Breaking 4 hours in the marathon at the end of January got me even more excited and determined that I can and will qualify for the Boston marathon. During my week off I purchased “Faster Road Running” by Pete Pfitzinger. Since the plans in his “Advanced Marathoning” book worked so well, I decided to stick with what works. Having a couple 5k’s on the calendar I figured I’d start there. I was on the training week where there was supposed to be a practice 5k and ran one in Frisco, Texas with my best friends Stephanie and Angel.
To my surprise I ran a 22:05 for this 5k!!! tying my PR from 2008!!! I couldn’t believe it! And still am questioning, since the course was short according to my watch. But I will take it! Since the beginning of this training block I’ve been averaging about 45-50 miles per week and doing 1 workout per week with intervals and 1 with 100 meter strides. The rest of the mileage I take it pretty easy, except for a general aerobic run, where I run a little bit slower than tempo pace, but not too fast to get tired. For me, that is about a 8:45-9 min mile pace.
This past weekend I decided to sign up for a 10 mile race close to home, in Mooresville, Alabama. It was the prettiest little town! The post office there is the oldest post office still in use in Alabama, dating back to the 1800’s. I went into this race thinking that since I almost beat my 2008 5K PR the week before, maybe I could break my 2008 10 mile PR? I didn’t put too much thought into it, since I didn’t tell anyone about the race, and honestly didn’t think I could do it.
I warmed up for a mile and got to the wave start. My starting group had all (fast looking) men and one other woman. I immediately stayed back with the other woman, but noticed our pace was 8:30.. this would not get me to break my 1:20:30 record. I picked it up to an 8 min mile pace and stuck with the group of men. This made me nervous, cause there’s no way I could keep up with these guys right? The pace felt easy, but that has tricked me before. I decided if I’d still feel this good at mile 5, I would push the pace to a 7:55 from there to finish. From mile 2 to 3, my watch pinged a mile about 2 minutes before the 3 mile marker. I immediately knew with this 2 min error, I had no change for a PR. I should just relax and enjoy this pretty route. But then I thought.. well, I feel great, so lets pick up the pace instead, maybe I can still do it. I picked up the pace to run in the 7:40s. By mile 4 the course had corrected. (my guess the wind blew over the mile marker and someone just put it back where it ended up) I was feeling great still, so kept my pace. By mile 8 I felt like I was flying, my legs were moving fast and I still didn’t feel like I couldn’t breathe. The last mile I picked it up to 7:20 pace. That got me! but who cares, I was almost there. I flew (what I felt like) through the finish line with a new shiny PR of 1:17:30!!!
None of my miles even hit 8 minutes! I cannot explain how good it feels to see my hard work over the past year pay off. It has taken 1 year and 3 months of consistency and discipline to see progress I want to see. I’m so excited to see how much faster I can get.
I’ve been reading more and more on how to qualify for Boston. I’ve been nervous about going at it too hard and overtraining. Everywhere it talks about having a good “base” before starting your 12-18 week marathon training cycle, but I had a hard time narrowing down how to actually build a base.
In the past I’ve started every marathon training cycle with running about 15 miles per week, being able to run about 8 miles easily. Yes.. my idea of base building was so off… Most books, websites and podcasts say to have a mileage of at least 35-40 mpw before even starting training. I never even got up to this kind of mileage during my training for any of my marathons.
There has been a lot of conflicting information about building base, some people still incorporate speed and tempo workouts, but from the research I’ve done it mostly says to run in an aerobic zone for 12 weeks or so. This means to not get your heart rate up too high, because this will put you in the anaerobic zone, which you won’t need to train until the marathon training actually starts.
I won’t bore you with more details, long story short for the next few months I’m having to run slow and a lot! I’m gonna try to work up to about 40-50 miles per week.
I read that with the MAF (maximum aerobic function) test you can test your aerobic progress in this cycle. Below is the formula and test explained from the Phill maffetone website.
Basically you run 5 miles at 150 heart rate and with building my aerobic system I should be able to run faster at the same heart rate by the end of this base building phase. This is my first test and I will post the next one in a month to see my progress.
Mile 1: 8:12
Mile 2: 8:31
Mile 3: 8:46
Mile 4: 8:47
Mile 5: 9:08
The 180 Formula To find the maximum aerobic heart rate: