Peak Week – Dallas Marathon

This past Saturday, I finished my peak week of training for the Dallas Marathon. As I ticked off the 57th mile –  my highest weekly mileage ever – I took a mental note of how my body felt. I  was sore and tired, but energized in a strange sort of way. I remember how last year, when I had my first 50 mile week, I was tired, hungry, and sore. This year is different, because of some of the changes I’ve made.

Last year I ran three marathons in five months (December – April), so I ran a full training plan for the first one. Then I moved into a recovery/reduced mileage/taper cycle for the other two marathons. I had a nice off-season, and came back stronger and faster. I decided to follow the same approach this time around. I know each marathon won’t be faster, but in Texas there is not a lot of choice on the time of year. Plus, you never know what weather Dallas will throw at you on race day.

Change #1: I’ve lost weight.

Every time I marathon train, I gain weight. Usually about 3-5 pounds. This time, I’ve lost two. It may not be a big deal to some, but for me (a formerly obsessive scale watcher) it made my day. I’m doing a better job  managing my hunger, which brings me to surprise number 2.

Change #2: I’m not hungry all the time.

There are still days when I my stomach is growling less than an hour after a meal, and there are days where I am eating constantly. There are also days when I am able to control my appetite better by increased fats (avocados and almonds) and different carbs (fruits and veggies). I’ll probably write more on this topic in a later post, as I’ve been trying out some different foods. Gone are the handfuls of pretzels and before bed bowls of cereal.

Change #3: I’m running six days a week.

It’s much easier to manage higher weekly mileage spread over six days instead of five. Sometimes, I will split the Monday run in two by running some in the am and the rest in the pm. Sure it creates some extra laundry, but it beats having a 4 am alarm every weekday.

Change #4: I’m not cross training.

Some of you are committed to cross train at least once a week. I just don’t have the time to fit it in. I did a lot of stationary biking this summer, and since we now live in a two story house I’m constantly working those muscles up and down the stairs. Oh, did I mention we live on a hill in a hilly neighborhood. Most of my running is done by tackling those hills – strength training. I do try to do planks, wall sits, core exercises at least once a week. I’ve added some drills to the mix as well.

All in all, I’m pleased with how my training has progressed. I don’t normally post my weekly workouts, but if you’ll humor me this once:

Monday: 6 miles in the am (55:55), 3 in the pm (29:40)

Tuesday: 5 miles in the am (50:11), 4 in the pm (36:21)

Tuesday morning's forecast (but it was actually in the low 30s)

Tuesday morning’s forecast (but it was actually in the low 30s)

Wednesday: 5 miles (47:00)

Thursday: 9 miles total – 9 x 800m intervals w/400 m recovery (splits: 3:34, 3:32, 3:34, 3:38, 3:41, 3:44, 3:41, 3:39, 3:47) This was my first time on the track all season, and the first fast workout since my last 10k in September. I didn’t hit the pace on my plan, but I ran as hard as I could. My breathing was pretty rough, and I’m still faster than a year ago when my 800s were closer to 4:00.

Friday: 5 miles (46:31)

Saturday: 20 miles with temps in the mid 60s and humidity. (3:08:00) That four hour marathon goal is getting closer!

Yes, a tank top in mid November - four days after wearing full cold weather gear. It is Texas.

Yes, a tank top in mid November – four days after wearing full cold weather gear. It is Texas.

Total miles: 57

Thank goodness it’s taper time!

What have you changed in your training that works better for you?

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