I haven’t been posting much about running. I’ve been running. A lot. I’ve been roughly following my training plan since returning from vacation. This year has been fantastic. During my runs my effort hasn’t increased but my times keep dropping. That’s not to say that training is easy for me. It takes up a lot of time, is tiring, and makes me incredibly hungry. The time I spend running is time that I almost always enjoy…except maybe the last few miles of 20 mile runs! It’s tiring but that helps me to sleep well. I’m hungry and eating like crazy but not gaining any weight. For many people that’s a dream come true (if that’s your dream then just start running!).
My most important runs while training for a marathon the long runs. So far I’ve had some great long runs and some so-so long runs. Early this month I had a really good long run. The training plan called for 18. After 13 miles I felt really good and I had run at a fast pace. I decided to extend the run by a mile mostly to avoid running the 2 mile loop (I really don’t like that loop for some reason). Instead I ran the 3 mile loop twice. I finished in just under two hours and thirty minutes, a 7:54 pace! I felt great the whole day after that.
The following week I ran the first 20 miler of this training plan. That didn’t go as well. I really struggled for the last four miles or so. Before I started the run I had hoped to extend the run beyond 20 miles. I really want to get at least one 22-24 mile run in before the big day. That day was not the day for it. I’m pretty sure I was starting to hit the wall as I finished the run. It’s not surprising. I barely drank any sports drink and I ate just one gel. I had less than 10 ounces of sports drink. I think that’s just not enough calories for a two hour and forty-five minute run! According to RunningAHEAD my run was 20.27 miles. At that distance my pace was an 8:07 which is a phenomenal time but I really felt crappy at the end of the run.
I took one day of complete rest after the 20 miler. For my next run I was blessed with perfect running weather. It was in the 60s and overcast. I was supposed to run an 11 mile easy recovery run. I felt so good that I ended up running a bit farther and a lot faster than I was supposed to. I ran 12.7 miles at a 7:44 average pace. I felt awesome during and after this run. I was supposed to run a 9 mile tempo run the next day but that just wasn’t going to happen. I turned the 9 mile tempo into a 10 mile easy run instead. The day after that run I ran another 10 mile easy run. At that point I was physically exhausted — not during the run just overall.
The long run for that week was a 16 miler which doesn’t feel long after running 18-20 mile long runs. It felt like resting! I ran that run very fast finishing in 2:03:47, a 7:45 pace! I’d be happy with a time like that in a race. For this run I tried to get more calories. It may have helped.
That brings me to the current week. The exhaustion I’ve felt makes me believe that my training plan is well suited to me. This week is a cut-back week. It’s a week of rest. The plan calls for four 9 mile easy runs. Due to nagging foot pain and minor shin splints I’m not going to let myself run any of these fast and I’m not going to run any of them longer than 9 miles. At least that was the plan until I looked at my training log. I’ve logged a lot of miles this month, a personal record in fact. If I stuck to the plan I’d have 199 miles logged for the month of August. That is not acceptable. I must reach 200. So I ran one of the runs as 10 miles instead of 9.
I’m logging close to 50 miles each week (except during the cut-back week). I’m holding up OK and my times are fantastic compared to last year. To say that I’m happy is a gross understatement.