Marathon Training Week 6

Marathon Training Week 6

Week 6 of training is in the books.  Overall I felt like this was a decent week.  I had a few aches and pains along the way.  My 7 miles on Thursday was done on the treadmill and I definitely pushed it (averaging less than a 10 min/mile pace, which is pretty quick for me).  And then following that the next day with a long run was a good test for my body/legs.  On Saturday morning I felt the result of the previous two days and woke up sore all over.  I still managed to get out and do my 5 miles though, which was again a good test of running on tired legs.  I’ve been trying to do some foam rolling after my runs since I’ve increased my mileage a fair amount compared to previously.  Last year I probably averaged between 15 and 22 miles per week.  So far I’ve been averaging in the mid to high 20s this training cycle.

Here’s a summary of last week’s running.

( ) = # of miles on my plan

Tuesday – 3 (3)

Thursday – 7 (7)

Friday – 10.05 (10)

Saturday – 5 (5)

Sunday – 4 (4)

Weekly Total – 29.05 miles (29)

We were hit with another round of rain this past week.  More importantly or impactful, we had some strong winds.  This resulted in a power outage on Friday from 2:15 pm (I know since I was in the midst of catching up on some of my shows) that lasted until 10:30 pm that night.  I had received a phone call from the power company at 4 pm saying power would be out until the following day at 12 pm, so it was a nice surprise that it came on later that night.  Apparently a tree fell on some power lines on the nearby train tracks, which required some specialized equipment to remove the tree, lines and then replace the lines. With the power out, it gave me no choice but to complete  my chores before it got too dark.  We then went out to dinner and watched a movie (luckily my wife’s laptop had a full battery charge).  Then it was lights out early (we were asleep when the power came back).  I had unplugged the power supply to the TV since I knew that it would turn on once power was restored and figured that might be in the middle of the night.  My wife had previously purchased some candle-less candles that came in very handy.


It was raining a decent amount on Friday morning but I decided to head out and do my long run anyway.  I elected to go down by the river trail to see what it looked like.  We had had a few days of dry weather and I wanted to see what the river levels looked like.  The river had receded and you could actually run on the bike trails (that were previously under water).  The receding water had left a thin layer of dirt/mud on the trails so it felt a little strange underfoot – not like running on a smooth surface.  There was a section that was really muddy and forced me to climb the berm and run on top of it.  The rain wasn’t so bad but the wind was biting at times and made me question why I was doing it.  As you can imagine there weren’t many people out.  A few other brave souls were out running though and one guy gave me a thumbs up from afar as you and I both kept on our runs.

I rewarded myself post long run with some bad for me food. Fish and chips and fried clams to boot.  There’s a small local fish and chips shop run by Koreans that I like to go to (and I like supporting local businesses).  So I stopped in and picked up their daily special.


With the large amounts of rain that we’ve been getting, a lot of the area trees and plants have started blossoming early.  Since Saturday’s run stayed dry (looked like looming rains), I managed to get some shots of some trees.  One of the trees has these really cool looking purple-pink and white flowers.  The flowers are extremely short-lived on the tree and fall off relatively quickly – especially with the strong winds.


There are a number of them in our neighborhood and I really like purple so it helps.

Another tree that has bloomed is the one that has a very distinct smell.  The flowers give off the odor of a certain bodily fluid (aka semen).  It’s very strange.

Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)
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And there are a ton of Camelia trees in our neighborhood (including a few on our property).  I like them because of the various colors that exist.  These also tend to make a mess when they drop their flowers.



And finally one of our bare Chinese Pistache trees and one of our lavenders.  I’m just glad the lavenders have survived this long (we had previously tried to plant them in years past and they’ve all died).

Chinese Pistache

I also broke in two new pairs of shoes in the last week or so.  I haven’t run in Mizuno shoes previously and so am trying my first pair with the Mizuno Wave Catalyst.  I’ve only done one run in them but so far they seem all right.  I also did my first run in a shoe I’ve previously run in, the Altra Repetition.  My original pair is getting towards the end of its life with close to 450 miles on it so I’ve started in on its replacement (same shoe, different color).

I think the Repetition is billed as a trail running shoe (it is a maximalist zero drop shoe), I’ve found it to be a great road shoe.   I’ve done a half marathon in my previous pair as well as a decent amount of long runs.  I’ve been a fan of Altra now for a few years and also run in the Altra Provision 2.0 currently  as well.  As I’ve said before, the diversity in shoes that I use in training I think helps to keep me from getting injured (*knocks on wood*).




Current shoe rotation – Altra & Asics

Since my injury last Feburary-March, I decided to try a completely different approach to the shoes I run in.  After recovery, I looked to explore some new types of shoes.  Previously I’d been running in stability shoes, typically from a few different brands (Asics, New Balance, Saucony).

Through either facebook or all the various running sites I visit, I learned about a company called Altra.  I actually had been looking at the brand for over a year before I pulled the trigger and invested in some of their shoes.  There are a few unique features of their shoes including the foot-shaped toe box as well as zero drop.  A shoe’s “drop” is the height difference from the heel to the toe.  Most running shoes have a “drop” of anywhere between 6 and 12 mm.  A zero drop shoe is flat all the way across (hence a 0 mm drop).  The store where I purchased my first Altra Running shoes only had one style in the size that I wear.  I went with the Altra Provision 1.5, which is one of their stability shoes.  These shoes tend to a run a little on the small size and the original US9.5 that I ordered was too small.  Typically I have been US9.5 in all my running shoes.  I returned the shoes and purchased some US10 shoes and these fit much better.

Putting these shoes on, I noticed that the shoe kind of hugs your foot.  With the widened toe box, your feet/toes aren’t squished like most running shoes to their narrowness.  One of the neat things that the company does with their shoes is they provide a little instruction booklet in the shoe box.  This explains that these shoes aren’t like your average running shoe and your body (feet, legs) aren’t adapted to running in these shoes long distances right away.  They suggest a long, slow break in period so your body adjusts to the shoes.  Some of the reported differences is that there is more strain on your achilles due to the zero drop.  My first run with the shoes was a very short 1.6 miler.  I definitely felt different muscles working in my legs with these shoes.

At the same time as the Altra Provision 1.5, I also decided to try an even more stable shoe than traditional stability shoes: Asics GEL-Foundation 8.  This shoe is classified as a motion control shoe.  Motion control shoes are the most “stable” shoe to help with pronation.  I threw on these Asics right after a short run with the Altras and boy did I notice a huge difference.  It felt like my feet were in a large boat with the Asics.  The Asics are also a bit heavier than the Provision but they felt more stable.

For awhile I would rotate between these two shoes and then I decided maybe I needed a 3rd alternative for a shoe because I was still experiencing some aches and pains.  I know shoes aren’t the key to solving all injuries, but I had also implemented some other tools to help with my injuries.  I bought a foam roller and started rolling.  Also I looked up some good stretches to help with previous plantar fasciitis and knee pain.

A good deal came up for the Altra Repetition.  This was a departure from the “minimalist” Provision 1.5 and actually is deemed a “maximalist” shoe.  These shoes have a thick foam cushioning running along the entire underside of your foot.  These types of shoes have been used for many years by a lot of ultrarunners who do 50+ mile trail races in the mountains.  Slowly the maximalist movement has trickled into the road running scene a little.  I figured that having a shoe with some extra padding may actually help offset the lightly padded Provision and be different than the motion control Asics.  After trying the Altra Repetition, I really liked these shoes.  They provided some great cushioning and also had the zero drop that I preferred for trying to run with a mid-foot strike gait.

So over the last year or so now, I’ve had a 2, then 3 shoe rotation that seems to work.  I haven’t had any major injuries (*knock on wood*) in the last year or so.  Still a few areas of aches and pains but nothing long lasting like some of my previous injuries (which I’ll talk about later).

(From left to right): Altra Provision 1.5, Asics GEL-Foundation 8, Altra Repetition

Up next in the rotation will be the Altra Provision 2.0 (to replace the 1.5), Saucony Guide 8 (to replace the Asics), and keeping the Altra Repetition (as the mileage is much lower than the other two at this time).