libby

At North Texas Runners monthly run on Saturday. Libby leads a pack of runners in a little trail therapy with a short run with friends!

So last week I had just come off my biggest week ever with 40 miles run, including 20 miles Saturday and 11 miles Sunday. I went straight into a hard hour of strength training with my trainer on Monday, and then speedwork night on Tuesday with the North Texas Runners running club. And at speedwork, I ran half-mile repeats based on my pre-baby half marathon PR, forgetting that I’m still at slower postpartum post-C-section pace and in 90 degree temps in the evening in Texas. So by Wednesday, I was dragging, and by Thursday, I was in a real funk.

My trainer, Jeff, thought I might be on the verge of overtraining. 7 weeks out from the marathon isn’t the time to lose all my good energy, and I’m in great shape already having done 2 20-mile runs this far out when training for my first marathon. I forget that so many runners have only been running sometimes for 6 months when they start a marathon training program and may only top out at 1 run of 18-20 miles. So I blogged last week about the recognition that this must be what overtraining looks like.

Jeff told me Thursday he wanted me to take 3 days off running. I was a little panicky because I already had taken two running rest days that week and my miles were so low. But he had a good point that a big stepback week, just one, wouldn’t change a lot of the eventual race day outcome and would allow me to recover.

Most runners would fidget about taking so much rest. But he gave me a “job” to take my mind off of it. I was to focus on my calories and getting more sleep. I downloaded an app onto my new iPhone that would track my calories eaten and calories burned through exercise.

So for 3 days, I took it pretty easy. I ran Saturday morning with the North Texas Runners club but just did 2.5 miles, and just 1.3 miles on Sunday. So for me, that’s basically “taking three days off”. So that’s only 9.2 miles for the week. So many in marathon training would pass out thinking about a weekly mileage that low 7 weeks from the race.

But I do feel revitalized. And the calorie monitoring for the first time ever gave me more awareness to some of the hidden calories I was eating. I’m a junk food addict and didn’t want to lose all the fun in my bad-for-you food, but the awareness is starting to create small improvements. And it jump-started my metabolism too! I’m about 30-35 pounds overweight. This is frustrating because when people hear that I run 30-40 miles each week and weight train for 3 hours, you look me up and down and feel like I must be eating a whole take-out pizza for every meal. But this calorie monitoring and letting my overstressed body rest helped me drop 5 pounds in 4 days. It will be interesting what happens as I now increase my mileage back up but continue to watch my calories!

In Other News: I also totaled up my run miles for the year so far: 477 miles. This means I’ve now surpassed my total run miles in 2009 and 2010. Crazy! Here’s the stats and talk about run total goals for year-end 2011.

This Week: Get my miles back up, including trying to get an 18-20 miler in on Saturday. I’ll be starting at 5:30 am, thanks to the Texas heat. Tuesday was our first day of the year where we hit 100 degrees, two weeks earlier than the average day when it happens. This is going to be ONE HOT TEXAS SUMMER. The 40-55 degree temperatures at the San Francisco Marathon will feel wonderful!

Libby Jones has been running for 5 years, is a self-described “serial half-marathoner”, but has never attempted the marathon distance. She is also an active part of the Dallas-Fort Worth running community. She is the Founder and Race Director of the New Year’s Day Half Marathon in Allen, Texas; the Executive Race Director for Heels and Hills, a non-profit geared towards getting women fit and active; the North Texas State Representative for the Road Runners Club of America; past Dallas Running Club President & 2008 RRCA Scott Hamilton National Outstanding Club President Award Winner; and an RRCA-certified running coach. She’s also a wife to Steve and a mother to Marissa (3 yrs) and Sophie (3 1/2 months). Read her blog “The Active Joe” and follow her on Twitter @libbyruns