I "peaked" with my marathon training this week-- meaning that I ran more miles this week than any other week of the program. I'm definitely feeling it right now! Here is a recap of my week.
Monday- 6 mi
The week started off easy with six miles at a "recovery" pace of 10:30. As I approached the end of the run, I did six 100m strides. The purpose of this type of speedwork isn't to get your heart rate up, but to improve your form. The faster you run, the better your form needs to be. So, I ran these strides as fast as 6:55/mile pace. When this was done, I did some core work and upper body strength training. No matter how many miles I am running, I do not want to abandon my core training-- I believe it is crucial to injury prevention. On Monday evening, I went for a sports massage. I have been getting sports massages every two weeks since June, and I think they are helping to keep my muscles loose.
Tuesday- 12 mi w/7 at tempo
There is some controversy as to whether or not 7 miles is too long for a tempo run. Especially when embedded inside a longer run of 12 miles. I did this run on the treadmill. A 3.5 mile warmup, 7 tempo miles, and then a 1.5 mile cooldown. The tempo miles felt challenging, but they actually got easier as the run progressed. I increased my speed throughout the course of the run. The tempo miles were: 8:18, 8:16, 8:09, 8:05, 8:03, 8:03, 8:00. Average 8:08 pace. I was tired at the end, but felt like I could have gone for longer if I had to. This run has helped me set a half-marathon goal pace of 8:10 for the VA Beach Half next weekend.
I was pleasantly surprised that I had no lingering soreness or aches from Tuesday's run. I never used to recover so quickly.
Thursday- 12 mi
Another mid-week 12-miler. I started this run on the treadmill, because it was still dark at 5:00am. And then after 6 miles, I took the run outside for the second half. I started out at a pace of 9:50, and sped up to a pace of 8:48 by the end of the run. The average pace was 9:23.
Friday- 5 mi
Another recovery run at a pace of 10:30. I didn't feel like I could go much faster. My legs felt like bricks. They were so heavy and tired. The two 12-milers had really taken their toll. Apparently, this is normal for intense training. I am training my legs how to run when they are tired. After the run, I spent about 15 minutes stretching and using the foam roller. Afterwards, my legs felt better. I also did some core strengthing exercises, and upper body weights. It's not good to do too much weight lifting on recovery days, because then your body uses some of its "resources" to re-build the muscles you worked. But, I want to maintain a minimum of 2 times per week with weights.
Saturday- 20 mi
As I set out on this run, I was not too optimistic about how it would go. My legs felt heavy and tired. 8 miles into it, I simply couldn't imagine completing the full 20. But I kept reminding myself that I was supposed to feel this way, and the this run was supposed to be slow. Thankfully, the weather was nearly perfect. Upper 60's and cloudy. The parts of my run that are typically hellish due to the sun were really nice because the clouds were out. The run averaged a pace of 9:32, which is perfectly within range for my marathon goal pace.
Miles 1-5: 9:50, 9:48, 9:53, 9:51, 9:41
Miles 6-10: 9:49, 9:38, 9:32, 9:23, 9:25
Miles 11-15: 9:28, 9:21, 9:21, 9:23, 9:25
Miles 16-20: 9:32, 9:25, 9:28, 9:07, 9:07
During the last section, I was thinking: I can stop at mile 17 and take a break. (Arrive at mile 17 and keep going). Okay, 18 miles is good, I know that I will have to stop then for a break. (Arrive at mile 18 and keep going). Okay, 19 miles is all I can do. Once I get to 19, I am walking. (Arrive at mile 19 and keep going). Hell, I'll just finish the damn run!!!
The last time I attempted 20 miles, I started having ITB issues at mile 16. I was only able to run 19 miles instead of the full 20. I am pretty sure it was because of the shoes. I love my Nikes, but I have found that they aren't supportive enough for runs longer than 12 miles. Today I was in the Adrenaline GTS 8, and everything was pain-free. I never take a pain-free run for granted. And I am happy to say that this entire week was pain-free and injury free. Just some really tired legs!
Total Mileage: 55
Next on tap is the VA Beach RNR Half marathon on Sunday, August 31. You can track me live, and I will be providing details for that in a bulletin later this week. I am bib 5257, and I expect to finish around 1:47:00.
Before my 20-miler this morning, waiting for the sun to come up!