Saturday, August 29, 2015

MCM Training Week 11

Week 11 of Marine Corps Marathon training was a bit of a mental struggle for me. I realized that I am halfway done with my training. While I try to have a "glass half full" mindset rather than a "glass half empty" one, it was a challenge this week.

Two Months Left

I've been working hard. I've been proud of, even pleasantly surprised by, my progress. But when I realize I still have two months until the marathon, I feel apprehensive. That seems like such a long time. Can I maintain this momentum and progress? How do I keep from peaking too early, from burning out?

Some of my training friends look at the situation another way: there's only two months left?! That's not enough time! It all depends on your perspective, doesn't it? And I'm sure there must be people out there thinking that two months is exactly the right amount of time, but that isn't the kind of comment that ends up on Facebook, is it?

[post-script note: my brother reminded me that there aren't 8 weeks of maximum effort left. There are 5 weeks of hard effort and 3 weeks of taper. Thanks for the perspective, Josh! That sounds so much better!]

The Marine Corps Marathon Facebook Page posted this 4 days ago

Practicing Race Pace

Our long run this week was a mix of alternating "easy" and "marathon" paces. Specifically, we were looking at: 2 (miles) easy, 2 marathon, 1 easy, 2 marathon, 1 easy, 2 marathon, 2 easy. 

We run out and back on a trail, so for a 12 mile run it would seem logical to go out and back 6 miles. However, we have a rule in our training group to not go out more than 5 miles. It limits the distance a coach would have to cover to find you if something were to happen to you. 

I mapped out a strategy for Debbie, Natalie, and me that respected the 5 mile distance, allowed us to end at the coolers (our start/finish point - we don't like to get back to the coolers and still have another couple miles to cover), and kept us from having to turn around in the middle of one of our pace segments. 

I wrote our plan on my hand so I could still remember it
when most of my blood was in my legs instead of my brain

Overall we did a good job alternating back and forth. The "easy" segments in the middle weren't quite as slow as they should have been, but it gave us a feel for running closer to race pace. None of us quite believed that we could actually run at that pace for 26.2 miles, but I guess that's what the next two months are for, right?

Week 11 Statistics

I ran 4 times for a total of 25.9 miles.
  • Track: 4x2000 at threshold (T) w/ 3 minutes rest (5.7 miles)
    • In week 10 we ran 1600s and called them "grinders" because they are such long intervals. Susan & I dubbed 2000s "mega-grinders." 
    • The high school band has started practicing on the field during our runs. They played "Mr. Sandman" this week. It's nice to have music. 
  • Easy runs: 3 and 5.2 miles
    • A big "thank you" to Marian who ran the extra distance with me for the 5.2 mile run, even though she had to get home and pack.
  • Long run: 12 miles 
    • Alternating between the easy and marathon paces helped break the run into small chunks and made it go by faster.
    • We had a "luau" themed run which was great for our spirits. We especially appreciated Coach Mike wearing a tutu to entertain us all.
  • Strength training: 2 times (my routine)
  • Yoga: 1 yin yoga class 

Michelle, Sallie, & Coach Mike
photo courtesy of  Laurentina Photography

Post-run celebrations
photo courtesy of  Laurentina Photography

Festive coolers mark our start/finish spot
photo courtesy of Coach Mike

It is still dark out when we meet at the PR store
photo courtesy of Sallie

Onward to Week 12!

Read about previous training weeks


  1. Great blog post, Kim! Love how you wrote your plan on your hand. Whatever works! Looking forward to tracking / following you on race day!

    1. Thank you Gina! You are such a great friend & supporter :)