Training for the Twin Cities Marathon began on June 1st, and now I’m less than two months out from running my second marathon. Hal Higdon’s training plan worked well for me when I ran the Grand Rapids Marathon in 2013, so I’m using one of his plans again. I’ve made some tweaks though, substituting his Tuesday workouts with those from the Hansons’ plan. Higdon rotates between tempo runs, hill repeats, and 800s on Tuesdays. I wanted something different this time and believe the Hansons’ workouts will give me some variety and make me stronger. I’m still not ready to commit to following their plan for the marathon, though I’ve considered trying it in the future.
As I typically do, I adjust my training when necessary and haven’t followed the plan shown above 100% of the time. When I created the schedule, I adjusted the Tuesday workouts for the first four weeks so I could concentrate on 10K-specific speedwork before racing the Corporate Cup 10K. I took a week off from speed following that race before starting up with the Hansons’ speed segment of the plan. The speed segment had me running repeats at a 7:00 pace, which is just a hair slower than my best 5K pace. I went to the track a few times and hit the treadmill a couple times when it was ridiculously hot outside. Between the heat and the lack of traction on loose stones, I couldn’t successfully pull off 5K speed on the trail. I’ve been using the Paint Creek Trail for many of my other runs though.
This week I began the “strength” segment of the Hansons’ workouts – repeats of 1-3 miles at a time at a pace 10 seconds faster than marathon pace. In addition to Higdon’s pace runs, I think these workouts will be extremely valuable when it comes to building race pace endurance. Getting through a workout of 6×1 mile at a 7:50 pace wasn’t a breeze, but I definitely felt strong after I finished.
The marathon pace runs I have done on weekends have gone really well so far. Last weekend I ran nine miles just under an 8:00 pace and felt great. I felt even better about my training when I followed up with 19 solid miles the next day. So far so good! My best long runs have been those that I’ve done very early in the morning. Sleeping in sure would be nice, but I know that the heat and sun drag me down when I start my runs too late in the morning. I’ve been heading out the door by 6:30 nearly every weekend morning and I love how peaceful it is at that time of day. I get motivated to run because I wonder how things will look in the early morning light. We live in an area that can be very busy and congested, but there are dirt roads and farmland just a few miles away. It’s like a whole different world, and I’ve enjoyed exploring some of those areas during my long runs.
In order to figure out my goal marathon pace, I entered my Glass City Half Marathon time into Greg McMillan’s calculator. It told me that I could aim for an 8:00 pace and run the marathon in about 3:30. Even if I’m a few minutes off, it looks like I might have the potential to qualify for Boston. I’ve moved into a new age group since I last ran a marathon, and now my qualifying time is 3:40. Since I’m training for 3:30, of course I should try to be confident that I will hit that time. The realistic side of me knows that the marathon is quite a monster, and with only one under my belt, I still don’t know what to expect. I was about seven minutes off of my goal time in my first marathon, which I finished in 3:42. I’ve gotten faster since then, so I’m hopeful that I can at least pull off a 3:35. Hopefully that would give me enough of a buffer to get into Boston, knowing that people typically have to be a few minutes under the qualifying time to actually make it in. When I realized I might be on the verge of qualifying, I decided I had to order the Boston “Lobster Launch” shoes from Brooks to help motivate me. The Launch is probably my favorite shoe, and I couldn’t resist when I saw this special edition design.
In a couple weeks I’m going to run the Crim 10 Mile Race for my first time. It’s a huge race for this area and pretty much every runner I know has run it, so it’s finally time to give it a try. I don’t plan on truly racing, but I’ll probably give it a good effort. In the meantime, this weekend is my first of three 20-milers. With 10 miles to run the other day, it will be a 30-mile weekend. I plan on eating a LOT this weekend!
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