Instead of doing two easy runs and a MP run in between my speed work and long run, I decided to keep all three workouts at an easy pace. My goal was to save my energy for a good 20 miler and avoid another disaster like last weekend. I also had a goal of doing my 20 miler as a fast finish long run, which means keeping it slow and doing the last quarter of the run at goal marathon pace. So, many reasons to conserve energy for real this week!
Speed Work – 5×1 mi repeats 8 miles (with w/u and c/d) 7:29, 7:27, 7:22, 7:34, 7:15
This was an A++++ day. It was about as close to a perfect workout as I’ve ever gotten. Everything went right. Even in my warm up mile I felt even-keeled and fresh. Then I started my intervals, got into the zone, and never left. I managed my energy flawlessly. Instead of thinking “fast” I thought “strong” or “steady” – my two favorite running mantras. I allowed myself permission to start conservatively and just hoped I could clock my first mile at 7:55 or better. I looked down and saw that I had run a 7:29. But I refused to let that get to my head. That’s nice, I thought, now keep doing what you just did. Let’s just get through this. We’re practicing, not racing. Even my recovery jog intervals were a little quicker and more even than usual!
It was that perfect speedwork progression every runner dreams of: each repeat faster than the last. Well, almost. Not really sure what happened in mile #4 – it felt like I was running it faster than the previous mile. But I shrugged it off and kept going – and I more than made up for it in lap #5! I can’t even tell you how good it felt to be able to really push my last repeat and run it significantly faster than the others.
Easy Run 5 miles, 9:27 average
Easy Run 4.1 miles, 8:43 average
Did this on my lunch hour cause I couldn’t get up in the morning! Only did 4 instead of 5 because that’s all I had time for.
Easy Run(s) 9.45 miles
I split up today’s 9 miler into 4 miles at lunch time and 5.45 miles running home from work. I didn’t want to do it all the night before my 20-miler – even if I took it really slow that’s still a lot of miles. I got rained on running home.
Fast Finish Long Run 20 miles, 9:29 average
I had never done a true FF long run before – they kind of scare me. It sounds really hard. I usually quicken my pace in long runs and end with a slight negative split, but in long runs of 16+ miles I’m rarely able to run any of them near goal pace.
Fast finish long runs are said to be a really good indicator of how well you can perform at your goal pace in a marathon, so although the task is daunting I know I should probably attempt it and I’m far along enough in my training that it would be appropriate to do so. I think adding this little twist into the long run helped me not dread it as much, since it made it more interesting.
It went SO WELL! I started off really slow, not worrying about pace, just losing myself in my music. Today my legs weren’t lead-like and everything was flowing so well. I remember getting to mile 9 and thinking “man, I feel GREAT!” I wasn’t sore yet and barely felt like I was working out. And yet, I was still chipping away at that average pace.
I was getting a little nervous for mile 15 to approach. I wondered if I could actually pull this off. But that chime sounded and it was time to go so I took off like a rocket. I was working really hard and it made me nervous. Since I had my watch set to display average pace, I couldn’t tell how fast I was going at the moment. I waited for the mile 16 chime to sound, cursing how hard this was and wondering how the heck I was going to keep it up for 4 more miles.
Well, the chime finally sounded and…I had just run an 8:07 mile! Uh…whoops!! It’s pretty cool that I could run such a fast mile 15 miles into a long run, but I was just relieved that I didn’t have to run that hard for 4 more miles! I dialed it down a bit and hoped I hadn’t totally screwed myself.
The last 4 were tough but I did it! 8:34, 8:29, 8:42, and 8:29. That last mile was hard. I really had to convince myself not to just call it done and let the last mile be a cool-down. But once I saw that slightly slower 8:42 I knew I had to crank one more out to prove I could really do it. I remember in the last quarter mile imagining I had just passed mile 26 of Grandma’s and was nearing the finish line.
I’m really happy that I got this done, that it went so well, and that I successfully pulled off my first fast-finish long run – during a 20 miler, no less, and slightly faster than goal pace! It was a big confidence booster.
Week 10 TOTAL MILEAGE: 47.55
Week 10 Grade: A+
This was the best week of training I’ve had in this cycle. Maybe ever. My workouts all went awesomely, I did all the work, and I just can’t think of anything that could have gone better.