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Richmond Marathon Training: Week 3 – The BEST Non-Race Run

Posted Jul 30 2013 3:00pm

*Don’t forget to enter my New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3 Running Shoe giveaway !

I am turning a few corners in my marathon training. What a difference three weeks makes!

One corner I’m turning — and I honestly have no idea how or why — is my neck injury. This is the injury that forced me to pause my career as the best indoor cycling instructor in Jersey City. It’s the injury that had me modifying every single Refine class in the months lading up to my wedding. It hurt during every single run for the first three weeks of training, causing me to unconsciously press down on my neck throughout every run.

And then on Sunday, I finished a 7 mile run with Katherine and Laura and realized I did not press down on my neck at all during the run. Knowing it could have been a fluke, I set out this morning for a run (which I will discuss in great detail later in this post) and while the right side of my neck still feels different, it didn’t hurt and I didn’t need to press down on it.

I don’t know why it’s suddenly feeling better. It didn’t get better with rest (and I rested for a long time). It didn’t get better with cutting out impact activities. It didn’t get better during months of physical therapy (which I still do twice a week). But now, as I increase my running, it somehow is starting to feel better.

The body is strange. Also, I start acupuncture tonight, so hopefully that helps even more. I want my neck healed in time for this marathon and because my injury is in the muscle, there isn’t much else I can do (believe me – I BEGGED my doctor for cortisone and he told me cortisone doesn’t help muscle injuries).

Injury ramble aside, let’s get into my third week of Richmond Marathon training:

  • Tuesday -  42 min (4 mi)
  • Wednesday – 61 min on hilly terrain (6.18 mi)
  • Thursday – Refine Method
  • Friday – 40 min (3.8 mi)
  • Saturday – Outdoor Refine
  • Sunday –  80 min run (7 mi)
  • Monday – REST

Total Miles: 21 (keep in mind my actual weeks go Monday – Sunday, so these mileages are skewed but it’s easier for me to blog this way for some reason)

The Best Non-Race Run, Or What a Difference 3 Weeks Makes

You might remember that during the first week of Richmond Marathon training, I felt disheartened about a difficult run . It was also a very humid, very hot morning when I was first coming back from two injuries. It made me wonder if I’d even be able to keep training for this marathon.

I later realized I wasn’t even supposed to do that run yet . I read the wrong part of my plan.

Today was the day I really did have the run on my plan (the dumb way I write these posts means it’s not on the list above.. I should really change that) — and today also happened to be BEST run I’ve had since last year’s Richmond Half Marathon . It seems I’ve turned yet another corner in my training!

My plan called for 15 minute warm up, 3-4 miles at marathon pace effort (MPE) with 1 min rest in between, and a 15 minute cool down.

I knew during the warm up that this would be a good run. The weather was perfect, my neck wasn’t killing me and I felt good. The 15 minutes didn’t drag on; it felt totally fine and energized me for the rest of the run.

Jersey City Hudson River waterfront

Not a bad view

I’m trying to stick to marathon effort rather than focus on marathon pace. I need to learn what this effort feels like and what I can sustain for 26 miles to reach my new goals. The first mile was perfect. I ran it in 9:27.

Then I had my one-minute rest and I was daydreaming about how much I love running (seriously…) and somehow missed hearing my watch beep to tell me to start my second interval. I realized about .1 mile in and quickly sped up. As a result for me trying to make up for lost time, that mile was a little fast for MPE — but I still felt great with a 9:09 mile.

Another minute rest and the last mile went smoothly, in 9:19. I would have been able to do a fourth, but I needed to get home and I also didn’t want to overdo it just because I’m finally starting to feel good.

The cool down was great as well (unlike the last time I did this run and couldn’t even do a cool down, instead just stood at the side panting) and I finished feeling absolutely amazing – and much more confident about my marathon! The total opposite of the last time I did this run.

I’ve been loving marathon training so far, even with all the tough days in the beginning. But today reminded me just how much I love running. When I take time off for the winter and get more into Refine, I forget that I do enjoy running in the right conditions. Today’s run might have been my favorite non-race run to date.

I mean, how often do you miss hearing your watch beep because you’re so busy daydreaming about how great running is WHILE RUNNING?

I feel even more confident. Especially since I went ahead and registered for the 4:15 pace group yesterday. Yes, I did that.

In other news — I’m giving away a pair of New Balance Team Garmin-Sharp 890v3 Argyle performance running shoes (wearing them in image below at outdoor Refine ). Go enter!

Outdoor Refine Method



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