RnR SD Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

Running San Diego (Photo: Ashley Mateo)

I have good news and bad news.

The good news: I successfully met my half marathon training program goal of two strength training sessions per week! I also hit the trail! Yay!

The bad news: There’s trouble in paradise. After 10 years as a runner, it looks like I might finally have my first running injury. Oh sure, I’ve been sideline before, but by non-running related maladies—like that time I fell off a horse and hurt my hip or that time I found out I have arthritis, which I’ve actually managed through running. (And yes, my ortho told me it’s probably genetic and encouraged me to keep running. She was so right. It rarely bothers me any more.)

After five solid weeks of training, I noticed a niggle in my left foot. Not pain, but a slight discomfort under the ball of my foot while I run. I followed the old adage: if it hurts for two days, take two days off. When I resumed running, the discomfort returned. Booooo. It’s especially frustrating since I’ve been strength training to avoid precisely this type of thing. What does this mean for my race calendar? I don’t know!!!

Goal Half Marathon Time—1:59:59
Current Half Marathon PR—2:00:30
Goal Race: Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon, May 31
Tune-Up Race: The North Face Endurance Challenge NY 10K, May 3
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 1 + 2
Half Marathon Training Plan Weeks 3 + 4


Easy: 3 miles outside

Progression: 5.15 miles on the treadmill

Strength: 1 hour strength-interval session at Westin Wellness Escapes in San Diego. This was the first time I felt the mysterious foot niggle.

Easy: 3.2 miles outside along the water in San Diego with my Shape.com editor, Ashley. Could still run totally fine, but my foot felt funky. But who cares when your run looks like this?

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

California Dreaming! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Strength: 1 hour strength-interval session at Westin Wellness Escapes in San Diego.

Long: None. After feeling the foot ache two days in a row, I decided to skip the long run in my half marathon training program and take two days off. I was pretty bummed about it because I had two more days in California and had another gorgeous run planned.

Week 5 Total: 11.35 miles + 2 strength sessions

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

Ran past Radio City! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)


Easy: 4 miles outside. Back in NYC, this was my first run after a few days off. I ran around Midtown and passed Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center. I didn’t feel any foot discomfort at the start, but I definitely felt it by the end. Again, I can’t call it “pain,” but just something that feels off.

HIIT: 45 minute strength and cardio class to try out 2XU’s new Elite MCS Compression Tights. The class kicked my butt and the tights are awesome–great squeeze right where you need it! I was pleasantly surprised by how not sore I was the next day.

But once again, the ball of my foot just didn’t feel right.

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

#flatsparkle! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Easy: 3.1 miles outside. I took part in Team Sparkle’s first Virtual 5K to raise money for Girl Power 2 Cure, a charity that raises money and awareness for Rett Syndrome. My bib & medal came in the mail while I was in San Diego.

Did you know that Rett Syndrome is as prevalent as ALS, Cystic Fibrosis, & Huntington’s Disease? Did you also know that it’s a debilitating neurological disorder that mostly affects girls? Those girls can’t talk, walk, or run. One more fact: a baby girl with Rett Syndrome is born every 90 mins. Definitely a cause worth running for! And Sparkle Athletic managed to raise $54,000!

Strength: 25-minute session at home targeting legs and abs.

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

Cinderella loves hiking! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Trail: 2.6-mile run/hike on the Breakneck Ridge Loop in New York’s Hudson Valley. We did a 1.3-mile out and back that climbed 1,162 feet, for a grade of roughly 17 percent. What?! For comparison, Harlem Hill—the worst Central Park has to offer—isn’t quite a 5 percent grade. I ran, walked, power hiked, and gasped for breath on the way up. It took me 45 minutes.

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

Overstriding on the run down. (RunKarlaRun.com)

And then I clambered, hiked, and ran down. It took me 33 minutes. I tried some new trail shoes—The North Face Ultra Kilowatt Trainer. When I first put them on in my apartment, I was worried they’d be too stiff. But once I took them on the trail, I fell in love. I felt totally secure and comfortable in them. But once again, my foot niggle cropped up mid-hike. That’s when I decided, enough is enough. Time to see a doctor.

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

More/Shape Half! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Long: None. I’d planned to run long after announcing at the finish of the MORE/SHAPE Women’s Half Marathon in Central Park (which was super fun!). But for the second week in a row, I bailed on my half marathon training program because of foot trouble. I felt like I’d be courting danger. After seeing a doctor, I’m really glad I didn’t push it!

Week 6 Total: 9.7 miles + 2 strength sessions


Week 1: 20.55 miles + 1 strength session
Week 2: 21.90 miles + 1 strength session
Week 3: 13.05 miles + 1 strength session
Week 4: 24.50 miles + 1 strength session
Week 5: 11.35 miles + 2 strength sessions (No long run because of foot)
Week 6: 9.7 miles + 2 strength sessions (No long run because of foot)

Half Marathon Training Program Week 7 and Beyond?

I haven’t run since the hike on Saturday, and managed to get into a doc Tuesday. The verdict? I either have capsulitis, a ligament inflammation that’s treatable with a week or two rest and anti-inflammatory drugs, or I have a stress fracture. Cue piano crash. Stress fractures don’t typically show up on X-Rays, and indeed, it didn’t on mine. So I’ve got an MRI on Thursday that will hopefully either rule out or confirm a stress fracture. Then I’ll go from there.

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

That’s me laughing at the fact that this hike kicked my butt.

What if it is a stress fracture? Depending on the severity, I’m looking at 4 to 8 weeks off from running. Gulp.

So what does this mean for my two upcoming races on the calendar? Whether I have capsulitis or a stress fracture, The North Face Endurance Challenge in 10 days isn’t looking so likely. If capsulitis is the culprit, I may still be able to recoup in time for the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon. If it’s a stress fracture, I’ll likely have to pull out of both races.

Of course, being the running nerd that I am, I immediately started leafing through my training journals to find where I might have gone wrong in the event it is a stress fracture. Why a stress fracture? I’ve been through 10 years of running, 7 marathons, and much harder training cycles. Why now? Did I add too much mileage or intensity too soon? Are my shoes the culprit? Was it a change from treadmill to outdoor running? Or something else, like the fact that I stopped taking an iron supplement in February, might have low Vitamin D levels after the worst winter on record, or could being going through a hormonal shift? All of the above make female athletes especially susceptible to stress fractures.

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

Running with Rella (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

I change shoes constantly since I’m always testing new pairs, so I doubt worn out sneakers are the culprit. My oldest pair have 225 miles on them and I only wear them once or twice a week. I may retire them just to be safe.

For the last few months, my treadmill to road running ratio has stayed about the same, so I don’t think that’s it either. I’ve even been doing my long runs on the treadmill, which is softer.

And I haven’t suddenly added mileage, so I feel comfortable ruling that out. Before the problem started, my weekly mileage over the last three months has been: 23.6, 19.6, 24.4, 26.05, 14.4, 24.65, 17.85, 20.55, 21.9, 13.05, and 24.5. I follow a consistent pattern of slowly adding mileage, with lower volume “drop-down” weeks in between to let my body rest.

I’ve definitely upped intensity, adding hill, speed work back into the mix with a natural testosterone booster supplement. So that could be one likely culprit. I’ve also battled endometriosis, a gynecological disorder that is often also classified as an endocrine and autoimmune disease, since I was 16. So some type of related hormone imbalance and/or vitamin deficiency could easily have weakened my bones. If this does turn out to be a stress fracture, I want to have all my levels checked so that I can make sure it doesn’t happen again!

Until I get the MRI results, I’m not allowed to run or do any weight-bearing exercise. My half marathon training program is officially on hiatus. My doctor even told me I can only strength train sitting down. Looks like lots of shoulder, chest, arms, and ab work for me! And I’ve already pulled up the lap swim schedule at my local pool. Since I might not get to run for a bit, here’s one parting shot for runspiration.

Half Marathon Training Program Weeks 5 + 6

Oh San Diego. Hope I get to run next month! (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

Hope your training is going better than mine!

Have you ever had a stress fracture or capsulitis? If so, please tell me all about it!

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Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


04 2015

12 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Oh no Karla! How frustrating! At least you are addressing it early so that although you may miss out on a race or two, you won’t make it worse and have it turn into a long term or permanent injury.

    One day you’re going to get through your training for your sub-2 half and show up at the starting line healthy and when the stars alight for you you’re going to crush it! Sending happy and healing thoughts your way!
    Danielle recently posted..Running FriendsMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks, Danielle! That’s why I tend to go to the doctor sooner than later. I’d always rather be safe than sorry down the road! The day I show up to the starting line of a goal race without being sick (like my 2013 marathon), having missed weeks of training because of some ailment (like my fall mole surgery) or some other niggle will be a REAL day for celebration!!

  2. 3

    Here’s hoping it’s not a stress fracture! I may have had one of those in high school but never got it confirmed.
    Lesley recently posted..My First Pure BarreMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks! Hope you’re feet are good now! I know lots of women that have had foot stress fractures. They’re so common!

  3. 5

    Oh no! I’m so sorry Karla! I have no doubt though that whether it be a stress fracture or not, you’ll take care of yourself and be back and better than ever! Keep us posted on the MRI and sending you happy thoughts and hugs! :)

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you, Kellie! I really hope I’m overreacting!

  4. 7

    UUUGGGGHHHH. So sorry to hear about your foot! I’m not a doctor, so this is just my $0.02…but I’ve had a very similar pain to what you’ve described here more than once. In fact, I seem to have some sort of niggling foot injury practically every time I train for a marathon now…it’s JUST enough to cause discomfort/cramp my style, but not enough to completely debilitate me.

    Anyway, since I’m really stupid and never actually go to the doctor when stuff like this happens, I’ve tried every home remedy Google has to offer for sports-related foot pain/injuries. And they always work like a charm, from stretches that are specific to that part of the foot to rolling on a tennis ball or frozen water bottle to diligently icing it, etc.

    So, anyway, I just wanted to try to make you feel better! I’m keeping all of my fingers crossed that you’ve ended up with one of those annoying little minor running-related injuries that I keep getting stuck with (you’ve been killing it, BTW!) as opposed to a stress fracture, and that a little rest, icing, etc. will have you back up and running no time!

    Keep us posted!
    Jennifer @ The Final Forty recently posted..Wanted: Taper TipsMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thanks, Jennifer! I just went back and reread your post about your foot pain. Hope it’s feeling better! I usually hit the google too and try rest + a few at home remedies first when a niggle comes up. That’s always done the trick in the past. But for some reason, I just got the heebie jeebies with this one. When it didn’t feel any better after a few days off, I hightailed it to the doc. My pain is more front and center under the ball of my foot. I’m also of the mind that I pay for health insurance, I might as well use it! I’m also a better-safe-than-sorry kind of person. So I haven’t run in 5 days, am taking an anti-imflammatory, got my MRI today, and am hoping I’ve simply overreacted! Thanks for the advice!

  5. 9

    Ugh–I’m so sorry to hear about your injury. I have been dealing with injuries off and on for the past 2 years. Prior to that, I could do anything (increase my mileage significantly week-to-week, etc.) and I wouldn’t get injured. I was confused as to why I started getting injured. My coach said it was cumulative–that my abnormal body mechanics (caused by weak hips) set me up for injury, but I escaped injuries in the past because I wasn’t running as intensely. For example, I ran marathons, but I didn’t run for time. The injuries started when I began training seriously in order to improve my marathon PR. At some point, my body could only handle so much, my kinetic chain broke down, and I got hurt. Fortunately, I’m feeling better after finally listening to my PT and doing the hip exercises he gave me. I start training for the Chicago Marathon next month.

    I hope your injury is minor and resolves quickly. You are doing the right thing by being so conservative.
    Molly @alsoranagain recently posted..Workout WednesdayMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      Thank you, Molly! Sounds like you’ve had quite the battle too. Sorry to hear that! I’ve been doing more strength training this year than ever before. Hopefully that will hold me in good stead when I do get back to running. Glad to hear you’re doing better. Good luck with your Chicago training!

  6. 11

    I hope it’s not a stress fracture. A running injury would just plain suck.

    I love Breakneck Ridge. It’s one of my favorite places to hike.
    Elle recently posted..Friday Five: 5 Brands to LoveMy Profile


  1. Injury Update: Stress Fracture or Bone Bruise? | Run, Karla, Run! 05 05 15