The first week of marathon training is behind me. 54 miles, the first week. That’s a little different from how I’ve previously prepared. I used to only run about 6-8 miles for the first “long run” of marathon training. I mostly kept my weekly mileage around 25 miles… yes, less than the total distance of the marathon ha! And still expected to easily be able to break 4. I was disappointed each time when I finally crawled over the finish line at around 4:30. I ran around 40-50 miles per week on my last marathon training block. Doing this I finally broke the 4 hour barrier.
I’ve consistently been running about 40-50 miles per week since my last marathon in January. This training block if everything goes well I will go up to about 70 miles in one week. How I’m going to survive this, I’m not sure yet haha!
The first long run was already 15 miles. I remember I used to be nervous the entire week when I had a long run of 15 miles. I would normally run this around 8:30 pace for 10 miles and then pretty much walk run the last 5 in misery. I would be down the rest of the day, my muscles hurting and super tired.
Since I’ve learned to drastically slow down my long runs, I was easily able to complete 15 miles this Saturday. I was able to have a Saturday like I didn’t even run, nothing hurt and I wasn’t tired.
I can’t believe I never realized the importance of building a base in running. After years of training the wrong way, I’m glad I’m finally on the right track!
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.