This week will be my last week of intense marathon training. After Sunday, I will begin a semi-taper (about 5-8 miles a day, possibly skipping a day or two). Then the week before the marathon I will taper a bit more (about 3-5 miles a day, possibly skipping a day or two). Weather permitting, my dog, Chance, will get to accompany me for these shorter runs.
The weather of late has not been the most conducive for quality marathon training. It has been really cold (for the south), rainy, snowy and icy. And while the weekends have been pleasant enough for some great long runs, my weekly mileage totals have not quite been what I'd hoped. Not bad, mind you, but I was planning on a bit more. And maybe these lower mileage numbers during the week (40s and low 50s) have made for some more quality long runs...
Either way, this week I decided weather be hanged! If I wanted the miles I had to get out there and get them no matter what elements I had to face. And while some of the elements were less than ideal, I found that I actually enjoyed myself.
I keep a little journal online with a comment or two about each run. I might comment on the weather, how I felt during the run, or any little experience that happened along the way- usually just a sentence or two. Here is the input from this week so far.
Saturday, January 22
15 miles, 2:08:40, 8:34 pace
YAAAAAHOOOOOO! Great 15 miler despite an ankle roll 3 miles in. How exciting! (I was pumped about my pace and in a hurry to get a hot shower).
Sunday, January 23
7 miles, 57:12, 8:10 pace
Late afternoon run around the hood. Was tired at first and quads complained due to yesterday's 15 miler, but the last two miles were 7:59 and 7:18. DUDE! I think if I have that much to give in the last mile, I should be able to give more during the earlier miles....
Monday, January 24
6 miles, 59:47, 9:57 pace
Early morning run with the girls. Definitely feeling the fatigue from the weekend's runs and my ankle was sore as well. I don't think it had time to warm up before I ran on it like yesterday.
Tuesday, January 25
8 miles, 1:05:23, 8:10 pace
Chilly afternoon run in the rain. Despite the weather, I had a good time pushing the pace. Last two miles were 7:53 and 7:28.
Wednesday, January 26
5.3 miles, 48:57, 9:14 pace
Slow morning run through the flurries. That part was kind of fun except when they pegged me in they eyeballs. Legs were seriously tired, so I focused on just running.
Tomorrow I'm planning a morning run with a friend. According to weather.com, it should be cold but clear. I can handle that. We will shoot for 8-10 miles, probably somewhere between 9:00-10:00 minute pace maybe hitting a hard hill or two (depending on the state of my friend who just completed the Mountain Mist 50k).
Friday will be an easier day in preparation for the big 20 miler on Saturday. I'm still throwing around ideas for what I want to do with Sunday. I want it to be somewhat challenging whether the run is shorter and faster or longer and...whatever I can give. Then Monday I will rest, doing something short and easy, letting the pace be whatever my legs choose to do.
I'm really excited about this marathon. It was sort of a last minute decision, and I have tried not to freak myself out by filling my mind with goal finishing times (although to be honest, I have thought about it and pondered different race strategies). I am going to run a smart race, unlike the one I ran in St. Louis last year, but I will talk about my strategy later. For now, I am excited, determined and trying to stay focused on my training plan despite what the weather has to say about it.