I’m halfway there! I’m now through 9 weeks of my 18-week training plan. I’m happy to say I’ve had another really solid week of training. Here’s how things went:
Monday: Ran 3 miles in the morning, then did 40 minutes of strength and 9 miles on the bike in the afternoon. I had a nice early morning run with Matt. When I’ve looked at information about training paces, I’ve always thought recovery runs were supposed to be run much slower than I feel comfortable running. I ran 17 miles the day before, so I took this one really easy and ran by feel. Finally, my body must have slowed me down enough that I hit that suggested recovery pace. As my mileage increases, I’m getting more comfortable with the slower paces for some of these easy runs.
Tuesday: Ran 9 miles. My schedule was busy on Tuesday, so the treadmill was the only way for me to squeeze this run in. Listening to a morning show podcast kept me entertained and distracted, and the 9 miles were a breeze. I started slow and gradually sped up, to the point that this ended up being a little faster than a marathon pace run.
Wednesday: Ran 4 miles. It was a beautiful day for a run on the trail. My legs had felt pretty fresh during the day, but they stiffened up when I started this run in the afternoon. It made me realize I had better slow down so that my “easy” run actually felt easy. I needed to save my speed for the next day, so I’m glad I felt too tired to push it.
Thursday: Ran 7 miles. Today was a 6 x 800 workout, so I headed out to the track. We’re lucky enough to be close to two schools that are right across from each other, giving us options in case one track is being used. I parked by one track and ran around a neighborhood to warm up. By the time I got back, a bunch of young football players had gathered, so I opted to go to the other track. I always get myself worked up about speed days because I feel pressure to hit a speedy pace. It’s definitely a challenge, and sometimes I both love and dread speed work. It can be fun to go so fast (or what seems fast for me at least), but it can be brutal trying to maintain it. Matt had paced my last couple speed workouts, but I was on my own this time. I thought I ought to aim for a 6:50-7:00 pace, but I ended up hitting between 6:35-6:43 for the repeats, with my final one being the fastest. I couldn’t believe I pulled that off. I ran a lap of recovery between each repeat, but after my third one, I started to incorporate some walking. I’d walk for a minute or so, and jog at least half of the lap. I was so out of breath by going so fast that it’s the only way I managed to recover in between. I really ought to slow down a little bit for these so I don’t end up getting injured.
Saturday: Ran 13.1 miles for a race simulation. Hal Higdon’s Advanced 1 plan calls for a half marathon race at the end of the 9th week. He says that it is not necessary, but it can be a helpful way to access your current fitness level. I was a bit wary of actually racing a half marathon all-out because I typically take a week off to recover from an effort that hard. I’m trying to be cautious during training. I really hope to avoid injuries so I can make it to the day of the marathon fit and ready to go. My schedule said to rest on Friday and Saturday and run a half marathon on Sunday. With a bunch of family activities going on over the weekend, it wasn’t ideal for me to race, and it worked best to run long on Saturday. I worried a little about only having one day off before running a hard half, especially since I had just run the 800 repeats so hard on Thursday. I figured I could at least aim to complete the run at marathon pace.
Saturday morning was beautiful, and I was actually a little cool at the beginning of the run. The Paint Creek Trail was ideal for this run because I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about stopping much for traffic. I actually lucked out and didn’t hit any traffic at the crossroads. Matt ran with me for the first 5 miles, and my goal was to run no faster than an 8:13 pace for the first half of the run. Matt helped keep me under control whenever I started to go a little too fast. I managed to keep a very consistent pace, hitting somewhere around 8:16-8:18 for much of the first half of the run. My legs felt tired around 4 or 5 miles and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep it up, but luckily the tired feeling faded. I figured that I would conserve my energy for the first half, and give it whatever I had left for the second half. If that was still marathon pace, I’d be happy. If I could actually get going faster, that would be great too since the schedule called for a race. I took a few Honey Stinger chews after the halfway point and sped up with the added benefit of the slight decline heading south on the trail. My 7th mile was just under an 8-minute pace, and I gradually sped up as I went. It was a hard effort, but I just ran based on feel. I was surprised to see that I ended the last full mile in 7:33 – just above my 10K pace. This run was a great success and I ended up finishing a bit faster than my current half PR! The Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K in May was the first time I successfully executed a race using this method. Running conservatively early and kicking in later seems to lead to great results for me. Based on this run, the McMillan calculator estimates a 3:41 marathon time for me. Considering how this was run in the middle of marathon training with no taper, I’m really happy with that estimate.
Sunday: 9 miles on the bike. Since my schedule allowed for two rest days this week, I chose to take today off of running. After yesterday’s effort, I wanted to be careful. I actually ended up feeling pretty good and it doesn’t feel like I just put in a race effort. What a relief. I kept my legs moving a little bit at least by riding 9 easy miles on the bike.
Totals for the week: 36 miles of running, strength once, and 18 miles on the bike.
This was another great week for me, and I’m hoping it keeps up for the second half of training. This is probably the last time I will run less than 40 miles in a week until I hit the taper period. It’s going to be challenging, but I’m feeling good about the challenge after this week.
Another cool thing from this week is that I got a medal in the mail from 3 Disciplines. I was not listed in the top three in my age group when awards were given out for the Village Triathlon in Clarkston last month, but the online results said that I placed third. After contacting them, I got this in the mail.
Pretty cool. Well, onto the second half of marathon training and another challenging week of squeezing everything in!