Midweek thoughts

I’m still riding the high of my Sunday long run; it was simply glorious. If I was a better blogger I would have some truly amazing pictures to share with you from my run. Instead my phone stayed tucked in my hydration pack for the entire run and you will just have to use your imagination.
My run started before sunrise and it was actually chilly while I stood outside putting on sunscreen. After a couple mile of running I was treated to a beautiful pink and purple sunrise that I glimpsed right as I ran past a tree lined pond. The pond was as smooth as glass and reflected the gorgeous colors of the sunrise. It was so stunning that I almost stopped for a picture, but I was just 2.3 miles into my and did not want to interrupt my momentum.

After that quick glimpse of nature, I had about 4 miles of not-so-scenic city running before I would get to the next park. At the park, nature once again surprised me, this time with two deer grazing about 15-20 feet off of the trail. I have seen deer at this park multiple times, but this time it included an 8 point buck, which I hadn’t seen in the park before. Again, I was super close to stopping to take a picture, but I didn’t want to spook the buck/have him get protective of the doe, so I ran on.

Not my photo, but possibly my deer! This picture was taken where I was running! (Ryan Stanton, The Ann Arbor News, source)

Less than two miles later I came across another three deer who were playing in the road. Fortunately some honking cars got them safely off the road and they crossed the running path right in front of me. This time I decided to go for a picture, but they didn’t stick around long enough for me to get my phone out.

The next 7 miles were pretty uneventful. I focused on keeping my pace easy and evaluating if I felt up to pushing the pace for the final five miles. I decided to go for it and I felt like I was flying during those miles. My ballpark goal pace is anywhere between 8:30-9:00. Honestly anything under 9:00 would BLOW MY MIND on race day, so I was super pumped to be averaging 8:31 at the end of my long run.

When I look back at my first attempt at 20 miles I can’t believe how far I have come in just 5 weeks! These runs were as different as night and day. I feel confident that reassessing my training plan was the right decision. I just rocked one of my peak weeks of training (a 55 mile week with a long run of 20 miles), but now I am kind of wondering what should I do for the next 8 weeks.

First things first, this week is a cutback week! I am aiming for somewhere between 38-44 miles (70-80% of last week’s mileage). My main goal to start the next week of training feeling physically and mentally refreshed. If that means running fewer miles this week, then I’ll be cutting some runs short!

After this cutback week I will have just four weeks left until my taper (Hurry up taper! I’m so ready). I already have my three taper weeks mapped out, so I just need to focus on finalizing the middle four weeks. I’ve been rereading through Advanced Marathoning trying to figure out the best way to incorporate a half marathon into my training. I would like to have a great half marathon, of course, but I also want to be mindful of my primary goal, the marathon. I also want to avoid overreaching. Just because my 55 mile week went well, does not mean that I need to try for a 60 mile week. I’ve already increased my mileage quite a bit this year, I don’t want to over do it and risk injury.

If you have incorporated half marathons into your marathon training, please give me some ideas on what worked and what didn’t!

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4 thoughts on “Midweek thoughts

  1. I just love those runs where the world around you is so beautiful. Happens often when I run in the morning – I make sure to soak it all in! I'm not one to question the experts, but it is interesting that your plan has you peaking so early. I know it's tempting to go higher since you had such a successful 55 mile week, but I would hold off. My suggestion would be to add more challenging workouts to your next 55 mile week instead of adding more miles. Maybe in your next one you could introduce a harder tempo run or an additional goal MP run instead. There will always be other races to experiment with higher mileage, just be wary of trying to do too much too soon.

    Well, I ran 3 half marathons during my last training cycle. What didn't work: doing so many of them. I had really different goals for all of them, so any advice is really dependent on what you want for this marathon. If you don't have your heart set on a PR, my suggestion would be to use the half marathon for race pace practice. I'm really glad I did this in my last cycle. It's one thing to practice your goal pace on training runs, but it's quite another to practice it in an actual race environment with a longer race. There's nowhere else you can get that kind of practice so take advantage of it. But if you really want to race this half, my suggestion would be to run it by effort instead of gunning for a big PR. Just go out there and run to the best of your abilities, don't worry too much about your time and just give it your best effort and see what that gets you. This way, you're not pushing yourself too hard but you can still get a good gauge of where your fitness is at.

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  2. It is actually sort of my fault that I just ran a peak week. I started an 18 week plan about 22 weeks before my race in case I ran into any issues (a lesson learned from 5k training where everything seemed to go wrong in April!). The plan actually would have peaked with 7 weeks until the race, so I am really only 1 week ahead in terms of mileage a this point. I only can compare it to the Hal Higdon program that I used last fall, but if I recall correctly that plan also peaked with 7 miles until the race.

    I definitely think you are right that introducing harder workouts as opposed to more mileage is the way to go. It's tempting to add mileage, but I really feel like 55 miles is more than enough for my first marathon. Got to leave something to try next time, lol.

    I'm planning on racing the half. I'm not sure if that will result in a PR or not, but I certainly hope so. At the very least I would like to beat my time from Charlevoix since I feel like I am in better shape now than I was in June.

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  3. What didn't work for me, was that I focused on the speed work needed to run a fast half, and I thought I could cram in my long runs, after the half marathon. I should have focused on my long runs earlier in the game, instead of putting the half marathon as the primary focus. I ran a killer half, and a disappointing marathon. I think you have a great attitude about getting the mileage in, I also think your natural speed will help you on race day

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