That is how long before the Long Beach Marathon. I feel good. I have the endurance. I could run a marathon tomorrow. The question is: can I run a marathon in 3:49 or less?
I began training in April with the St. George Marathon as my goal. After a slow start and a failed St. George lottery attempt, I ramped up my mileage. I had plans to run a 50K in August, but that didn’t work out, so I put my focus on a marathon and a BQ attempt. I decided to run Long Beach when I met a friend who had a similar pace and goal and was running it. I had heard good things about the race from other runners I have met, as well as other bloggers like Danica.
I have already run two twenty-milers and a couple eighteens*. I ran four half marathons (well, three half marathons and a 22K). During this training cycle, I set PRs in the half, 10K and 5K distances. I have run over 800 miles, gone through several pairs of shoes and had two sports massages. But as I sit here reflecting on it all, I can’t help wondering: is it enough?
I have one more long run before I start to taper. I am planning on running twenty-two miles this weekend. I have never run that distance in training. I wonder if having such a long training plan (26 weeks) had me peaking too early. There is something to be said for the Higdon program I did for my first marathon where I built mileage each week, culminating in one twenty mile run right before the taper. However, I really wanted to get in three or four twenty+ mile runs this time.
This morning I went to the track to do some 800m repeats. My friend couldn’t make it, so I was on my own. It is harder to motivate yourself to go that fast by yourself, especially when your running partner is just a little bit faster. Our plan is to use Yasso as our guide. The goal pace is 3:45 and we are building up to ten repeats. Two weeks ago we did four. This morning, I only had time for six. While my times were slower this time than my previous track workout,** all six repeats were at or below my goal pace and my recovery time was shorter.*** I’m not going to lie; they weren’t easy. I am pretty sure that I could have pushed out a few more given the time, but who knows. As it was, I kept fighting with myself to keep going. First, I told myself that four repeats would be plenty. But I kept going. Then I justified that five would be one more than last time. I still kept going. On the last repeat, I told myself that a 400 for the last interval would be fine. Then I heard my thoughts wonder if 600m would give the same benefit as 800. I finished all six repeats, feeling pretty spent at the end of each of them. My 800m times were: 3:45, 3:41, 3:42, 3:35, 3:38 and 3:43. I walked 200m between each interval.
So I am basically at a point where I have to trust in my training. Did I stick to my plan completely? No. But I did come pretty close. I kept the mileage higher than any of my previous marathons. I had hoped to do a bit more tempo runs and speedwork, but as you can see above, when I have done them, I have been able to hit my marks. If I am obsessing about all this now, what kind of a mess am I going to be during my taper?
25 days. Bring it on.
*We averaged 9:00 minutes on my eighteen miler last weekend!
**Two weeks ago we did four 800m repeats with 400m recovery with times of: 3:24, 3:28, 3:38 and 3:30.
***This morning I recovered for 200m instead of 400m.