Training Update – 3 weeks until Rehobeth

The last three weeks have flown by since I ran Marine Corps Marathon on October 28th.  In some ways I can’t believe it has only been three weeks since that race … yet in so many other ways it feels like it’s been an eternity.  While I was really happy with the way I handled that race, and with my new PR of 3:25, I also came out of it really believing that I have a stronger marathon in me right now and that if I recovered well and handled things right I could potentially race another marathon before the end of 2012.

I thought about it long and hard, consulted some very good friends and did some research. I chose the Rehobeth Marathon which is on December 8th, 6 weeks after MCM.  I have raced marathons 6 weeks apart before (in the fall of 2011) and it worked out very well for me.  So given the way my body was feeling after MCM, and how well trained I believe I am, I decided I would go for it and make my way towards Rehobeth.  I made a deal with myself though that if my body gives me any signs that this will jeopardize my big picture or my spring running goals (ahem, BOSTON!), that I would reevaluate and make new plans.  I am going to Rehobeth to race this marathon and to try and do better than I did at MCM.  I know anything can happen in the marathon, but if that is not likely to be a possibility at all – if my legs are not feeling strong or recovered or if I am mentally off – I’m not doing it.  It’s not worth it.  I had a really strong race at MCM even though it wasn’t ultimately what I trained for all cycle.  I need to remember that and be proud of what I accomplished.

So how have the first three of the six weeks between my marathons gone?  They have been really good.  I took a full 5 days off from running or any exercise.  That felt like forever, but I really believed it was the right thing to do even though my legs felt good.  The runs were slow and easy and the mileage was low – I felt like I was holding myself back, which was encouraging.  I ran 10 miles one week out and felt strong.  The second week was more of the same … easy paced runs, very comfortable, and low mileage.  By 2 weeks out I attempted a 14 mile long run.  I felt like I was running effortlessly and my pace averaged a 7:45.  It was oh so much more than good.

At the start of the third week I went to see Dr. Wong for the first time since my marathon.  How do I tell you about Dr. Wong?!?  To put it simply, he is someone I trust completely.  A chiropractor, a body worker, an athlete, a friend, a professional.  He has never once steered me wrong since the very first time I met him.  When I was returning to running after my third pregnancy, he helped me find my faith in myself, my courage and my determination.  He assured me that I was not broken when I felt like my body was falling apart and failing me.  He helped me learn to listen to and honor my body as the miles increased and as my effort level skyrocketed.  He believes in me and he respects me.  He never ever sugarcoats things.  He sees it as his job to keep me safe – which sometimes means protecting me from my own crazy self! – while helping me make progress towards my goals and self improvement.

Last week when I saw him I asked him what he thought about me racing Rehobeth.  He was apprehensive and conservative, which at first I will admit I didn’t like!  We talked about it a lot though, and I respect and understand his perspective and am so grateful to have him to consult.  Everyone should be so lucky to have someone like this on their “team!”  He reminded me to go back to the basics with my training and to be very diligent about recovery after my tougher runs – wear compression, foam roll consistently, take ice baths, eat or drink something with protein soon after my hard efforts so my muscles could start repairing quicker.  He really truly wants me to succeed, but wants me to stay self aware and to remember the big picture – which is always most important to me.  I am going to see him once a week between now and my race.  He will help me keep things in check as I progress towards this goal.  I am so lucky to have him!

My long run this past weekend was awesome – 17 strong and blissful miles and I felt like I could keep going.  This week is the “peak” of my training and I will come in around 70 miles before tapering back down for two weeks.  I am not planning on any track workouts – the only speed work I will do will be some marathon pace miles and possibly a tempo here or there.  I want to maintain my fitness and keep myself mentally strong and confident.  I want to minimize any risk of injury or burnout.  I want to get to the start line of Rehobeth feeling fresh and ready to race. 

Taking it one day at a time, one run at a time, I believe I can get there feeling ready to set out to do what I want to do that day. 

Have you ever RACED marathons back-to-back? How did the weeks between go for you? Have you ever set out to do something like this and then altered your short term goal in light of the bigger picture?

5 thoughts on “Training Update – 3 weeks until Rehobeth

  1. I'm a runner who at this very moment is ready to quit. I'm finding it very difficult to believe in myself right now. I've had 2 very disappointing long runs in preparation for my marathon that have made me really doubt myself. I'm not even a high-mileage runner. I'm also a mommy of 3 who's looking for some advice – or anyone willing to talk me out of quitting. I'm 2 weeks out from my marathon and feel so disappointed. I've come down with a cold and just feel so defeated. I know it comes down to a self-esteem issue, but running was the one thing that made me feel good about myself. I was once told “don't put all your eggs in one basket” – but running's been my only identity and I'm sad that I'm not as good as I want to be at it.

    I apologize for taking up space on your blog but I've read done of your posts and think you're very inspirational since you've improved so much nd your a mommy too.

  2. Hi Anonymous – I wish there was some way for me to write back to you directly, but I don't have your email address so I'm not sure how to reach you other than to just reply here.
    First of all, I know it is SO hard, but do not be down on yourself about having tough long runs. I cannot even begin to tell you how many difficult runs I have had. Runs where I just wanted to quit, to give up completely and maybe never ever run again! Runs when my pace was so much slower than I thought I should be capable of yet there was nothing I could do about it at all. Runs that had me doubting everything about myself and my goals and the purpose of striving for them at all. But you keep going. You try again the next day. You dont give up. Running is so important to me, too. It is as essential to me as the air I breathe — but the reason it's important to me has nothing to do with my perception of how “good” I am at it. I love the way it feels to breathe hard, to sweat, to push myself past my limits and allow that to happen. I love the way it feels to move my body, to get to that place that zone or sweet spot sometimes when everything all my stresses melt away and everything about my life feels effortless and simple if only for a few minutes or miles. It sounds to me like maybe since you are towards the end of this training cycle you could be burned out a little bit and your love for the sport has faded somewhat and you are playing a negative-thought tape in your head. My advice for you at this point would be that with two weeks left you should REALLY cut back on your running. You are tapering anyway and will not lose fitness before your race. If you take a break from it now, you could arrive at the start line feeling refreshed and excited- looking forward to the chance to run for however many hours. Running is a GIFT. You are an amazing mother of three who has made the time to do something that makes herself feel good and strong! Right now it is not doing that for you and that needs to change. I am sort of writing this very stream of conscious but if you want to email me to talk more or if you have any questions at all – just email me at And please please please don't apologize for posting here — it makes me happy to be able to help in any way. I am grateful that what I do inspires you in some way!

  3. Go Jessica Go!!!!! I think that it is awesome that you have recovered so well from MCM. I don't think I would recover as fast. Actually I know I wouldn't because I never have before. I think that you are capable of a sub 3:20, you are such a strong runner. I love your decision to race again this year. 2012 has been a terrific year for you!

  4. My sister and I are also doing this race bouncing off other marathons- (she just did MCM & Philly and I did Indy Monumental two weeks ago)

    I admire you for the high mileage you get in- can't imagine running that many miles but know that it is key to the success in your progression!

    Although I'm not going for a PR, I am trying to run my first negative split to get mentally strong for a March Marathon. Good luck with the race- I think you are going to kill your PR. I will be routing for you along the way!

  5. I can't wait to read your race report for Rehobeth! It sounds like the perfect race for you to get another PR. Small marathon, tons of childhood memories of the area to keep you smiling (didn't you say you spent summers there as a child?), simple race logistics and you are so well-trained.

    I have never raced marathons close together but am considering doing so this spring. I'm planning to run Boston (for the first time) and then follow it up with a close-to-home small marathon just six weeks later. The small marathon is a fast course and I'm hoping to run a PR but am also planning to race in Boston.

    It sounds as if you have a great plan in place and are taking good care of yourself and listening to your body. Trust all the training you've put in and don't try to do too much between now and the marathon. You'll do great!

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