Sunday, April 25, 2010

Marathon Training on a Budget

This post is not about money, though speaking of money, now that I have been dropped by my running shoe sponsor (who shall not be named and shall not be blamed... can't complain about 5 years of free shoes!) I am SHOCKED at the price of running shoes! Since when are decent running shoes without even extra forefoot cushioning 110 euro?? Don't know if it is because 5 years has gone by since I last bought running shoes or because prices are higher in Europe/Italy than North America but seriously, I remember paying $110 CANADIAN dollars for really amazing running shoes.

But no I am not budgeting money here, I am trying to budget mileage. Once my spring half marathon is over, I will start focussing for my fall marathon. The last time I ran a marathon, I ran 110-130 km/week and did 9 long runs in preparation of 24, 24, 25, 28, 28, 30, 32, 33 and 38 km. This time around I essentially want to put myself on a mileage diet. Put another way I want to try and cheat, run a marathon in a time that satisfies me with minimal effort. Yes, I would like some gain without pain please and while we're at it, a side of free lunch!

It's not that I'm lazy (I am but that is not the principal motivator here) the issue is that 9 months after my section, my body still does not feel ready to run real marathon mileage. Whenever I get over about 100 km/week or over 25 km on a long run, I can feel a deep ache in the pelvic/groin area. It's hard to describe exactly where but it seems to be somewhere around the pubic bone. I always recover so I don't think it is a stress fracture, my intuition (blind guess) is that it is related to the surgical scars which are still healing. Anyone else out there have a similar experience after a c-section? How long did it take for the pain to resolve completely? Anyway I am hesitant to put my body through the type of marathon training I normally do and as a result I am trying to create a marathon training program on diet mileage.

So... my question to myself is, how low can I go? How little work can I get away with? The problem is that my endurance is not easily come by. I have natural speed but no natural endurance so high weekly mileage and multiple long runs have always been a necessity to run my marathon goal times. My hope is that the following will allow me to run a time that is personally fulfilling: mileage cycling between 75-105 km/week and six long runs of: 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 38. It's a little bit skimpy for a runner who is not naturally endurant but I am hoping this diet marathon training plan (marathon lite?) will be well tolerated by my still uncertain post c-section body.

Speaking of my post c-section body, if anyone has favorite exercises for core strengthening for runners that they would like to share, I'm listening. My core has never been weaker. All I know is the plank position (and I can barely do it... it's truly pathetic). I'm looking for exercises I can do by myself, at home with no particular equipment. Thanks!!


  1. God that sucks about your c-section. I've never heard a c-section called just a "section" before and I had to laugh out loud. But, back to all seriousness: So does it hurt underneath the area where your surgical scar was/is? Does it hurt when you press on the bone? Is it a pain deep in the pelvic area? It is only there when you run? What are you doing when it feels the worst? If you spread your legs far apart, does it hurt? Has it gotten better since your "section"? Yes, yes, I want to get to the bottom of this and I will get to the bottom of this even if it means a trip to Trieste. (oops, did I give the windy city away? :).

    My marathon prediction for SLG 3:19:49.

  2. SLG - I had never heard it called a section either until the day i gave birth, I had been on pitocin for 10 hours during my induction, not progressing AT ALL and the anesthesiologist stuck his head in the door and said (to the nurse) "are we going to section her?". good times!

    anyway it is totally sweet of you to want to figure this out. To answer your questions: 1. no pain associated with the abdominal scar but maybe with the uterine scar that I cannot see. 2. no pain associated with palpating the bone. 3. yes, it feels deep in the pelvic area. 4 & 5. it is only associated with running and feels the worst after a high volume work-out OR when I am running and suddenly have to change direction i.e. to avoid a person or car etc. 6. no pain with spreading legs. 7. after the initial healing period post "section" there has not been much improvement but this is confounded with me steadily pushing the mileage. I have been slowly but surely ramping up my long runs and weekly totals.

    Thanks for your marathon prediction. Interesting you chose 49 seconds... also don't sweat my weirdo pelvic, post-section injury thingy... you have a million things on your plate whereas I just have the cocotte and too much desert on my plate :)

  3. p.s. I should mention that we would be honored to have the Lorax, Natali, SR & you visit us in the windy city. Lots of amazing running trails and a race pretty much every week-end!

  4. Piccola, well, it sounds more like adhesions (or maybe just an internal area of scar tisue) than a problem with the pubic symphysis. That is good in the sense that you don't need to worry about running worsening it, BUT it also means, it might not ever completely heal. But the best advice I can probably give you is to find a doctor you like who you can see about it. Perhaps not what you wanted to hear, but the best I can do from here...

  5. I promised to email you and, now that I have some idea what you're planning, I guess I'll have to get to it. I'm coming around to the idea that runners that have good inherent speed and no endurance (that's both of us) when training for the marathon should focus on doing a few long runs with the speedwork done as part of those runs - the idea is to get used to running fairly well after one's already "spent."

  6. whenever you get around to it steveq - there's no rush. you have far more important things going down now (besides there's a lot of leeway in marathon training). just that idea you have already given me is helpful - makes sense to me, get the most out of long runs by running them on tired legs. surely a 32 km long run 8 km of tempo in it is worth 38 km runnning steady.