You know you’re marathon training when…you get excited that this weekend’s long run is “only” a 10-miler!
Funny how quickly your perspective on things can change, huh?
So here’s what the schedule looked like for Week 4:
- Tempo run – 3 mi
- Track workout – 3 x 1600s
- Long run – 10 mi
Gotta love recovery weeks! They’re a welcome respite between those three-week stretches where the mileage really ramps up.
Running is going well, so I took advantage of the downtime to mix in some cross-training, which can be a great way to enhance your overall conditioning and running performance.
We found an awesome indoor pool nearby that’s open to the public. Five bucks a pop got us access to the locker rooms, lap lanes and even two water slides (!), so a group of us ventured out (too) early Monday morning for a dip.
Swimming is one of the best cross-training activities for so many reasons: Not only does it help build muscular strength and endurance while improving flexibility, but it’s also a nice weightless workout that gives fatigued leg muscles a breather while providing an excellent upper body workout.
The best part, though? How therapeutic it felt to glide through the water, gently kicking (instead of relentlessly pounding) my legs to help work out some soreness from the previous weekend’s 13-miler.
But for as much as I’ve been conditioning my body on dry land, I was waaay out of my element in the water. This first week was more about getting comfortable again in the pool, so I’m excited to incorporate it into my weekly training routine going forward.
Tuesday morning’s run was a quick three-miler, but the evening’s cross-training was courtesy of this handsome fella, Bentley.
Although being at the barn is one of my favorite ways to take a mental break, horseback riding is not just a hobby; it’s a sport (no, the horse isn’t the only one doing the work; good riders make it look effortless, but it’s a hell of a workout).
Not only does it require a huge amount of strength, balance and control (especially when steering a guy, like the one above, who weighs more than half a ton!), but it also recruits muscles in the legs, abs, back, shoulders, chest, butt and arms.
Oh boy, did I feel each and every one of those spots the next day!
Wednesday nights are reserved for bootcamp class, which challenges every muscle from head to toe with little rest in between sets.
By constantly moving for an hour, we burn a ton of calories, but I like that we mix it up by targeting different muscles and trying different exercises every week to keep things fresh.
Why? Too much repetition and you’re setting yourself up for injury, burnout and boredom, so it’s important to switch up your routine often.
Thursday’s track workout was a little chilly, but successful. My goal pace was 7:40-7:45 for each of the three miles, and somehow I managed to clock each one at 7:39, which means I’m getting a good feel for overall pacing.
I figured that Saturday’s 10-mile long run would be a great opportunity to test some new gear, so I brought along my new Nathan hand-held water bottle to practice some mid-run hydration.
But it ended up being more of a nuisance than anything else; it was heavy and threw off my balance, so my shoulders and back were pretty angry by the end of the run.
So it’s back to the drawing board on the water dilemma…and I’m thinking I might try a small hydration pack on some of the upcoming long runs. Otherwise, I’m all ears if anyone has a better suggestion for week five!