Time to Step Back

Libby Trails

SFM Ambassador & Guest Blogger Libby is training for her first Full Marathon this July. This week, she found support running with friends at the North Shore Trail.

Last week recap: My Training Schedule called for 34 miles. I messed up in planning and executing my shorter runs and somehow ended up doing a total of 15.35 miles instead of the 18 intended. Oops. But the midweek 6 miler felt easier than last week’s when it was my longest midweek run ever. I’m getting used to that middle length run during the week that will be a mainstay of the next 12 weeks of marathon training.

Plus I did 2.15 miles slow active recovery run the day after last week’s 16 miler, which raised my confidence some as it didn’t feel as bad as I had dreaded.

I spent Saturday morning trail running with a big group of supportive friends. The schedule I’d created called for 16 miles, so I went out planning to do 3 to 3 ½ hours on trails. Since trails are run slower, running 16 miles on trails would have been a lot longer cardio time, so when moving to trails, I suggest going by intended time of run versus intended mileage.  It was extremely hot and humid though and I finished 2 ½ hours of the run and called it a day. My abs were cramping, implying I really need to add in some core work during the week. This is a sad side effect of the wonderful trauma pregnancy has on the body (baby is now 4 ½ months old).

Libby Trails

When trail running, some runners advise running by time, not by distance. It’s a great challenge and will prepare you for the roads.

Make Training Specific
I’ve realized that I need to really study The SF Marathon elevation and where the hills are at. I plan to walk the uphills as predescribed walk break as part of my overall race strategy. Yet I didn’t practice that in my 16 miler a week ago and ran that straight through. I should be practicing what I plan to execute on race day! So even if my long run course is flat, I want to take walk breaks at the approximate timing and length of the uphills in the course!
Importance of Recovery Weeks
I’ve realized my schedule may be a bit aggressive in mileage and long runs for a first marathon so I’m going to take a small stepback this week. I also need to just be rational and realize that this is not a week to push it with the time constraints I’m under. I direct a women’s half marathon in Irving, Texas, Heels and Hills, that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s our 5th year and we’re having record numbers. I’m one half of the duo that puts on this race – Paula, my other half, has taken on a lot more than half this time around with me trying to prioritize my own marathon training and having 2 small kids. In the past, whenever I direct a race, the stress and time crunch tend to stall my own running significantly. With training for my first full marathon, I can’t afford to fall off the wagon that badly.

Heels and Hills

But a stepback week seems like a good idea. This week, I’ll pull back the mileage a little from originally planned. I’m thinking only 3 midweek runs of 4, 6, and 4, and then long run of 9-10 miles. That’s 3 rest days then, which will not be as restful as they usually would as race day involves being on my feet and picking up and moving things from 4 am to 1 pm. We’ll call that a cross-training day, LOL.

I think this will be a very important move in my training because it should allow some good recovery and then I can attack next week and jump back up to a 16-17 mile long run without as much exhaustion and fatigue that continued high mileage plus long hours preparing and implementing a successful half marathon race would cause.

Everyone Keep It Up!


So to everyone else training for their first or 15th full marathon, good luck and keep it up. And wish me luck Sunday as I follow the extension of my running passion and watch almost 2,000 women cross the finish line and celebrate getting active!

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

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