Marathon Training (Week 20)

PEAK WEEK! This training week was…indescribable in the best way possible. With a weekday 10-miler and a PDR long run, week 20 was one that I’ve secretly been fearing since starting my marathon journey. It turned out to be the best training week I’ve had all season! I rocked every single run, broke the mental barrier of needing to rest, and actually ran each distance consecutively without stopping. Incredible.

P.S. –  Please donate to my cancer research fundraising here! All proceeds go to charity. Many many thanks!

Previous weeks:
Marathon Training (week 1-3)
Marathon Training (week 4)
Marathon Training (week 5)
Marathon Training (week 6-9)
Marathon Training (week 10)
Marathon Training (week 11)
Marathon Training (week 12)
Marathon Training (week 13)
Marathon Training (week 14)
Marathon Training (week 15)
Marathon Training (week 16)
Marathon Training (week 17)
Marathon Training (week 18)
Marathon Training (week 19)

Shot Bloks

{stocking up on Shot Bloks for the next few weeks}

WEEK 20 (9/15/2014 – 9/21/2014)
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 10 mile run (1:32:19 @ 9:14 min/mi)
Wednesday60 min Cross-training Rest
Thursday: 55 min tempo (6.21 miles @ 8:52 min/mi)
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 20 mile run (3:13:02 @ 9:39 min/mi)
Sunday55 min bike Rest
TOTAL = 36.21 miles

Thoughts: So many thoughts and feelings. First of all, I’m officially tapering now! As mentioned earlier, this was a phenomenal training week for me. I can finally see that all my hard work, dedication, and efforts were worth it. It’s been a tough summer for running, one filled with self-doubt and disappointment. The reality is that I’m slower and heavier (marathon hunger is no joke), both of which have been difficult to accept. But week 20 helped me realize that running is now an integral part of my life and it’s a reflection of the ebb and flow of my days. I’m simply grateful to have the ability to run, let alone such long distances. Tuesday’s 10-miler was probably my favorite run…ever. I wanted to stop within the first few miles but pushed through and ran nonstop. It was windy, chilly, and pouring rain the entire time but I felt powerful and badass upon finishing before the workday even began. It was a true testament of my running ability. The 55 minute tempo was also the longest tempo on the schedule, and I completely rocked it with a speedy pace and no rest breaks. With two out of three runs completed way above expectations, I wanted to rock the 20-miler as well. And rock it I did! With the exception of a quick stop to refill my water bottle, I ran the entire time! It was challenging but invigorating, and the last three miles really tested my ability to break all mental barriers.

Another highlight of this week was a breakthrough with my running “injury” of the left arch. I discovered that the pain in my left foot stems from my ankle! Some of you may roll your eyes but this discovery was a really big deal for me. I started giving both the inside of my left ankle (right above that knobby bone) and the arch of the foot a deep tissue-style massage and it’s made a huge, HUGE difference in pain and recovery. I seriously can’t believe it’s taken me this long to uncover this. While the pain is still felt during long runs, it now feels more like a minor ache that tends to lessen with each mile. I can’t even express how excited I am about this!

The only other concern I have is my pre-run fueling strategy. These past few months I haven’t been eating anything before any of my runs, long runs included. With the exception of half of a banana before my 20-miler, I’ve been running on empty. It’s worked fine but I don’t want to take this approach before a marathon…so now I don’t know what to do!

Now that I’m approaching the end of this marathon journey, I realize that I’ll be finishing with a passion for the sport. Training burnout is no joke but I’m far from needing a break. In other words, running and I are still in love! Regardless of whatever happens on October 11th, I know I’ll walk (or waddle) away with all intents to continue the habit as soon as I physically heal.

♥ Irina


  1. September 24, 2014 / 7:43 am

    Woo hoo! I am happy your peak week went so well and you are still in love with running! 🙂 That is great you figured out you need to massage your ankle. Do you think you will play around with what you eat before your runs while you taper?

    • September 29, 2014 / 9:40 am

      Thanks!! I’m honestly still not sure about my pre-race fueling strategy. I obviously should eat something before but my body is trained to run with an empty stomach. I totally failed here so I’m not sure what to do! I’m thinking I’ll eat what I used to in the early days of my training – toast with pb and banana – and test it out during taper like you mentioned.

  2. September 24, 2014 / 11:32 am

    I am sooo inspired by your success! I had a similar experience this weekend with a 9 mile run…I almost didn’t go out for the run, but managed to pull through. I felt so good afterwards…truly nothing like it 🙂

    • September 29, 2014 / 9:49 am

      Aww I’m so happy and flattered to hear that, thanks 🙂 9 miles is great! That’s still a long run, even for me, so it’s definitely something to be proud of!

  3. September 24, 2014 / 1:43 pm

    I’m SO glad you figured out the root cause of your foot issues! To my understanding, a fair number of running injuries are rarely a result of an inherent problem with whatever hurts, but more often have to do with compensation as a result of problems somewhere else (like knee pain because of weak hips, or something along those lines). Hooray for having a happier foot! And congrats on having such an awesome week! 🙂

    • September 29, 2014 / 9:51 am

      Me too! While my foot still aches while running, the difference is significant. The human body and all it’s intricate connections is truly incredible and oh so smart. Congrats to you too on your final 20 miler!

  4. September 25, 2014 / 12:57 pm

    yay for you! hope this breakthrough in your injury makes a huge difference, and congrats on rocking such great runs this week, girl — especially a 10-miler in the rain! glad to hear you’ve developed such a passion for running, and i hope that continues to stay with you!

    • September 29, 2014 / 9:52 am

      Thanks! Having the city as our running playground certainly helps fuel the obsession with running…I’m sure you would agree 🙂

  5. September 25, 2014 / 2:35 pm

    YAY for figuring out the source of your foot pain! What a relief, literally and figuratively! It’s funny how much all of our bones and muscles are linked to each other, you know? (I’ve struggled with knee issues my entire running career, and was amazed when my PT told me that it was due to hip weaknesses and ITB tightness. I would never have guessed that!)

    Congratulations on rocking out another amazing week of training! Way to push through the weather on your 10-miler, your tempo, and your peak 20-miler! And WELCOME TO YOUR TAPER!!!!! =D

    • September 29, 2014 / 9:55 am

      Thanks! I completely agree…the human body is so smart and connected in intricate ways that many of us often overlook. It sounds totally weird but sometimes when I’m foam rolling or massaging my legs after running I “explore” these connections by pressing on some muscle/bone/nerve and can feel the connection to other locations in my legs/body (such as my toes). Incredible! Weird but so cool 🙂

      Ugh the taper…words can’t express how excited I am to enjoy “shorter” weekend runs!