After last week’s week of blah, I’m happy to report things are back on track! I think this might all just be the name of the game with marathon training. Sometimes, you have workouts and weeks that are just so horrible you can’t imagine ever being able to run 26.2 miles in a row and at a relatively fast pace. But then, you turn around and have some good workouts and go back to feeling optimistic again. 🙂
This week was really high mileage for me, but I’m happy to report my legs are feeling good! Come to think of it, this was probably the most miles I’ve EVER hit in a week! In my last training cycle, I was supposed to peak with a 50 mile week, but I think I cut a run short and came in at 49 miles. This time, I actually did it!! 50 miles!!!! I haven’t had any weird shin pain this time around like I did when I was training for Delaware, and I’m wondering if that’s because I have been wearing my Saucony Kinvaras for training this time around instead of the Asics Gel-Electro?
I was a big fan of the Asics for 2 years, but I have to say, I love the cushioning of the Kinvaras, and I think they’re keeping my feet happier with higher mileage than the Asics which erred on the minimalist side of things.
But anyways! Onto the training recap. 🙂
Monday – 5 miles ez. I ran long on Saturday, and rested on Sunday, so this felt very manageable. I averaged 10:01/mile, right where I want to be with my recovery runs. Part of me really wanted to run faster, but I knew I was planning my harder workout for the next morning, so I reined myself in.
Tuesday – 6 miles on the treadmill, with 4 at sub-marathon pace (roughly 8:35/mile). I’ve been doing a lot of research on different marathon training methods, and one thing I came across was that you don’t want to just train at your goal marathon pace. Because the marathon is so long, it will recruit all your different muscle fibers and training at different speeds will help with your endurance, even if you aren’t planning to run that pace on race day. I started out with an easy mile to warm up, then went into the fast miles. This was tough, I’m not going to lie, especially doing it first thing in the morning. I just tried to focus on each individual mile, and then before I knew it, it was time for my cool-down mile.
Wednesday – 4 miles ez. Nothing super exciting about this run.
Thursday – Another early morning workout. This time it was 10 miles, with the goal of 7 miles at marathon pace. I had plans to celebrate a coworker’s birthday after work, so I knew I was just going to have to wake up bright and early to squeeze all the miles in. Sadly, the days are clearly getting shorter, as it was still pitch black out when I woke up. To be on the safe side, I decided to do the first 3 miles of this run on the treadmill at the gym. I did the first 2 miles easy, and then launched into it. The first goal pace mile on the treadmill was obviously pretty easy since I just set the treadmill to 8:45/mile and didn’t have to worry about slowing down! The other ones were a little trickier, but I think my body is getting better at finding this pace. Mile 4 – 8:58 (I think I was adjusting to the transition from treadmill to road), Mile 5 – 8:47, Mile 6 – 8:46, Mile 7 – 8:44, Mile 8 – 8:47, Mile 9 – 8:44, and Mile 10 was a cool-down. At first, I felt like I was really having a hard time finding this consistent pace, but by the end, it was actually easier. And I felt pretty bada$$ getting all these miles in before work!
Friday – Well-earned rest day. 🙂
Saturday – Steady pace 5-miler on the treadmill at the gym followed by some arms/core work. I took the first mile of this run very easy, but for the last 4, I kept it at around 9:05/mile, approximately 20 seconds slower than goal pace. I wanted my legs to be a little fatigued going into tomorrow’s 20-miler to help simulate what they’ll be feeling at the end of the marathon. For my previous marathons, I almost always rested or ran very easy the day before my long run. But I also hit the wall pretty hard on those, so I’m mixing things up a little this time.
Sunday – The first 20-miler of the training cycle (I have a second one next weekend)! Earlier in the week, I had discovered a 10-mile trail race not too far from my apartment (the Fellsfest Trail Race) , and decided that it would be a good way to tick off some of the miles. I also talked a couple of my coworkers into doing it with me (they’re training for the Chicago Marathon!). The race didn’t start until 9 am, which gave me a good span of time to get in 10 miles before. I woke up bright and early to have my pre-run coffee and toast, then headed out to knock off 6 miles on my regular loop. I took those miles nice and easy, running around a 10 minute mile. Once I finished those up, I hopped on the subway for a couple stops to meet my friends at the train station. The race actually had a shuttle to take runners to the start from there, but we ran to add an additional 4 miles. It felt awesome to finally have some company and I hardly felt like I had run 10 miles when we got to the start!
After a little waiting around, it was time for the race to start! My plan was to run this pretty much by effort since I knew my pace was going to be slower on the trails. This race also had FAR more hills than the 6 miles I did earlier in the morning. This elevation profile pretty much says it all.
The course was a 2-loop 5 mile route, which was a blessing and a curse because I knew when the worst hills were coming, but it was also nice knowing when I was almost at the end (I wasn’t trusting the mile readings on my GPS watch with all the trees). I finished in 1:31, good for a 9:10 average pace, which actually isn’t too far off my marathon goal pace considering the hills and the rocky terrain. Overall, I was very pleased with how I ran this race. While I was definitely tired and ready to be done running at the end, I didn’t feel like I really hit the wall and I stayed in a pretty positive mindset throughout. Maybe that was because I was so focused on looking at the ground to make sure I didn’t trip, but whatever, I’ll take it. 🙂 I was also passing a decent number of people on the 2nd loop, which was pretty exciting because I’m guessing most of them didn’t have 15 miles under their belts for the day.
The post-race party was also fantastic, and such a great way to celebrate being done with my 20 miles. They had 4 different breweries sampling their beer and even hard cider! I have to say, I really prefer a hard cider after a run to a beer. They even let you have as many as you want! There was also pizza (delicious), larabars, Suji water, Bai, and Muscle Milk. It was just what I needed. 🙂
And in case you’re wondering, this is what my legs look like at the end of a 10-mile trail race –
And that sums up my first 50-mile week! Bring on Week 4!
What’s the longest trail run you’ve done? Do you like breaking up long runs or prefer to get it all done in one straight shot?