On my birthday (October 11), I foolishly decided to do an 11.5-mile walk! Foolish because I ruined my own birthday by getting excruciatingly-painful blisters. I can handle a lot of pain during workouts, but this? Actually made me cry. On my birthday! (I must say, though, I was extremely proud that I made it back, considering that I ran into Ryan biking a mile from home and I refused the bike AND a shortcut! Yay for mental fortitude! Plus this was the first-ever time I've cried during a workout, so I get mad Tough Points.) Fortunately, after much draining and airing-out, the blisters have healed, but I obviously have a vested interest in them never coming back. The experience was so painful that I haven't walked more than a few miles since. I'm afraid they'll re-form and never go away.
I have heard, though, that putting duct tape on your feet prevents blisters. It sounds crazy, but it works. I tried it on Thursday. Worked like a charm. I plan to get better tape (the stuff I used wasn't fabric-y enough) and use this trick for an upcoming half marathon. That's right, I'm doing another half! The On the Road for Education half marathon up in Mason City this coming weekend. It fits perfectly into my training (I have to go 13 that weekend anyway), so why not do my workout and get a t-shirt and medal?
Regarding my training, it isn't going as well as I'd hoped, but fortunately I know exactly why. My strength routine is too vigorous. As it stood, I was doing about 3.5-4 hours of strength training a week, not to mention cross-training and about 6 hours of walking. Something had to give. Last night I rewrote my entire training schedule, and this morning I rewrote my strength workouts to be way, WAY less intense and long. I still hit all the major muscle groups, but instead of 80 minutes these workouts will be about 40 minutes. Here's the problem - I've been in a sort of "build phase" before my marathon training, and as such I added a lot of muscle, but I've been working too hard and eating too much. This is causing me to feel really lethargic. Last year at this time I had a LOT of energy and it was because I was doing mostly cardio (1-2 hours a day) and not piling on tons of fatty foods. My diet has really gone downhill since then, although it still isn't technically AWFUL. I need to eat more fruit, but unfortunately all my favorites are out of season already, which makes it difficult to eat as well as I'd like. I function extremely well on a high-carb diet but my strength-training required more fat and protein. I need to get back to a diet of about 65-70% carbs from good sources. Yes, I've gained about 10 lb of muscle in the last year, which is awesome, but I need to focus less on my muscles and more on my cardiovascular endurance.
On the plus side, I have started jogging again! It's very tentative, of course, but every run is better than the one before it. I need to take it very slowly. I wrote a build-up plan into my marathon training so that hopefully by race day I'll be able to safely do a 1:5 ratio or so for the entire race (if I want to - I'll probably take an hour to just warm up with walking only). New pains are coming up, mostly the top of my right foot. I plan to call my PT today and find out what's causing it so I can stop it. I'm probably just getting used to the new orthotics. My shins still hurt a little bit at various points of my runs but it's fine the next day. Compare this to a couple of years ago, when my shins felt like they'd literally been SHOT during my runs, and the next day were extremely sore and tender. Big improvement!