4 Weeks to Clarksburg Half Marathon
7 Weeks to Cal International Marathon
I'm trying to keep my cool as those numbers continue to fall. Physically, I think I'm almost ready to run a sub-1:40 half, if I can muster the mental toughness on race day. As for the marathon, I'm trying to strike a good balance between taking it seriously (ie, preparing adequately & making sure I've got my logistics handled) and not too seriously (it's my first one & I have to keep reminding myself that meeting a specific time goal, as awesome as that would be, isn't the biggest priority).
(I've given up on counting by months, by the way; the novelty's worn off and it's no longer making me feel any better.)
Monday: 5 miles easy. This was my first run in six days, due to some weird calf strain. As with every run I've attempted since that business started, my only real goal was to get *some* amount of mileage in without too much pain. So yay, success! I was prepared to run up to seven miles, but after four when I was about a mile from home, my calf started bugging me a little more, so I decided to call it good at five.
Tuesday: 8 miles (2 wu + 3 x 3200 @ MP pace minus 10 seconds / mile) Tuesdays are still track days. For about the first half of the program, the Hanson-Brooks plan calls for speed workouts ("A total of three miles of intervals at 10-K race pace. Interval length may vary, but don't exceed 1600 meters."); for the second half, those days switch to strength workouts ("A total of six miles of intervals at 10 seconds per mile faster than marathon goal pace. Intervals should be 1600 meters or longer."). I wish I were a real running coach or kinesiologist & could tell you what the rationale is for that, but I have no idea. Nevertheless, I went out to the track Tuesday & dutifully did it anyway.
Given that I still wasn't pain-free Monday, this was another of those run-until-you-can't sessions. I did okay warming up, so figured I was good to try some slightly faster running. After all, I figured, I wouldn't be trying to run all THAT fast (I was shooting for anywhere in the 7:40-7:50 range). It turned out that I didn't have much calf or tendon pain, especially not at first, but those two-mile intervals were KILLER.
Well; alright. I know partly why they were so killer. First, it was hot enough that my "active recovery" between intervals was hanging out in the shade sipping Nuun as opposed to jogging an 800, so I really probably should've given myself 10 seconds or so of lenience per mile & aimed for 7:50-8:00. Second, the splits on my first interval were 7:36 & 7:42 (oops) -- I was having some obvious satellite trouble (there's no way my pace was fluctuating between 5:45 & 8:30) so I was trying to do more running by feel & effort level, but when I do that I inevitably end up running too fast. I tried to rein it in on the last two (7:46/7:46 & 7:45/7:40), but given the heat & how hard I was having to work for those times, I know they were too fast. If it's hot when I do these workouts in the future, I think I will probably wear a heart rate monitor & go by that. (I'm trying to get better at running by effort, but it seems to never go well for me, & this close to big races I'm less inclined to mess with it too much.)
Still, I was super happy to be able to get this whole session in. By the third interval, I started having some pain (doing another probably would've been a bad idea), but was able to finish.
When I picked up the orthotics, Dr. S told me to keep my first run in them pretty short, which kind of threw off my plan. Plus, I got home late due to traffic, which nixed going to the track. Instead I decided to do a shortened MP run in my neighborhood (probably not as short as Dr. S intended but oh well).
It was another hot day so I was trying to run more by heart rate than pace. I've been calling 7:59 marathon pace (we'll see whether that ends up being realistic or not), so with the heat and a few modest hills, 8:13 / 8:27 / 7:42 / 8:00 / 8:21 is probably about right (except for that 7:42...not really sure what that was all about).
Definitely feeling the "cumulative fatigue" on this run. Two weeks ago, I did almost this exact same workout & averaged 7:35 / mile & 184 bpm -- encouraging, as my target HMP is about 7:37 / mile & my target HR for the half is about 188 bpm. Today I
About halfway through, both my pace and heart rate were rising (bad). At that point I was torn between maintaining the pace by pushing harder (read: too hard for a half marathon) & keeping my heart rate in the right place, maybe slightly higher, & letting the pace go. I know that these pace runs are designed to mimic the last six miles, not the first, when it makes sense to run harder to in order to keep up the pace. On the other hand, running them too hard means I'm essentially doing speed work and not a (pseudo) tempo run. Unable to decide which was better, I ended up splitting the difference, by which I mean I didn't keep my pace OR heart rate in the target range. Sigh.
Sunday: 18 miles easy. Well; as easy as 18 miles can be when you can't actually remember the last time you ran that far, ran 12 miles including 6 at HMP the day before, have been drinking wine all afternoon, & haven't eaten anything all day except a sandwich and a Clif Bar. I have more to say about this run than you really want to read about here so look for that in a separate post. The upshot -- in spite of feeling kind of not super amazing and really not wanting to do it, I got it done & didn't die & even managed to keep up a semi-respectable pace. But yeah -- more on this elsewhere.
Grand Total: 56 miles
Whew. I've officially surpassed my peak mileage from my last big training cycle (SJRNR 2010) & am definitely feeling it. Also, re: my earlier post on racing weight, I think it is hilarious that I have lost five--count 'em, FIVE--pounds in under a week. (Obviously a bunch of that is probably temporary fluid & glycogen depletion, especially after this weekend; I just find the numbers on the scale extremely funny.)