At this point, four short weeks out from the California International Marathon, I feel really good. I hit my highest mileage week so far for this training cycle with 54 miles, including two hard workouts and a long run. I feel strong on my runs, especially long runs and race pace workouts, and I’m getting more and more excited.
Oh, and we got snow twice this week! In early November! In Seattle! Nothing stuck, but flurries happened on both Friday and Sunday. I both sort of love it (there’s something exhilarating about running in the cold) and am anxious about the possibility of far too many runs on the treadmill (meaning: more than one run on the treadmill).
And then there was the New York City Marathon! Shalane Flanagan’s win at the New York City Marathon was nothing short of incredible. Her paces over the last 10K and the margin at which she beat out Keitany proved that she is one of the best marathoners America has seen. Ryan and I watched the marathon and were on the edge of our seats cheering as she ran toward the first American female win in 40 years. Watching a race like New York City makes me so excited to run a marathon.
Monday: 1 hour at marathon goal pace (10 miles total)
I woke up with a bit of lingering fatigue from the hike and last week’s runs. I also wanted to take Ollie on my marathon pace run and Wednesday’s forecast called for rain – and Ollie had just had a bath the day before. So I switched my Monday and Wednesday workouts and ended up having a really good marathon pace run. It was perfectly chilly – hopefully similar weather to what it will be on race day!
Instead of running the hilly trail with lots of tree cover and poor GPS signal, I took Ollie to a flatter but open paved trail to get an accurate sense of my goal pace. After a mile warm-up, we settled into goal pace and ran just over 7.6 miles in the hour. The pace felt comfortable; the benefit of having Ollie was that I could easily test my ability to talk by saying, “Good boy runs fast!” or “No, Ollie, please don’t chase the ducks!”
Tuesday: 7 mile easy run & strength training
Ollie and I had to alter our normal easy run route since the boardwalk in the bog frosted over! We tested a small portion of it and the wood was simply too slick to run on – and I do not desire to slip and slide straight into the bog on a cold morning. The boardwalk is our quickest and safest way to link up with the main paved trail (the other option is an incredibly busy road with no sidewalk), so we drove for a few minutes to go run. I’m going to really miss being able to use the boardwalk as much this time of year!
I completed a quick strength training workout immediately after my run: 2 sets of 15 medicine ball squats, 10 stability ball pikes, and 12 hamstring ball curls. A small amount of strength training is better than nothing, especially during the peak weeks of marathon training.
Wednesday: Cutdown Tempo (9 miles total)
Some workouts train you to physically run faster, while others are more of a training session for mental strength and resilience. I contemplated bailing on this workout, even after I modified it a bit (2 miles at marathon pace rather than 3, given the long marathon pace effort on Monday). My legs felt sluggish and heavy through the entire run, but I pushed as best as I could.
The marathon pace miles weren’t bad, as I logged exactly 7:50 for both of those. The half marathon pace segment demanded more effort than usual and I ran 7:28 and 7:21 for those two miles. I focused on my effort for the 10K pace breathing and somehow, on those tired legs, ran a 7:00 – a few seconds faster than my current 10K race pace.
While we didn’t partake in treats for Halloween, I couldn’t resist picking up some old-fashioned donuts after this run for All Saints’ Day. I watch what I eat during marathon training, but these little treats now and then are part of the fun of logging all these miles! I feel like I even run my best when about 80-90% of my diet is healthy and the other 10-20% is fun.
Thursday: 20 minutes Pilates
As with most rest days, I took the dogs for a longer walk and did a short Pilates workout to build core strength and stretch.
Friday: 20 mile long run
The temperate was in the 30s during this run. I relished this for two reasons: chilly temperatures are my favorite for running and this allowed me to practice running and taking fuel in similar conditions to race day. I really enjoyed this long run. The frost along the river was beautiful and I listened to my current audiobook for a majority of the run. After the first mile, I settled into very consistent splits in the 8:40s-8:50s, which felt comfortable and relaxed.
Later in the day, we got snow! It was really only light flurries that melted upon ground contact, but still snow – which is not common for the Seattle metro area, especially this early in the season.
We saw Thor: Ragnarok and it met our extremely high expectations – it was 2 hours of pure fun – and funny – escapism.
Saturday: 5 mile recovery run
Ryan, Ollie, and I explored a new route on our run. I could feel fatigue in all my muscles, so we restrained our pace. Afterward, I felt much better – I really do think these runs help in recovering after a long run.
Sunday: 3 mile easy run
Ryan and I watched the New York City Marathon on ESPN – what an amazing race this year! After the race concluded, we went out for a short run. We had to bundle up for this run – it was snowing/raining and the wind chill was in the 20s. This run felt really good – the chilly air and short bit of activity felt refreshing.
This next week is my peak mileage week before I start tapering and sharpening!
How was your week in running?
What’s your favorite treat to enjoy during training?