Good news from the marathon training front: firstly, my groin and hamstring niggles are gone. Secondly, the weather in Dubai has finally cooled down so much that running outside is pure pleasure. Thirdly, because of 1 and 2, I feel highly motivated to train for the Dubai marathon on 24 January and tackle that 3:10:00 finish time that I didn't manage in Berlin in September.
Now in a bit more detail: my groin injury is still niggling a bit, but it does not affect my running and it is really minor. It recovers within 24 hours after a run. My hamstrings get less and less tight during and after runs. I am not sure why this is. A funny thing happened though: A week ago, I went to a TRX class in the gym that was very heavy on the quads. I regretted doing it when I realized how tired my legs would be later in the day, as I had a marathon-specific interval training scheduled for the evening. The heavy quad session though balanced out the tight hamstring, e.g. when your hamstrings are sore, make the quads even sorer, and the hamstrings will be fine. I managed my intervals that evening absolutely fine, and haven't had serious hamstring problems since. Go figure.
It's the third week of the marathon training. I was able to ramp up my weekly mileage 43k in week 1 to 64k in week 2. For this week 76k are planned and I am right on track.
I do double sessions almost every weekday: my regular training runs plus core strengthening workout in the gym, which is either Pilates, TRX, circuit training or just some light weight lifting.
I can feel that my core strength is improving. My back, glutes and abs are often in that slight pain when you have used muscles in a different way or on a new level. Especially the abs leave me with some sort of pain that is very similar to hunger feeling.
I have had a good appetite in recent weeks. Good enough to be noticed on the scales. Nothing to worry about, as the marathon training and recovery need to be fueled properly. Harder weeks with more mileage or races are still to come. A little fluctuation of my weight during marathon training is normal.
The slight weight gain may even be caused by more lean muscle mass due to my strengthening program. After 2 months of strength training I do see more toning in the muscles of my arms, shoulders and abs. My overall weight is rather on the light side. Because I don't have much body fat on me, the improvements may be visible sooner. I have no clue as to how much this new muscle mass could add up. Do I care? Not so much. I am feeling great. I enjoy my running. I enjoy complementing it by core training and a good diet.
More savory dishes are being produced in my kitchen these days. I guess it's due to the increased loss of minerals through sweating while on my runs that my body needs to replace.
These muffins are the result of some fresh thyme that needed to be used up, an appetite for something savory and bread-like that's grain-free at the same time. I ate them all by myself. I was entitled to because I am the only one marathon training in this house. You understand this logic, don't you?
GRAIN FREE FETA THYME MUFFINS
2 cups almond meal
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease or line muffin tin.
In a bowl, combine almond meal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Whisk in olive oil and feta cheese. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Gently fold in the thyme leaves.
Fill batter into prepared muffin molds. Bake for about 20 minutes until muffin tops are golden brown.
Best eaten warm.