Sunday, April 12, 2009

Forget The Marathon In May

Forget the full marathon in May. I decided today not to run the full marathon in May after another lucklustre long training run that I did not complete for the second Sunday in a row.

On March 29, I ran my longest race in the Around the Bay 30k Race. Three days after the run, I got carried away and toyed with the idea of running a full marathon in May, choosing between the Mississauga Marathon on May 10 or the Ottawa Marathon scheduled for May 24. I continued doing my training runs religiously hoping that by doing so I would feel strong enough to sign up for a full marathon.

Last Sunday, on a scheduled 29 k LSD run, I was only able to complete 23 k because of feeling fatigued and leg weary. I thought by giving my feet and legs a little break I will rebound in the next training runs and become stronger due to the much needed rest. Had no problems with the shorter weekday runs. I felt strong and fresh after my 10k tempo and hill training sessions.

This morning though was quite different than the weekday short runs. I brought extra ammo in electrolyte pills knowing that our training run of 32 k (my longest ever) may cause cramping if I just relied on gels and gatorade. I took 1 electrolyte pill every 45 minutes as advised by Tony, one of our marathon clinic group leaders. I felt alright and kept up with Tony and Jack ( a Boston finisher in his late 60s) until we parted ways at the 12k mark. Tony had a commitment in his church, while Jack had to go straight to Bur Oak instead of the training run route we were supposed to take. I decided to try to run the designated route which was to go north along Hi-way 48.

By the 15k mark, I suddenly felt some cramping on my quad muscles on my left thigh. I had to slow down to avoid the cramping. I swallowed another electrolyte pill and it helped a little bit. At the 17thk mark, my right ankle, for no reason (I did not twist it ) started hurting and I had to favor the right feet while running from then on. In short, it was another disaster in this morning's run. I had to shorten my run again and just completed 22.24 ks in a slow time of 2:52:14. I drove home feeling down and walked up my house' front steps limping, with my right ankle in pain.

At this moment I am still icing the sore ankle, while I try to think and reorganize my running goals for this year. Today, after a forgettable LSD run, I am more inclined not to run a full marathon in May. Maybe the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in September?


  1. I wouldnt worry about it. I ran a 32K route today as well, and by the 30K mark the top of my foot started to really hurt. Decided to stop and massage it, and when I got going again, my legs were like "what do you think you are doing...we are done". I am thinking about trying this 10 and 1 thing with these longer runs, and see where that takes me. I still want to run Ottawa, and plan just to finish it. Not worrying about time. You definitely sound like you are listening to your body. If you dont feel you are ready, there is no reason to push yourself to much and risk injury. Good luck with the ankle and feel better soon.

  2. Well you certainly did the right thing especially when there was ankle pain involved. Take your time building up to the marathon, I think your decision to wait till later in the year is a good one. Rushing the distance can bring in other aches, pains and the "i" word.

    Bong I have some questions if I may. You said you kept up with Tony, one of your coaches, and Jack, a Boston finisher. What was your speed? Where you running too fast for your LSD in the early kilometers just to keep up with them? If you had been on your own, would you have started at that speed? Since your weekly runs were just fine and you felt good in them I'm wondering if you started out too fast on your LSD. Starting out too fast always makes it hard in the final miles, including lots of fatigue, pain and cramping. Just conjecture on my part. I'm thinking about your run and why you felt the way you did towards the end.

  3. P.S. I just read anonymous' comment. It sounds like the run/walk thing. If it is I can add that it works very well. I started with the Jeff Galloway method when I started running marathons. When I started running 10 years ago I kept getting injured and I bough a book on marathoning, his book, and I learned the run/walk ratio. Back then I was doing 8 min run / 1 min walk. It works. What you need is patience though. If feels too easy at the start and if you are running with people you don't want to stop. You also have to resist running faster because you feel like you are losing all this time by walking. You gain it back by feeling stronger in the end.

  4. Thanks Rick. Looking back, you're right. I was running too fast just to keep up with Tony and Jack. We were running between 6 to 6:30 minutes per k and that was a minute faster than the LSD pace I was used to with a couple of my running buddies. I will keep your advise in mind. I am also a believer and I actually practice the run/walk thing specially in longer races,(I try to do it at the water stations) and I know it works.

    Thanks to you, anonymous too. I hope there was nothing serious about the pain in your foot. With me, I'm still icing the right ankle but it is a lot better than yesterday. I pray that you'll be injury free for the next few weeks and wish you success and a strong finish at Ottawa.

  5. Well maybe that was it. Nothing wrong with you and your fitness but that you just started out too fast. I see it all the time here but at the races. Very fit and strong runners who start out too fast and end up either finishing much slower than they expected, sore and depleted or not finishing at all. 1 minute faster per kilometer is a substantial increase.