Seeing as this is my first post in "Sports" I should probably give some background — but most of you know me well enough to know it! I'll keep giving background in my posts, but for now all you need to know is that I'm training for the Napa Valley Marathon on March 3, aiming for a BQ time of 3:34:XX. Technically aiming for 3:34:07, but I'll take 3:34:59 if I have to! This goal seems ridiculously ambitious to me for my first marathon, but coach seems to think it's doable, and I'm hoping I can push myself to get it!
Only 7 weeks left until I run my first real marathon? That does NOT seem like a lot of time!
These last 5 weeks, before my 2(ish) week taper, are supposed to be my hardest weeks of training. After Christmas I started 3-weeks of "hard" and will have one rest week (next week!), before my final set of three HARD weeks. Trust me when I say I am feeling the burn. Two weekends ago I did my first 18 miler, which was cold and icy, but totally doable. I made sure to incorporate one big ol' hill, since it's easy to make up pace over 18 miles.
Most of my long runs end up being around 8:40 pace, and I'm fine if they go closer to 9:00 pace. I've decided, mostly for a psychological boost (CONFIDENCE!), to try "fast finish" long runs every other week for the last 2 months of training. These "fast finish" long runs should have the last 8 or 9 miles at race pace (8:10/mile), or faster. I did a fast finish 15 miler a few weeks ago and LOVED it. Cruising back home at a 7:45 pace for my last five miles really builds my confidence!
This last weekend (two days ago) I did my second 18-miler, but this time finished fast. The week was definitely not looking good, as I cut my Wednesday track workout short due to lack of steam and lack of dry ground to run on. My lack of steam was admittedly a self-inflicted issue of diet: subsisting on mashed potatoes and chocolate bars is really not great for training. After realizing my negligence on Wednesday, I resumed my normal diet: lots of veggies, beans, grains, and cookies. All systems go!
The thing that got most in my way of running this weekend was the weather: It's freaking freezing! I'm fine doing my long runs at 15F; however, when I wake up and it is -9F, and the high for the day is 7F, it's a different story. That, combined with the new inches of snow (which takes away my "run in the dry tire rut" routes), put me back on the treadmill. Sigh. This week is supposed to be warmer, so hopefully I'll be back out on the roads (and trails, when I don't mind ice-skating half of the time!).
The long run, although I was skeptical after a terrible night of sleep, was awesome. Despite being on a treadmill, which normally makes me feel 10x slower than normal, I did the first 10 at about a 9-min pace, then sped up to slightly faster than 8-min pace for the final 8 miles. Overall, I averaged 8:32 pace. Done and done! A nice long soak in the hot springs afterwords was definitely a nice "training" addition!
Here is a look at what this week should look like:
This is a bit of a weird week, since I'll be doing a 10-mile time trial to gauge my fitness. Normally I do a tempo run or track workout (800M or 1600M repeats), or both: this TT will be much harder than either, so I won't feel bad if my other runs are only 7 miles this week.
One of the biggest reasons I'm adding a sports section to The Kitchen Paper is that, besides my love of reading other people's training plans, I'll report back on the previous week: this will (hopefully) be great incentive to keep working hard and not let myself slip into laziness! I'll be back next Monday with a recap of this week, while enjoying my "rest" week! I'm so looking forward to it...