Jess Runs Boston 2018 – March report

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Jess Runs Boston 2018 – March update

Marathon month is here, and though I always enjoy a good taper, I’m especially grateful for it this time. Usually, I welcome the break from the hard training simply for the fact of being fatigued (mentally and physically), but this time I need the break to heal my sore legs.


March was a month of battling extremely angry and sore quads and hip flexors that would just. not. recover. You know you have a problem when your own patients ask why you’re limping and your running friends notice a change in your gait. For my track workouts, I would hobble at the start of each interval and my legs felt like lead. On my easy run days, I felt like I couldn’t extend my stride and I could feel my quads painfully absorbing the shock of each foot strike.

I was discouraged when I was hitting my mile repeats 12 seconds slower than previous workouts, and it would take about 5 to 6 miles before I felt “warmed up.” Just when I thought I was starting to feel better, my legs would scream at me the following day after either a long run or a track workout. Yikes. This is not how I want to be feeling the last month of important training!

Stretching, icing, and ibuprofen were my friends in March. I had to listen to my body and modify workouts on the track, and I took my “easy” runs to heart. Although my cardiopulmonary endurance felt great, my legs did not, and I did not want to push my limits to cause more damage.

Mixing work with training

For one of the weeks in March, I was very busy at work when I temporarily took over some managerial duties. During that time, I had zero energy to complete my two track workouts for the week as I got home late nearly every night, absolutely exhausted. Despite being upset that I didn’t do my workouts, it was a blessing in disguise, as my legs very likely needed the break.

In the past, I’ve had sore legs before, and I fully expected to have sore legs as the workouts became more intense and as the mileage peaked, but I didn’t expect it to last as long as it did. Luckily, I know the culprit, and I won’t make the same mistake again…

Very rare clouds sighting

My favorite trail running buddy


Finding a nice route to hit marathon pace in Prescott is not easy. Many of the routes that I run are either mountainous or hilly. Fed up running on the Peavine Trail, I had the not-so-bright idea of running down a mountain for 12 miles at marathon pace (talk about overkill when preparing for Boston’s downhills!). I did that on March 3rd. Although it was nice not having to fight uphills, this did a number on my quads, and I continued to carry on with hard workouts and tough runs thereafter. If I had incorporated a proper strengthening program for my legs (I know, I’m a bad PT to myself) and if I had cut the downhill miles by about half, I probably would have been fine.

Oops, that was a bit too much downhill training…

Learning from coach

Despite my struggles, I am feeling better as the mileage and the intensity have reduced. Greg has been very supportive and has provided me with some much needed help on a couple of my long runs. I’m always learning great tips from Greg, which have helped me adjust some of my faulty habits.

For instance, I learned that I could make up time within a mile (without killing myself), despite hill climbs that slow my pace (I had been pushing hills too hard, which was shooting my heart rate too high). I learned that I need to take in some source of energy every 30 minutes for long, hard runs (I had been taking gels every 45 to 60 minutes).

We practiced how to fill my handheld water bottle at aid stations without dumping water all over myself (yes, we really practiced this). I also learned that my body can do more than what my mind is telling me. We got through a 10-mile marathon pacing run hitting an average of 6:54 minutes per mile, with my last mile at 6:43… on the track (my nemesis!).

With Boston quickly approaching, I’ll be resting my legs, thinking positive thoughts, and believing that the hard work that I’ve put in will pay off in the end.

About the Author

Jessica Clark

Since the age of 14 Jessica has been pounding the pavement, trails, track, meadows, and fields. She grew up in central Upstate New York and was part of her middle school’s first outdoor track team. She knew that running was for her after being on the school’s field hockey team and preferring the warm up and cool down laps over practice! Her school didn’t have a track to practice on, so they often improvised on the surrounding landscape of our small town, spurring her love for trail running. After high school, she became a collegiate athlete and was urged to join the cross country team to help condition her for the indoor and outdoor track seasons. As a middle-distance runner, she believed that running anything over three miles was very far, and kind of crazy. She trained very diligently the summer before her first cross country season, fearing incompetency, but hard training paid off; she excelled in cross country for the first season and then for three seasons thereafter. In her senior year, she qualified for and competed in the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships. Read more about Jess on our Sponsored Athlete page...

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