Monday, March 9, 2009

Boston Marathon Training Update - Week 11

After several straight weeks of increasing mileage and increasing speed, it was time for a step down this week. It came at a good time too because honestly, I’ve been feeling a little mentally fatigued training so hard for this marathon. On the one hand, I feel as if I’m peaking physically and yet Boston is still so far away. On the other hand, I look at my training calendar and realize that there’s just four more good training weeks left before the taper. It is so weird, but it seems like the fewer miles I run, which I know is the right thing for me physically, the more questions and doubts I have about my training, which isn’t so good for me mentally. Right now, I’m just trying to hold on to my current fitness and my sanity before I hit the big race.

Week #11 (3/2-3/8)
What I Planned:
Tempo Run: 10 total miles with 8 tempo miles at 6:33 pace
General Aerobic Run: 12 miles at 7:10 min/mi pace
Weekend Long Run: 15 miles at long run pace
Total week 11 distance planned: 37.0 miles

What I Ran:
Tues - TM Tempo Run: 10.0 miles with 8 tempo miles at 6:22 pace
Thurs - Midweek Long Run: 16.2 miles at 7:02 pace
Sat – General Aerobic Run: 6.2 miles at 6:54 pace
Sat – Slow Recovery/Coaching Run: 6.9 miles at 9:32 pace
Total week 11 distance: 39.3 miles; avg pace – 7:20 min/mi

How I Ran:
Cut back week began with a long tempo run on the treadmill. I had wanted to do this outdoors but because it had snowed heavily the day before, I didn’t want to risk injury by running too fast on slippery roads. I adjusted the ‘mill to a random setting at a level 5 incline to mimic the up and down terrain of a natural road course. The run itself went pretty well, except that I was sweating bullets and seriously dragging it by the end of mile 6. I held on though and completed the last tempo mile at 6:24 to finish my run averaging 10 seconds better than I had planned for this distance.
Thursday was a 12 mile GA run that for some reason turned to a 16 mile long run. As I had mentioned in a previous post, I had serious doubts about my sanity after that impromptu adventure.
Luckily, Saturday’s run turned out a bit better than I had hoped for. In retrospect, the unexpected great weather probably had more to do with it than anything conscious I could take credit for. I did one loop at a relatively easy pace around the park (I still can’t believe that easy pace is sub 7 min for me now…) and then I “recovered” by running with my friend who I am coaching for her first half marathon. It was so fun to run slow, enjoy the sunshine, and talk running that the pace felt easier on my legs than I thought it would. Because my friend is relatively new to distance running and was unfamiliar with the difference between going for a 7 miler vs a 3 or 4 miler, I was advising her with little tidbits on what to pay attention to and what to buy in preparation for higher mileage training. I had so much to say that I forgot to shut up as we were running up on Harlem Hill until I heard her huffing and puffing in between her single word responses. Woops! After that, I hung back and allowed her to determine the pace of conversation as well as the running for the rest of the loop. I enjoyed that social run more than any I’ve done recently as it forced me not only to run slower and focus on someone/something other than me and my marathon training, but it also allowed me to perform my coaching responsibilities, which I love with a passion almost as much as running itself. In the end, we did 7 miles all together which gave me 13.1 miles for the day and about 39 miles for the week. That’s not too shabby for a stepdown week if you ask me. I should now be ready to tackle my last training mesocycle of 3 straight 50+ mile weeks. I’m anxious because I’ve yet to complete even one 50 mile week at any point during any previous cycle of marathon training, yet I’m intrigued to find out if I’m capable of breaking that distance barrier.
Later that evening during dinner, a non-running friend asked if I was training for the Boston Marathon once she found out I was running that historical race. I mumbled a nonspecific answer (about training being the same as running) at the time, but thought of the perfect response only much later. If anyone should ever ask again, I’d say the only difference between running and training is a race to prepare for and a plan. Other than that, there is no difference really! (Agree or disagree?)
Anyway, have a good week everyone!


Anonymous said...

I would say that I am more likely to skip out on a run when I'm not officially "training." At the same time I'm also more likely to just keep going if I feel like it when I'm not "training." Hope that makes any sense

Eunice K. said...

"Because my friend is relatively new to distance running and was unfamiliar with the difference between going for a 7 miler vs a 3 or 4 miler, I was advising her with little tidbits on watch to look out for and what to buy in preparation for higher mileage training."

Can you share some of those tidbits? I'm training for a 1/2 marathon and new to distance running. I'm also a huge fan of your blog - good luck with your training!

Jamie said...

Another great week! Glad to hear you took it easy on Saturday after your impromptu 16 miler on Thursday.

Bill Carter said...


Isn't it funny how we almost feel better when we are pounding out those high miles? I never feel like I am doing enough unless I am really pushing the miles and dealing with really tired legs. I've been watching your training really closely and I am thinking you are going to do AMAZING at Boston. PR big time.

BTW, your improvement from just a year ago has been nothing short of amazing.

Felice Devine said...

Great job this week. Glad the impromptu 16 didn't hamper your runs this weekend.

X-Country2 said...

I can justify skipping a run if I'm not training. Otherwise, I'm pretty good about sticking to a plan.

Michelle said...

Hey Lam,
I would love to hear your tidbits too!! Even though I am not in "training" just yet, but you are so knowledgeable about all aspects of running, so i am curious!

I did a bad thing (good thing) on saturday. You know how amazingly nice it was, my body pushed me out the door and i ran 2 miles slowly up on the boardwalk. My toe did not hurt one bit. The next day, though i was very sore but it felt so darn great!!!!!

Aron said...

another awesome week - congrats lam!!!! sounds like a great coaching run :) its so fun to get new friends out there running and reliving the excitement of it all! you are going to rock the next few weeks of training!

Running and living said...

It's funny that a 39 mile week is a low mileage week for you. The highest mileage week for me has been 34 miles! I, too, feel I peaked to early.I am very confused about my training, what pace to run the marathon, etc. I guess everything will come together somehow.
Congrats of such a great training and coaching week. Sunshine, coaching and helping someone get hooked to running - what nice ways to bring the motivation back. Good luck with the 50+ mile/weeks.

Running and living said...

Oh, and for me training is different than just running. Although my mileage is similar, I don't do speed or tempo runs when I don't train for a race:) Ana-Maria

Robert James Reese said...

Training seems a bit more structured than just running to me. Even though I'm putting in 40+ miles a week in prepartion for my spring marathon, it just doesn't seem like training because I'm not following a strict schedule. I'll probably do a more serious training regimine for the fall marathons but for now I just run...

joyRuN said...

Echoing the sentiments above, I'm MUCH more lax when not "in training".

Love step down weeks. Definitely a nice break on the legs & psyche.

Marci said...

Way to exceed your weekly goals! Your pace on your first run,6:22, wow! Great work!

Spike said...

I also feel that coaching is a good as running itself, maybe a bit better. If you love something then pass it along.

J said...

I think of running and training as very similar because I am always getting ready for some type of race. Great job on another week of great running!

Meg said...

It's great that you enjoyed the coaching run so much.
For running versus training, I agree, but also that the race/plan usually makes my mileage a bit higher, and I'm less likely to find a reason not to run if I have a plan.

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