One #FindYourStrong Marathon, Two Voices: The Run By Run for Week 8


The perks of marathon training in inspiration signs.
Some of the perks of marathon training appear on inspirational signs.

As they prepare for the Wineglass Marathon on October 4 using the AMR #FindYourStrong Marathon Challenge, Heather and Marianne, two long-distance BRFs taking on their first marathon, are sharing their experiences--and miles--weekly. Find all their posts here

This week we’re giving a play by play from our two perspectives on the Week 8 training schedule, which was the second stepback week.

Easy 3 Miles

AMR goodies help keep the mid plan blahs at bay.

We got a nice kickoff to the week with the arrival of the #FindYourStrong swag box. Marianne’s Ziploc of fuel is looking much fuller now.

Marianne: 2.7 miles, 13mm
I did this run on Tuesday as part of a group run from our local pool because one friend was doing a swim/run combo for an upcoming triathlon. I stuck with a different friend getting back into it and did walk/run intervals. It made me appreciate how nice it is not to be fighting to get back into running shape.

Heather: 3.0 miles, 8:56mm
To be honest, I barely remember this run. 3 milers are now so easy (in comparison to miles that end in -teen, anyway) that I can tick them off without really noticing. I do remember being thrilled that I didn't have to worry about hydration for once.


Easy 7-8 Miles

Marianne: 7.5 miles, 12mm
This was the first really hot summer run in a few weeks. It was 79 at 6am on Monday with 77% humidity and in the 80’s by the time I finished 90 minutes later. I went solo for the first half hour, picked up a friend for 4 miles, and finished alone on the the mile between our two homes. Overall it felt fine, partly because I was carrying water. Have I mentioned how NOT ANNOYING it is to hold the Ultimate Direction bottle? I thought I was a belt only hydrator but this option has proved me yet again wrong in my assumptions.

                               The B in BAMR can also stand for bruised.
The B in BAMR can also stand for bruised.

Unfortunately, my knee had started to feel weird the week before so I went to the chiropractor. I’ve been prescribed a diet of pre-rolling (see podcast #170 for more on foam rolling benefits) and evening exercises to strengthen my glutes and hips. Part of the issue was that although I was hitting my main muscles when foam rolling, I was missing where my IT band hits both my quad and hamstring, aka the angles. In addition, I was treated with some Gastron technique which helped, even if it is super unpleasant during the event and left me looking a little beat up, as shown above.

One whole page of training crossed off, though, so that's something1
One whole page of training crossed off, though, so that's something!

Heather: 8 miles, 9:29/mm
As I titled this run in Strava, I think I've officially hit the mid-training CBRs. I planned a new route because even I (who usually enjoys not having to think early on a weekday) couldn't stomach the thought of running the same old roads again. I remember reading a couple weeks ago that this portion of training can become a drag, but at the time I couldn't imagine it. I love training! This week, on this run, I hit the wall emotionally. I didn't want to do it, I didn't enjoy doing it, but I got it done.

Cross Train or Rest

I chose to cross train on Tuesday night with 25 minutes of strength training followed by a few minutes of yoga and stretching. I claimed in the 1st trimester recap that I needed to get the strength training back (and clearly my knees and chiropractor agree) and this was my second session since then.

See above re: not wanting to do it and not enjoying it. I tricked myself into getting it done by allowing myself to take it down to 2 sets of each circuit, instead of my usual 3. Something is better than nothing, right?


Hill repeats - 10 minute warm up, 4-6 hill repeats, 10 minute cool down

Marianne: 3 miles, 11:30mm
In true BAMR fashion, I woke up at 4:30 on Thursday to do this at 5:00 in order to shower and leave for the airport at 6:45 for a rescheduled weekend with my in-laws in Georgia. I was lucky to have a friend meet me. She destroyed the hill, I was neither a destroyer nor destroyed. That was good enough.

That hill training sure came in handy on Heather's weekend race.
That hill training sure came in handy on Heather's weekend race.

Heather: 3.6 miles, 8:58mm
This was only the second or third time in my life I've tackled hill repeats, so the novelty alone made it somewhat enjoyable. I cranked up my running mix (the one that makes even me question my taste in music) and went to work. I did 5 climbs and was ready to be done, but my lack of tiredness later in the day made me suspect that I should have pushed a little more.


Optional: 3 miles or rest

Marianne: 3 miles, 11:20mm
It was humid and warm at 6:30am on Friday. I was glad for the short distance and that when I was going to do many more the next day I would have GU and water for company and distraction.

The whole weekend I was glad that I have the kind of in-laws for which one does not wish there were more miles on the schedule. Even though I usually say that trips with a child should be called "family adventure" and not "vacation," I actually relaxed enough that it felt like the latter.

Heather: NOTHING!
Knowing I was heading into a race day, I took the opportunity to "sleep in." Having small children, the term is relative.


Long run of 8-10 miles

sweaty and swimmy


Marianne: 9 miles, 11:45mm
What I wrote when drafting this post before I ran (yes, I write in advance): One perk of the outer Atlanta suburbs is minimal traffic. The run went just fine thanks to the company of AMR podcasts, fuel, and the aforementioned handheld water bottle.

What actually happened: was not lying that the humidity was 100%. Yet it was not raining. Previously, I was unaware such a combination was possible. I was so very slow the first two miles and epically sweaty by the end. When peeling off my shirt and capris, I noted they felt as if I had been running in the rain.

This run made me appreciate the following:

1. Perhaps normally I am not naturally high on the prone to sweat scale

2. NJ summers could be so much worse

3. My in-laws have a pool in their development.

I'm also giving major props to anyone for whom this is normal July running weather.


Representing AMR at the Moms Run This Town aid station in the middle of the night.
Representing AMR at the Moms Run This Town aid station in the middle of the night.

Heather: 15.69 miles, 11:05mm
Thanks to a spur-of-the-moment agreement several months ago to pick up a leg of the Burning River 100 relay, my scale-back week didn't include Saturday. As per Coach Christine's advice, I'll be taking it a little easier for the first few days of this week, and scaling back next week's long run a smidge.  I'll post a full race recap next week. In the meantime, I'll tell you these things:

1. I love the camaraderie of this crazy sport so very, very much.

2. Single track is NO JOKE.


Marianne: Check! I think my fastest pace all day was a quick trip to Trader Joe's after returning from the airport and getting Joyce to bed. I knew my week would go better if I woke up and had fresh fruits and vegetables in the house.

Heather: Roughly 1.5 miles, run/walk pace
We had the option of meeting our final relay runner and bringing her home to the finish line. It was a thrill to cross the line and celebrate all the women who ran for the team over the last 24 hours. The finish line mimosas weren't bad either.


I don't know how I tricked the 3.5-yr-old into playing whatever game this is, but WINNING!
I don't know how I tricked the 3.5-yr-old into playing whatever game this is, but WINNING!

In Summary

I'm grateful this was a stepback week so I could concentrate on healing and getting strong again. Looking ahead, I see that there are 2 really long runs (15-17 and then 16-18) in the next two weeks and then it is a switch between really long and sort of long every other week until the marathon taper. Somehow that makes things continue to feel manageable.

BR100 could not have come at a better time. Just as I was starting to drift into mid-training burnout, I had the incredible luck to be surrounded all weekend by hundreds of runners showcasing the very best of the sport. I saw runners literally leaping for joy and others weeping with exhaustion. I ran most of my leg with a mother runner who has nine marathons under her belt, including a BQ. It was as though the running gods knew exactly what I needed and delivered, with a big red bow. I can't wait to give you the full report next week, and in the meantime, I'm going to get back out there and hit the pavement.

How did your running week go?

5 responses to “One #FindYourStrong Marathon, Two Voices: The Run By Run for Week 8

  1. These posts are my FAVE lately! Y’all are a month ahead of me on training b/c I’m running NYC, so I’m enjoying seeing what’s ahead. I’m impressed and entertained by you all at once. 🙂

  2. Love the post! You’re both doing great. I had an 8 mile run this weekend in 95% humidity. The first two miles were tough, but then I turned the corner and a nice breeze came along and made the rest of the run great – even despite the three crazy hills I wasn’t aware of on a new route. Thank goodness for a cool breeze and shade!

  3. Great post! And thanks for the props to all of us who run in the land of 100% humidity even when it is not raining. I have been running in the deep south for 34 years and I sometimes forget that not everyone is used to these conditions. But the winters are great 🙂

  4. Keep going ladies….you’re going strong. The i run things shirt is my favorite amr shirt.. I’m trying to make myself take more rest and cross training days and just run 3 days a week for a few weeks…. it takes a lot more thinking for me to come up with cross-training plans than to just run out the door.

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