on FB about it but if you don't feel comfortable writing me about it don't worry.

    I haven't ever completely changed schedules but I have added in a rest day or lowered miles if I've needed to. I've also added miles on other days when I've had more time. I don't know that I've ever stuck to a schedule 100% but I try to stay fairly close. I tend to like to taper more before a non-peak race than a regular schedule would call for but that's because I like to give my body the best chance to PR. (Even when it's not my A race.)

    1. Tia-Let's definitely talk about it. I'm not shy just trying to spare our readers and if it is the same thing any feedback I can get is great.

      I was just thinking of you today because I'm supposed to simulate a race tomorrow on the treadmill. You are so good at that. The last time I tried to do that I quit the workout a few miles in. Do you remember that? I'm pretty intimidated for tomorrow since I feel like I have no speed lately!

  2. I really hope that everything is okay. I don't know exactly what your incident was, but it sounds like you are being smart about it. I have had some incidents on long training runs before too, so I am not sure if we have had similar experiences or not. It is definitely scary to think something isn't right and then keep on over analyzing everything. Hang in there friend. You are doing awesome and Boston is so close!

    I have never had to change a training plan before that I had already started, but trust me I think about changing my current marathon plan every day!


    1. Your last line totally cracked me up Tasha. Thank you for being such a wonderful cheerleader. Even if I'm not doing awesome you have a way of convincing me that I am. :)