Marathon Training: mid-plan fizzle

9 weeks down, 9 to go.

After this past week I've decided to adjust my training plan for marathon #2 (Hal Higdon's Intermediate II plan) just a little bit. I have been pretty wiped-out this week (leftovers from last week, as this week was a scale-back in mileage) and this coming week is sure to be a real butt-kicker, too. Tomorrow the weather looks best for my long run, then Saturday I have a planned 15k race (Kent City Ridge Run) that will be brutal. I know this because I ran it last year and it was and still is one of the most challenging race courses I have run.

This week's schedule calls for a 19 mile long run and 45 cumulative miles. Not so bad...but then next week it jumps to 50 miles and the first of 3 20 milers--ow. My cumulative weekly miles have gone 29, 30, 27, 32, 36, 40, 41, 38...the jump from here to 45 and then 50 is setting my warning bells off. As it is my right knee has been mumbling at me towards the later halves of longer runs.

So I'm thinking this week doing pretty much my planned mileage, perhaps cutting my long run to 18 this week (for cumulative mileage of 44 miles), then next week again doing 18 (instead of 20, cumulative mileage of 48), then a scale back week, then a 20/50 week. It doesn't really change things a huge amount, but allows me to creep a little more slowly up to that 20/50 peak. I will still have 2 20 milers and 2 50 mile weeks this way. And a lot of experts recommend that slower/newer runners not exceed 18 miles or 3 hours on their feet at a time, anyhow. My 20 milers are generally closing-in on 4 hours at my pokey pace. I remember from training for my first marathon how trashed I was for more than a week after each 20 miler.

I think my recent exhaustion is from more than just running, though. My rest/XT days have not been all that restful with 1 hour Cathe Friedrich workouts. It's probably too much to incorporate these workouts into the middle of training. I will still continue to do the ab work and perhaps upper body stuff, but my legs really need 1-2 days of rest each week, which they are not getting with these bootcamp style workouts.

A fellow female runner also has suggested that I may be anemic (I was definitely anemic when I was younger and had heavier periods from endometriosis, though thermal ablation surgery 6 years ago has made the period blood loss a lot less severe). I do take a general multivitamin daily, but she pointed me to a couple of articles about runners and anemia. Female runners, in particular, often require more iron than a sedentary person, partly because they are more apt to sweat away some of their stores and broken capillaries in the feet and stressed gastrointestinal tracts (common for runners training for distance events) utilize more iron. Between my diet and supplements I am probably not getting more than 30mg of iron into my body each day, while many experts will recommend that runners get 30-60, with women at the higher recommendation end.

So I will be increasing my iron a bit to see if I notice any improvement in energy levels within the next month or two. Next time around I will be fitter from this training cycle, so I doubt I will have to make adjustments to my mileage for my planned Fall 'thon, especially if it does turn out that some of my issues are anemia-related and that is remedied.

I did have a nice, slow, easy trail run with a local friend, yesterday. 4 miles...we avoided hills. It was gorgeous and sunny. Only negative was the areas of the trail that are/were groomed XC ski trails--the snow had been so packed-down that it's still a path of crusty, icy snow. Very odd when the rest of the woods are almost entirely snow-free. About 3 of our miles were on this surface, so we HAD to take it easy out of necessity. It was her first trail venture of 2009 and mine, too, if we don't count the 5k trail race I did in the same park last month.

Today I am mostly tired because I let hubby talk me into splitting a bottle of wine with him. This particular wine is most devious (McWilliam's Hanwood Estate SE Australia Riesling, 2006). Not too sweet, not too dry, goes down nicely, makes me want my pillow, wakes me 2.5 hours later feeling like crap and regretting drinking half the bottle. I swear, I have never drank a dry/semi-dry riesling that has had this effect on me. We have bought this wine TWICE and I've had the same experience both times. Fool me once.... So that particular vintage will not be crossing our threshold again any time soon.

I don't think I got a single quality hour of sleep last night. I slept fitfully and with strange dreams. Never really felt like I fell into a deep sleep. This was the last thing I needed after this past week's crummy runs. So hopefully I can sleep hard tonite, or tomorrow's long run is going to feel endless.

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