The hay is in the barn, the money has been deposited…less than two weeks to go! Just one long tempo workout and a mid-ish distance run on Saturday and then nothing but short, easy runs before race day!
This was a big week of running for me. At this point in training, there are no short speed workouts on the plan. No more 600s, 800s, mile repeats, two mile tempos. Those were to build speed. For the last few weeks, the focus has been on longer workouts that will make marathon pace feel easier – long steady state, longer tempos and longer tempo intervals. See the similarity? They are all LONG. These workouts have been sprinkled throughout the cycle and have been gradually building in length – and three of them culminated this week – longest steady state (12 miles), longest LT tempo (5 miles – total 11 miles) and longest long-run tempo (16 miles w/ 8 @ tempo). I’ve seen these workouts on the plan for several weeks now – and I’ve been a bit intimidated. Each of them, alone, is tough enough. But to have all three over the course of six days made it even more so.
7 runs and 66 miles over the course of 7 days. It was a success. Well, it was more than that. I didn’t just complete each workout – I nailed every single one and finished with big negative splits. I have never felt this strong, fast or at-ease with running before. I’m hitting paces that I only dreamed about hitting. 630s in the middle of a tempo? Averaging 7:11 for a long run? This is completely new territory for me – and nothing short of exciting.
I know I’ve done the work for a great race in a few weeks. I’m excited to go run – and have fun – just like I have all cycle – and the times hopefully will be there.
Planned: 12 steady state – ease into first two and last 10 @ steady state
Actual: 12 @ 7:18 average
These runs always make me a bit nervous. I do the majority of my runs at easy/recovery pace so anytime I have a large chunk of miles at a brisker pace, I’m nervous. For this run, I wasn’t nervous about hitting these paces – but coach wanted them to feel comfortable – it shouldn’t be a tempo effort. So I was more concerned with how I would feel during them.
But the run was nothing short of enjoyable. I started out with two miles gradually picking up the pace and then began the 10 @ steady state. The pace felt effortless and I knew I could run another large chunk of miles at that pace if I needed to. Runkeeper shows 500+ feet of gain for this run (I think it’s a touch high). Definitely a confidence boosting run with goal race being so close.
Splits: 7:39, 7:31, 7:22, 7:22, 7:21, 7:15, 7:17, 7:12, 7:13, 7:11, 7:10, 7:01
After the run, it was time for the boys’ first day of school! They each went for an hour (at different times) and I got to stay in the classroom with them! I love that they are in the same classroom – the little guy goes for 3 hours in the AM (M, W, F) and my oldest goes for 6 hours (M, W, F).
Planned: 3 miles warmup, 5 @ LT tempo, 2 mile cooldown
Actual: 3 @ 8:06, 5 @ 6:42, 3 @ 7:56
If there is one run that always scares me, it’s LT tempos. I haven’t had huge success with them this training cycle – or ever, really (except on treadmills). We started at 4 miles and have worked up to 5. In July, my 4 miler was a bust (quit after 2). In August, my 4.5 miler was a quasi-success – I finished but it was outside goal range.
Goal pace was 6:40-6:50, with coach wanting me to start slower and end faster. I did the 3 warmup miles and purposely kept them slower than usual (I usually start picking up pace in 2nd mile to loosen legs up). After the 3rd mile, I stopped for about 2 minutes to do a few stretches and mentally prepare for the ~35 minutes.
Tempo started and the pace felt hard. I focused on my breathing and stride – the two things I could control. I was prepared to feel uncomfortable this mile, as I always do. Mile 1: 6:46.
Immediately fell into same pace for mile 2 – and forced myself to stay there for the whole mile. I wanted to go faster but I wanted to be smart and conservative. Mile 2: 6:47.
Mile 3 began and I realized I was smiling and happy. I’m NEVER happy during a tempo. But, that day was different. I felt this calm confidence that I don’t ordinarily have during tempos. I felt strong. I decided to take a chance and pick up pace a bit and see what happened. Mile 3: 6:39.
I was waiting for this mile because it’s usually the one I struggle with – just past halfway, but still a bit to go. But I didn’t. I was getting tired, my legs were a bit fatigued – both from the morning miles and the accumulation of training from the last few weeks. But I still felt in control and maintained a similar pace despite some good climbing. Mile 4: 6:42.
After mile 4 ticked, I hung at that pace for another few minutes and then it was time to switch gears and end fast and strong. I was pushing hard that last mile, but it still never felt like I was running all out. Mile 5: 6:30.
This is the fastest 5 mile tempo I’ve ever run outside – and 90 seconds faster than my 5 mile PR – in the middle of marathon training. I finished off the morning with 3 easy-paced miles @ 7:55.
After a shower, we brought my oldest to school and spent some time exploring – great way to keep the legs loose!
Planned: 4 miles easy, 8 @ AT tempo, 4 miles easy
Actual: 16 @ 7:11 pace (with 8 @ 6:52)
After Wednesday’s successful workout, I was excited for Saturday. And as opposed to LT tempos, I’ve had very good success with long run tempos this cycle – even in the middle of the high heat/humidity.
Goal pace from Coach was 6:55-7:10. And the same approach – start conservative and finish strong.
I did 3.5 miles then a quick water and fuel break (about 45-60 sec), finished off the 4 mile warmup and immediately started the 8 mile tempo. I didn’t fuel beforehand because it was already early and I don’t like to stop during tempos (kind of defeats the purpose of a tempo), so wanted to get some fuel in me since my next chance would be at 12 miles in. It was pitch black for the entire tempo which made it tough to see the pace – and so most of the tempo was run by feel.
I stayed conservative the first four miles and then picked up pace for next three and then again for the last mile. And finished the long run with 4 moderate-paced miles (which I ran with only HR showing).
– 4 up: 7:59, 7:35, 7:36, 7:32
– 8 tempo: 7:00, 6:54, 6:58, 7:02, 6:48, 6:49, 6:46, 6:33 (6:52 average)
– 4 down/moderate: 7:32, 7:22, 7:19, 7:07
Overall: 7:11 pace
This is the fastest 8 miles on the roads for me – ever. And fastest long run. The tempo portion was nothing short of fun – the paces were hard, but still manageable. And the most comforting aspect of run was how I felt during the 4 miles post-tempo. My legs still wanted to move despite being tired. And those paces felt pretty comfortable!
I ran this super early (4:30am) because it was my little guy’s 3rd birthday – and I wanted to be back in time to see him when he first woke up!
Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sun
Planned: 3-8 miles
Actual: 6, 8, 8, 5 miles
I finally got back into a great early morning run routine – most mornings out the door before 5am – which meant some gorgeous sunrises!
Hope you had a great weekend!