Philadelphia Marathon Training Weeks #15 and (most of) #16

It’s race week people! And I’m weirdly calm. I can feel some nerves creeping in a little, but generally I’m just feeling good; rested, ready and excited! I feel like I did (most) everything I could in terms of training and preparing for this race, and so now it’s just time to let it rip on Sunday.

I am still having a really hard time figuring out my goals and/or pace plan. I know where I could be on an incredible day, I know where I could be on an average day, and I know things could just get ugly, but there’s a very wide time range between those outcomes. I’m not going to sandbag myself at all, as I will certainly be racing and running as competitively as I can on Sunday, I just don’t really know what that will mean. I suppose I’m just going to try to run the best I can on that day, give my very best, and stay as mentally strong as I can.

My mantra for Sunday is to be smart in the first half and be brave in the second half (also known as: don’t be an idiot, then don’t be a wimp).

If I were to have ONE main goal, it’s to negative split the race. Out of my five marathons, the two that actually felt good were the ones I negative split. I have drilled this technique into my head over the past few months, and I’ve been running my long runs this way as well. Baring something terrible happening, I am determined to run the second half faster than the first. I’m less concerned about the “holding back” in the first part element of this equation so much as the pushing it after mile 13 element. Digging deep on tired legs is a scary thought, and it’s going to necessitate a great deal of mental focus and strength. I like to think I have these qualities, but the marathon is a merciless beast and has eaten me alive before. I’d be lying if I said the distance doesn’t scare me anymore since I’ve run it five times now. In fact, I’d say it scares me more because I’ve already faced it.

But here’s what I’ve been taught about fear: When things are important to us, there is always going to be an element of fear involved. When it comes to goals that we’ve been focusing on and working toward, this fear (namely the fear of failure) is even more pronounced. But when you want something more than you fear it, when you can channel those scared feelings into feelings of deep determination – you take control over fear, and consequently – you cannot fail.

There are some big goals that I want in regard to the marathon distance, and while it will take more than one race to achieve them, I intend to use Sunday as a step toward getting that much closer.

Here’s how the last two weeks of tapering have been:

Week #15 (aka: the week of the polar bomb)

This is the average amount of clothing I had to lay out before every day I ran last week.

This is the average amount of clothing I had to lay out before every day I ran last week.

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 7.5 miles + PM hot yoga

13 degrees outside and the first time I wore tights to run in this year. Thankfully Julia joined in on the fun, or else my bed probably would have won out.

Wednesday: November Project workout + run to/from (5.5 miles)

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ONE DEGREE. Good thing I’ve got a weatherproof crew of badass people to inspire me to get outside. This workout was slow and easy stairs, and it was so special. To be out there in frigid cold, defying all natural instincts to hibernate, with some awesome people was an incredible thing and was one of my more memorable NP workouts.

Thursday: 75 minute yoga class

One of the best classes I’ve ever been to at my new studio. Good stuff!

Friday: November Project workout + run to/from (6 miles)

We ran up and down a gentle hill in the 9 degree weather. I took it easy, smiled a lot and probably shivered more.

Saturday: 12 miles

Last “long run” of the training cycle! It was snowing the whole time and I had a hard time seeing since snowflakes kept sticking to my eyelashes and not melting since it was so cold. It was beautiful, but this run seemed to take forever. My speed was fine, my legs felt fine, it just seemed to drag.

Sunday: 4 miles easy + hot yoga

Hottest hot yoga class I’ve ever been to. It was certainly cleansing and relaxing, but it was a little too hot for my preference.

Total= 35 miles


Week #16 (aka: this week, aka: RACE WEEK)

Monday: rest

Tuesday: 7 miles with Julia

Wednesday: 6 miles

I ran to November Project, sat out of the workout and took pictures, and still loved it as much as if I’d been participating. Really great to see my people, give some hugs, and get some good lucks before the race.

Thursday: yoga

Easy flow class this morning, it was lovely.

Friday (planned): 4 easy miles, shake out

Saturday (planned): rest

Sunday: yea…

You can add “binge watched Lost” to most days up there, as that’s been my chosen taper distraction technique. It’s really good for keeping me occupied, not so good for keeping my heart rate low.

Generally, I’m really happy with how things are feeling this week. I feel like I’ve balanced resting and continuing to move really well, and my body is feeling more and more ready every day. My legs, somehow, have felt great on every run this week – let’s hope that’s a sign of good things to come on Sunday! I’m trying a new technique of not doing the shake out the day before the race, and I’m excited for it. I always feel like my legs feel best after full rest days – so let’s hope this holds some truth. My guess is that we’ll be walking around Philly enough to get blood moving and to calm any nerves.

This is it! I’m really excited. Thank you all for your encouragement through this training cycle – it’s been a good one!

Here is tracking information, and my bib number is 2276.

Gah! Okay, time to buckle it in until Sunday. Booyah!


4 thoughts on “Philadelphia Marathon Training Weeks #15 and (most of) #16

  1. Katie

    I’ve never commented on your blog before but I just had to for this one! I’m so, so excited for you and really loved reading your thoughts on embracing big goals and overcoming the fear.. At the risk of sounding crazy, I greatly admire you as a runner and a person. Your blog is truly a gem amidst an increasing amount of mailed-in gibberish. Best of luck to you, Robyn!

    1. runbirdierun Post author

      Katie – this comment made my day when I read it last week! Thank you, thank you. I thought about it during the race even 🙂 Hope you had a lovely holiday!

  2. FitnessFatale

    I love your perspective on the race! I think it’s a solid plan , especially the part about racing the first half smart and the second half brave. I certainly get a little excited in races so I need to heed the same advice and not go out too fast.

    Ill be virtually cheering for you! Good luck and have fun!!!


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