Wow, you guys, last week (training week #5) was a doozy for me. Let’s get to the nitty gritty (and again, I have a few questions at the end).

Week #5’s Workouts

-Monday: ran 3 miles on the treadmill with my sister who was still in town; I think we managed about 11 to 11:30 minute miles but truthfully didn’t pay much attention as we were both tired and were just trying to finish in semi-good moods
-Tuesday: thanks to a hectic late night Monday and an equally chaotic morning, I didn’t exercise until that night after the kids went to bed; opted for a yoga video on Runner’s World (thanks to the recommendation in the comment thread last week) and I actually really enjoyed it even though I’m a total yoga newbie and my form is probably laughable – even so, my muscles felt relaxed and dreamy (if that’s even a thing)
-Wednesday: again my best laid plans to exercise early in the morning didn’t happen but I summoned all my self-control to redirect away from the couch that loves me and onto the treadmill after the kids went to bed; ran 3 miles pretty slow and steady
-Thursday: had the brilliant idea to continue the online video workouts and did a 15-minute HIIT workout since I was short on time that morning and oh my gosh, I’m not sure what happened but about 10 seconds in to the wood chopping action and my back seized up, like bad bad bad. Thus ensued total pain and chaos for the next couple days.
-Friday: rest (this was preplanned but literally I couldn’t move so it wouldn’t have mattered what exercise was scheduled for today)
-Saturday: was supposed to run 4 miles but was in tears the night before because my back still hurt so bad; woke up in the a.m. feeling slightly better and would have probably run but Brian told me he’d sit on me if I tried (he was certain I’d hurt my back further if I ran not feeling 100% yet but obviously didn’t care that sitting on me might do further damage, also) so I ended up walking on the treadmill at a slight incline really slowly for 4 miles instead (which basically took half the day since I was only walking at a 3.5)

Training Update Week #5

Some Thoughts:

-As you can see, this wasn’t my finest week. Except for doing the strict necessities, I spent most of Thursday and Friday on the couch like this because every time I bent over or moved, my back decided to tell me how much it hated my guts.
Training Update Week #5

-I’m not going to lie, I was (and still am) very stressed about not getting in my 4-mile run on Saturday. I know I wrote a whole positive-minded paragraph last week or whenever about becoming one with being flexible and going with the flow and understanding life happens and blah blah blah. But I’m pretty sure I was lying. I feel like I’ve messed up my whole training schedule now since this was my first official 4-mile run and I missed it (and we all know walking 4 miles isn’t the same as running).

-Having said all that, I’m very, very, very grateful that my back issue seems to just have been a sore muscle (probably because I’ve never chopped wood – literally or via YouTube – in my life and I was using muscles I didn’t know existed) and not anything major (sidenote: the DeepBlue rub from doTerra basically saved my life; I don’t sell EO’s nor am I affiliated with the company but that stuff worked miracles on my back). I’ll be back to running tomorrow and am crossing fingers and toes carefully that I get all my runs in this week.

-Like I mentioned before, I really liked the yoga video I did on Tuesday and think I’ll keep incorporating at least one workout like that a week. I have tight muscles (see? the inflexible thing is both mental and physical) and like how yoga (and the PiYo workouts I do occasionally) help with that.
Training Update Week #5

-I would like to still work in some HIIT routines. I’ve done them before and noticed a huge difference in strength/endurance but it’s obvious I probably need to work into them gradually and not pretend like I’m an 18-year old collegiate athlete. Humility is a great teacher. I downloaded this app on my phone for a HIIT/Tabata timer which makes these timed workouts a little easier. We’ll see if I’m brave enough to try another this week.

-Oh, and another bit of news is that I decided to sign up for a local race to get a little more of that official racing experience (I haven’t run a race since my pre-kid days over 12 years ago). I’m running a 10K on April 11 (which fits perfectly since that day I’m supposed to be running about 6 miles as part of training) and I’m excited (mostly about the t-shirt) and nervous, too.

This Week

Monday: 3 miles (I’ll be taking this one pretty slow to feel out how my back is doing; not sure if it will be on the treadmill or outside yet)
Tuesday: Cross-training (most likely a yoga-type workout here)
Wednesday: 4 miles (since I didn’t get in a 4-mile run on Saturday – I may just do 3 here, not sure – any advice?)
Thursday: Cross-training
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 4 miles


First of all, thanks for your feedback on my questions from last week. You would laugh or probably roll your eyes at all the notes I jotted down as I read through your comments. You have no idea how much I love hearing from you.

-Anyone have experience living at a lower altitude but preparing to run a race at high altitude? I live at about 2,500 feet and the half marathon in June is at a little over 5,000 feet. Will I die? Everything I’ve read says to either try and get there a week before (not possible for me that week) or arrive as close to the race as you can. I’m going to try and get a few runs in at high altitude (not sure when, how or where) before then but wondering if anyone else has any tips.

-If you are on a half-marathon (or similar) training schedule, what do you do for cross-training exercise? Which reminds me, have you seen these Zike-bike-thingies? I’m not wanting one in real life but I think they look ridiculously fun.

As always, leave any comments/questions/ thoughts in the thread below! I like hearing from those of you on similar training schedules right now, too, so don’t be shy!

24 Responses to Training Update: Week #5

  1. Tiffan says:

    I ran my first half marathon today and am extremely sore – your slippers look heavenly! What brand are they?

    • Mel says:

      Congratulations! (On the half marathon, not the soreness). Those slippers are from but I don’t know if they carry the same style (although they have lots of other cute styles).

  2. Lana says:

    Hey! Still trying to decide if I’m going to be joining you in Utah for the race. My sister lives there and is due with her baby in May, so it would be the perfect excuse to visit her too!

    I had back issues for about 4 years constantly–started after having kid #2. I would be feeling fine and then it would ‘go out’ and I would be on the couch for days. Not exactly convenient for mom! I have found that stretching is super important for me. Especially hips. My sister is a yoga teacher and she explained to me how tight legs and hips (which often can happen with regular running) can pull the back muscles more than normal and then you’ll ‘go out’ with little warning. (And it usually happens when you’re doing something stupid like reaching for a toothbrush.) A stretch that really helps is to sit cross-legged and then put one foot on top of the opposite knee (kind of like a half-Yogi cross legged). Then you get your back really tall and straight and then slowly bend yourself forward over your folded legs. If your hips are tight, it’s probably an indication that you need to do that each day and hold it for a good long time. (Make sure to switch so that the opposite foot goes up on top of the other knee and repeat the forward fold.) Afterward I usually do a few superman lifts. (Lie on my belly on the floor and lift arms and legs off the floor all at once. Hold for about 5-10 seconds and relase.) Anything to stretch and then strengthen your back. Anytime my back starts to feel iffy I realize that it’s usually because I haven’t been consistent with my stretching and strengthening.

    Also, don’t let it get you down if you have a crap week or an injury for a short time. I had shin splits for the first time in my life when Dixie and I were training for our first 1/2 marathon. I wanted to die they were so bad. I finally took 2 weeks off and did a ton of shin splits recovery work. I found that it made me very focused with my training because I had taken a forced break. I did things in the meantime to strengthen my leg muscles and I really committed to doing sprint work once I started back up again. It made me much stronger, I think.

    • Mel says:

      Thanks for the tips, Lana (although I’ll admit, I’m mostly hung up on the fact that YOU MIGHT BE COMING TO PROVO TO RUN THIS THING!). I definitely need some back stretches so I’ll try what you suggested. And seriously, you better let me know if you end up running this.

  3. melanie ball says:

    I wouldn’t worry about the altitude thing. I’ve pretty much lived at sea level for the last 14 years and have still done lots of high-elevation races in Utah and since you’re half-way to that elevation you’ll be fine. When in doubt, wear breathe-rights! I wore them when I ran the Wasatch Back Ragnar and they really do help you get more oxygen. Plus you’ll look hard core!

  4. JB says:

    I put on some music get dressed to run and just do it! I dread it and know its going to be hard but mentally i know that each step is making me stronger and I am so happy at the END. I live in CO at 7000 ft and all I have are hills and hills and they make me slow…. but i still keep trying. I spin or bike twice a week and am looking forward to a lower altitude run at Provo- maybe this high altitude training will make me faster! Hang in there and don’t give up!

  5. Amber M. says: has some awesome free workouts that might work for you on your cross training days. I bet you’ll find something of hers to love. Way to train, it is important to have goals and chase them in-between taking care of a family.

  6. Tanya M. says:

    Sooo sorry to hear about your back!! My neck has spasmed like that several times and it’s totally debilitating…. like on the couch having kids bring me what I need to survive that day. But hey at least your shoes are super cute!! 😉 I have a neighbor who is a massage therapist– she helps work out the kinks! (Thanks for the potassium tip above! Maybe I’m deficient in it?)
    We live only 20 mins from Provo canyon and seriously you are so welcome to come stay with us and take a practice run if you’d like at this altitude. Bring the kiddos– my five will welcome your five! And famous Mel too! All the good stuff I make (Eskimo bars!) comes from your site so you’re famous around here.
    Training last week was good for me– runs from 3-6 miles and a swimming session on Saturday. Whew!! Talk about a workout!
    I hope this next week goes better for you!! If your back is feeling good, I say go for the 4 miles! You’re awesome and thanks for the inspiration and wonderful recipes!!

  7. Sarah says:

    I don’t have any experience with training at a lower altitude and running the race at a higher one, so not advice for you there. I have been lucky enough to have the opposite experience – there’s so much oxygen at sea level! As for cross training on my non-running days; I love strength training and yoga. I like to think having stronger muscles will give me more running endurance (but I don’t really know if that’s true) and yoga is a nice way to be active but still rest those running muscles a little bit.

  8. Carrie says:

    I am a person who runs (not a “runner” by any stretch of the imagination) and I say YES. Go for 4 on Wednesday! Here is a secret my husband told me: Once you get to this point, it’s all mental. Seriously. Everything between 3-6ish miles is pure mental endurance. If your legs are still moving, if you are still breathing, you can keep going. I know it sounds kind of harsh, but I’m telling you it has helped me so much. You are might HATE it for a little while there but just. keep. moving and it will be over before you know it and you’ll be so proud! You’ve got this!

    • Angela says:

      I second the motion… I think afterward you’ll be so glad you did it!

    • Mel says:

      It’s the mental part that kills me. Hopefully not only will running make me physically stronger but mentally tough, too. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Carrie!

  9. Jennifer says:

    Marvin K Mooney can now proudly ride a Zike-Bike to bed? Dr. Suess would be so proud!

  10. Liz Busby says:

    I’m currently training for a half marathon. Not support in shape as my target time is 11:37 min/MI for the half, but I have run two before. My training schedule is currently:
    M: Run – speed training aka intervals; short abs workout (15 min)
    T: Strength training (currently using P90’s sculpt workouts, but have also used, or DYI workouts from
    W: Run – Tempo Run aka just a regular run; 15 min ab workout
    Th: Yoga (nice slow non-aerobic and relaxing; I think of it as active rest)
    F: Long run; a short after running yoga to prevent soreness
    Sa: Strength training

    In my college health class, they told us that the ideal workout plan was 3 cardiovascular workouts, 2 strength training workouts, and 1 flexibility workout. I’ve stick with that ideal ever since and it has done me well.

    Back pain is no joke. Take your time to recover or you’ll only get worse.

  11. Mary Sorensen says:

    I’m training right along with you! I downloaded the Nike Training Club app for my cross training. I like it because I can do it at home with minimal equipment. I stream it through my Apple TV. I usually do a 30 min beginner work out, and I’m dead after. Lots of squats, push ups, and lunges.

  12. Jackie says:

    Rough week here too. Only ran once (did work out 4 times though). I usually work out in the morning while my boys are at school and then run with my 10 yr old in the evenings after my husband gets home. Running this half marathon was my son’s idea and he’s the one that got me all excited about it. He’s not enjoying it though. Every time the last 2 weeks or so I tell him we are going to go run he does not want to. When I ask if he still wants to do the race though he insists that he does, not sure how he plans on doing that though if he doesn’t train. Maybe I’m pushing him too hard, I love the thought of working toward this goal with him and want him to work and challenge himself, but I don’t want to make him hate running either. I keep telling him maybe we do the 10k instead, still an awesome accomplishment I think but he says he wants the half or nothing. I think I will sign us up for a local 5k on March 14 and see what he thinks of that, if he hates it or if it inspires him. Anyway, long comment, sorry to unload. Any advice?

    • Mel says:

      Sorry it was a rough week for you, too, Jackie! I don’t think I have any great advice for you but I do think signing up for a shorter local race is a good idea. I hope he gets the running bug back so it isn’t hard to get out running and you can both get the training in. Hang in there (I promise to stick with it if you do, too). 🙂

  13. Heather bell says:

    Well my 3 year old decided he needs to wake up every night and sleep by me so now I can’t sleep which makes me anxious and crazy but no hurt back thank goodness!! I was working out with hiit pretty hard core for a year. Took a few week break for summer vacation and came back and completely pulled my neck muscle. Was killing me for weeks. So yes slowly work into hiit. I would recommend beginner ones that have jumping jacks high knees lunges etc. I started with 20 sec reps with 10 sec breaks for sbout 12-16 min. Did one of the videos I used to do at the beginning thd other day and it was too easy!!! Hooray! Also Epsom salt baths are great for sore muscles and bananas to help heal muscles. Push forward. One missed run won’t do you in.

  14. PamelaR says:

    I’m going to give you a suggestion for something you didn’t even ask. What you experienced with your back was probably a nasty muscle spasm. I also have a back that hates me this way. My doc says that muscles like to spasm when they are low in potassium. I’ve found that if I up my potassium intake, it helps. With you running like this, you probably do need a little more potassium. Good sources are bananas, avocados, salmon, yogurt and best of all dried apricots. Good luck and I sure hope this helps.

    • Liz says:

      Agree about the potassium thing…and water (lots!) and protein for recovery. Lemon juice has potassium and I like to add the juice of a lemon to a glass of water. Oh and try some tart cherry juice if that sounds good – an anti-inflammatory.

      Hope you feel better and have a good week.

      • Liz says:

        Oh…sweet potatoes for potassium and if you like molasses, a spoonful is a good source of potassium and a bunch of other good stuff like the B vitamins!

    • Mel says:

      Thanks PamelaR – I usually eat a banana every morning but I’ll try to get some other potassium sources in my diet, too!

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