Goodbye October, and Hello Home Stretch!


  1. Total run miles for October: 136
  2. Miles run, year to date1,822.3
  3. Number of races in October: 2
  4. Longest run in October: 26.2 (Hartford Marathon)

I wrapped up September with 272 miles and while I knew October would feature less volume from the taper/recover/taper cycle I planned for, I didn’t expect to run almost half the miles I ran in September. Ugh. I made a dumb ass move and signed up for the Runner’s World Half Marathon, and pretty much blew the rest of my season. I’m still a little cranky about it, but I’ve gotten a little perspective over the past week.

The month went really well until running the half on October 18th. So many great events happened in October, and in this last training block overall. I ran a LOT this season. I trained for Hartford from start to finish and didn’t get injured for that race. I finally busted out several awesome half marathons and shorter distance races. Though I didn’t run a marathon PR, I did run my fastest marathon this year, finishing Hartford in 3:12. I also ran a 1:30 half a week after said marathon and while it jacked up my calf, I ran a 1:30 half on a super hilly course a week after a speedy marathon! I only recently broke that 1:30 mark so that was a huge deal for me. While the end of October brought me some heartache, I really can’t cry too much about it.

On one hand, my past few weeks of minimal mileage could be viewed as a giant taper. I wish I could have run a few more miles, or had the motivation to do some more cross training. I just didn’t have it in me. I’m so sick of the injury cycle of training, getting injured, and frantically trying to figure out how to mimic my run workouts on a bike or in the pool. It’s exhausting, and I spent my whole spring doing exactly that. I made it through a fall marathon. Enough is enough already. I’m ready to move on, heal and start fresh.

I’m disappointed because I was really excited for Indy and I thought I had a good shot at a PR if I executed a perfect race day pacing strategy. I had a plan all ready to go. I’m going into the race with an open mind, but based on how my calf felt pacing the 1:45 half last weekend, I don’t know how much faster I can (or should) run for the full 26.2. It’s out of my hands now.

That brings me to another topic. I’m starting to wonder what I want to focus on moving forward. Quality over quantity? In the past, I’ve done multiple marathons per season. In spring of 2013 and spring of 2014, I did five marathons in each season. I was never the fastest, so I would just knock off the states. As my speed began to become a factor, I continued to do multiple marathons each season. I’m beginning to see the negative impact that has on my body. I’m still planning to do a few marathons in the spring, but if I want to get faster, I might only be able to focus on one marathon (like normal people do)…or (gasp) no marathons. Perhaps a season of short distance racing to build top end speed is in order. Lots of exciting options to consider.

As for the 50 states, well, I have to slow down at this point anyway. I’m well over halfway, but I need to fly to almost every marathon I have left. I certainly don’t have a money tree growing in my backyard, so it won’t be quite as easy to run five different states in one season at this point.

Entering November, I am excited for two things: My final marathon of the season and a nice long recovery. I’m certain that after this marathon I’m going to need at least a solid two weeks off of running. Maybe more. I’m mentally preparing myself for this and I am going to return to running SUPER easy. I really wanted to hit 2,000 miles this year. The reality is, I might not. My original goal was actually higher than that, but this has been a rough year. Six months of battling my Achilles, a solid block of training, and now my calf. My body has never been in need of a legitimate recovery period so badly. So if it means I don’t crest the 2,000 mile mark but I end 2015 feeling refreshed and healthy, well, I’m okay with that.

My goals for November are not running related. I’ve been in quite a slump with my diet and cross training (besides pole classes, ha!) and need to turn things around. I’m going to give myself the week after the marathon to eat what I want, and only work out when I want to. But the following week, I’ll return to some sort of structure. Here’s what I want to focus on for November and a good portion of December:

  • Diet: get back to my Paleo-ish ways and incorporate more fruits and veggies since for some strange reason I forgot that those are important.
  • Stretching: Yoga, at least twice per week
  • Strength Training: Continue with pole classes, but return to the gym to restart PT exercises
  • Core: Every damn day. I always do core everyday, but the past few weeks I’ve slacked.
  • Cross Training: After my week of doing whatever I want, I want to be swimming, biking, aqua jogging, etc everyday while I’m not running. As I reintroduce running, I want to keep swimming through the winter months.

By taking the focus off of running and on recovery, I’m hoping I will be feeling refreshed and ready to go for Boston training!

How was your month? Is there a time of year that you dedicate to recovery?


50 Replies to “Goodbye October, and Hello Home Stretch!”

  1. October was a pretty darn good month for me; from pacing the 10k to running my half marathon. Though I did have a week of pain with my hamstring post 1/2, I’m calling that a win! It’s be nice to run when I want and focus on other workouts (yoga, PT exercises and strength training).

    1. You did have an AMAZING October! I loved reading about it because I could hear the pure joy coming right through your posts from being able to run that half. So proud of you! Glad recovery is feeling good 🙂 Looking forward to joining you in recovery mode!

  2. Man, October was high and low for me. Talk about slack: me! Somehow I forgot strength/XT was important lol I haven’t seen the gym in a few weeks. Oops. I think I practiced yoga…once last week?? 🙂 anyway, winter is usually my rest and recovery period after my 50k in two weeks I’m laying low! I wish I was training for Boston this year you speedy gal!! Maybe the year after…

    1. I am so stoked to hear about your 50K. Dude. That is some serious you know what!!! You are going to be SO AWESOME! I forgot about strength and cross training too. I need to be reminded during my recovery period!

  3. I think you are making such a smart decision by laying low and focusing on quality miles. I’ve actually focused on diet as of late and honestly feel so much better. I’ll be thinking of you this weekend!

  4. Those are some great numbers and they have translated into some fabulous race results for you. Such a shame that your calf blew up…I have a very weak right calf after tearing it a couple times and it seems like every long run sometimes I’m a step away from it going out again. Rolling and calf sleeves have really helped me…in the week or two leading up to a marathon I’ll even use an older pair to sleep in…it seems to help in the repair process. I’m sure you will still have a great race in Indy and with some non-marathon training time, you’ll be back refreshed and healed and ready to plan next year’s race calendar.

    1. Thank you so much for the advice. I will definitely be following it moving forward. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this to my calf, so I know I must have weak calves too.

      It comes down to two things that I slack on: strength and stretching. When I’m doing my calf exercises from PT and stretching consistently, all is right in the world. It’s when I slack there that it all goes to crap!

  5. Wow, 272 miles in a month seems totally unattainable to me! Kudos for that! At the same time I can see why your body would start getting run down. I think your goals and plan for the rest of November sounds smart, always a good idea to listen to your body when it is telling you to slow down a little.
    Good luck with Indy! I’d really like to run that one some day.

    1. Thanks Sandra!! I wanted to see how close I could get to 3 hours in Indy. I’m going in with a positive attitude but I well am aware that there’s a good chance it will be a walk run kind of day. I’m traveling with some friends so the getaway will be fun…its just that 26.2 miles that I need to suffer through first! LOL! What’s that saying? This too shall pass. Have a great day!!!

  6. You’re making such a wise decision to focus on recovery. I usually back down my mileage after my fall race until the new year and focus on doing mostly just easy miles. My mind and body can’t handle going hard all year round. Good luck this weekend at Indy!

  7. I wanna know what you’re doing for core! I need to do it too. Also, I started being more intentional about eating veggies and fruit and it gives me the worst gut ache ever. It’s like my body only knows how to digest Doritos.

    1. Dude the struggle with the veggies is REAL. I have been eating like SHIT for the past few weeks. I can tell I put on a few lbs, but I just keep eating. It’s the eating my feelings thing. I do that. I’ll get back to veggies soon. Maybe.

      For core, I LOVE the Nike Training Club app. And planks. And pole is great for it too. I also have some workouts my old coach gave me that are pretty awesome. I can dig them out and email them to you if you want!!!

  8. I like this conversation you had with yourself. Ironically, when I saw your mileage recap for October, the first thing I did was check mine, and then I started looking at if I could hit 2,000 for the year! Wow, 5 marathons a season! Dang, that really is a lot of miles. You do have a lot of talent, and honestly, taking a break can really help! I get a bit crazy feeling coming off a marathon training plan and going down in miles. I’m so used to getting higher miles in that I feel bored when I don’t have the structure there! I like to think it’s a healthy addiction though 🙂

    1. I think if I didn’t cross train, I would have a harder time coming down off of a training plan. It really helps to be able to swim/bike/yoga/pole in place of running but it switches up the impact! Although then you start having too many addictions…ahhh so many fun activities, so little time!

  9. I really don’t know how you’ve done all these marathons! It’s tough work and if anyone deserves a break, it’s you!! Hope your calf holds up for the marathon – just remember to start SLOW and ease into it 😉 Good luck!!

  10. I think it’s good that you’re having these conversations with yourself. And even if the month didn’t turn out the way you want, you still accomplished a lot – in October and this year – and have all that to be proud of. They can’t all be Septembers.

    It’s so tempting to try to figure out a plan going forward, but maybe a good suggestion is to just not set so many expectations for yourself and figure it out as you go along? Looking back on my year, I think where I got into trouble was overcommitting and trying to put the cart before the horse when it came to races, goals and “plans”. Sometimes the best things happen when we’re just going with the flow and not looking. A great example is your pole class. Did you ever imagine, earlier this year before Grandma’s, that you would spend your summer doing so much pole fitness? Probably not. And yet, here you are, with a new hobby that you totally love, because you opened yourself up to something new that wasn’t part of the “plan”. There are times when rigorous planning makes sense, and times when it doesn’t. Maybe the break you crave isn’t just from high intensity training, but also from high intensity planning and feeling like everything you do needs to be figured out and scheduled and have some big purpose. Wait until after your marathon and just take it one day at a time. Run if you want to. Go to your pole classes if you want to. Or just watch Netflix and go for long meandering walks if you want to. You’ve certainly earned it!

    1. I am just getting caught up with the blog wold post marathon disaster (I finished though! This was the first comment I read and it felt so good to read it! I am absolutely going to go with the flow over these next 5 weeks. The only planning I will do is when I finally do start running again, to make sure I am running enough miles to begin training for Boston without injuring myself again. The last thing I want to do is jump into week 1 of training and BAM. Back to square one. But, it will all be very unstructured! Thank you so much for the advice and your kind words. There is absolutely a ton of Netflix in my future 🙂

  11. I definitely understand the quality vs. quantity dilemma! These days, I definitely focus more on quality since I am so injury prone. But to every thing there is a season, so that isn’t to say that some day I won’t have a different mindset. I love how you plan to reset and give your body some TLC with PT exercises, cross training, etc in Nov and Dec.

    I don’t really plan my “off” times, I just try to listen to my body and do what it needs. This past winter I did A LOT of walking and strength trained for times a week. I spent summer getting myself back up to running 5 miles comfortably, and now this fall I have been working on speed a bit. After my 1/2 in Dec. I am plan on just running for the pure enjoyment of it and not setting pace or mileage goals for myself. That will be FUN!

    1. Yup, there is a season for everything and this is the season for recovery and strength building for me! I need it. Come mid December, I’d like to be able to start Boston training so I need to get my butt to the gym for strength training, do yoga, go to pole classes, sleep a lot, and eat healthy! I need it, and it sounds fun!

  12. I’m sorry about your calf. Being injured, especially going into a marathon, is rough. Sounds like the recovery will be sweet!
    Also, I’m in the tide leagues, so I’m happy if I get a marathon once a season.
    I like to read about it your November goals. They look good and I wish you luck in pursuing them!

  13. I think you are getting some good perspective on everything. I think that whatever happens this weekend at Indy, knowing you have some downtime to focus on other aspects of life and training will be a huge relief for you (like it would anyone). While we would love to run/train super hard year round, it isn’t ideal and we aren’t as superhuman as we like. I love marathons, I really do. While I haven’t done as many as you (currently at 13, 9 states)- I understand the struggle of deciding what is enough or too much. The most I have done is 3 in a year (2011,2013,2014,2015). As much as I would love to crank out 4-5/season to get some states, or pace more races, or just experience- I struggle with the fact that I want the faster times. I don’t think I could do what I wanted (for current priorities/goals) if I was running many more marathons a year than I do now. That isn’t me knocking your races at ALL- in fact I do see myself a few years down the road leaning more towards quantity over quality but right now with marathons I’m about the quality (for most part). I love that you have been able to run so many AND keep some really strong quality as well- not many people could say that! I think you have a great opportunity coming up to think about all those options and use the MASS experience you have to make some cool decisions about training and racing. Either way, I think you’re gonna continue kicking ass.

    1. Well, in the past years I’ve had the luck of several friends pursuing the same 50 state goal traveling to the same places as me. When we travel together, we save money and we save our spouses/significant others the trouble of having to watch numerous marathons and sit in cars for long periods of time. So, we would do a whole bunch of races each season because we live in PA and there are so many that are within driving distance. We consider anything around 12 hours to be driving distance – but I’ve done up to 20 hours. Now, we all have almost the whole east done so we are left with lots of races to fly to. It won’t be possible to cram in 4-5 each season so I think the quantity thing will fix itself. But, I have to start realizing that when I start running faster, recovery is longer and it might not be the best thing to say the second marathon is my goal race. I have to be more careful about deciding which races I am going to “race” and which are going to be fun – and be okay with that decision on race day! I am excited to see which states you decide to check off as you pursue your goal!!

  14. I’m glad you’re feeling better about the calf injury– it must be super frustrating.

    I think it’s a great idea to slow down on the racing since you’re running so much faster than you were in the beginning. I would imagine that recovering from a 3:15 marathon is significantly more time consuming than recovering from a 4:00 marathon!

    If you do an Ironman, does that also count as a marathon in the state you choose? Because that would be a great way to force yourself to incorporate cross-training and give your running muscles a rest! /peerpressure

    1. That’s the thing – before getting speedier, my injuries were stress fractures. I found out I had a calcium deficiency and I saw a doctor and fixed the problem. I was able to start training more and piling on the miles and finally got speedier. My first real soft tissue injury was right after I ran my 3:06 PR – because I didn’t recover. I was back to training a week later, and guess what I did? Calf strain. So I don’t think I’ll run a PR until I can decide to race just one marathon – not multiple. When I didn’t run as fast, I could recover a lot faster. I got speedier in a short amount of time so I am learning this lesson the hard way. As for Ironman, I would definitely count it as my marathon for that state. That’s why I am eyeing up Cour D’alene – it looks so pretty there. It would be awesome to see that area over 140.6 miles! Did you sign up for it? My friend, Ashley, did. You guys should meet up!!

      1. Coeur d’Alene is really pretty! I went to college just over the state border in Spokane, WA, so I’ve been there a few times. The lake is just stunning! I did sign up for it (eek!)– it would be fun to know someone else who is doing it! 🙂

  15. Wow, that’s a lot of miles, year and month wise. Even with a bum calf you cleared 100 miles in October. I am sorry to hear that your calf is still being cranky though. I usually end up being super lazy in December but I wouldn’t necessarily call it recovery time though. My diet went of the rails in October- it was/is ridiculous. I am trying to get back on track but admittedly haven’t been trying that hard. 🙂 Good luck this weekend!

    1. Super lazy in December is a good thing! End the year relaxing and feel refreshed for the new year. Oh man, my diet was AWFUL this month. I am starting to fix it today. Ha! We’ll see how that goes. With the holiday season coming up this could get ugly!

  16. Great overview of your training and what’s to come. I find it so helpful to look back like that and set goals moving forward. I actually have some pretty similar goals myself (particularly diet + cross-training), so it’ll be nice to read some posts about working towards the same things 🙂

  17. I’m definitely taking a full 7-14 days off after this weekend. I need the recovery. And I don’t want to start running again until I can nail down what type of race I want to do in the spring. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself and just get through Indy & see where my fitness is at.

  18. Taking it easy after a marathon is SO.FREAKING.HARD. I commend you for mapping out your plan and goals ahead of time so you’ll have a routine, even if it’s not ticking off running miles every day 🙂
    I tend to agree with both quality over quantity, and the need to focus on short distances. Next Spring, I’m hoping to really race 2-3 shorter distances to build up my speed. Though I’ll be running Boston, it will be 100% for fun. I’m thinking of running Eugene to check off Oregon in May too, but again for fun. I’m not even sure I’ll be racing a marathon next fall. I want to see what spring holds first 😀
    Enough about my training though – I just tend to agree with your line of thinking. PLEASE enjoy Indy! I hear it’s a wonderful race, and though your calf is hurting – hitting 1:30 twice in one season, once after your fastest marathon of the year is CRAZY AWESOME! Don’t forget that the better you get, the smaller your steps of improvement will be. ❤

    1. Thanks so much! I had a super slow day in Indy and had to walk run, but I’ll do a whole post on it. I really did enjoy it, though and I checked the state off my list! Whew. I am so happy and relieved for this recovery season. I am also not sold on racing next fall, and perhaps just shot distances. I think it will all depend on how my spring marathons go. If I do well, I might not run a fall one to focus on short distances. If I do poorly, I might do the same thing to just change things up. We’ll see!

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