Photo by Timtak
So, now it gets serious.
Last Saturday marked the end of Schedule One for my marathon training. The last few weeks have been no picnic with some 30+ mile weeks (don’t laugh you Olympians), but the next 18 weeks promise some high 30 and mid-40 mile weeks. The midweek mileage bumps up a little, and the Saturday shorties stay at four miles. But the long run Sundays. Wow. Oh, sure there are a couple of 6 and 7 mile days thrown in (for recovery, no doubt), but there’s 16, 18, 20, and at week 14 a 22-23 mile day (my choice, how sweet).
Some nights I return home from a run feeling like I’m ready for the full 26.2, but then there are days like last Sunday where 10 miles feel like an absolute death march. I felt my running mechanics were out of whack, my breathing was ragged, and my legs were leaden. On the plus side I finished the run at a decent (for me) pace, but I couldn’t imagine doing another 16 miles. Perhaps I shouldn’t think about it like that, though. Yes, I’m training for a marathon, but not every run has to feel like I should finish 26.2.
Part of my problem may stem from my approach. I’m simply running distances trying to build endurance and cut down time. I’m not interested in interval work, or stadium stair runs, and my core training has certainly languished. Seasoned runners would probably advise me to do those things (along with not trying to run a race like that within a year of taking up running). But I’m determined to stick to my way of accomplishing my goal, not because I think it’s the right way, but because I’ve got myself in a certain mental state which I think other training methods might destroy.
And check out this article on the runners high from Gina Kolata of the New York Times.