Monday, September 6, 2010

Marathon Training Update, Weeks 5 - 8

This is the second of four training updates as I prepare for my first marathon, the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon. To catch you up, I'm following Hal Higdon's Advance II training plan and the race is on Saturday, November 13th.

The past four weeks have been significantly harder as the demands ratchet up. This week in particular was extremely difficult. I doubled up on workouts twice: once to move up my long run so it would coincide with a training run on the race course, and a second time to accommodate a busy labor day schedule. I finished out the week with 57 miles, a personal distance record that has left me very fatigued.

I've made a few adjustments to my training regimen. I had been swimming regularly on Wednesdays, but after repeatedly feeling the affects during my Thursday runs I decided to give it up. It wasn't an easy decision because I enjoyed it and understood the benefits of cross training; however, the fatigue was preventing me from living up to my training expectations. I felt that I needed to focus more on running.

As I mentioned earlier, I also moved up my schedule by a day. In addition to the training run on the marathon course I did this past Saturday, there are two other upcoming events that have caused me to make it permanent. For now. The Montgomery Half Marathon on Saturday, October 2nd, will now fall on a scheduled 12-mile day and another trip to Chickamauga may occur on October 23rd. The final decision may rest on how the bump works out on Fridays, which are scheduled to get longer and harder.

As far as health goes, I'm feeling pretty good. A month or so ago I was experiencing a sharp pain in my left hip (femur head). I went to see Anthony, a massage therapist at Hands on Healing, and got "aligned." He contorted me in all different directions and prescribed some stretches to help keep things where they're supposed to be. It didn't get better immediately, but I stuck with the stretches and after a couple of weeks the pain was gone. Even better, I haven't experienced any new injuries. The usual tightness and fatigue after long runs is present, but so far it passes.

The only other thing worth mentioning is that I've started running in a new pair of shoes. After reading up on the hot, new Saucony Kinvara I decided to give them a try for myself. I eased into them with a couple of short, 3-4 mile runs and have already graduated them into my long runs. I put them to the test on this weekend's 18-miler and they passed with flying colors. They provide more cushioning than my Adidas AdiZero Manas, and offer an even smaller 4mm heel-to-toe drop that I'm liking. So far, so good.

Generally speaking, I'm happy with how my performance is going. I've finished every workout strong with the exception of hill repeats, which reduce me to mush. I've hit the mark on my tempo and pace runs, and am doing a lot better than expected when it comes to 800m intervals. I still wonder about the unknown, but try not to get consumed by it. Que sera sera.


  1. Drew, you seem to be handling the aggressive Higdon Advanced-II program with minimal issues. The fatigue should certainly be expected when you cross 50 miles a week, and you are wise to cut back on the cross-training (I suspect there is a reason Hal himself eliminated it at this level of his programs). Glad the Saucony Kinvaras are working out, I'm going to give them a try after my next marathon as well, I believe.

  2. Thanks, Greg. I wish I could do it all, but for me it's just not possible at this level.