Last week was peak week ya’ll.
56 miles on tap. 22 mile long run.
All kinds of big numbers that make me question my sanity and sends my injury-paranoia into overdrive.
Every 50+ mileage week I’ve ever done while marathon training has led to minor injuries. Once a major injury. I also haven’t had an injury-less spring in three years. Needless to say, I have been ridiculously in-tune and overly-wary of how my body has been feeling and how the runs have been going.
So how did this past week fare?
Things are looking/feeling/going great!
Here’s the deets:
M: 7 miles with 7×100 meter pickups, after work
T: 10 miles, no watch
W: Maximum Sculpt class + 1 hour swim
T: 12 miles w/ 7 ” fast” miles
F: 5 miles easy + Maximum Sculpt class
S: 22 miles
S: 1 hour swim
Total= 56 miles
And tack on way too many push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks every night, too. That’s right… PSJJ is still going. We hate it.
A couple of things about those runs/workouts up there:
Thursday’s run didn’t go exactly as it should have.
The truth? I gave myself a little bit of an out.
On the docket was 12 miles with 7 miles @hmgp. When I read that description on my training schedule on Sunday night beforehand, I was already scared. It was like I somehow knew that I wouldn’t be up for it, and—surprise—when the day came, I definitely wasn’t. And while ordinarily I would write this off as a missed-workout and a loss of mental strength, I’m actually glad that I decided to approach this run differently.
After last weekend’s faster-than-planned half marathon plus 7 miles, my body was a little toast. Not overworked, just in need of a little more recovery than a regular training week. I decided to “do what I could” on the run instead. Go fast when I could, hold back if I needed to, essentially—let my legs dictate the run. And wouldn’t you know it, the results weren’t too shabby:
Perhaps I should have just done the workout and not let the voice of doubt get the best of me. But I’m actually happy I took the route I chose instead. There’s a difference between not giving into fear and recognizing when you actually should hold back, and it’s that fine line that defines the difference between constructive and destructive training.
Onto my favorite training run of the week: the big kahuna.
I’ve only ever done 22 miles in marathon training once before, and it was in my first training cycle. I don’t completely think that it’s physically necessary, but mentally…it’s huge. For me, getting within 4 miles of the full marathon distance does a lot for my confidence, and in distance running… confidence can at times be more important than actual endurance.
That said, there was really only one thing I wanted out of Saturday’s 22 miler: confidence. I had gained a great deal of excitement and encouragement last week from the race, but now was the time to really go long. No stopping, no breaks in the middle, just running. And running. And running.
I decided to tackle this monster on the Burke-Gilman trail for a change of scenery and also for some company. Sure enough, there were runners/bikers/walkers galore…and it felt like the place to be on a Saturday morning.
No sugar coating— this sucker took a long time. But truthfully, it felt like it went by relatively fast. I enjoyed essentially every mile of this run, and with the exception of a couple lonely/tough miles around 15-16, I felt great the whole time. I should note that it was also so m-f cold at the beginning that anyone would rather be running than standing still…meaning the first 5-ish miles were spent thawing out and regaining control of my fingers.
Once the end was in sight and I knew I wasn’t going to blow up, I decided to go for a strong finish. A strong finish in a regular training run (at the tail end of a high-mileage week) would be optimal for the whole “confidence” goal…and I’m really happy with the end results.
8 minutes per mile flat average pace. Last mile in 7:30. I like it.
A little fast, I’ll admit. But my recovery this training cycle has been so much better than it’s ever been. I woke up on Sunday without any soreness (11 hours of sleep probably helped 🙂 ) and I essentially have zero lingering fatigue.
I decided to swim on Sunday to shake out my legs, after debating if I should take a rest day or not, which felt fantastic. I still maintain that swimming has actual magical powers.
The universe disagreed with this decision though…and it made me pay the price. I woke up yesterday after a horrible night’s sleep with a cloudy head and sore throat…allergy season, you devil. I always forget that the spring is the worst allergy-wise for me, and apparently running through the woods for 3 hours doesn’t really help them stay put.
Alas, unplanned but welcomed rest day yesterday. This week is a partial step-back week with a “shorter” long run, and otherwise— we’re heading into the homestretch, folks. Just two weeks until the three week taper starts. Crazy.
I’ve really been loving this training cycle…and as much as I’d like it to continue, I’m getting really anxious for the grand finale. My focus on my BQ goal hasn’t wavered a bit, and if anything… I’m hungrier for it now than I’ve ever been.
I think it’s possible. I think it’s going to take a little more work and a little bit of race day luck. I’m a big believer in never doubting the unexpected—both for better or for worse. But I’m also a big believer in race day magic.
We’ll see. All I can do now is continue to run well, run safe, and keep my eye on the prize.
How was your weekend?