Thunder Road Marathon Training – Week 16

This was a tough one. Coming off of my 44 mile week last week, I was surprised that I felt pretty good. I went out for my Monday run as planned, and then the shin pain hit. I woke up Tuesday morning to a left shin that was very bothersome. I took a few unplanned rest days this week and did lots of icing and stretching to try and get my shin feeling better. I’m not happy about missing mileage, but I’ll do what I have to, to get to the start line in one piece. I have been in training for 16 weeks now, which is a long time. I am kind of ready for the race to be here already.

Monday- 6 mile run on some new-to-me trails in Radford. I had fun exploring some new trails, but was disappointed to find that they weren’t as long as I thought. So I ended my run back in a familiar park. I finished feeling good and was still on top of the world from my 20 miler.

Tuesday- Rest day. This was a planned rest day, but I also woke up with pain in my left shin that hurt every time I took a step when I walked. I was surprised to have a pain like this come on so quickly, without any warning. It immediately had me worried, of course, but I’m not sure if it was just a delayed reaction to my previous week of highest weekly mileage ever.

Wednesday- Unplanned rest day. My shin was still bothering me, so I opted for a rest day in lieu of my planned 6 mile run. My shin was feeling a bit better from Tuesday, and I continued to stretch and ice.

Thursday- 6 miles at a surprising 9:57/mile pace with Barry on the roads around our house. My shin was a bit bothersome during the first mile, but it was my calves that were on fire during most of the run. Lots of extra stretching went on afterwards.

Friday- Rest day. Normally I would have made this my third weekday 6 mile run, since I took Wednesday off, but my shin was bugging me again when I woke up so I took another day off. I spent my workday with a compression sleeve hidden under my work pants. You never know what kind of compression us runners might be hiding under our work clothes.

After work I spent the evening icing and resting my shin, and wearing compression socks, in the hope of doing my 14 mile long run as planned on Saturday morning.

Saturday- My shin was feeling okay when I woke up in the morning. I got out to the trail and took my first few steps, and knew I wouldn’t be running 14 miles as planned. Stabs of pain shot up my lower left leg with every step. It dissipated a bit, but not enough to keep me from turning around at the one mile marker and heading back to the truck. My 14 mile run turned into a two mile run. I shed a few tears as I got back to the truck, wondering “what now??” I went home, iced my shin, had breakfast and took a shower, and then climbed back into bed and cuddled with the dogs.

That’s 220 lbs. of dog in bed with me. I read while they slept.

Up until this point training has been going really well. I was on cloud nine after last week’s 20 miler, which went better than I could have imagined. Now it feels like that cloud just dissolved and I plummeted back to Earth and hit the ground hard. I’m upset and I’m not sure what to do. Clearly my upcoming final peak week (which is supposed to be this week) is not going to happen. I’m worried about what this means for the fate of my first marathon. I know there’s a good chance I’m going to have to severely cut my mileage back in order to make it to the start line. But how is that going to affect my ability to complete the race?

Sunday- Loaded my bike into the bed of the truck (my first time doing that myself) and went for a ride on the New River Trail.

I ended up riding a little over 17 miles. It felt good to be out doing some form of exercise for an extended period of time, but I was still feeling bummed about my run. The trail was gorgeous, though. I even found the iconic New River Trail trestle bridge that they like to use in all of the pictures advertising the trail.

Just one more picture, I promise. This part of the trail has some spectacular views of the New River. The trail is a cut out on the side of a mountain. On some parts of this stretch you have the mountainside going straight up on one side and on the other side it drops straight down to the New River. You definitely have to pay attention, because if you ride off the trail towards the river it will be a quick drop with a sudden stop.

The good news is my leg felt good while riding, which means biking is a viable option until my leg feels better. The bad news is my leg was pretty painful when I got off the bike, but as I walked around some the pain did subside a bit.

Total Miles: 14 miles (it hurt me to type that)

This week’s schedule (final peak week):
Monday: 8 miles
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 8 miles w/ 5 @ MP
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 8 miles
Saturday: 20 miles
Sunday: Rest

12 Comments

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  1. You’ll get there. The finish line is in sight.

    LUD.

  2. Those bridge pictures are amazing! You should print some out and frame them. I know it’s a bummer to take an unplanned day off from running, but don’t sweat it. You’re in the home stretch, and you’re really not going to improve your running fitness dramatically between now and race day anyway. Plus, you still got in a good cardio workout. You’ll be fine!

    1. I’m glad I got a clear day to get pictures of it! I’m taking a lot of unplanned days off from running, now, and it does have me worried. I’m not aiming to improve my fitness, but I’m concerned about losing fitness while not being able to run.

  3. Don’t stress too much! All those little injuries seem to crop up right near marathon time and it’s easy for your mind to play tricks on you! If you had a good 20 miler that’s the key! That looks like some gorgeous biking!

    1. Thank you! It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and get stressed.

      The trail is gorgeous, especially this time of year with all of the changing leaves.

  4. I think since you already had one solid 20 miler, you’ll be prepared come race day regardless of what you have to do to recover between now and then. The biking will be great XT, giving your legs a rest and still keeping your cardio up.

    Hang in there!!!

    1. I am so glad to see so many runners with more experience than me telling me that about my 20 miler ๐Ÿ™‚ I was kind of worried it wouldn’t “count” since it was 5 weeks out from the race.

  5. Your pictures are all so amazing. I agree about the 20-miler. Hang tight!

    1. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m no photographer, but you can still get good pictures when you’ve got good material to work with!

  6. There’s a common saying among coaches: “Better to go in 10% undertrained than 1% overtrained.” And under/over training can just be dependent on the runner’s body in any given training cycle. I’m not accusing you of over-training, but rather pointing out that, if you should continue to train on a wonky leg, you likely WILL be entering over-training territory. And that’s a place you don’t want to go.

    Your 20 miler counts for a lot, even 5 weeks out. Lots of people will place a 20 four weeks out (then continue to drop down mileage for a taper), and really – what’s one week, give or take? Most important is that you get that sucker healed up. But now I’m going to go over to leave THOSE comments on your next post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Definitely don’t want to cross into over training! Thank you for the reassurance on the 20 miler. I was freaking out a bit about it having been a wasted effort. But I do remember you saying (back when I was trying to decide on a training plan) that it was good to have two 20 milers scheduled in case something happened. Now something happened, so at least I got one solid one in.

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