Grandma’s Marathon Training: Week 9




1) 9 weeks = I’m halfway through my training cycle!

2) Grandma’s Marathon is 2 MONTHS from tomorrow!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that tomorrow is Boston Marathon Day! I’m so happy for all my friends who, after all their hard work, are running it or have qualified. It seems like every year I know more people running Boston! And of course I am always anxious to see who wins – I’m particularly excited to see how Shalane and Desi do this year.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that it’s also bittersweet. Maybe this is a selfish thing to say, but watching all the Boston excitement every year and not being a part of it makes it feel like I’m never gonna get there.  It’s a humbling reminder of just how hard it is to qualify for Boston, and how it’s still so far away and I have so much work and waiting to do before it’s my turn – if it ever is.


Tuesday, 4/14

MP/Speed endurance Run
8 miles (with w/u and c/d)
8:55, 8:33, 8:20, 8:14, 8:20, 8:21; avg pace – 8:28

I decided it would be a refreshing change to try to do one of these runs by feel – to practice getting into a rhythm and holding a pace on my own. Being able to run at a consistent pace is the best skill I can cultivate to perform well at the marathon.

I ended up a little speedier than MP. I could tell I was running faster than MP but that pace felt very comfortable (by comfortable I don’t mean easy, I mean it felt rigorous but not difficult).  So I wanted to keep going – again, the point being that I want to practice being consistent. It worked – you can see how I was warming up for the first couple miles and the last 4 were very consistent!


Wednesday, 4/15

Easy Run – ran home from work
6 miles, 9:10 average


Thursday, 4/16

Impromptu tempo-ish run
6 Miles (with w/u, c/d)
8:20, 8:18, 8:07, 8:11; avg pace – 8:14

I was supposed to run easy today, but I just could not bear the thought of plodding along for 6 slow miles on a Thursday night. So I decided to do some pace miles tonight and do Friday’s 8-miler as an easy run.

Once again I did it by feel and I was really surprised at the end. That is a lot faster than I thought I was running. It really didn’t feel like I was running faster than I did on Tuesday night but, I was.

I know – I broke the rules. But sometimes I feel like training is killing my love of running. Runs like this – just going out there, pushing myself a bit, feeling exhilarated at the end – remind me why I love to run. In the doldrums of training, I really need those reminders, wherever I can get them. You know?


Friday, 4/17

Easy Run
8 Miles, 9:01 average 

Confession: only about 2/3 of this was actually easy. The first 4 were easy, then I decided to crank it up just a smidge in the 2nd half and try to get near goal pace. I was running in the high 8s for my last few miles. I tried to get mile 8 right at 8:35 and ended up running it in 8:24. Whoops.


Saturday, 4/18

Long Slow Distance Run
16 miles (2 part: 6.5 miles, 9.5 miles)
Part I – 9:46 average; Part II – 9:29 average; total average: 9:36

Awful. Probably the worst long run I’ve had this training cycle.

I decided to meet up with my running group, and break the long run into two parts by running to our meeting spot (6.5 miles) and doing the remaining 9.5 with the group.

I basically rolled out of bed, got dressed, filled my Nathan pack with water and went. It was not even 13 hours after I had run an 8 miler. My legs, unaccustomed to having to run this early in the morning let alone with no warm up, felt like lead. The 6.5 miles to the park where I was meeting my running group were mostly uphill and THE WIND was against me the whole way.

I met my group at the park and I thought having only 9.5 miles left wouldn’t seem so bad. But I was tired and I just really didn’t want to be there. No one was running at my pace so I spent 90% of the run alone and I needed a big ol’ slice of mental toughness pie to force myself through it. The miles just DRAGGED. And then I started having a little bit of intestinal issues. Which is weird because that has NEVER happened to me on a long run. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t make it through my run, but, come on. I ran a positive split for this part of the long run and I didn’t even care because I just wanted the torture to end.

I know I’m not supposed to care about pace for long runs, but I’m a little disappointed because I was secretly hoping that I’d average 9:30 or better for all of my long runs this cycle…and now that’s ruined. Grr.

During those miserable miles I kept thinking “what if race day is like this?? All that hard work and I get a day like today that I’m so tired I have to shuffle through the miles??”

So, yeah, today kinda sucked.





Week 9 Grade: B-

This week we learn what happens when you don’t follow the training plan! Easy runs are kept easy for a reason! No regrets, though. I know that wasn’t the only reason, or even the main reason, I had a crappy long run. Sometimes you just need to break the rules. Especially if it’s the only thing that’s keeping you sane in a long, monotonous week of running.




Looking Ahead: Week 10

Tuesday 4/21 –  5×1 mile repeats – 9 miles total
Wednesday 4/22 – 5 easy
Thursday 4/23 – 5 easy
Friday 4/24 – 9 w/ 7 @ MP
Saturday 4/25 – 20 LSD (it’s time!!)
TOTAL planned mileage: 48

I can’t believe it’s already time for a 20-miler. I plan to do this one on my own and just grind it out. Hoping for nice weather and a much smoother long run than last week.


Looking forward to a good Week 10. Sorry this post was so negative today. Thanks for listening!



14 thoughts on “Grandma’s Marathon Training: Week 9

  1. I’m sorry your long run was a struggle on Saturday! At least you can look at your training calendar and pinpoint some of the reasons that made it such a challenge. 4 days of running in a row leading up to your long run and 3/4 runs being speed work/not easy is bound to wear you down. On the plus side, your pace wasn’t really that slow and you were able to complete your distance. Don’t let one bad run mess with your head.

    I was chatting with some running friends this weekend about Boston and we were joking about trying to qualify once we are in our 50s. We figure than another 20 years of training and the higher qualifying time will work our in our favor 🙂

    1. I’ve said the same thing to people about BQing! Haha! I read that the average age of the Boston marathoner is 42. Makes sense – that age group has an easier qualifying standard but most people I know in that age group are faster than most runners I know in their 20s! I decided I just could not wait that long though 😛

      Thanks for the encouragement! It just has to mean that I’m due for a great 20 miler this weekend, right??

  2. Sounds like a strong week despite having a tough long run. All those hard runs on tired legs will help during the race!

    A BQ is unlikely in my cards unless I’m able to shave minutes off my average pace, but I’m okay with that – I love how inspiring the Boston Marathon is, especially in light of everything that has happened.

  3. I think you are WAY too hard on yourself about your training…You did all the work, that is an A. In hindsight, it is good to have those challenging runs on tired legs because that is what builds you to make you a stronger runner!
    All I can say about being older and having a slower BQ qualifying time–just wait 20 years, your body isn’t the same! 🙂

    1. I probably am too hard on myself, but the whole game is different with a time goal. I keep wondering if “just doing the work” will be enough now that I have bigger goals than just to finish.

      Oh I don’t doubt the marathon is harder on older bodies! And yet, you 40 somethings routinely beat us 20 somethings in races. Go figure 😉

  4. Race day won’t be like that long run… because you will have not run that many miles leading up to it, and you’ll have a much energetic environment.

    Are you nervous about hitting your MP miles and that is why you went after them three times this week? I (sort of, hee hee) understand you want some thrill out of your running, but trust your training! 🙂 You got this! And you will get to Boston, you have the dedication 🙂

    It’s too bad company on your LR didn’t help with the feeling of a monotonous week of running. Are you able to run somewhere new, or with a friend? That sometimes helps me. I know easier said than done though!

    1. Race day: I sure hope so!

      I am nervous about hitting MP miles, but that’s not why I pushed hard this week. I was just bored and the week felt like it was dragging on forever running-wise, and I just couldn’t resist that instant gratification high of pounding out some fast miles. It was like caving in and binging on forbidden desserts: I knew it was wrong but my self-control was just too tired to care!

      Yea, that’s the “problem” with running in a big group – it’s hit or miss. Most people in the Saturday group are either much too fast for me, or are only running a few miles and can’t provide company for very long. It has actually been surprisingly hard to find running buddies that are around my pace – I seem to be in a weird pace zone where not too many other runners hang out, apparently. Makes sense why I often find myself running alone for long stretches in races too, I guess!

  5. I think your desire to run faster than what you think your MP is may indicate that you can race long distances at a faster pace than you initially thought.

    I feel you on the BQ envy; I always say maybe I’ll qualify when I’m 60.

    1. From your lips to God’s ears! Let’s hope so!

      I hope I can BQ at 60. Sometimes I look at the qualifying standards and say, man, why can’t I be 57 years old? I would have BQd at my last marathon!

  6. Sorry to hear you had a rough long run. But don’t they say that rough runs in training lead to better races? If not, it should be that way. 🙂 I don’t know how you run 5 days in a row my legs would protest by the end of day 3. I can’t decide what would be harder- actually running the qualifying time for Boston or raising the money for a charity bib. Either way, I think I will remain a spectator. Have a great week!

  7. I hate those lead leg runs! They will wear on you, but overall you had a great week! Speedy paces, running and not realizing it was that fast! That is awesome progress 🙂 Runs that close together are bound to be a tough. Note for later in training 🙂
    Maybe you just need to mix up your runs for the few weeks and just worry about checking them, but not specific to the day…make sense. SO if you head out and feel great knock out that speed work, and if you feel bored just easy pace it…instead of what’s on training plan. Just a thought.
    I always think that about Boston, I will never get here, I won’t even be fast enough at 70, maybe I will just go watch one year…you are in a very tough age group!
    It’s not negative, it’s honest, we all have moments…
    Hope this week brings happy runs!

  8. Sometimes I feel lucky that I’m a slow runner because it means that I don’t have dreams as big as Boston, so I’m not likely to get let down!

    Difficult long run suck, but we learn a lot from them! They really do make us mentally stronger!

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