NJ Marathon Training: Week 8

Wow, week 8! I am writing this in week 9, which means I am now more than halfway through my 16-week training block for April’s New Jersey Marathon. I almost can’t believe it – until I look at my running log and see all that I’ve done so far. This is mostly why I write everything down. Otherwise I would seriously forget.

Week 8 was a down week, which meant less mileage, more rest, and not feeling guilty about either. I’ve been following the training plan courtesy of my running club, the New York Harriers, but I’ve tweaked it a bit to fit me. I’m making sure I drop the mileage down every few weeks. I probably should have dropped it the week before, but I wanted the down week to culminate in Sunday’s Washington Heights 5K to give me some recovery going into it. (Their marathon training plan doesn’t consider additional races.)

I’ve also stopped joining the Harriers for morning workouts because their Wednesday and Friday workouts don’t line up with their marathon training plan. Their spring goal race – and what their workouts are geared toward – is the Brooklyn Half, not the New Jersey Marathon (as far as I know, I might be the only Harrier running it). So I’m using their Boston Marathon training plan and doing workouts on my own. Which is fine, as I’ve been doing many of them at the track and I love it there.

Their fall goal race is the NYC Marathon, so once I start training for that this summer, I’ll join them for workouts once again.

With that, here’s what I did in week 8!

IMG_2977 NJ Marathon Training Week 8

WEEK 8: February 25 – March 3

Monday was an easy 4.76 miles in Central Park. Monday is usually my day off from running but I had taken off the day before… because I had done my long run Saturday… because I had wanted to eat a lot Saturday night… so everything was thrown out of whack. This day wasn’t too cold (upper 30s) but it was windy. And I went slow. I ran an 11:06 pace for this run. It’s not often I’m running slower than 10 something. But as I’ve said before, in this training cycle I am taking my easy days easy. And if that means 11:06 pace, so be it.

Tuesday was my big workout of the week, and the only day I would go to the track. I had been scheduled to do 6 x 1200 at 10K pace. However, I decided to do a bit of self-coaching and tweak this. I knew I had a 5K that weekend and had barely done any 5K pace stuff lately. So I kept the same total workout distance, just changed the specific intervals and paces, doing three sets of 1200, 800, 400. I’ll go into the details of this workout later in this post for anyone interested.

After I got home I did my squats & deadlifts workout – that’s the other thing I’m doing this time around: keeping my easy days easy and my hard days hard.

Wednesday was an easy 6.03 miles at 10:06 pace – not only a full minute per mile faster than Monday, but exactly the pace I was prescribed. Not on purpose, just a happy accident. With this plan, my prescribed easy pace is 10:06 (although I usually just run something around there), with some long run paces prescribed to be 10:28. What a big difference compared to last summer and fall’s easy paces. I think this has been a key factor in my general lack of soreness.

Afterward I did the upper body workout I usually do on Mondays.

Thursday was my long run: 13.02 miles in Central Park, AKA the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad run. I still can’t figure out what went wrong. It could very well have just been “one of those things.” I think I was smart to take the following two days very easy. (I did my long run Thursday to free up the weekend for my race.)

Friday I had initially planned on doing a short, easy run. But after Thursday’s run I thought better of it. Also, I normally don’t run the day after my long run anyway, so it made sense to rest. I did an upper body workout and walked my dog and that’s about it.

Saturday I ran a slooow two miles through a snow-covered Riverside Park. It wasn’t so much a “run” as it was “light hopping.” I’d been under the mistaken impression that the straight, flat section of the park (where the bulk of the Cupid’s Chase 5K took place) might have been plowed, but alas. It was fine because I hadn’t wanted to run fast anyway. I just wanted to move my legs a bit. After two miles at 13:05 pace, I stopped to take the pic in this post’s header and went home to rest up for the next day’s race.

Sunday was the Washington Heights 5K. <— Read my recap! I guess that rest did me good. The race was so much fun and extra fun running for team points with the Harriers. Spoiler: I PR’d! 


Some Noteworthy Things

This was such an up and down week. I had a great track workout, a disastrous long run, and a killer race! Running is like that. Fortunately, the lows don’t last long, but then again, the highs don’t either. It’s a continuing lesson in just taking each day as it comes and moving on to the next when things don’t go perfectly.

I’m going to change it up a bit next week and start doing only two upper body workouts a week instead of three, but use heavier weights. I’m not seeing any big results doing three anyway. But I also want to add an extra lower body workout so it’s not just squats & deadlifts every week. I want to make sure I’m focused on not just running but keeping my entire body strong.

After a month and a half of no peanut butter because I felt like I was eating too much of it and I wanted to get my taste buds used to other snack foods, I’m back to eating it BUT only two tablespoons a day. Not that three or four tablespoons is “bad,” but it’s like a self-imposed experiment: I want to see if I can stick to one serving a day (which is two tablespoons) and be okay with it. So far I am! (Although I’ve had three or four tablespoons on long run days and maybe five the day of the 5K race.) Eating is such a fine balance of intuition and restriction. You can’t eat everything you want. At least I can’t. So there has to be some restriction. The question is how much? I guess this could be a whole separate blog post. Anyway, I’ve been fine with the two tablespoon limitation. I’ve learned to snack on other things and my jeans still fit.

Finally, here are the details of Tuesday’s track workout! I was surprised at how much I loved this workout. Again, I tweaked what had been scheduled (6 x 1200 @ 10K pace) to give me what I felt like was a better prep for that weekend’s 5K. It was fun, not too hard, and flew by so fast. And who knows, maybe it even helped in getting me my PR?

Sandwiched between a warm up and cool down of two miles each (running to and from the track), I did three sets of the following with 3 minute recovery jogs between each segment: 1200 @ 10K pace, 800 @ 5K pace, 400 @ fast as possible.

1200: 7:50 pace
800: 7:30 pace
400: 6:47 pace

1200: 7:52 pace
800: 7:36 pace
400: 6:56 pace

1200: 7:55 pace
800: 7:39 pace
400: 6:49 pace

For the third set, I decided not to look at my watch at all, so I was happy to get those paces pretty spot on.

Despite the cold and wind, I never felt bored or tired with this workout. It didn’t feel repetitive and was over before I knew it. Feel free to try it yourself if you want something different (with your own paces, obviously).

It’s still frigid in week 9, but it looks like the temps are on the rise soon… and I hope for good. At least until next winter.

3 thoughts on “NJ Marathon Training: Week 8

  1. Great week. Look at all that snow! I too love peanut butter and try to avoid it because I find that I can go past that two tablespoon point rather quickly. I have used peanut butter packets on long training runs though, and they work incredibly well….as long as you have something to drink with you.

    Liked by 1 person

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