Marathon Training: Week 5

I’ve completed the fifth week of marathon training, but chances are quite high that my race will be canceled. It’s amazing how rapidly things are changing across the planet. I’m impressed with how quickly people are adapting to ever-changing situations. New business models are being developed on the fly. Friends and families are completely changing how they interact with one another. Yet for every single thing we make an adjustment for, there are a handful of others that we still have yet to figure out. The future has never been more difficult to predict.

So while it’s safe, I’ll continue to run. It’s the only real sense of normalcy anymore. I’ll probably run more inside on the treadmill, even though the weather is becoming nicer and nicer. I’m fortunate to live in a rural enough place that I can run for many miles without coming near another person. So long as the consensus is that it’s safe, I’ll continue to run.

But this pandemic has me paying attention to research I might not have been interested in before, particularly when it comes to the effects that high volume training has on the immune system. We all know that exercise is good for the immune system, but at what point is it too much? There’s some research that suggests that people have a weakened immune system after racing a marathon. If this is true, when does this come into play? Just after the race, or is this weakened immune response realized during training? Is it the peak training weeks you need to be most concerned with, or is it most of the entire cycle? Normally, I wouldn’t care; I’d be okay with trading the potential increased risk of a minor cold or flu. But is it wise to have a weakened immune system while this pandemic sweeps across the globe? Maybe it is; maybe it isn’t. I’ll keep an eye on the research.

(Note: I’m starting weeks with Monday now, instead of Sunday first as the case with previous entires.)

We’re also at the time of year where two days can look entirely different, or one half of a long run can look completely different than the other.

Snowy road
Slushy road

Monday: 9 miles, with 5 miles at lactate threshold pace. It was a great day outside and I felt good on this run. The footing wasn’t great, with some puddles and ice, but I’ve run through worse.

Tuesday: 5.5 miles recovery.

Wednesday: Ran 11.2 miles for my medium long run, at a little faster than GA pace.

Thursday: Rest day.

Friday: 5.5 miles recovery on the treadmill.


Saturday: This was supposed to be my long run day, but I had a terrible headache and was completely exhausted. I spent most of the day sleeping. Probably a flu bug.

Sunday: Felt better enough today that I decided I’d give the long run a chance. I gave myself permission to cut it early if I needed to, but I felt good so I completed the 16 miles with 10 at marathon pace as planned. It was really hard to maintain pace during this run, however, owing to the road conditions. A large portion of the run was alternating icy patches or puddles of slush that were 2 or more inches deep.

Totals for the week: 47.26 miles / 6 hours 56 minutes

Totals for the training cycle: 209+ miles / 31 hours 18 minutes

What do you think?

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