Oakland Marathon Training Recap: Week Eight

Oakland Marathon recap 8

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

The full intro to my training recaps can be found in my week one post. The short version is that I am training for next April’s Oakland Marathon. I am also a coach and pacer for my local running club’s weekly training group 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’ve been using the Nike Training Club (NTC) app for my workouts. I’m in the midst of 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 8

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

Focus: My focus this week is upper body strength.


This morning was the 45 minute NTC strength workout ‘Crunch and Burn 2.0.’

I usually don’t remember which workouts I’ve done and which I haven’t in the NTC app. However, this one I do remember because of its very inaccurate title: There is not a single crunch in ‘Crunch and Burn 2.0.’

I know title-writing isn’t my strong suit so I shouldn’t judge, but even I know not to name a workout after the one move that isn’t included in said workout.

My focus this week is upper body strength.  After reviewing a few options, I decided on a 30-day push-up challenge from Fitness Magazine. I like this challenge because it includes a variety of moves.

Most push-up challenges are 100% push-ups. That, of course, is entirely logical but would bore me silly. This challenge has some push-ups, some planks, and a few variations on each. So I’ve added the program into my nightly routine. Up tonight, starting simple: 15 modified (knee) push-ups


I was hoping to get my spark of enthusiasm back this week. My first run this week sure didn’t re-ignite anything for me. It wasn’t bad, it was just utterly meh.

Still feeling good about my upper-body efforts. Both yesterday’s 15 knee push-ups and today’s 1-minute forearm plank were minimally awful, which I count as success.

Awhile back I joined a gym and got 3 free sessions with a personal trainer. I really didn’t like my assigned trainer. One of my goals with her was to work on push-ups- I couldn’t then (and still can’t) can’t do a single real push-up with good form.

She was adamant that knee push-ups were terrible and worthless, but gave me no other alternative to get from where I was (zero real push-ups) to where I want to be (20 real push-ups). I still think of her every time I do knee push-ups.

They may not be ideal, but they are what I can do.


An utterly uneventful 7 mile run in the drizzle. I missed the worst of the rain that arrived later in the day, but still getting plenty of practice running in the rain.

‘Only’ a 6-minute benchmark NTC strength workout; a quick routine of running in place, push-ups, bodyweight squats, and ice-skaters repeated a few times. Have I mentioned how silly I feel coming home from a 7 mile run only to then run in place in my living room for 45 seconds?

I’m not sure what I’m getting out of that.


Pretty run this morning- the sun was coming out after a morning rain and everything glistened #seenonmyrun

A photo posted by Sara Kurth (@puffincoaching) on

Another uneventful 4 mile run this morning. Perfectly (if unintentionally) timed to be completed in between rain storms.

I suppose ‘uneventful’ is better than ‘horrible’ or ‘dreaded’ but I am still struggling to find any enthusiasm during this training cycle. I am going through the motions, but little else. This is new for me. I’ve had plenty of times when I didn’t want to run, or dreaded getting started. But this is different, I’m not dreading the runs, it’s a more generalized ennui.

I’m sure this is due in part to the state of general uncertainty in the country and in my life right now. I have so many questions floating around in my brain, many of which are on fairly significant. I think I’m more distracted than anything.

For a long time, I did daily meditation with the Headspace app, but have fallen out of the habit. Maybe it’s time to revisit that to calm my brain down a bit.


Today’s workout- the 45 minute ‘Motionally Stable’ was tough! The NTC workouts are usually a mix of cardio, strength, and flexibility/mobility moves. Today was a true strength workout. Other than warm up and cool down, it was all squats, dumbbell rows, and deadlifts.

I think I’m going to feel this one tomorrow…


Today’s 16-mile group run was sponsored by the Oakland Marathon people. It was on the course – the hilliest and toughest part of the course – and was open to the public.

I felt strong on the hills. Score another victory for my strength workouts!  However, I also had a complete energy crash around mile 13. Nothing a few GUs couldn’t take care of, but it was a wake-up call that I need to pay more attention to my diet the day before a run – I didn’t eat as responsibly as I should have yesterday and suffered for it.

The course distance was a touch off (15.7 miles instead of 16). Not ending a run on an even number drives some runners nuts. They’ll run around the block as long as they need to get to the next mile. I can’t say it bothers me. If I’m really close (for example, a distance ending in .9) I’ll top it off, but other than that I’m fine leaving my Garmin at uneven mileage.

I apologize if that upsets any of you.


For once, the exercise time-warp happened in my favor! I usually feel like I’ve been at it forever, only to look at the clock and find out I’ve been working out for 3 minutes.

Today, I did the 45 minute NTC workout ‘Peaks and Valleys’. I figured I’d been at it for maybe 5 minutes only to look at the timer to see I’d been working out for nearly 30 minutes. I was almost done! Yeah! Even the mountain climber segments didn’t seem so bad.

I’m not sure if it was a fluke or a sign I am getting stronger. I won’t analyze it too much. I’ll just enjoy a workout where I felt strong and capable.

Just after finishing my AM workout, I got an unexpected invite from a friend to hike on Mt. Diablo. So I went out for a 5-mile hilly hike on Mt. Diablo before rain made us turn back.

I am now thoroughly exhausted and ready to spend the night is warm, fuzzy pants watching my new TV obsession, 3% on Netflix.

Week Summary

The more I think about it, the more I’m sure that my meh running feelings are due to external dramas and not directly related to my running.

The inauguration has created so much uncertainty in the country, and I am stuck in an endless cycle of questioning what I am (or am not) doing with my life. My over-thinking is showing up most prominently in my running because I spend so much time running and it’s so easy to get lost in thought while running.

I haven’t come up with any ideas on how to move past it, but recognizing it for what it is I think will help.

Next Week: Week 9


Plan4 miles
7 miles4 miles
18 miles @ 11 min/mi pace
Actual4 miles
40 min NTC
7 miles4 miles
45 min NTC
18 miles @ 10:54 min/min pace
30 NTC

Area of Focus

I will have two areas of focus:

  1. Continue with the 30-day upper body/push-up challenge
  2. Work on my mindset- break out Headspace app that has been gathering dust on my phone and do more regular meditation to see if I can focus my brain a little bit.


Oakland Marathon recap 8

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