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The Long Run: Marathon Training Schedule Adjustments

Subtitled: Marathon Training Cycles are Like Children and Should Not be Compared. And this one needs an adjustment!


Thank you to April, Patty, and Erika for hosting this recap running post! (It isn’t the full year in review, but it does encompass a lot of my year in a nutshell. For more on my full year, see yesterday’s post!)

I am telling myself! I’m getting my infusion done today, and, as we know, I tend to get a bit reflective when that is on the agenda. Don’t worry, this isn’t a super deep post, but it is aimed at putting into practice some of my resolutions from yesterday, as well as looking back on the past 7 weeks (since my last infusion). Also, I am sorry for my nonrunning readers! Come back for some great food tomorrow, or look back at my Year in Review from yesterday! And last few days to enter my Manna Organics Giveaway!

By all accounts, I have been having a pretty lovely past 7 weeks, and I won’t dispute that fact! I am fortunate to be in overall good health, surrounded (either in person, by phone, or by blog/internets) by people that I love and that at least pretend to put up with me, and not to have too many things to fret about.

But today? I want to fret a little bit about something that is totally insignificant in the long run, but is pressing a little bit on my mind at the moment. Ie, the Monkey Wrench in the Ointment. Or a Need to Adjust my Marathon Training Schedule.

unimpressed dog

I have strained my calf. Not the muscle itself (like the gastrocnemius) but the soleus at the insertion point–essentially the direct center of my calf (from all directions). I woke up with a definite strain Sunday morning, and though I rested like a champ (ie biscuit-sat and ate everything in sight (as I continued to recover from the long run the day before)). I have had this problem before, but the last time was the beginning of April. I think that this is all tied to my ongoing glute-activation and thus hamstring issues, and so likely also tied to the hamstring annoyances of the first two weeks of the month.

Oh. Hello. You know how sometimes you just have to say something to have it make sense. Well, it just clicked.


I was going to say that I thought this was all tied to changes in movement patterns (less yoga, more running, less just walking around, treadmill usage) related to winter as well as the fact that I haven’t had the best GI cycle since my last Remicade (immediately got GI bug, then weeks of weird eating, traveling, and having some unmentioned on the blog gastro… um… things (NO MOM IT IS NOT AN EMERGENCY JUST GAS). Sorry, I was going for vague but when you have Crohn’s and a mother who loves you, well, that is just how it has to be. I had 3 count-em 3 emergency bathroom stops on my run on Saturday. And that night, I was incapacitated with gas-cramps. Worst in a very long time. Just wanted to be up front.

Anyways. Over the past 7 weeks, I have been noticing a bit of a pattern–increasing mileage goes very well for me in that week but then things fall apart in the week after. I have found this bewildering–I am running so well in my Newtons that I just bought 2 more pairs. Then I ran in one of my new pairs on Saturday, and things were magical (the stomach was the issue, but my body felt FANTASTIC). I have felt so strong on my runs, like I can take over the world.

I was really feeling amazing. Like, “girl, you got this, make this your biatch” amazing.

badass unicorn

But then I have these setbacks. Like, high mileage week awesomeness then out of nowhere must-rest-because-of-strain issues.

So I am retoggling a bit. In an effort to get to the starting line (in exactly 2 months) healthy (but obviously not wealthy or wise, hello) and happy, I am going to apply my concepts of exploration and seeking balance/equilibrium. I have strayed a bit from the path, and now I am going to return to it, in a sense.

keep going

Dial back mileage a little bit, get more spinning in, more yoga, and probably will do some workouts in my Ravennas, which will take some of the pressure off my soleus and achilles. I need to work on my hamstrings and insertion points, work on my activation and strength. So, the tentative plan (body willing),

  • This week: work on endurance and pick up on the bike (which will not affect my calf), slowly incorporate plantar flexion exercises back into my daily life, massage.
  • This weekend, because I have an awesome visitor: go for a short run on the lake front. Next week I will reassess.
  • First weeks of January: Strength, plyo, jump rope (for the plantar flexion) in doses, adding back in running but working on strength
  • Last weeks of January: get back up to peak mileage
  • Second weekend of February: hit peak mileage and fly to PITTSBURGH
  • After that, taper out.

Additional notes:

  • I need to remember to not compare my marathon training cycles. Here is your Suz Metaphor for the Day: A Marathon Training Cycle is Like a Child. You can’t compare them–some will be perfect, some will be rebellious. But regardless, you do your best.
  • Decrease my mileage back to being solidly in the 30s. I don’t need more than that. It isn’t going to help me more than it is going to hurt me.
  • Get my eating back on point. I have been having a ton of fun, but now is the time to get a bit serious.
  • YOGA and rolling once things are feeling better.
  • After the marathon, it is time for a well deserved break for my body. And this time, I really mean it. I have worked hard, I had accomplished much, but I have to remember that I am both normal and abnormal, and both types of people need to rest.

If I accomplish my goal of a BQ at Phoenix, I will be ecstatic. But you know what? If I don’t, I am ok. Either way, I am living beyond anyone’s expectations of what a body with Crohn’s can accomplish.

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  • Reply Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    Last summer when I trained for Chicago, I did low miles and lots of cross training/HIIT/intervals. I crushed my race with a huge PR. But man, did I get flak from “seasoned” runners. We’re all on our journey and the comparison game can be a dangerous thing. Keep doing your thing!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Dr Google is NOT your friendMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 6:10 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I always say, seek guidance, but do YOU. And this is just proof that I need to do just that!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:27 pm
  • Reply Annmarie

    Aw Suz, I am so sorry you’re not feeling well and your leg is bothering you- what a yucky combo!!! You are definitely a champ though and you will prevail! <3
    Annmarie recently posted…ASICS Gel-Fit Sana ReviewMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 6:29 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks, Annmarie. Sometimes I just have a little too much fun, I guess!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:26 pm
  • Reply Anna - Piper's Run

    Oh dear, sorry to hear about your calf and stomach problems….that’s just not fun. One day at a time….tomorrow is a new day you badass unicorn 😉
    Anna – Piper’s Run recently posted…2014 Went Like This…My Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 6:43 am
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    I know exactly what you mean by a great week followed by a week where everything falls apart. It’s so frustrating! I like your metaphor. There are so many factors that go into training, so it makes sense that we will constantly need to adjust and adapt. Your plan sounds great and you will get where need to be!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…A Look Back at 2014: Running and RacesMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 7:29 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks boo–I’ll be out there causing trouble in no time!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:26 pm
  • Reply Janelle @ Run With No Regrets

    It is clear that you know your body VERY well! It sucks when you get these setbacks, especially when things are going well. I am sure you will figure out how to make things right again! I hope you have a Happy New Year!

    December 30, 2014 at 7:41 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I do indeed know this little body of mine very well, but sometimes I forget to listen, haha. Thank you for the encouragement, and have a fantastic New Year yourself!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:25 pm
  • Reply Cassie

    TOTALLY agree with your points right now… especially getting eating back on track and yoga/foam rolling. I have been TERRIBLE about both of those lately!! Here’s to you getting that BQ injury free xoxo
    Cassie recently posted…Most Popular Posts of 2014My Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 7:48 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      How about let’s both get our acts together, yes? I will if you will!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm
  • Reply Julie @ Running in a Skirt

    Its so frustrating to have a great week and then have a set back. It seems to be a “thing” with running. My spirit gets bruised when this happens. You are overcoming so much with Crohns and you should be proud regardless.
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt recently posted…Reflections & Top 14 of 2014My Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 7:50 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Aw, thank you, dear. But hopefully, with a little editing, it’ll be nothing but good from here on out!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    I strained my calf at the start of a marathon training cycle and the first month was miserable BUT I ended up BQing so don’t fret! This is the perfect time in your training to scale back. If you don’t already take two days off after your long run I would say go ahead and do it right now. There is some evidence that experienced marathoners are okay on a 3 day a week training cycle for awhile so I wouldn’t be afraid to do that either.

    Also, running on a treadmill tends to no really use your calves. So many runners have a painful transition when they switch back to the road. A lot of massage therapists make their money in the spring when runners come back from the gym. I know mine loves it!

    Also, you could consider changing your long run schedule around a tad if that might help. Sorry I am being totally nosy and giving opinions when I am not asked but just worried about those painful calves!
    Sarah recently posted…Ways To Anger A RunnerMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 8:05 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      SUCH a gopod point! I was so concerned with my hamstring that I totally forgot that all the pressure was getting transferred to my calves, while my hamstring was getting a break!! YOU ARE A GENIUS
      But yeah, I’m going back to my schedule that I know works–just like you said–and that means the 3x week with my double rest. YOU SO SMART

      December 30, 2014 at 2:23 pm
  • Reply Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie

    I learned this lesson too: A Marathon Training Cycle is Like a Child. Preach! I think my first round of marathon training last year was so nice and so easy that I thought to myself in typical first parent fashion “Oh, another one of these won’t be bad at all!” And then the second round hit and I was gifted the child from hell…or at least that’s what training feels like this time around.
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…Mamma Chia Review and GiveawayMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 8:20 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      and then you give birth. lol

      December 30, 2014 at 2:22 pm
  • Reply Courtney @ Running For Cupcakes

    I’m in the Chicago airport on a layover right now and I wish I was here longer so I could FINALLY meet you in person!!

    I’m sorry your calf isn’t cooperating with you. Those pesky injuries! I hope you start to feel better all around soon and can have more good training days than bad. At least you’ll be ready for anything on race day right?!
    Courtney @ Running For Cupcakes recently posted…2015 Running GoalsMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 8:33 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Dude, you know that come race day, I will be ready for war. And yes please, next time sit your pretty little tush on the runway until I get there!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:21 pm
  • Reply Jennifer Lefforge

    Great post. I’m in training for my 4th marathon and it’s ALWAYS this way – 3 steps forward and maybe not a full 2 steps back, but at least a step and a half! Frustrating and yet so the nature of the beast. Can’t wait to hear about Phoenix! I’ve heard it’s a great course and I lived there for 15 years so it would be like going home.
    Jennifer Lefforge recently posted…Review! Special K Chewy Snack Bars!My Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 8:40 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Oooo, well then I hope that I do it justice! And it is both comforting and annoying as heck that this is just the story of training–but at least it means that we are pushing and learning.
      Or I’m just dumb, lol.

      December 30, 2014 at 2:20 pm
  • Reply Deborah @Confessions of a Mother Runner

    I think you are approaching this in a really smart way and that’s how you ward off long term injuries. Speedy recovery my friend!
    Deborah @Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Best of Meatless Monday~2014My Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 8:55 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, dear! And I just saw that IG of you in a boot????!!! Damn, mama!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:19 pm
  • Reply Michele

    Sorry you have been struggling! Two things I have BIG empathy for are anything GI and running injuries. Heck, I’ve had all the worst of both at the same time and I know it’s not fun. And I love your metaphor! Having more marathons under my belt than children now, I totally get it and it’s so true. Still, on both accounts, it’s hard not to compare and I’m guilty of it!
    Michele recently posted…Best of the Blog 2014My Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 9:25 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Haha, glad to have your approval–you definitely know what you are talking about in so many ways! Thank you for commiserating with me–I just needed to get it out there!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:19 pm
  • Reply Mar @ Mar on the Run

    ugh, sorry to hear about your calf issues. And you’re right, each training cycle is different and you can’t compare. I’m still trying to get my ish together from marathon. Hoping focused half training gets me back into the swing of things!
    Mar @ Mar on the Run recently posted…Mar on the Run… is 2!! (& Giveaway)My Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 9:52 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think it will–sometimes we just need to get back to basics and reasserting the foundational elements. You and I will take ova this year!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:18 pm
  • Reply Sara @ Lake Shore Runner

    You are definitely living beyond everyones expectations! And another great analogy that I immediately laughed out loud about:

    Here is your Suz Metaphor for the Day: A Marathon Training Cycle is Like a Child. You can’t compare them–some will be perfect, some will be rebellious. But regardless, you do your best.

    I had two great running days back to back and then I had an awful one two days later. Felt like I as dragging a grand piano. My hamstring on my bad leg has been nagging me for days. I am on my way to DC where my aunt is a yoga instructor. Lots of yoga will be had 🙂
    Sara @ Lake Shore Runner recently posted…Tried it Tuesday #7: 2014 Link-Up RecapMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 9:58 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Get her to work on that. I need you back here so that we can have a date. I have been seriously bereft of my Sara recently.

      December 30, 2014 at 2:17 pm
  • Reply Meranda@Fairytalesandfitness

    I know all too well about set backs! I love your subtitle about no comparisons. That is so true! -M

    December 30, 2014 at 10:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It is so easy to get caught up in the comparison trap. I SAY NO MORE

      December 30, 2014 at 2:16 pm
  • Reply Carson

    Suz- you’re such an inspiration. Running with Crohn’s is an accomplishment in itself. BQ’ing?!?! Well that’s just amazing. You rock, lady! I KNOW you can do it!
    Carson recently posted…I ran a marathon.My Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 10:31 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      You are way too sweet to me! And I think that is why I am so fine with taking what my body will give me–I’m going to push it, but I have to respect it! And you and your hubs are inspirations, don’t you forget it!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm
  • Reply Shawna

    love the last line and that perspective, which i see shine through so much in you — your gratitude and acknowledgement of being able to live beyond what anyone with your condition might think they could do. you continue to push your own limits and take on life with gusto, in all arenas, and i so love that about you. get your rest, take care of your body like i know you know you should, and keep on being awesome.
    Shawna recently posted…Year in Review: It’s been a time, 2014.My Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 10:36 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I need you to follow me around and whisper sweet nothings into my ear….

      December 30, 2014 at 2:17 pm
  • Reply meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles

    I hope your calf feels 100% soon. It’s so true that each training cycle is different. And, like you, I have amazing running weeks followed by what the heck is wrong with me weeks where I am slower and notice little twinges that weren’t there before. And, I was just thinking that my PR Half marathon was accomplished while running less and spinning more! Go figure.
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles recently posted…The Food Mistakes I Made In DisneyMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 11:02 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I know! And that is what I did for TCM–need to get back to what works!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:16 pm
  • Reply Suzlyfe's mommy, Clare

    …..and, thank you for the “mom” insertion, as I was looking for my cellphone when I read the first few paragraphs!
    You know, over the years you have been on it, I expect Remicade to always be the magic cure, and it has been that for you for so long. I have to remember that your body changes on its own and sometimes even magic has to contend with the Suzlyfe.

    There were days back in the show ring, when you and__________were on the same page and it was magic–no one couls beat the two of you. Then there were days when one of the two of you, was not having your best day, and the magic wasn’t quite there. You had a number of wonderful equine buddies whom you partnered with–but sometimes even the best of friends have off times together.
    I need to remember that Remicade is a drug therapy, and like some of your horse-partners, you aren’t always on the same page.

    And you let me know if I should worry—I do it so well!

    December 30, 2014 at 12:05 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Love you, Mom. And we will let you know if there ever is cause to worry. YOU DO THE SAME!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:15 pm
  • Reply Sam @ PancakeWarriors

    Hell yeah you are a bad ass unicorn! Love that – so you and made me smile so big! You got this running thing down pat girl – just make the adjustments and move forward 🙂 Hope your calf gets better quickly!
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors recently posted…Beginner Guide to Clean Eating eBook LaunchMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 12:34 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thanks, boo–and you be one bad ass unicorn too. Bad ass is as bad ass does!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:15 pm
  • Reply Jen @ Pretty Little Grub

    I didn’t know you were trying to BQ at Phoenix! Get it girl. Your training sounds a lot like mine. Less mileage but more yoga and spinning. I think it’s a great way to go about it
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…2015 Goals & ResolutionsMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 1:35 pm
  • Reply Heather @Fit n Cookies

    can’t wait to arrive! And.. you’re coming to Pgh?!?!?!
    Heather @Fit n Cookies recently posted…Warm You Up Tabata Style WorkoutMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 1:55 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      and yep–for Caitlin’s bridal shower! As soon as I know actual details, I will send them over to you!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm
  • Reply Erin @ Erin's Inside Job

    Good advice. When I was training for my half last year I started out religiously following a training plan, but then realized that I understood my body the most of all and that some things could be tweaked. I used it more as like a backbone and added and subtracted some things. I know the annoyance and frustration of an injury while prepping for a race and I hope that things get back on track and your calf feels better soon!
    Erin @ Erin’s Inside Job recently posted…Why I Stopped Using My FitbitMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 2:10 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think I need to go back to what I know works FOR ME rather than what is working for others. I have gotten way too caught up in the “run all the miles” and less in weighing the benefits to my body! But now I need to put in the real and right work to get what I want!

      December 30, 2014 at 2:14 pm
  • Reply Ange @ Cowgirl Runs

    Whenever I have calf tightness it is always my soleus and that bugger in a pain in the arse to stretch and an even bigger pain when it comes to massage. Ew.

    Rejigging training plans is normal and what’s awesome is that YOU are listening to YOU and aren’t pushing through because you feel like you “should”.
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…TYT: Boxing DayMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 10:14 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I have learned the hard way that you gotta be careful. And do more yoga. MUST DO MORE YOGA

      January 2, 2015 at 11:41 am
  • Reply Farrah

    Aw man! :[ I’m sorry to hear that you’re not feeling well/about your calf strain! I hope you feel + get better soon! Your positive mindset will definitely help! ;P Rock on, badass unicorn! You’re still kickin’ butt left and right!
    Farrah recently posted…Fish Taco BowlMy Profile

    December 30, 2014 at 10:52 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Hahaha the badass unicorn is the cure for all 😀

      January 2, 2015 at 11:41 am
  • Reply Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    More yoga is on my list for 2015 too.

    Also, I shall be in the states in September. We should meet up 🙂
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on Yoghurt, Feta and Cranberry Dip by DanniiMy Profile

    December 31, 2014 at 5:08 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      BLEEP yes.

      January 2, 2015 at 11:41 am
  • Reply lindsay Cotter

    holidays and eating and new shoes and well… more changes can be hard on the long run. The body is so sensitive. So way to back off and listen!

    December 31, 2014 at 6:28 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      And I tend to forget that I have these other things going on–I tend to just blaze on with my sword of fire. But you know what? THAT ISN”T FAIR. I gotta be smart here.

      January 2, 2015 at 11:42 am
  • Reply Charlottesville Pt 3 (Fry's Spring Station) Pizza and Beer #Wiaw - Suzlyfe

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    December 31, 2014 at 6:40 am
  • Reply Michael Anderson

    “Either way, I am living beyond anyone’s expectations of what a body with Crohn’s can accomplish.”

    And to me that is the thing – we all set up these constructs of what we need to be doing … but why?!? If someone gets a BQ and we do not does that make them ‘better’? No! Were they faster that day? Sure – but that doesn’t even mean they had a better race or day or training cycle or whatever.

    I always come back to the quality systems tool called the ‘Five Whys’ – keep asking yourself Why? until you get to the core of what something is happening or what your motivation is for something.

    And while you’re at it … feel better 🙂
    Michael Anderson recently posted…2014 in Review, and My Running (and Non-Running) Goals for 2015!My Profile

    December 31, 2014 at 8:52 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think that little kids’ habit of asking why is something that we can all learn from. THEY might not know why they are asking the why’s, but the investigation mindset is something that we could all use.

      January 2, 2015 at 11:43 am
  • Reply Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    Ok, so….your explanation of your strained calf is exactly the same as me last March after wearing Newtons. They feel great when you are running, but they may not be the shoe for you…ok, off my soapbox. I saw a chiropractor for my strain who used laser therapy and it worked wonders. You may want to consider someone who can do that…it’s worth a shot. I’m getting a bit frustrated as well. As you know I’ve been sick and my marathon training was supposed to start 4 weeks ago. yea, obviously THAT didn’t happen. I still can’t walk up my townhome stairs without being EXHAUSTED at the top, there is no way I’m going to be back up and running in the next few weeks….maybe short runs, but nothing long. Totally freaking out. Paris….definitely won’t be PR material which I was hoping for and if I have to crawl across the finish I will, but I’m not going to lie….I’m worried.

    January 1, 2015 at 5:50 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Paris may not be for a PR but in my mind, Paris shouldn’t be–it should completely be for the experience. I think that if you went out there hell bent for leather you would be sorry to have lost the experience. But one of the great things about your body and the fact that you were in such incredible shape prior to the illness is that you will be able to bounce back. Take a deep breath, retoggle, and make a plan. And believe.
      I actually thought about you when my calf started hurting because I remembered what you had said about your own issue from last year. So I think that i am going to see what happens. I am going to work on strengthening and PT, and sub in the Ravs here and there. But I’m going to try to stick with them, even if only for the shorter runs–they are helping me get stronger in certain ways, I just might not be ready for the longer runs in them!
      I’m always here if you need to talk, my dear. Always.

      January 2, 2015 at 11:47 am
      • Reply Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

        I am in total agreement. It’s hard not to have the PR thing in the back of your head. But the illness has sealed the deal on that one, I just want to run and say “holy shit, I’m running freaking PARIS!!!” Sounds like you are being smart about the newtons, take it easy 😉
        Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…My Year of Running and Racing 2014My Profile

        January 3, 2015 at 5:41 am
  • Reply The Imitation Game Quotes for the New Year - Suzlyfe

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    January 1, 2015 at 7:27 am
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