Back in August, I wrote a blog called "Peak Week!". As the name implies, the blog was about my week with the highest mileage prior to the marathon. With this training cycle, I am mixing my previous program (Pftizinger) with another program (RW Ultimate). I thought I really benefitted from the 55-mile week in the previous program, so I decided to keep it in my training plan. Except for I added a mile to the long run and ended up with 56 miles.
I thought I would do a comparison of both weeks: August 18 vs. December 1. That week of August 18 was one of the last weeks I was able to complete before getting sick at the VA Beach half marathon on the 31st.
Monday: Recovery with Strides
Monday's run is 6 recovery miles, including six 100m strides. Not much change between August and now, as recovery runs are supposed to be run very slowly. In August, I was doing recovery runs at an average pace of 10:25 and now I am doing them at an average pace of 10:15, and my heart rate is actually lower for a faster pace. The pace of the strides is still the same, only strides have gotten a lot easier.
Tuesday: 12 with 7 Tempo
Tuesday is one of the most challenging workouts in the program: 12 miles with 7 at tempo pace. I did 4 warump, 7 tempo, and 1 cooldown. Here is where I see a real difference. I put in the same level of effort as I did in August, and ended up with a much faster tempo. Both runs were done on a treadmill, so weather was not a factor.
In August the miles were: 8:18, 8:16, 8:09, 8:05, 8:03, 8:03, 8:00.
This week, the miles were: 8:06, 8:05, 8:03, 8:03, 8:00, 7:57, 7:50.
Best of all, I felt like I had energy left over, and could have continued running at that pace. My 10K PR pace is 7:57, so I am thinking I can probably shave at least a minute off of that, if I don't go out too fast.
Thursday: 12 Miles
In August, this run averaged a pace of 9:23. This week was actually slower- averaging 9:30. This was partially because I added "hills" (treadmill inclines) at grades 5%-6% during the run, for a minute at a time. While maintaining my pace. I've been adding hills to all of my medium-long runs, and also running a hilly route for my long runs. I think this has helped immensely, even though my marathon is relatively flat. Hills help with leg strength.
Friday: 5 Recovery
Not much exciting here.
Saturday: Long Run
The program calls for 20 miles, which I did in August at an average pace of 9:32. Yesterday, I decided I would do 21 miles, just to push my limits a bit, and log my highest weekly mileage ever. I ran a much hiller route, and averaged a pace of 9:26. Further, faster, and hillier.
I do have some lingering soreness in my quads today, but I think I will be ready to go again on Monday. Oh yeah, and this run was freezing. It was overcast and about 32 degrees. It took me nearly an hour to fully "thaw" afterwards.
I'm very pleased with my 56-mile week. And if you count the run that I did last Sunday, it's actually 60 miles in 7 days! As for the marathon itself, I only have six weeks until the big day. Right now, I feel pretty confident in a 3:45. I need a 3:40 to BQ, and I am not sure if that will be feasible. I have a few more tune-up races this month and some speed sessions which will help me determine what I am capable of.