ACK! It’s already week 12?!?!?! Where has the time gone?? This marathon training cycle is just flying by. I’ve been having so much fun with it this time around. It’s not just logging miles anymore like I’ve always done in the past. It’s speed work like tempo runs and runs with sprints in the middle, purposeful long runs (more than just building up my mileage tolerance, that is) meaning I’m doing fast finishes and fast middles (basically a much longer tempo run), progression runs, and steady pace runs. I’m trying to build up being able to run faster for longer periods of time so that hopefully, come race day, I can sustain that 9:43 (or faster!) pace for 26.2 miles. WHAT?!?!? Am I cray-cray? Yes…yes I am. I know to a lot of people 9:43 is slow and easy. And, frankly, for short distances (aka: less than 10 miles), it can sometimes (more so recently) be for me as well.
Alright, let’s check out how I did this past week with my training!!!
• Tuesday: no run, worked overtime Monday night.
• Wednesday: sooo…I was originally going to do a 7 mile total distance with 1 mile w/u, 5 miles at HMGP, 1 mile c/d. Then I set out for my run and changed it to a 2 mile w/u, 4 miles at HMGP, 1 mile c/d. Then I changed it to an easy run, just logging miles. Then I changed it to a steady pace run. Then I changed to keeping all the miles faster than 10:15. Then (holy crap I was indecisive about this run)…THEN I decided I wanted to do a progression run. So that’s what I did. My splits were awesome. I started with mile 1 at a 10:13 pace and ended with mile 7 at an 8:55 pace. Oh yea! That’s the other thing…I want the second half of South Padre Island Marathon to be faster than the first half is.
• Thursday: no run, worked overtime Wednesday night.
• Friday: 4 miles, steady paced between 9:30 and 9:39. I love how much faster I’m getting and how much easier it is for me to maintain the faster paces. The fact that fall temps are starting to show up helps a LOT.
• Saturday: nothing happened. Today was jam-packing with hanging out with a friend and then going to bed early.
• Sunday: yet again I had a race and a long run scheduled for the same day. Haha. I actually really like doing this. It breaks up my long run into 2-3 parts and helps my body to learn to keep going and start back up after it’s already tired. I think it makes me more efficient. Anyway, I had an 8K race (approximately 5 miles). So I arrived at the site a little over an hour early and knocked out 9 miles. Then I ran the race. Then I logged the final 5 miles I needed to make a grand total of 19! When I got home, I added up the times from each of the 3 separate runs for a grand total of 3:00:06 hrs. Then I plugged that into a pace calculator and discovered my overall average pace was 9:29!!! I have no doubts that, weather and temperature permitting, I can hit that 9:43 pace for the marathon next month! I’m totally stoked now! During the race portion of the 19 miles, I ran my fastest 5k (per my Garmin) at 26:45, my fastest mile at 8:08 (even though the split break down says that mile was 8:04…so I dunno what’s going on with that), and my fastest 8K at 43:46! Also, let’s just go back to the fact that I logged 19 miles in basically 3 hours flat. What, what, what?!?!?! That’s amazing to me that I’m capable of that, even though at this stage in training to run a marathon at a 9:43 pace I really shouldn’t be surprised at that. It’s like my weight loss, it’s taking some getting used to that I’m actually that fast.
• Monday: 4 easy miles for a shakeout run. I wanted to go between 10:45 and 11:00 for this run so in order to make it interesting for myself and less of a drag that I was going so “slow,” I decided to make a game out of it and try to hit the exact same pace each mile. I almost succeeded. Mile 2 was 1 second faster than the other 3.
I honestly couldn’t be any happier with how this training cycle is going. I mean, the past couple weeks I’ve sort of struggled with motivation a tiny bit. Not much, but it was there and I noticed it, so it was enough to affect me. I have slacked off here and there with my speed work and that makes no sense to me because I LOOOOOOVE speed work. I love doing sprints and I love doing progression runs and steady pace and tempo runs too. They’re great ways to challenge myself and, well, I do love a good challenge. I mean, come on, I have the quote “we choose to do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard.” BECAUSE THEY ARE HARD. Like, seriously, I don’t take the easy path or the easy way out. I like to work for it, I like to EARN it. I want those bragging rights. I have fairly aggressive progressing goals for myself over the next 14 months and in order to hit those goals I have to PUSH myself and challenge myself and do the difficult things that I don’t necessarily always want to do. But, let me tell you, there is rarely a time where once I’ve started running that within the first .5 to 1 mile I’m not all into it and loving it. It happens, but it’s rare. And speaking of those times, I’ve come up with a new mantra, or pep talk for myself for during those moments of suck. “the slower you go, the longer it’s going to suck.” Haha! Not too peppy, but it gets the job done and helps me kick it up a gear.
This past week, I went online and created a pace band for South Padre Island Marathon. My official goal is a 4:15 finish. GULP! If I pull that off, it’ll be a huge PR by over 20 minutes!!! OMG. That’s so scary and intimidating when you think about it. But, honestly, I’m putting in the work, so it shouldn’t be an impossibility for me to achieve that hoped for finish time. It’s “just” an average pace of 9:43 per mile. Easy peasy, lemon squeezie, right? Riiiiiiiight. It’s a fairly flat course so once I’ve done my w/u across the causeway and make it onto the island itself, I can crank up the speed and zip right along, hopefully to the tune of a 22 minute PR!
The last 3 weeks, my long runs have been segmented, broken up into 2-3 parts because I had either a 5k or an 8k race that I had signed up for scheduled for those days. So I’d get to the race sites early, knock out 9-11 miles pre-race, run the race (2 of them netting me all sorts of new PRs), then for 2 out of the 3, finishing up with a few more miles. I have to say that is a pretty awesome way to do a long run. One, it breaks up the monotony. Two, you get some speed work thrown into the middle of a long run. Three, your legs get a little rest in between segments. The rest is good for 2 reasons. Reason 1 is that, well, your legs get some rest. Reason 2 is that your legs are fatigued from the previous running segment, so when you start the next segment, even though you rested, your legs are fatigued so now you’re working on your resilience. However, I won’t be doing any more long runs in this method between now and SPI next month. I do have 2 more races scheduled on Sundays between now and then, but for the first one later this month, I also have a 223 mile relay that I’ll be completing with 11 other people and in which I will be running about 17.5 miles total, so I’m going to count that as my long run and then just run the 5k to the best of my ability. I have hopes of snagging another PR or at least earning and AG award…if the field is as small as last year, then I should be able to do that. The other race is a 10 mile race and is a mere 7 days before SPI, so is my last long run pre-race. And I won’t be racing it or attempting a 10 mile PR. Just a nice easy run.