Today I did one of my favorite workouts of the whole training program: 2 miles easy, 2×1.5 miles at 10k pace, 9 miles easy, 2×1 mile 10k pace, 2 miles easy. Which is 19.6 miles FYI. I love this workout– it blows your legs up early and gives you a chance to get to your lactate threshold, has a long run element and then forces you to run fast when you’re tired. It is, however, not for the faint of heart. Physically it’s difficult I suppose, but mentally it’s pretty hard to get psyched about running mile repeats when you’re 15 miles deep into a run.
I set out around 7 this morning which was about a half hour behind schedule but I didn’t think it was smart to fly solo in the dark so I started early. I was a little worried about how I’d feel since I just finished a 70 mile week, did yoga and worked in my yard for 4 hours yesterday but you have to live your life and mine includes planting hundreds of tulips (PS can’t wait for those!). I was also worried because I popped open my cupboard and only had 2 gus. I like to bring an extra just in case but this time I had no choice. I was stoked that it was actually cold out– it was that perfect fall weather where it’s cold enough to be good for running but not so cold your body needs to waste energy keeping warm.
My legs felt pretty heavy during warmup but I wasn’t too worried. I mean, I wasn’t puking so I was already ahead of last week’s game! The first repeats of 10k pace went great. In fact, my final repeat was 10 secs/mile faster than it needed to be and felt really easy. The 9 miles of easy pace were kind of a grind and my legs felt heavy the whole time, but I was feeling good overall. Slow breathing, no stomach issues, awesome. I also saw a couple of training groups out on the bike trail which always inspires me.
I was dreading the final repeats at 10k pace but once I started running faster I actually felt pretty good. I think my legs just literally needed a change of pace. They weren’t easy and it was tough to stay focused, but I got them done. The 2 miles of cool down felt like 12 but I felt good the entire time and totally fine after. In fact, I don’t really feel like I ran 19.5 miles. I kind of feel like I ran 10 or 15. I’m not very hungry (yet, haha) and my legs, while tired, don’t feel bad at all. I actually felt like I could have continued on but was glad I didn’t have to! I finished the run with an 8:53 average (not including a couple bathroom and water stops) and then blasted to church oh… 1/2 hour late. Oh well.
I’m pretty proud of this training run. I can’t believe how much easier long runs are this go around. The last time I trained for a marathon I had a really hard time with any runs over 15, but this time I’m feeling really good. I think it’s because mentally I know that I can finish the distance this time. It’s not a new personal distance PR every time I go on a long run and it probably doesn’t hurt that I’m about 2 mins/mile faster (for a 20 miler that’s 40 minutes. Big difference!) this time, too. And my hydration strategy worked great (it’s very technical: stop at drinking fountains if thirsty) and the 2 gus were more than enough.
Anyway, I’m excited. I actually had fun on this long run and there were a couple of times that I was completely zoned out– I love that feeling! I’m also feeling really confident– I still have 7 weeks and I have 2 17 milers and 2 19 milers completed already. And to think I was worried my plan wouldn’t force me to do long runs…
Ok enough rambling. Time to go vegetate. It’s going to rain!