Vancouver Marathon Training: Week 1

I’m not quite as good at blogging as I used to be–i.e., I don’t have the time (or inclination) to post every day–but I’m aiming for at least an update a week. So, here we go!

Week 1 of Vancouver Marathon training is done! Before I get into the specifics of my actual runs, a couple of things:

  1. My coaches have me doing this lunge matrix before I run. It takes less than 2 minutes, and I’ve been surprised at how well it stretches out my hips before my runs. It turns out my left gluteus maximus isn’t firing when I run, so I’m compensating by driving forward with my right hip flexor and TFL (my PT has taught me so much!). The result is seriously tight hips, especially on that right side, as well as a painfully tight glute medius on the right. The matrix seems to be helping some. Plus, it gets my legs moving a little before I ask them to run, which is probably a nice courtesy to extend.
  2. There’s also a whole set of post-run exercises they have me doing. What’s interesting to me is that they’re all dynamic stretches. (In the world where I actually stretch before I run) I’m used to doing dynamic stretches before the run, rather than after. I’m going to ask them about that so I can better understand the philosophy behind this approach!
  3. The last addition to my routine is a series of hip raises and bridges. These are good for both core and glute strength, which I definitely need. The one thing I noticed this week was that my hip flexors were feeling really tight and I could really feel these in my hamstrings. My PT corrected me on these by recommending 2 changes:
    1. Squeeze my glutes before I bridge my hips up. This activates the glute and ensures I won’t rely on my hamstrings.
    2. On the single leg hip raises, he said to bring my raised leg in and put a ball there so I’m not holding that single leg up and unintentionally activating those already tight hip flexors. Since you probably have no idea what I’m trying to say here, here’s a (very apologetic) picture of me to demonstrate:
      Yes, my form is off here, but you get the idea. Also, my ball in this case is a dog toy. Whatever works.

      Yes, my form is off here, but you get the idea. Also, my ball in this case is a dog toy. Whatever works.

      God, that is mortifying.

Onto the training portion of the program!

What I was supposed to do:
Easy 4 miles @8:40-9:05
What actually happened: Easy 4 miles @8:16 (8:42, 8:26, 8:02, 7:53), outside
Started off ok, but then got carried away. Moral of the story, I suck at pacing.

What I was supposed to do:
Rest or Cross Train
What actually happened: 48 minutes HIIT – workouts 36 and 38-40; mostly upper body and core work
This felt really good. My core was sore that day and the day after, but it didn’t seem to affect my run the next day at all, which is what I was hoping for.

What I was supposed to do:
Speed Fartlek – 6 miles total. Warm up, then 3 miles of 2 minutes on (7:10-7:15 pace), 1 minute off; cool down.
What actually happened: 6.25 miles total on the TREADMILL. 1 mile warm up at 8ish pace, then  4.25 miles of 3 minutes on (7:08 pace), 1 minute off (8:06 pace); 1 mile cool down
Total fail on knowing the workout before I started. I thought I knew what I was supposed to do, but apparently not. Still, the 3 minute intervals felt manageable. I pushed myself, but definitely wasn’t dying. I forgot to do the lunge matrix beforehand, but I did it after along with some static stretches. I don’t love what the treadmill does to my form since I tend to over stride and heel strike when I’m on it, but it’s been too cold to get outside every day.

What I was supposed to do:
Recovery run – 4 miles no faster than 9:05
What actually happened: Recovery run – 4 miles at 8:46 (8:59, 8:36, 8:33, 8:57)
I was ready for an easy day by Thursday, and I took it. I did my speedwork in the evening on Wednesday, and then ran these miles Thursday morning, so my legs were fairly dead. Good, though, because I needed to take it easier.

What I was supposed to do: 
Rest or Cross Train
What actually happened: 24 minutes of HIIT – upper body and core again, just an abbreviated version of Tuesday’s workout; PHYSICAL THERAPY
I really want to keep up with strength training, so I’m trying to incorporate it wherever I can fit it in. This was a quick workout, just enough to (hopefully) help me get strong. I haven’t been doing leg work to keep my legs fresh for running.

I also had PT on Friday, and he dry needled my TFL and hip flexor, plus the crazy knotted spot I have on my left gluteal/hamstring area. It helped loosen things up a lot. I also did lateral dips, side steps, hip bridges, and a few other things that I can’t remember. Oops.

What I was supposed to do: Easy long run – 10 miles @8:25-8:35
What actually happened: 10 miles @8:21 (8:29, 8:17, 8:29, 8:12, 8:12, 8:31, 8:19, 8:25, 8:17, 8:17)
As long runs go, this wasn’t awful, but wasn’t great, either. It was pretty cold (around 28* with a windchill in the upper teens), and while my legs felt ok, it still felt like a struggle. Not much to say about this except that I was glad when it was over.

Vancouver Marathon Training Week 1

Sunday (today!)
What I’m supposed to do:
Rest or cross train
What I’m actually doing: REST!
A nap on the couch, catching up on the DVR, and some stretching and foam rolling.


As far as this blog goes, if there’s anything you’re curious about or want me to talk more about, let me know in the comments! Otherwise, I’m just glad you’re here 🙂


7 thoughts on “Vancouver Marathon Training: Week 1

  1. terrid614 says:

    OMG!!! I hardly ever check or read my emails! However, I am uber excited to see that you are blogging again!!! I’m not sure when you started but your blog was one of my favorites!! Welcome back, friend! So nice to see you!! XO ( and if you have been back for a while, I apologize- that’s what I get for not checking my email account! )

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