Week 18: Hill Running, Recovery and Tapering

DTLA, downtown LA, evening, late afternoon, great workout,

Since last Sunday’s Ventura Marathon training run, I feel more relaxed and less anxious about the upcoming races, which is a great thing. However, the training run was so taxing on my body, this whole week was sort of spent on recovery, which is still continuing, in fact. It took almost 2 days for my legs to function normally. Now that the Santa Rosa Marathon is only 2 weeks away, it is time to concentrate on tapering.

Week Countdown Week Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total Amount
Week 18 8/3 – 8/9 Rest 5 3 6 6 3 12 35
3.41 0.58 7.33 0 3.51 12.34 32.08
Fartlek (5 miles)
Pace 7:14, 8:45, 7:33, 8:43, 7:09, 7:02 7:14 7:32 7:21
Time 4:11, 9:03, 8:54, 9:12, 7:31, 4:09.8 53:03.12 26:25 1:30:40
Elev Gain 0 ft, 416 ft, 121 ft, 416 ft, 103 ft, 40 ft N/A 55 ft 290 ft

It was probably worse than how I remember it when the Surf City Marathon was over back in February.

But then again, there’s a joke that the reason why we, marathoners, keep signing up for upcoming races is because we keep forgetting how painful it was in 3 to 4 months of time. Maybe there’s some truth in that.

I knew that the training run took quite a bit of toll on my legs and my body when it was over, and it took literally almost 2 full days of resting before my legs started functioning normally. I literally limped everywhere, and those comments from coworkers that I looked funny when walking were rather comforting, I would say.

By Tuesday evening when I felt like I could go for an easy run, that’s what I did. Just over 3 miles. However, the pace was out of whack. My shins were in discomfort and my calves were not enjoying the run. So, I took it easy.

view 3

And it just came to me that I should have fun even while training. So, instead of 5 miles of fartlek training, I did trail running on hills. It was great in that I was not thinking about running faster pace. It was just a different pace, a different elevation and different surroundings to appreciate.

my new Ascis Kayano 21 shoes My new ASICS Gel-Kayano 21 Shoes were great although I still need a pair of trail running shoes.

I was hoping to do another long run, about 18-20 miles, today (Sunday), but I guess it wasn’t necessarily meant to be. I woke up at 3:15 am, had breakfast, and took a nap before getting up at 5 am.

I thought I set the alarm.

But it was 6 something when I opened my eyes. Ugh…

So, I changed my mind to run later. In the evening.

And then, the sun disappeared in the morning and it got overcast.

So, I changed my mind again that it was time to hit the pavement.

I am glad that I did that although the sun came out at around the 9 mile mark. Thanks to the breeze that never subsided, the sun didn’t bother me much. And most of all, I kept the pace at between 7:15 and 7:20 although there were moments where I just couldn’t, meaning my legs were not recovered enough. It was so clear to me that I just couldn’t kept the pace in this condition after the 11 mile mark.

More recovery will follow.

And time to taper.

CicLAvia, LA Bike day event, road closures, Venice Beach, gorgeous day to ride a bicycle

Toward the end of the run, I ran into the mob of people on their bicycles. I don’t usually follow such events, but it is one of the annual ride a bicycle to the beach festivals called CicLAvia. It takes place in different parts of LA throughout the year, and they were biking through my neighborhood today. It did go through my area 2 years ago. Then it was literally 500 yards away from my place.

CicLAvia, LA Bike day event, road closures, Venice Beach, gorgeous day to ride a bicycle Bicyclists were heading to Venice Beach on Washington Blvd.

It actually occurred to me that it would have been fun to run with these bicyclists as an out and back run, turning a boring run into a spectacle with bicyclists’ fanfare.

The distance from my place to Venice Beach is 5 miles, and I could’ve easily turn this into a 12 mile run, which I have done in the past.

Maybe next time.

I’ll focus on my legs’ full recovery this week while tapering. Now that I’ve got only 2 weeks left till the race day, I do not see the point in trying to run long miles as my legs still need to rest up and get ready for the long hours of endurance on the race day.

How is your training going? Did you run any race today? How did it go? Are you running the Santa Rosa Marathon in 2 weeks? Are you ready?

Thanks for reading.


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About H Peter Ji Photography

I am a photographer. My photos have been sold on EyeEm, Adobe Stock and ShutterStock and also featured on ViewBug and G+ Landscape Photography Community, and via Death Valley National Park Instagram and Facebook. My work is the natural byproduct of my love for outdoors - backpacking, hiking and camping in nature.

9 responses to “Week 18: Hill Running, Recovery and Tapering”

  1. 유다맨 says :

    Saturday was my long run day. I ran 6.34 miles and I took some photos while I was running. This is a photo story of my run: https://photos.google.com/story/AF1QipM0ZzgFBgP1VPnhuAZ4NztCnqRYqgCvYVjZEkrQ-DmJXG-p9rrJDd6zkZlV5mrEDA
    I run 3-4 times a week and I am following a Marathon Training Program Provided by Garmin. I ran 50 miles last month and I will run 60 miles this month. I do Cross Training (Yoga, HITT) 4 times a week.

    One concern is tapering because I don’t run much of distance. My marathon program is based on time not on distance. For instance, this week’s training plan is consisted of 25 min. of Easy Run on Monday, 4 x 5 min. Threshold Run Tuesday, 40 min. of Fartlek Thursday, and finally 40 min. of Long Run Saturday.

    What do you think of my plan? Is it too less? So far it is working for me well. I was able to shorten my finish time by 15 min. in a recent half marathon.

    I come to your blog to see how you are progressing toward your goal as I also have a dream of running Boston Marathon in 2017. I will be 50 years old by then.

    I hope you recover your leg soon. Let’s keep in tough!

    Liked by 1 person

    • @ScorpioOnSUP says :

      Thanks for taking your time and commenting. First off, that’s great that your plan is working for you. I’m not familiar with such plans from Garmin, but if it works for you, that’s what counts. For the purpose.

      By the way, somehow logging in with my gmail account on my iPad didn’t help me view your photos with the link that you shared. I’ll check them out later when I get home. 

      For the record, I’ve never claimed or thought that I’m an expert on this. In fact I constantly read up online articles and books that I can put my hands on to help me understand running better and improve my performance. So, you may disagree with what I wrote below or agree only to a degree.

      After applying at multiple levels with different techniques for the amount of time that I have had since I started training, I’ve come to agree with the widely accepted statement by many that endurance only can be built with running more. Nothing else. 

      Some may argue that they don’t have to run as much, and good for them. The only problem with that argument is that the majority of non-elite runners, including me, isn’t like that. In other words, for most of us, the amount of weekly or monthly mileage really matters. (And let me get back on this later again.)

      However I also need to go back and touch upon what I said above. Sustaining your progress.

      You will find out that running a full marathon isn’t anything like running a full. If you ask me, I’ll say that pounding the pavement for 13.1 miles is relatively easy, compared to 26.2 miles. Running a full marathon (so does a half but not as much) demands not only endurance but also speed (to qualify for the Boston, I should say). You are not trail running at 17 or 20 min/mi pace. Or you are not even ‘hiking’ when you’re tired.

      Depending on your age bracket, but unlike trail running, or running without planning to qualify (for the Boston), in order to run fast pace for such a long distance, building a proper level of endurance is crucial.

      Based on your age, the qualifying time for you is 3 hours and 30 minutes. Can you run that fast? Or what is your target pace when you actually run a full marathon? 

      Bottom line is that endurance is given. Or at least, that’s what I’ve learned over the course of my training. And it is the thing that keeps you going without losing a whole lot of steam and energy.

      You can reach the necessary level of endurance to run 13.1 miles with a descent amount of training. But for 26.2 miles? You are not just putting in twice as much of effort you put in mathematically. 

      As you know, anything can go wrong during a race. Your knee may act up. Or you may get dehydrated quickly. Or you may have cramps. What else? The longer you run, the more chance that you could get injured. It is just nature of any sport. And such a process does take a toll on your body, it’s not quick and easy to build the level of endurance it demands. And the only way to do it is racking in a lot of miles.

      50 miles a month or 60 sounds just about for a half marathon training. For a full? I’m running between 30 and 45 miles a week, deepening on how lazy I am (in spite of my usual level of determination), how busy I am at work (thanks to long hours) or/and how motivated I am. But 130 and 150 miles a month is just given because it is the only way to build the amount of endurance that I need to build to qualify.

      Don’t get me wrong. I’m not athletic. Nor do I think that I can run faster than, say, you because I am younger than you or that I naturally run faster than many to begin with. 

      A good friend of mine who hikes with me frequently (well, I have deferred my hiking a good part of this year till the end of my 2nd race in September so that I can concentrate on the training) said once, “there’s always someone who hikes faster than you.” I am considered one of the fastest hikers in our hiking meetup group consisting of thousands of members. But there’s always faster hikers. Surprisingly. Yeah, right. And he quipped, “Don’t sweat it. Just enjoy as much as you can.”  Oh, by the way, he is 72 this year and hikes like a 25 years old dude.

      The reason why I am bringing this up is that it comes down to the level of endurance (and conditioning – related to elevation) as far as hiking or running fast is concerned. I have hiking friends who are 10 years or so younger than me, and they hike super fast. Like #1 or #2 of the thousands of members fast. Funny thing is that they cannot run faster than me in the street. But as far as trail running goes, their endurance level is just through the roof.

      One of them can run 50 miles nonstop at 17 or 23 min/mi pace. A weekend before, he actually ran 50 miles for 17 ½ hours. These guys are training for ultra trail running races, and it is mind boggling whenever I think about it. We’re all on Strava, so we know exactly what each of us is doing or how many miles we run.

      But am I fast enough AND have I built enough endurance to qualify for the Boston? It remains to be seen. 

      Before I let you go, I must remind you that these elite runners of whom we are aware run a full marathon at 2 hours and 30 minutes or under, they run 90-100 miles per week while training. Sometimes more. There’s no other way to build endurance stronger other than running more.

      And you said you want to qualify for the Boston too. 3 hours and 30 minutes. 26.2 miles. Your goal.

      Please keep me posted with your progress. Qualifying for the 2017 Boston Marathon gives you enough time. I hope. And if I do not make it this year (for the 2016), then I will probably join you for the following year. 

      Liked by 1 person

      • 유다맨 says :

        I appreciate your concern and advice on building enough endurance. I was worried and that’s why I brought it up.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @ScorpioOnSUP says :

        I can attest to the fact that fatlek and interval training (particularly interval hill running) helps you increase your speed in a great deal. But if you can’t sustain a ‘fast’ pace for the entire 26.2 miles, it won’t matter.

        Like Serena Williams and Roger Federer said, there’s no way around the hard work. You have to put in the hours.

        Run more than you think you should. Hope you have fun training!

        Liked by 1 person

      • 유다맨 says :

        I bumped up my running distance goal to 100 miles for this month. I think I can achieve this.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @ScorpioOnSUP says :

        If you can, do it. If you have a plan that you can follow through, that’ll help you monitor your progress (for 100 miles per month). However, endurance never gets built overnight. Maybe you’re better than me in that department. Who knows, but based on my training, that’s what I learned. Do it as much as you can. Don’t deny the fact you are not ready when time comes. When you’re ready, you know you are. Like anything else in life. When you’re not ready, you just can’t make it happen. The goal is to go to Boston. Not when to go 🙂 Good luck!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • 유다맨 says :

        I’ve run 51% out of 100 miles so far. I feel that running 100 miles in Aug is possible.

        Liked by 1 person

      • @ScorpioOnSUP says :

        That’s great! But make sure that you get no injuries whatsoever. I’m saying this not because I am suffering from not only one but two but because injury happens mostly, well, one of the most common reasons that is, when you increase mileage too much too soon. And it looks like it may cost me the races I’ve been training for over 24 weeks… Injury free is the most important thing. Keep it up!

        Liked by 1 person

      • @ScorpioOnSUP says :

        I’ve just published a new post, and it’s maybe surprising a bit, but I am suspending my training and am very likely skipping the race coming up in less than a week. You will find out about why when you read the post. But the reason why I am saying that to you here is that it involves the idea of increasing mileage ‘too much too soon,’ which is the concern that I’ve already expressed to you earlier. And you will know why I said that when you read the post. Share your thought if you’d like.


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