Today we will discuss how much I am loving marathon training. How much I am loving running. How I look forward to every run. How the low I feel after a bad run is a tiny speck compared to the confidence boost I feel after a great one.
One great confidence boosting run in particular this week was my long run. My 14 miler, the furthest I’ve run since November’s Richmond Half Marathon.
I was nervous in the days leading up to this run, especially the night before. It’s my first “really” long run of this training if that makes sense. By that I mean it is longer than a half marathon – the distance I consider separates the long from the really long.
And since I haven’t run a half this year, it felt strange to just run right past that as if 13.1 wasn’t something to be.. Honored? Respected? Revered? In the religion that is running, 13.1 is the Bar Mitzvah. (Just like 13, interesting . . .). You get past that and suddenly you’re a grown up runner, ready to prepare for the adulthood that is marathon. Or something.
It felt almost sacrilegious to zoom right past this milestone like it doesn’t exist. I struggled so much during the Falmouth Road Race and that was HALF this distance.
Would I be able to finish? Would I feel OK? Would I spontaneously combust at 13.1? As my husband The Ander and I would joke – TWT. Time Will Tell.
Luckily, time was on my side (yes it is) for this run.
This 14 mile run was one of my BEST training runs of the season. Everything was perfect from the route (Central Park full clockwise loop + reservoir loop + West Side path downtown) to the company (Katherine and Margaret) to the weather (sunny, not humid) to the instructions my coach gave me (last 20 min at marathon pace effort).
The run was smooth. The conversation was easy. I barely noticed the hills. I very much noticed how gorgeous the reservoir looked. I drank my Ultima Replenisher and ate my ShotBloks. And when we got to those last two miles, the miles I anticipated throughout the entire run (and were a source of my nervousness beforehand), I felt strong. Really, really strong.
With fast Margaret by my side, I picked up the pace and dominated those last two miles, at 9:28 and 9:15.
By dominated I mean “ran faster than marathon pace effort but running fast felt so good I didn’t care.” I felt amazing after this run — a feeling that lasted through my unbelievably great French toast consumption and throughout the day.
The rest of my training last week went well, too. I want to note that if I write the time first, like 40 min, that means my run was for time. If I mention my distance first, like 14 miles, that means my run was for distance. For the most part, my weekday runs (not counting interval runs, which vary) are usually for time (I’m given a range) and my long runs are for distance.
I also want to note that I am LOVING my interval runs and the variety from week to week. I had an especially great one last week (see Tuesday below) that led me to post the following tweet.
My interval run this morning was equally as awesome, if not more so. I loved every second of it (even though I was nervous leading up to it) and I’ll probably talk about it (and my attitude toward interval runs in general and what they do to my brain) in next week’s recap post.
Week 7: August 12 – August 18
- Monday – OFF
- Tuesday – 15 min w.u. 2 x 2 mile @ MP effort with 2 mins rest, 12 min c.d. (6.58 mi)
- Wednesday – 49 mins + 4 x 100m strides (4.85 mi)
- Thursday – Refine Method (tough class that left me SORE!)
- Friday - 37 mins with 4 x 100m strides (3.74 mi)
- Saturday - 14 miles with last 20 mins @MP effort (2:28:29)
- Sunday - 40 mins easy (4 mi)
Total miles: 33
I swapped Sunday’s rest day with a midweek run to make sure I’d have time to get it in, and in doing so Week 7 officially became the most miles I’ve ever run in a week! At the peak of NYCM training in 2011, I never hit more than 30 miles.
I was also running a 3-day a week plan back then. This time, I’ve been running 4 times a week, up until this week where it will usually be 5 days. I’ve never run this much before.
And I love it.
I never loved running like this before. I like running, I used to say, but I LOVE racing.
Now, I actually do love running. I look forward to every run, I spend most of my time thinking about running and I am obsessed with reading and rereading my training plan.
I love having a coach and can’t believe what a great decision that ended up being. I couldn’t have gotten to this point without her.
I am learning so much from Steph about how to properly train for a strong race. I love the variety of my weekly interval runs – one week might be 400s at 10k pace while the next is 5 miles at half marathon pace and the next is 2 min hill repeats. It is always a new adventure and the more I run, the more I love running.
While next week’s post might very well be me bemoaning my how everything hurts and running sucks, I hope so much that this week indicates a strong, happy training season and marathon.