This week I started my weekend off with 13 miles on Friday afternoon: 2 warm up, 70:00 @ marathon pace, 2.25 cool down. #gobig
Much like Tuesday's track workout, this one had been out there looming in my mind, definitely the longest race pace training run (short of racing a half, which I don't really count) I've ever done during a marathon cycle. 70:00 worked out to ~8.75 miles, & I think in the past I've usually capped those race pace runs at around 6 miles, or sometimes two-mile chunks on and off during a long run. I also can't even remember the last time I did a training run this far that was not a long run. Maybe never. So, you can maybe see why, after Tuesday's shin-buster and two days of exhausting travel, I was shall we say curious to see how it would go.
Fortunately, the weather cooperated (except for the stupid wind, which I guess I just have to live with now). While the downside of fall is earlier sunsets, the upside of earlier sunsets for an afternoon runner is cooler temps. The first mile as always was super hard (uphill and into the wind), but I was actually surprised to see that it was still a pretty respectable 8:10. There was an adjustment period of getting used to the pace & cadence & how it felt, but after that I was able to settle into it pretty consistently & just tick off miles.
I don't want to say it was easy, but ultimately it did feel a lot easier than I was expecting (and I think easier than 13 "easy" miles usually feel; I don't know why that is true), and as I think I've mentioned before, the difficulty wasn't really the physical discomfort so much as doing the mental work of pacing. After six or so miles of this I felt my legs starting to get heavy & my pace starting to drop, but really all it took was thinking, "Well, let's just try to grind out one more sub-8:10 mile & go from there." And suddenly I looked down & was running 7:50 pace with what felt like very little extra effort.
The last miles were definitely the easiest, probably partly due to being downhill & with a tailwind, but I would also like to think there is something about just getting more comfortable with the pace & how it feels as the miles go by. I was also glad to see that whereas after 5 miles at 8:02 pace on Tuesday my average HR was 190, on Friday after nearly 9 miles at 8:04 pace my average HR was only 169 (which is actually below my target range. Then again there were a couple of water/traffic light stops. But I tried to keep moving as much as possible).
Icing on the cake? I felt completely normal after. I didn't struggle at all to finish it; the cool down miles were easy, and that brain dead, stare-at-a-wall-all-night feeling that sometimes follows longer harder runs was blessedly absent.
Grand Total: 53 miles + no strength work whatsoever D:
- * 12 easy
* 3.5 speed
* 13.75 race pace
* 19.5 long
Man, am I glad I only ran four days this week because there were some real doozies in there!
a.m. strength work / p.m. karate
Slept badly again (you'd think long runs would be good for sleeping, but the opposite seems to be true), and I'd been having some bad back pain between my shoulder blades all weekend that made me nervous about trying to lift. So another hour of sleep instead.
Tuesday 9/13: 2 warm-up, 3 x 800m / 200m jog, 5 miles marathon pace, 3 x 800m / 200m jog, 2 cool down = 12.5 total + shower + pack + get on plane.
Wednesday 9/14: Work work work / fly home
a.m. strength work / 8 easy.
Wussed out on a.m. strength work (again), because I am lame. But seriously, I was absolutely exhausted when I got home Wednesday & night & really did not not not feel like getting up any earlier than I absolutely had to. Not sorry. The run was not great when I started but eventually I warmed up & it was fine. (I'd been wondering how it would go after Tuesday.)
a.m. strength work / 2 warm up, 70:00 marathon pace, 2.25 cool down = 13 total.
Aaaaaaand just to complete the trifecta, I was still feeling wiped out from travel Thursday night so didn't even bother trying to get up early for strength work. (In fact, I didn't even go in to my office.) Not great but I will still prioritize sleep over just about anything else.
Saturday 9/17: Football!!
27-10 Stanford. COME BACK ANYTIME, USC!
Sunday 9/18: 4 warm up + Half Moon Bay Half Marathon + 2.5 cool down = 19.5 long
Race report coming soon but here's a little sneak peak:
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