This week was the peak week of training for the California International Marathon. According to my Strava, this week I ran the highest mileage of marathon training (54 miles, the same as last week), climbed the most elevation gain (with the exception of the week we went trail running), and completed the hardest two workouts of this training cycle.
Weeks like this week are why I enjoy marathon training so much. I feel satisfied and accomplished, yet also hungry at the same time (and no, not just physically hungry… although certainly that as well!).
Monday: 8 mile easy run
Ollie and I ran along a new route with a good amount of hills, both small rollers and longer, steeper climbs. The temperatures were in the 30s – chilly, but nothing a good hat and gloves can’t solve. Best of all, it was a sunny morning! Ollie and I soaked up some extra vitamin D after the run, which he loved because he got to watch the ducks at the pond on our trail.
Tuesday: 2 x 3 miles at half marathon pace (10 miles total) & 18 minutes Pilates
Brrrr! It was cold on this run! The wind chill was in the 20s so I wore a long sleeve, knee-length leggings, gloves, and a Smartwool ear warmer. I was comfortable during the run, especially once I started the tempo intervals, but it took me hours to warm back up afterward.
I was really happy with this run. I felt strong and my splits reflected that feeling: 7:19, 7:26, 7:22 for the first set and 7:20, 7:23, and 7:17 for the second set.
Wednesday: 9 mile easy run
Ollie and I ran another hilly 8 miles. Immediately after our run, I ran our friends’ German Shepherd for one slow mile. Since he’s still growing (even though he is already huge), I kept our runs together short and easy – plus it’s a bit of extra mileage for me without extra fatigue.
Thursday: Rest Day
Rest days are sacrosanct during the peak weeks of marathon training. I did a brief Pilates workout to stretch out before my long run, walked the dogs a bit, and rested.
Friday: 20 mile hard long run
This run was hard. Not hard in the “it was rough and a struggle” sense; hard in the sense of a challenging workout that demands mental strength, perseverance, and a whole lot of physical effort. The first 10 miles were at an easy pace on hills and the second 10 miles were at marathon pace on mostly flat, with a couple small rollers at the end.
I felt strong throughout this run until about mile 18, when suddenly it felt really hard. The first 7 miles at marathon felt strong and smooth, all in the 7:50s. Ryan surprised me by cheering me on from his work (which is along the trail I ran). In the eighteenth mile, I slowed down about 10 seconds per mile. The last 2 miles were at 8:15/mile and felt hard, as the fatigue of 20 miles and a long marathon pace tempo burned my lungs and muscles.
Even with a slight slow down at the end, I am really proud of this run. It was so tempting to slow down and go easy for the last two miles, but I overrode that temptation and focused on sticking to the marathon pace effort.
Saturday: Strength training
Usually, I like to run the day after my long run, but I opted for extra rest after how hard that 20 miler was. My legs felt as if they were sapped of any power for running. Strength training did not feel bad, so I did a quick routine similar to this one with a 26 lb. kettlebell.
Sunday: 7 mile easy run
After a leisurely morning and a good amount of coffee, Ryan and I took Ollie out for a mid-morning run. We drove a few extra minutes for a flat route, rather than the hilly routes that surround our apartment. We maintained a conversational effort throughout the entire run.
After our run, we brewed a batch of winter spice ale. We hadn’t brewed in a few months and we wanted a beer ready in time for Christmas. We spiced the beer with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice, which had an enticing fragrance. The beer won’t be ready to bottle until after CIM, which reiterates just how swiftly race day is approaching!
And just like that, it’s time to taper. At this point, I have one long run and a couple hard workouts left – I like to do a gradual taper and maintain the intensity up until race week.
How was your week of running?
How cold has the weather been on your runs recently?