Here's a rough outline of my training plan:
- Run 4-5 miles at fastish (8-8:30 min/mi) pace approx 4-5 times per week.
- Run a longer distance on the weekend at least once.
The 4-5 mile runs are easy as I can run at lunch every day for the most part. 8-8:30 pace is conversational for me on the flat roads around work so I can have a good chat with my friend and running buddy, Scott.
The long runs have been going OK too. Just roll out of bed early and "git r done" during the suck months of winter in New England.
My first "official" long run was about a month ago. 12 miles at 8:15 pace. It was cold and snowy that day but the relative ease of that run planted the possibility of a 4hr marathon firmly in my head. Until then I was thinking 4:15-4:30 and enjoy the scenery.
Last weekend, I astonished myself with 15 miles at sub 8:30 pace on once again snowy roads. Again the carrot of 4 hour Boston was dangling out there. I was pretty wrecked afterwards but I assumed I needed to eat and drink more so I put that into the plan for this past Saturday's run.
This past weekend's run started before sunrise but the weather was the warmest and driest of any of my long runs to date (25 deg). With my food and hydration plan in hand, I headed out to do the same 15 miles. I was hoping for a similar pace performance. I would add another 2 miles to the end if I had the time.
The best laid plans......
Starting out, the legs didn't feel as fresh as usual. I chalked it up to sleep since my kids were stuffy all week. Solid sleep for dad was not really an option. To start, 9min/mi was doable but it required concentration not to slow down to a more comfy pace. I stuck with the eating and drink and generally enjoyed myself until about mile 8 when the wheels started to come off. My hamstring started to tighten up and screwed up my gait so that my calf tightened up.
Grinding it out sometime during mile 10 which is a solid stead and steep 1 mile long hill, I started think: "What the hell would I do if this happened at mile 10 on April 15th?" All of this plus the day's schedule led me to bail out at 11.75 miles. I still managed a respectable pace of 9:15 but it was a full min/mi slower than my last 12 mi run.
I'm really trying to roll with this minor setback and chalking it up to good days/bad days but I can't help but obsess about that thought during mile 10. Do I have the heart to put one foot in front of the other in that state? I know race day will be different but I just really hope I will not have to death march for several of those miles.
Oh well, the marathon train rolls along. How's your training coming along?
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