Gettysburg Marathon Update : Almost there!

Hi everyone!  Training is almost over and there are only 5 weeks until race day.  It's so hard to believe, and I almost skipped this update because I haven't been feeling that positive about training lately.  But, it's a new week and I'm going to look forward (by first looking back).  I've had 15 tough weeks of training so far, so I know that I can still reach my goal!  I'm not going to let a little shoulder stop me!

I'll be going through the past five weeks of training (the good and the bad) and talk about what I'll be working on for the final stretch of training.  This is also the last that I want to talk about my injury, because even I'm getting sick of hearing me whine.  Just a warning that I talk about it a lot in this post, but after this it's time to move on. Let's get into it!

A Look Back

I started training by following Kara Goucher's Half Marathon Plan, which I really liked.  After a few weeks, I switched over to a marathon training plan that's focused on breaking four hours.  The only thing that I've modified is switching up the speed work.  I'll incorporate some of the speed work in Kara's plan with the speed work in this plan and it's working out really well.

I like how in the marathon training plan, there are a lot of workouts done at marathon race pace.  I'm starting to get really comfortable running a lot of miles at this pace, and I know it'll help my confidence on race day.

In this section of training I also finished my longest training run/race ever- 20 miles at the Spring Thaw!  It was a great race and I was happy with how it went.

What's Working

I started out this section of training really strong, and here is what worked for me:
  • Consistency.  I've always known that my biggest problem with training was staying consistent.  I would have good weeks and bad weeks, but my mileage and intensity fluctuated a lot.  This time around, I made it my goal to stay consistent and not skip out on any workout.  I did a great job of that and can definitely tell a difference.  Making running in the morning (before work) a priority definitely helped out with this, so that I can't negotiate out of a run.
  • Listening to my body.  This is a hard one for me to do, but I learned that you really do have to listen to your body.  I knew something was wrong with my shoulder, and luckily stopped myself from pushing too hard (which also meant missing a race and a fun trip to DC!).  If I kept running, I could have caused a lot of damage to my shoulder which might have jeopardized my chances of making it to the marathon starting line at all!  Sometimes it's best to take off a few weeks early, instead of pushing through and being forced to take off a few months. 
  • Physical Therapy.  Going off of my last point- adding in physical therapy and low-impact cross training has really helped me stay focused and in shape during my time off.  I was lucky to only be out for two weeks, but I think a lot of that had to do with being proactive and taking my recovery seriously!  It definitely wasn't fun or glamorous to do daily exercises, and sometimes it really hurt, but in the end it was all worth it.

What's Not Working

I don't think it's any surprise what went wrong this quarter and what I want to work on, but I'll still list it out:
  • Injury! I was out for two weeks and still don't really know what caused my rotator cuff injury.  I had some people sending me advice or possible causes, and it seems most likely that it happened during yoga.  I tried out a new video that was more focused on strength, and it involved a lot of positions low to the ground and in chaturanga.  One cause of rotator cuff overuse is by having bad form in this.  Jennifer sent me an article that offered a fix so that no one else gets this same problem- "Keep your body in a straight line, from shoulders to hips and knees, as you lower to the mat.  If your upper body strength is sagging, drop to your knees on the way down and focus on hugging all of your muscles into your midline, engaging your core and thighs."
  • Getting back my fitness.  It's been harder than I anticipated to come back.  Two weeks sounds like nothing, but my body feels like it's been on a break for a year.  I'm working really hard to make up for lost time without overdoing it and causing a different type of injury!
  • Cross training.  Now, more than ever, I think that cross training is really important.  I'm going to be backing off of yoga since (I think) that's what caused my injury.  I want to add in other forms of cross training, and take advantage of the warmer weather by biking, hiking, and swimming.
  • Comparison.  I talked about that in this post, and it's still something I'm working on.  I was doing a lot better with this, but now that I feel like I'm far behind everyone it's getting tough!  I might have to get off of social media until my race so that I can focus on my own training and not compare myself to everyone else training for a race at the same time.

loved this quote from Bethany!


What's Next

My next race is the Gettysburg Marathon!  It's what I've been training for and I'm nervous and excited about race day.  I'm going to focus on staying healthy and strong so that I can get to the starting line injury-free.  I might have to re-think my goals (which I'll share right before the race), but for now I want to train as hard as possible!

What races do you have coming up?
linking up with Annmarie, Nicole, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday and Amanda for TOLT


  1. Re think your goals, but don't discount yourself. Give your best to these last weeks, rest up, do some speed drills, and then see what happens. You might surprise yourself!

  2. Do you feel your fitness coming back a little bit this week compared to last? I'm excited for you! It's crunch time!

  3. Everyone has setbacks in training. On the whole, you're doing great! You were so consistent and built up so much fitness. It's easy to magnify setbacks (like your injury), but a couple weeks off is not going to undo 3+ consistent months of work. I know it's easier said than done, but try looking at the bigger picture, and trust in the slow work of training.

    While I think sub-4 is still a very achievable goal for you, I understand the temptation to rethink goals. It sounds like you and I are very similar in that we both struggle with a lot of self-doubt, particularly in the wake of a setback. It can take some time for the fitness gains (or re-gains) to catch up with the work we are doing, but I'm confident your fitness is coming back, probably more than you think. Just hang in there - you're SO close!

    1. I think I'm going to keep that as my A goal, because you never know what will happen during race day. But no matter what, I'm going to be really proud of myself and use these lessons for my next training plan!

  4. I have a feeling that your injury didn't set you back as much as you think, even though it feels like it now. All that training and fitness doesn't go away in just 1 week, and you were able to get back to cross training the second week. Don't let it mess with your mind! I think staying away from social media is a great idea if it messes with your head. Good luck in this last phase!

    1. That's how I'm starting to feel! Just had to be upset for a little, now I feel determined!

  5. I literally just ran my first sub-4 a week ago so I'm no expert, but I really think that practicing that pace was the best thing I did during training. Just a couple miles into the race I told my friend that I had trained with and was running with how it felt like my legs were on autopilot because I had practiced running that pace so many times, and I was really surprised at how I was able to maintain it for the duration of the race.
    I'm glad to hear that your shoulder is finally on the mend! Best of luck getting through these last few weeks of training!


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