Sunday, April 30, 2017

The No Pressure, No Marathon Training Plan

Another week of "no marathon training" complete! It's a strange feeling, training for a marathon that I most likely won't run. Usually, with marathon training, there's a sense of urgency-- to hit all your miles, to complete speed work or hill repeats with even splits, and to ensure that your recovery is on point. Heck, on this plan if I don't feel like doing a run or going the distance prescribed, it's no big deal.

But no pressure doesn't mean skipping out on a workout entirely. My motto is to do what I can. Finishing is winning, right? That includes my workouts. This week, the wind has been howling and the temperatures are cold. While there are days where it's hard to motivate myself to get moving, I force myself to move. To not move is to lose fitness and mobility. As a benefit of staying on track, I'm starting to rediscover some endurance. Recovery is becoming easier as well. Either my body is adjusting to my new training style or my disease is starting to relent.



In the past, Becky has designed my marathon training plans to force me to run on tired legs. There are a lot of marathon training plans with cumulative fatigue as the goal. Cumulative fatigue isn't from overtraining. Cumulative fatigue is a way of training your legs for the demands of the marathon. There are multiple plans designed to help runners train this way--I'm not an expert by any means--and if you are more interested in learning about it, there are some great resources to get you started.

I've got my own intrinsic fatigue from the RA, and the run/walk intervals I've been doing have been surprisingly effective at overcoming it. Using the 4:1 run/walk intervals, I've been able to pick up the pace and my runs have been averaging about 9:40 m/m. I had my fastest 5 mile run using this method on Saturday and in spite of some really cold and windy conditions I averaged 9:17 m/m. As you might imagine, that felt great! You know what they say: once you go run/walk, you never go back! Ok, I just made that up, but I'm enjoying this a lot. That Jeff Galloway is a genius!


For Sunday's run, I had 12 miles on the plan. I woke up to a cold (40F), rainy, and windy morning. I talked myself into getting out of bed. After a cup of coffee, I talked myself into cutting my mileage. After all, I'm not training for a marathon, right? I decided to make this run a dress rehearsal for next weekend's half marathon, so I ate my pre-race meal of cereal and orange juice, got my bottle of Tailwind ready, and headed out the door. Prior to the run, I checked the wind direction and changed my route so that I could finish with the wind at my back. I took this run to the retention pond, where I knew there would be a warm (but filthy--hello park district?) bathroom. The nice thing about running there is that I can do as many or as few of the 2 mile loops as I want or need. After loop #2, I still felt good, so I made one more lap before heading home. The rain and the wind really picked up on the way home but I hit 12 miles--yep, I ran the distance I was supposed to-- just past my driveway! 1:58:32/9:53m/m

I'm so glad I pushed myself and the run/walk intervals have really made a positive impact on my running. In fact, I took a look at my stats and found this fun graph depicting my intervals:

Does anyone else think my intervals resemble ventricular tachycardia? This made me laugh out loud. Of course, I'm a nerd and a nurse practitioner, and if I saw this rhythm on a patient's EKG, I'd be calling for the crash cart.

For April, I had a total of 94.6 miles. I probably need to stop whining about RA and fatigue. If nothing else, I've found a workaround that has really helped me get back on track, both mentally and physically!

The speedwork is not happening. I think I'm getting closer to where I could run an entire mile without stopping but there is no way I could run it fast. With my new no pressure no marathon training plan, I'm pushing my pace on my intervals, and I think that will have to suffice for now. Maybe we should call it cruise control?


I went to 2 yoga classes at the studio. My loss of endurance affects me on the mat as well, but I'm starting to see improvements there too. Yoga isn't considered an endurance activity, but the vinyasas between poses and sequences do take some endurance and stamina. My joints in my upper body become unhappy when we are doing weight bearing poses, including downward dog, and I have to adjust throughout the pose to take the pressure off my shoulders, wrists, and elbows. I also did a restorative practice at home and that felt really good.

Cocoa lending some moral support as I fall out of headstand
I saw Becky once this week for some CrossFit hip and glute work. Out of everything I do, the CrossFit/strength training seems to be the most beneficial.

Next week is my half marathon in hilly Door County Wisconsin. I'd be lying to you if I told you I didn't have goals for this race, but I'm going to keep them to myself. My southern friend Holly is coming to run with me and no matter what the outcome of the race, I want to show her a good time! I'd bet that she will be traveling the farthest distance to run this race. We've been weather stalking, and while Holly's been running in the humid 90s, the north woods weather promises to be picture perfect for race day with bright sunshine and temperatures in the 60s! I bet her "heat training" is going to push her to a PR. Hills be damned!

And that's all I've got. How was your week? What's the weather like by you? Any advice for epic, and I mean epic chafing?

I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap!










80 comments :

  1. My advice for epic chaffing. :) hmmmm. Don't take a hot shower. LOL! Remember my blog post where I may or may not have needed "vagi-glide?" LOL!! Oh wendy - I continue to send you good vibes. You just may surprise yourself come marathon day in June. And remember - I still have a hotel room. :)

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    1. I had to shower after my run--you know--but there were some suppressed screams! WTH happened on my run? LOL.

      Don't count me out. I may take you up on that offer!

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    2. oooh IM SO WITH RUNNINGARONDTHEBOYZ too.
      you amaze me every damn day.
      I bet you do rally rise and surprise yourself in June.
      And that rr and s :-) can be in SO MANY different forms too. more than anything I hope it is that you can complete the race and feel GREAT while doing it.
      xo

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    3. I'm not counting on it, but you never know what can happen in a month. I'm still on track with the training plan, so who knows?

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  2. It's crazy that its so cold near you and it was really hot and humid here! Usually we get your weather patterns, so Im wondering if a cold front is coming through next week. Glad to hear that the run/walk intervals are going well! And I could see how it could be great to train for a marathon with 0 pressure. Although Im sure not everyone could stay as motivated as you in those circumstances!

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    1. It's kind of "let's see what happens" situation. I've never ever been in this position before. But I'm ok with it!

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  3. I'm so glad the run/walk intervals are working for you and your pace is so great!! And check out your mileage for the month! I've been a little down missing my mileage goal this month. Too many hiccups in April thanks to a busy schedule, kidney stone, and now I'm having some sinus trouble. Summer is coming though and I'm hoping I can hit 100 miles next month or June!! It's race week for me too! Best of luck to you both!

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    1. I was pleasantly surprised by that mileage total! You just never know what you can do. I am so glad that run/walk intervals are working too!

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  4. You are having some crazy weather in Chicago this weekend! So happy that the run/walk intervals are working for you. Your average pace was awesome!

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    1. Our weather has been just miserable! It took every ounce of self-motivation to push myself out the door. I don't know what got into me, but I'm so glad I ignored my decision to cut my mileage and run the whole 12. Run/walk for the win!

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  5. This is such great news!!!! I'm glad you have found a way to make this work ;-) I had never given up on you !!

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    1. We always get the best ideas on our runs, and that's when the run/walk thing came to me. I'm just mad I didn't think of it sooner!

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  6. I'm so happy to hear you feeling more positive about your running. I know it's been (and still is) a tough pill to swallow, but you're running, which is, in the end, the important thing. Hearing your times makes me think I ought to try this run/walk thing!

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    1. I'm pretty surprised about the success of the run/walk intervals. I'm enjoying running again, which is such a win!

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  7. I'm not sure how I'm going to contain my excitement for the next three days! EEK -- It's RACE WEEK and we get to PLAY. I think you are on your way back after a tough and necessary reset. It may be on a different, new, or even scary path, but you'll still get there. I may join you in that walk/run method too. It's worth a try. Thanks for linking, Wendy! See You Soon!

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    1. I cannot wait to see you!!!! I'm going to show you some northwoods fun. It may be cold, but we do have a good time!

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  8. I'm an optimist, but I really do think things are going to come together for you next week. I just knew you'd find a new way to train around RA that works for you and it looks like run/walk is it. Epic chafing needs diaper rash cream!

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    1. I've got the triple paste but I didn't bring it with me and oooooh did I pay....

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  9. That reasoning for training on fatigued legs is interesting. Since I am so injury proned I'd be afraid my IT band would flare up again. I'm glad you are enjoying the Galloway method.
    Weather has been awesome here! I hope it warms up for you soon (although it probably is comfortable weather to run in). -M

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    1. I'd be happier if it was a little warmer, a little drier, and a little less windy! Yep, I'm high maintenance.

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  10. So glad intervals are working so well for you! You will have a blast with Holly! No advice for chafing - I usually just suffer through and try to do something different next time.

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    1. Oh, as happy and euphoric as I am with my run, I am suffering through the chafing! Ooooooh.

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  11. finishing is winning! Maybe your body just needed to switch it up a bit. You looked so happy this morning after your run. It has been crazy hot the past few days here. Hard to run in! Sometimes I get chafing and then I won't get it for so long I have no idea why

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    1. I'm still happy! I needed a run like that, even with the chafing. Ugh. You're right--sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't. So weird.

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  12. Epic chaffing...I feel like this happens to me every summer on my back - which means time to ditch the old sports bras and get new ones! Vaseline, Body Glide or anything cyclist use?
    Last week was pretty good for me as I'm increasing my mileage for half marathon training now!

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    1. Vaseline was not helpful--so I'm thinking it's diaper cream for the win!

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  13. It's great that the run/walk is working so well for you! Your progress continues to inspire me! No great advice on the chaffing - diaper rash cream maybe?

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    1. I don't like the white stains it leaves on my clothes, but after yesterday, I can live with that!

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  14. I use run/walk for speedwork, too. There's a calculator (don't have access to the link right now, but can send it if you're interested) -- I plug in ho long I run, walk, my walk pace & what pace I want to run & it tells me what pace I have to run at.

    I use anti chafe cream before a shower & calendula cream afterwards.

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    1. I'm going as fast as I can right now--once my endurance comes back, I'll do "traditional" speedwork.

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  15. I love intervals! As much as part of me wants to try to run without stopping, the majority of me says no way! I'm glad this week was a good one for you, and I hope you have fun at your half!

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    1. It's so nice to have that little walk break to look forward to!

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  16. Great to hear that the run/walk intervals are going well! I hope you run your marathon, you can do it! Like you said finishing is winning! The weather here in OR is off and on, mostly raining but temps are supposed to reach 80 according to the forecast on Wed-Thurs, which is highly unusual. The high is usually in the 60s.

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    1. I'm just taking it one day at a time--this disease is so unpredictable. It's so nice to have days where I feel like myself again, tho!

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  17. It's already hitting 90 degrees here in Fl. I'm envious of your cooler temps. This is race week and final exam week for me too. I'm going to try intervals to get through it. My IT has not allowed me to get my mileage up to where it needs to be to run this race non-stop. So I'm just going into it with the " I'm just enjoying being out on the course, not even going to look at my Garmin" attitude. I can't wait to hear how your half goes. I hope your chafing is better before race day. Yes, you totally look like you are in V. Tach!!
    Grab the AED. Lol! Wish me luck on my finals.

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    1. Fingers crossed for a strong race on Saturday. And good luck on your finals!

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  18. I'm SO GLAD That the run walk is helping! Thank goodness. What you can, when you can, right?

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  19. Glad you found a run/walk interval that's working for you! That's great-- and it's really amazing you still ran so many miles!
    It's raining here now, but my garden is loving it!

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    1. Everything is so green here--a nice benefit of all this rain.

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  20. It's amazing what a difference those walk breaks can make... I'm glad it's working for you! No pressure training is always nice.

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    1. The one thing I didn't expect from this was that I'd love running again! Who knew?

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  21. Epic Chafe? ouch! to prevent it, I use body glide or deodorant, it helps.

    I'm glad you are finding your way on the intervals! Stay strong, you got this!

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    1. I need like a silicone spray or something!

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  22. I love the pic of you with the wind making your hair go crazy and I really the love the one with you and cocoa, falling out of headstand :-) I just love your whole attitude toward this and how, even though the weather sucks and your RA sucks you keep talking yourself out the damn door and getting it done. Seriously, you are inspiring and I thought of you as I sipped my Green Tea (favorite!) Tailwind on my long ride this weekend.

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    1. I finally understand how people just give up. It has taken so much self-control for me not to while away my days on the couch. Now that I'm feeling better and more energetic, I'm grateful that I was able to push myself. It's so hard not to succumb to that.

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  23. I'm so happy the intervals are working for you. I often consider intervals myself. Jeff Galloway IS a genius, honestly. My only issue with the walking part is that I am NOT a fast walker. Like, at all. It's no good. But I could run faster for the 4 minutes and then just walk a normal pace. Food for thought.

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    1. I have to remind myself to walk fast on the breaks. Sometimes I just want to lollygag along but that is not the point of this!

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  24. I used to work at the Running Room and they'd all do the run/walk intervals and I hated them! Until I tried them. I could run way longer without as much pain and fatigue when I stopped to walk for a minute once every ten minutes. It really works! Even though it's hard for us non-stop running folks to adjust to.

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    1. I felt like a slacker if I ever stopped to walk at a race. Now I get it. I'm surprised how quickly I've gotten in the groove.

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  25. So Cal weather was all over the place last week - nice and Spring like one day, hot with Santa Ana winds the next. I'm pretty sure we won't get another drop of rain for the next 6 months, though.

    I am so glad the intervals are working for you!

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  26. Glad the run/walk is working out. If I trained for a full, I would definitely use it.

    I tried the no plan for my half yesterday. I enjoyed my runs more and my weekends but the race was much harder. With no PR goals, I am still happy with training and race results.

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    1. Well, you know I always have a plan. I'm just going to see how this goes.

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  27. I swear by running intervals for anything longer than three miles - it's a huge difference in feeling good while I run, plus I can run farther. Glad they are working out for you!

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    1. I wouldn't be running at all if it weren't for intervals.

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  28. I have been doing run/walk most of my runs for my whole running life. Rarely do I ever just run!

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    1. I've always "just run"--this is a whole new way of thinking for me. I'm enjoying it.

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  29. I'm glad to hear the intervals are working...you are still pretty darn fast in my book!

    I hope you and HoHo have a great time at the half marathon!

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    1. You know we will. I'm praying for no chafing--that could put a damper on my race! Note to self: must remember butt paste.

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  30. I am so happy for you that the run/walk method is working! I knew you would figure it out! RA be damned, it will not get the best of YOU! oh, and chafing is the worst! You are the nurse! Where is your diaper cream ?

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    1. Right? I learned that Vaseline is not a good substitute for butt paste. Still paying for that lesson today!

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  31. I love hearing a note of "pleasant surprise" in your tone regarding your running! 12 miles is impressive Wendy and you should be really proud of that! I laughed out loud at your EKG reference, because I actually thought the same thing when I saw it! Guess that comes with being married to a doctor for 16 years (previous marriage) and working for one for 8! :)

    Good luck this weekend in Wisconsin and above all ....just enjoy your time with Holly! I'm sure it is much needed for the both of you! Safe travels and happy running :)

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    1. Yep, you're never too old or too jaded to be surprised by what you can do, right? I think Holly and I are going to have a great time!

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  32. This is such a great idea - I like the no pressure training plan. :) I also love cumulative fatigue and running on tired legs, I feel like it really works for me as long as it runs the fine line between enough and not overtraining.

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    1. I like the whole "do what you can do" thing...

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  33. I was with you over the weekend on having to deal with epic chafing. All I have to say is OUCH!!!!! I literally am feeling your pain.

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    1. Right? I was still hurting yesterday. I'm so glad that I don't run until Thursday--I go to do CrossFit Intervals today and I switch those out with a run. My buns need a break!

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  34. I thought the same thing when I saw the EKG. Cardiac nerd here! I'm kind of jealous that you are running in Door County soon. I would go there during the summer as a kid. It's so pretty! And I think you are going to surprise yourself with your un-training. I followed that method last year for 2 races and it was great.

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    1. I'm just so glad to be running--and I'm getting faster, so that's a great thing too.

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  35. The weather here near Sacramento is getting hot! Mid 80's today. At least it's dry here and a lot more bearable than the humidity I remember when living in Jersey. Good to hear the run/walk intervals are working for you! Have fun with Holly this weekend!!

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    1. "It's a dry heat"....but it's still hot, right? Enjoy the warmth. It's still rainy and windy here! Spring in the midwest...

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  36. I think you are doing amazingly well Wendy! But are you really not going to run a marathon? Just curious!

    how fun that Holly will be running with you on the next race!

    our weather has been... mostly crap with a side of wind, rain, gray and the occasional sunburst :) amazingly we had super fabulous weather this weekend but we are back to Dutch Spring again. *sigh*

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    1. Magic 8 ball says probably not. I'm still plodding through the training, hoping for a miracle. But I think it would probably be kind of crazy.

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  37. I'm happy that the run/walk intervals are working well for you. Sounds like you and Holly will have a great time this weekend!

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    1. I'm really looking forward to it--the race and the girl time!

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  38. I saw all the pictures of your weather this past week it is crazy. We have had some cooler days like in the lower 60's but it's usually after storms come through. I will be stalking yours and Holly's IG for great pictures this week, I know yall will have a ball together and a great race!

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    1. Poor Holly--she's going to freeze! :)

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  39. I'm definitely interested in the run/walk method-thinking about implementing it for the half marathon portion of my 70.3 in August. The weather here in Virginia went from 90s and sunny to 50s and gray....enjoying it because I know eventually summer will comeback and stick around until October!

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    1. I keep waiting for it to warm up--it looks like we might be in the 60s later this week! It's been a cold one.

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