Ok, it's really more like three and a half... but everyone has been asking about my training, and I haven't updated you in a while! Sorry! Long story short: training has been (mostly) good!
If you remember my plan, I was supposed to work hard up until today(ish), then take half of a rest week (including this coming weekend). I did REALLY well, until last Wednesday, then totally fell off the wagon. Life got in the way and I ended up taking Wednesday off, then not doing my long run. Oopsies. Instead of getting incredibly down about it (ok, I got somewhat disappointed with myself), I decided I'd just switch weeks. So, my "rest week" is done, and this week I'm working hard.
This week, so far, has been going really well! I did 10 quick miles on Monday (progressing to 7:30 pace, averaging 8:10), as I've clearly established in this training cycle that I have a good base and need to work on speed. Today I did YASSOS! I haven't done them in a long time, and while some people aren't believers, I'm a dedicated believer: I was 100% spot on for Napa based on my yasso workouts.
What is a yasso? Yasso 800s are a workout Bart Yasso is credited for as a predictor of marathon time. The theory is that if you want to run a four-hour marathon, you should be able to do 10x800 meters, with 400 meters between each, in four minutes. That means the 800 meters takes you four minutes, and the 400 meters "rest" takes you four minutes. If you can keep it up through all ten, you *should* be able to do a 4 hour marathon! Of course, you need to have your other training (long runs, etc.) backing you up.
For Napa I did my yassos at a 3:30 pace (overshooting for my 3:34 goal), and ended up finishing just seven seconds faster than 3:30... pretty darn close, if you ask me! This time, I'm still waffling on my goals, but I figure aiming for 3:20 will give me a good buffer to PR (9 minutes? Yeah, I should be able to get somewhere between 3:20 and 3:29...). I set out to do my Yassos at 3:20 pace today, unsure after my hard 10 on Monday and a tough day of yoga yesterday — but aced it! I was happy to finish successfully (although with very tired legs!). My mental confidence could use a boost right now, since my physical preparation hasn't been quite as extensive as it was for Napa.
Leading up to Napa I was SURE I could meet my goal (mostly sure), because I'd been doing 16 and 18-mile runs for MONTHS leading up to the race. For Twin Cities, I'm just barely getting my mileage up there. I did my 16-miler three weeks ago, then an 18-miler, and this weekend will be a 20-miler. Next weekend might also be a 20-miler, but might be a shorter/faster 16ish. We'll see.
From here on out, I am focusing more on speed. Most runs, even easy runs, will include a few miles at race pace. I need to get used to running sub-8-minute miles. It still feels like a stretch right now to string more than a few together. I'm moving more into figuring out race planning — tentatively aiming for 7:45 pace. That sounds ridiculously fast to me, but I keep remembering it's only 15 seconds (per mile) faster than last time... OK that still sounds like a lot. YIKES.
My last two long runs have been doable, but slow. Strangely enough, I haven't been tired after them (like, at all), which I think indicates I need to be going FASTER. For some reason my legs just don't want to, but they feel like they could keep going all day. Hence the focus on speed now — hopefully my long runs this and next weekends will be faster (even finishing at race pace).
That's all for now! I'll put together a post about the course next week — the HILLS are intimidating me!