Wow, I literally cannot believe that I am already done with Week 15 of my training plan. I am now less than 3 weeks away from my marathon! 😮 If you haven’t been following along, check out previous week wrap-ups here: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4,Week 5,Week 6, Week 7, Week 8, Week 9, Week 10, Week 11, Week 12, Week 13/14.
Monday was a cross training day, but I didn’t actively do any cross training. I did make a point to stretch while I was studying, so I guess that counts? I am not sure. 🙂 I guess I can count the fact that I biked to campus? Plus it gave me an interesting story, because I had a very strange thing occur. I went to Chipotle for lunch, and chained my bike up outside. When I got back out, I put my key in the lock, but it wouldn’t turn. 😐 I looked closely and saw that the lock had actually broken! I had to leave my bike there, take the bus home, and we went back later with a hack saw and cut the lock off. I was so nervous that the police were going to see us and think we were stealing a bike. haha!
|Never had this happen before!|
Tuesday had 5 miles on the schedule. I had an exam in the morning, so I didn’t sleep much on Monday night, and there was no chance I was running before the exam. I was so stressed out that I actually left our back door wide open when I went to campus.
|Stressed-out Denise is not very responsible|
After I got home, I was definitely ready for a run to get the energy out of my system. There is a nice trail system near our house that I love to run on. I haven’t been running on it too much during marathon training because 1) I feel very slow on trails, and 2) it’s only easy to get about 2 miles on these trails, so including the run to/from the trailhead, it’s not a particularly convenient route for more than 4 miles. However, I ignored the reasons for not running on the trails, and just did it anyway. I’m glad I did, because trail running is quite lovely. You’re surrounded by the trees, the ground is soft, I often see wildlife, there is a bog next to the trails–views are usually pretty great. My time was slower than normal for a 5 mile run (11:21 avg. pace), but I enjoyed it a lot, and that was a great feeling. 🙂
On Wednesday I had to run 8 miles. I hardly ever get up early enough to run longish runs before I go to campus, and this week was no exception. That leaves me running at night, trying to beat the sunset. 🙂 Also, I realized right as I was about to go for my run that I had a video call with my Ragnar team (I will post about this soon!) at 9 pm. I left around 7:40, and knew that it’d be hard for me to get 8 miles in and still make the call on time. Instead, I ran a 7 mile loop that I like near our house. I jumped on the call when I got home, then afterwards, grabbed Nova and ran a mile around the neighborhood. Maybe not the ideal way to get 8 miles in, but I got it done.
Thursday I was scheduled for 5 miles, but I wasn’t feeling it at all, so I decided I would instead do it Friday morning. I have been rather strict this training cycle about not moving runs around, but I figured this small change was ok.
Friday morning I woke up and ran my 5 miles. Nothing too exciting about this run to report. I ran a very standard 5 mile route and finished with a 10:37 pace. I did get a treat on Friday afternoon: one of the professors on my committee is from New York and is in love with Black and White cookies from William Greenberg’s on Madison Avenue. A few times a year, he actually orders them from Greenberg’s in New York and has them shipped here for us to enjoy. Friday was one of those lucky occasions. 🙂
|Very yummy cookie!|
Saturday had 5 pace miles on the schedule. Dustin suggested we run to Einstein’s for breakfast, and since we almost never run together, I happily agreed. That was 1.5 miles at 9:50 pace. I ate my bagel, and worked for about an hour, then went out for the rest of my miles. Again, I know it’s not ideal to split up runs, but that’s just what happened. 🙂 I ran the next 3.5 miles at 9:35 pace. One thing I’m really looking forward to after the marathon is running fast again. I know that running too fast elevates your heart rate a lot, and so isn’t ideal for increasing aerobic capacity…but it’s just so enjoyable! I love running hard, and the feeling of accomplishment afterwards can’t be beat. 🙂
Sunday was my last long run before the marathon. Another 20 miler! I think I mentioned in my last post that I was considering cutting this run a little short. I have read that many coaches believe that running for longer than 3 hours has more drawbacks than benefits; mostly they are concerned that the risk of injury goes up, and the extra benefit from running past 3 hours isn’t very dramatic. Being the type A person that I am though, I couldn’t ignore the fact that my training plan said 20 miles, so I should run 20 miles. I talked to several runners about it, and it seemed like I should just pay attention to my body during the run and decide at that point: if I felt fine, it can be mentally beneficial to have completed two 20 runs, but if I felt like my body wasn’t agreeing with the run, to just stop at 3 hours.
I went out around 6:40. I originally set my alarm for 5:30 and then proceeded to fall back asleep and dream that I was running. I thought I had finished 3 miles, and I was trying to look at my watch, when I realized, “Dang it, I’m definitely still sleeping.” haha. I then actually woke up around 6:15. I ate some oatmeal, drank some water, and off I went. I tried to keep the same mentality as last time, which was to focus on the mile I was in. The run went really great. I kept evaluating how I was feeling, and I felt completely fine. Around mile 17 I definitely started to feel tired, but I decided that I could finish the 20 miles without a problem. I even sped up towards the end because I was still feeling good.
|Nova stared at me with her Frisbee while I stretched on the back porch|
Overall, I had a 10:42 pace, which was quite a bit faster than the 10:59 pace of my last 20 miler. I kept my heart rate below 155 for the first 12 miles or so, and then below 160 until mile 15. After that, I didn’t worry about it too much, especially once I started speeding up, but ended with an average heart rate of 155 which I was happy with for my overall pace. I am glad I went ahead and did the whole 20 miles, because now I feel much more confident for the marathon. 🙂 Now my longest run until the marathon is 8 miles, what a breeze. 🙂 🙂
Question for all of you: How do you decide your pace for the marathon? Putting my half marathon time of 2:02:40 into running calculators suggests I could run a 4:15:25 (9:44 pace) marathon. This seems insane to me, considering all of my long runs have been between 10:30 and 11 minutes/mile. I know that you run faster in the race, but I’m very scared of going too fast at the beginning and running out of energy before I get to the end. I would be really happy with 10 minutes/mile, which would translate to a 4:22 marathon, but I am not sure how to know if I can actually accomplish that or not! Help!