Marathon training in August was rough.

Marathon training isn’t meant to be easy. We aren’t conditioned to run 26.2 miles so we have to work for it. August had me wanting to throw in the towel. I almost switched to the half because I had such a bad month. It started off pretty well. I was confident I would hit 115 miles but I set a conservative goal of 100. I only ended up hitting 85 miles for the month and only managed to get one long run in the double digits. I was supposed to have long runs of 10, 12, and 14 and was only able to complete the 10.

I started out for the 12-mile run early on Sunday morning but I only made it around the block. I would classify what I was doing more as a shuffle than a run. I also started crying. Sadly, the day before my beloved dog Sheila had passed away. I found her taking her last few breathes and couldn’t get the image out of my head. I wasn’t ready for that run so soon after. My emotions were raw.

marathon trainingThe following weekend was a cut back week so I did 8 miles easy.

Then the weekend comes along for the 14-miler. I thought to myself, go out and aim for 12 and if you feel good just keep going. I do loops around my neighborhood so I can grab a cooling towel and Nuun Performance after 3-4 miles. I had two loops under my belt and had finished 8 miles. I started out for another loop and got about a quarter of a mile and sat down. I couldn’t go any further. I had absolutely zero energy. I trudged back home and collapsed on the couch for the rest of the day.

It was at this point that I decided to throw in the towel.

How could I complete marathon training if I kept missing long runs? Those are the keys to the whole thing! I woke up Monday morning and felt like shit. I had a dry, sore throat and a pounding headache. I was in no condition to go for a run so I changed my alarm to let me sleep more. The sore throat went away after chugging water like a mad woman. Tuesday I woke up to the same thing but also had a bit of a stuffy nose. Skip ahead and I’m sneezing like crazy and having a ton of snot. I take this as a rest week because I am exhausted. I went back out for a short run on Friday. It was more of a run/walk because of the whole breathing issue but overall it wasn’t bad.

I have decided to stick out the marathon training. I’ve switched to a less aggressive plan with more rest days.

I went back to Jenny Hadfield plans, which I’ve used for several of my shorter distance races. Instead of running every day with two rest days a month, I will now have one-weekend long run and three shorter weekday runs. Hopefully having a weekend rest day plus two during the week I will have more time to recover (and sleep). Apparently getting up at 4 am is a lot harder for me than I thought.

I also had my sleep test done in August to rule out apnea. I won’t find out until my appointment in October! The doctor is out of the office the entire month of September! (I wish I could take an entire month off, how awesome would that be?)

So, I still plan to line up on November 11th to run 26.2. I am slowly getting a little faster each month. In August I started getting consistently into the 12ish minute miles. September I hope to keep lowering my pace towards 11-minutes. I think it will be easier once it starts getting a little cooler out. I have to finish in 5 hours so I need to keep the downward pace trend up! Summers are always hard because when it is 90 degrees at 4 am it makes it really hard to push the pace. I can feel it though, my speed is coming back!

And now it is on to September! I have set my goal to 100 miles again and to keep pushing the 12ish minute pace. I hope to do just a little bit better than August!

How was your August training and what goals have you set for September?



Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.