Oakland Marathon Training Recap: Week Seven

Oakland Marathon Training wk 7

Welcome to my weekly training recap for the Oakland Marathon. Read prior week recaps.

The full intro can be found in my week one post. The short version is that I am training for April’s Oakland Marathon. I am also a coach and pacer for my local running club’s weekly group training runs.

My Goals for Oakland Marathon Training

  • Hit my assigned pace every week in the group training runs
  • Do strength and general fitness workouts 3 times a week. The past few months I have been using the Nike Training Club (NTC) app for my workouts. I just started a 6 week ‘get fit’ program with 3 or 4 workouts a week
  • Do my morning stretching routine every morning

The Plan v. Reality Week 7

Plan4 miles
7 miles4 miles
12 miles @ 11 min/mile pace
Actual4 miles
30 minute NTC
7 miles4 miles
45 minute NTC
12 miles @ 10:47 mi/mile pace
30 minute NTC


Only stretching this morning. I feel like I could have done more, but I try to enjoy the free days when I get them. With so many days on the calendar when I double up on running and strength workouts, days off are a luxury.

‘Doing more’ is rarely beneficial.


I’m at my best when I have a pattern for my day – I get up, do this and then do that. If I don’t have to think about it too much it’s more likely to happen. On days like today when I have both a run and a strength workout, my pattern is to go for a run first thing, come home, stretch, then do the strength workout

It’s a fine line between a pattern and a rut, but I think I find a good balance.

Today, however, mother nature had different plans. It was raining fairly heavily when I woke up and the forecast was for the rain to continue all day. I knew I’d come back from my run soaking wet and would only want to jump in the shower, so I reversed the order: workout first, then run.

It was a challenge to do a 30-minute workout (‘The Descent’), filled with more than its fair share of squats, then run 4 miles on a course that is basically one big hill. My quads can only take so much.

But as my mother always says, what does not kill you only makes you stronger.

It was pouring rain for my entire run. I was soaked to the core inside 10 minutes. I for sure met my goal of powering up the hills, mostly because I wanted nothing more than to finish the run and get out of the rain. My motivations may have been off, but who cares if it gets me to my goal?


My usual running shoes are still soaked through from the deluge yesterday. While the rain has stopped, there will be mud and rain puddles. So this morning I faced the runner’s dilemma: do I wear the wet shoes from yesterday or my new shoes that I’m still breaking in?

I wore the damp shoes.

I’m not a neat freak that is afraid of getting my new shoes dirty, but after several days of rain in a row, the potential to totally ruin the new shoes before I even fully broke them in was just too high.

Added bonus: Being weighed down with water, my shoes weighed a fair bit more than they usually do. Extra little leg workout!


Not a bad view of San Francisco on this morning’s run. Almost worth the mile+ uphill climb to get here #seenonmyrun

A photo posted by Sara Kurth (@puffincoaching) on

My shoes are still damp from Tuesday. My usual trick for drying shoes is to stuff them with newspapers and let them sit. This time, even the newspaper trick doesn’t seem to be helping.

The 45 minute NTC workout ‘Perfect 10’ was on tap for today’s strength work.

It started out well enough, but after about 20 minutes I really wasn’t feeling it anymore. That started an internal philosophical debate: How much of a workout do I need to do before I can bail and still say I did it?

Posting these recaps has been great for my accountability. I think I would be bailing on my strength workouts much more often if I wouldn’t have to then write it down and publish it for all to see.

But if I do half of a workout, can I still say I did it? Or would I have to confess I only did half?

Luckily the internal debate distracted me long enough to get the point in the workout where I figured I may as well just see the thing to the very end – It was almost over anyway. I did all 45 minutes. The last move in the program is a butterfly stretch if you want to verify.

I didn’t resolve the philosophical debate, I have a hunch it will come up again.


A rest day before tomorrow’s long run. I did my morning stretches and went for a long walk, but no running, squats, mountain climbers, or burpees. Ah, the bliss…

I’m trying to psych myself up for our group long run tomorrow on the Bay Bridge. It’s a pretty course, but I never like it as much as I think I should. The bridge is a big hill, it’s loud and reeks of exhaust and of the water treatment plant that is right there.

I will have fun, I will have fun…


12 mile run on the Bay Bridge. For a nice change of pace, it wasn’t raining! However, It was foggy so we never got a very good view of Oakland from the bridge, which is usually the centerpiece of this run. At least the water treatment plant didn’t seem to smell as bad as it usually does.

I felt really good for the whole run. I was pretty close to my assigned pace the whole time, but sped up in the last mile – even on the best runs, I’m usually ready for it to be done in the last mile.

It was maybe not the best idea to then turn around and do a 30-minute strength workout, but since the workout was mostly core and arm work I figured I’d plow through and get it done. The workout ‘Zero-to-100’ actually wasn’t too bad.


On the marathon training program I use, Sunday is technically a cross training day. I tend to get sloppy and undisciplined with cross-training. Especially with my regular strength workouts, I don’t feel like I need to have an intentional 60-minute workout on Sunday. I’m doing the cross-training, it’s just spread out over the course of the week.

Today I did actual cross training – a 6 mile (hilly) hike at Sobrante Ridge. As has been the theme this weekend, it was foggy and cool. I couldn’t see very far off into the distance, but it was still a really fun – and muddy – hike.

I also found a geocache on the hike. If you haven’t tried geocaching, do so immediately. It is a GPS-based scavenger hunt. People leave caches in places and you find them based on the GPS coordinates and clues. It’s a hike and puzzle all in one.

The East Bay Regional Parks have official geocaches that you track by placing stamps you find in the cache into a park geocache passport. My goal is to complete half of the passport (that would be 33 caches!) in 2017.

Week Summary

By the numbers, I had a great week. I did my runs and felt great, did my strength workouts and felt (mostly) great.

And yet…

I feel like I’m missing a spark of enthusiasm. It feels like I’m just going through the motions.

Maybe it’s the usual post-holiday, post-new year let down. Or maybe it’s the point that I am at in many of my projects (putting in a lot of effort, doing the ground work but not yet seeing any results).

Whatever the cause is of my current state-of-meh, I hope to break out of it soon and find my second wind.

Next Week


PlanNTC4 miles7 miles
4 milesNTC16 miles @ 11 min/mile paceNTC
Actual45 minute NTC4 miles7 miles
6 minute NTC benchmark
4 miles45 minute NTC16(ish) [email protected] 11:10 min/mile pace45 minute NTC
5 mile hike

Area of Focus

Upper Body Strength. In addition to whatever the NTC program has on tap, I’m going to come up with a push-up/plank week-long mini-challenge.


Oakland Marathon Training wk 7

Sara is a runner, running coach, writer, blogger, and a lover of all things written.

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