(I apologize in advance that this post is a day late because the run I’m about to describe actually happened yesterday. Yeah, what else would you expect from a master procrastinator…)
Thank you all so much for all the insightful comments left on the previous post. It gave me and my running buddies so much to think and talk about the last day and half. I guess the consensus is that in terms of marathon training, quantity is what we all strive to achieve but in actuality, because of substantial time obligations and mitigating health concerns, higher quality (but lower mileage) becomes a more realistic and practical goal for us recreational marathoners to focus on. This is not to say that I don’t believe in running high mileage or have doubts that running more will likely make me stronger and probably even faster, because I do. It is just that I believe more that the risk to benefit ratio isn’t in my favor enough to warrant stepping outside the bounds of my comfort zone and tempt fate until I’m stricken with an overuse injury (or just the potential of one) enough to jeopardize my running future. Having said that though, I am still going ahead and slowly stepping up the mileage in the subsequent three weeks to numbers that my training log has never yet seen before. So yes, although I know I’m not training as hard as what “my talent” should or could do (apparently, my running is now referred to as a talent even though a more apt description would be average competency if you ask me…) I am doing as best as I can with as much mileage as I can within the limits that my body has taught me that it can handle from past experience. I sincerely apologize to those who may think I’m just “wasting my talent” by not running as far or for as long as what is expected of me at this stage of training.
From the above discussion, it is apparent that I’ve been feeling somewhat defensive about my marathon training the past couple of days. I don’t know why, but whenever I’m hanging with other marathoners in training or reading blog posts from other sub-3:00 marathon hopefuls or even just perusing the forum messages on Runner’s World, I feel so insecure about my training and my chances in Boston, even though by every objective and subjective measure, I know I’m running stronger and faster now than ever before! All of these conflicting psychological battles I have with myself are so bizarre to me. It’s not really like anything I’ve ever experienced before.
It is with these crazy thoughts rumbling through my head that I trudged out to the park today for my midweek general aerobic 12-mile run. Because of a patient emergency that kept me at the office about an hour and half later than when I originally intended to leave, I didn’t get to start my run until about 6:30pm. Although the weather during the day was slightly cold but pleasant, the temps had dropped a few degrees and the wind picked up exponentially by the time I got to the park. I cursed myself for starting this run so late and thought about going home, but I knew it likely won’t happen tomorrow either if I didn’t suck it up and face the elements. Besides, I had been feeling somewhat dejected and doubtful about my training techniques after reading some of the messages I had received on my blog post and really just needed to run to make myself believe in my training again. So I made myself a plan to just run slow and just see what happens. If need be, I could just run one big loop (6 miles) and do the rest inside on the treadmill.
Because I wanted to run against traffic and have the tougher Harlem Hill at the end of the run instead of at the beginning, I started running in a clockwise direction around the park. At first, it was somewhat painful. I was not dressed appropriately for the wind, my hands were cold, and I was getting frustrated with the large running groups taking up the whole rec lane forcing me to swerve onto on coming car/bike traffic or onto the sidewalks to avoid them. But somewhere between miles 1 and 3, either because I saw a few Flyers running in the opposite direction which lifted my spirits, or because I felt as if I needed to prove something to myself, I picked up the pace and turned a scheduled 12 mile steady state run (7:05-7:15 pace) into a 13.1 mile 2-loop marathon paced (6:52) run. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Total Distance: 13.1 miles
Total Time: 1:28:13
Average Pace: 6:44 min/mile
Mile by Mile Splits:
1 – 6:50
2 – 6:45
3 – 6:52
4 – 6:42
5 – 6:38
6 – 6:53
7 – 6:48
8 – 6:34
9 – 6:39
10 – 6:42
11 – 6:38
12 – 6:42
13 – 6:39
13.1 – 0:43
What happened to my general aerobic pace? Does my Garmin need recalibrating or is this my most glorious training run ever? Not only was this half-marathon run 8 sec/mi faster than my scheduled marathon-pace (in a negative split no less), not only is this by far the fastest I’ve ever run 13 miles in training (previous best was 1:35:42 sometime last year)…this training time is faster than my Manhattan Half Marathon race time of 1:29:06 run on the exact same course less than 6 weeks ago! How’s that for some quality! And to be honest, the effort wasn’t even all that difficult, as evidenced by my average HR of 143bpm with a max HR of 165bpm, which is about where I am on a typical long run. Wow! Looking back at my training log, I was shocked to find that previous to this run, I’d never run below 7min/mi pace for any run longer than 10 miles ever before in training! Crazy!
I know everyone is thinking I’m being facetious, but honestly, I really am mesmerized by my own running progress. I never imagined that I’d be training so well in the depths of the coldest winter I’d ever known. I’m not saying I’m going to tear up Boston in 39 days because I don’t have a good track record of running well in marathons outside of NYC (a topic for a future post!); all I’m saying is that I’ve never felt more prepared to run a good marathon than I do right now.
Oh yeah, and about these extra “quantity” miles that I should be running…totally overrated in my book. Haha!
Have a good weekend all, and thanks for reading and celebrating with me!