My training volume is more than I have ever done and I can't deny that I was really worried when I wrote the plan. I knew I needed higher volume to do what I want to do, but it frightened me to think of doing midweek long runs in addition to the REALLY long runs over the weekend, to sometimes run 6 days per week...and even 6 days in a row.
But I'm still alive and I'm right smack dab in the middle of hell. Last week I ran 54 miles, this week is 49 and next week is 54. Then I get to taper. November 19 can't come soon enough!
I'm definitely feeling some fatigue, but it is not negatively impacting my workouts. I'm hitting my goals and feeling pretty decent when I'm done with my runs. This past Sunday was a 21 mile run and the last 3 miles felt fantastic, albeit I had run the previous 5 at a slower than normal pace because my running buddy wasn't feeling so great (it was a really humid 72 degree morning, because of course it was since I had a 3+ hour long run scheduled and Mother Nature hates me). But those last 3 miles told me everything I need to know about where I'm at physically. I started out that run feeling the fatigue of the week's workouts and was a little worried about how painful it might get in those later miles. My quads were sore and I hate starting a long run with sore quads. My worries were for nothing, however, because the soreness never got worse and I was able to complete those last 3 miles at a faster than usual clip without my heartrate skyrocketing. Total success and it made me thrilled.
This week (so far) called for a 7 mile interval workout Tuesday (2x2 mile repeats), 10 mile easy run Wednesday, and an 8 mile track workout Thursday. Because I couldn't make the team's track workout Thursday evening and needed to run solo that morning, I decided to change up the workout to a hard tempo run: two mile warm up, following by a progressive tempo pace starting at marathon race pace and speeding up about 10 seconds per mile for five miles, ending with a one mile cooldown. Even with the warmer and more humid weather Tuesday morning and it being only two days after my 21 miler, I still hit my goal paces on my two mile repeats (averaging 8:23). I took it extra slow on Wednesday, which was hard to do because it was in the 40s and started to rain on me. But I knew I couldn't do my Thursday workout well if I ran anything other than painfully slow on Wednesday.
|Was hoping to beat the rain on this run, but NOPE.|
When I started out my Thursday run I was definitely feeling the culmination of miles on my legs, but was determined to have a successful tempo run. I started off very easy to loosen up and did some drills. The second mile I eased into a quicker pace, and then when mile three started I locked into my race pace and it felt very good, like something I could run forever and be okay. Considering it's a month from my marathon, I'd say that's a very good sign. As the miles progressed I tried not to focus on how much I had left, but rather just controlled the mile I was in, checking my pace and making sure I was dialed in correctly, not going too fast but not being sluggish about it. I actually was running a few seconds per mile faster that prescribed on miles 3-5, but it still felt doable so I hung with it. When that five miles was up and I saw I had hit each one at a great pace (8:45, 8:42, 8:26, 8:10, 8:03), I was so thrilled. My eighth mile, a cooldown, actually ended up at 9:08 and didn't feel hard at all....another really good sign! Best part was that my heart rate was very controlled as well and I still stayed in Zone 3 for a majority of the run.
Then my watch told me this:
I never race 10k's and it's been about five years since my last one. My PR is 53:12 and that was actually not an all-out race. During my half marathon PR race, I actually ran just under 51 minutes for the last 10K of that race, so it's debatable what my actual PR is. I'd love to race another stand alone 10K just to see what I could do, but seeing this on my watch was a big boost. It's the fastest I've run a 10K block using this watch, and only two seconds over my "official" 10K PR. Plus, I kept my overall pace under 9 min/mile. When I say I do my hard workouts HARD, this is a great example of that. I ran super easy pace Wednesday so I could then turn around and bust out a workout like this with great success.
Today is a rest day. Thank God it's a rest day. I'll do some bodyweight exercises and corework, foam roll my legs and make sure the fatigue is easing and I'm ready for 24 more miles this weekend (8 easy tomorrow, then 16 with 6 of those at race pace on Sunday). Then I dive right into Hell Week next week. My peak weak will consist of six days of running and 54 miles, culminating in a 22 mile run next weekend. Then taper and a full three weeks of freaking out.
I'm fully aware that it may take several attempts to achieve my BQ goal, but I will say that I have certainly done everything I can to make this first attempt a real possibility. I put in the work, I've dialed in my nutrition, I've gotten down to a racing weight that makes me so happy, and I'm trying my hardest to get my mind right. Shalane Flanagan just won the New York City Marathon and during her press conference she mentioned that this was seven years in the making. She worked and worked and worked and knew that she needed to have patience and it would happen. And it did!
So I'd like to put in a request to Mother Nature to make it 45-50 degrees outside that day. Pretty please.