The weeks start flying by the closer it gets to race day, as marathon training always goes. My long runs have been building for the past three weeks, with two 18s and a 20 miler. I have been working on my marathon pace for several miles a week – sometimes two runs a week. This was how one of the 18 milers went.
The next week, I planned another 18 miler with some race pace miles. The plan was to run 10 at marathon pace, but because I was running with the group (we had some new runners that day), I threw in race pace miles when I could. My friend was also battling heel pain and I didn’t want to leave her, so I did some back tracking to stay with her. When she was done, I finished up and really pushed my pace the last mile. I think that’s good enough to count as a fast finish long run.
When I did my 20 miler Saturday, I was expecting to have a slower time, but I was not prepared for how beat up I would feel afterward. My friend and I ran some early miles before we met up with the group. By the time I got back to the park with the group, I had run a few miles faster than I planned and was at mile 16. My husband met me on his bike and rode the last four miles with me. If he hadn’t been there, I don’t think I would have made it to 20. I actually stopped somewhere during mile 18 to rally myself. I was hurting, tired, and wanted to be done. My lower legs were achy before I even hit mile 18. I didn’t run any more miles or harder workouts than I did the week before. My pace went from low 9:00s up to 10:30s in the last three miles. “Just keep going,” I told myself.
For the next three days, both legs were sore from the knees down. I think my biggest problem was not getting enough fuel in for those later miles. I took in one packet of Clif chews for the whole run. Also, the four miles on concrete sidewalks was probably tougher on me at the end. The pounding was too much.
This week is a recovery week, then next week is peak week, and then I get to taper. It’s moving along fast now, and I’m working on my mental strength to keep my mindset in check. The four hour goal is still out there, three years later. I’m ready to reach it. I need a new carrot.
In other news, I cut Diet Cokes and junk food/sweets out of my life last week. I haven’t had either since Thursday. I decided it was time to try something different because I usually get sloppy with my nutrition as race week gets nearer. I thought about what would happen if I tightened it up this time. I’m desperate to nail that goal! So far, I have felt sluggish and tired, but that’s partly due to a puppy and time change, and a puppy that didn’t understand that the time changed. So anyway, if I survive this I’ll report if there are any noticeable changes.
Has anyone else tried this? What other tactics do you try to reach goals?