Seven weeks ago, I had never run more than 50 miles in a week. Now, in the past seven weeks I have run 50 miles or more five times, topping out at 57 miles last week for a new personal weekly mileage record.
And I am so happy that it is over! I am beat and more than ready for my taper.
Here’s a preview of how it played out:
One hard workout on Tuesday, a 5k race on Saturday and a 22 mile long run on Sunday? I still can’t believe I was able to pull it off.
I started the week with my standard 6 mile Monday morning recovery run. I look forward to these runs! They are a great, relaxed way to start the week.
Then on Tuesday, I did a 2 mi. warm up, 30 minutes at threshold pace and a 2 mi. cool down for 8.5 miles in total. The threshold part worked out to be a 6:37 pace, at the high end of the 6:24 to 6:40 range recommended by McMillan based on my half marathon time. Guess what? It felt hard!
I got in another recovery run on Wednesday, and a 15k general aerobic run (7:51/mi. average) on Thursday, before resting up on Friday for the 5k.
Saturday started out fine. It was cool, but not cold. I had my typical pre-race peanut butter on toast with banana and headed to the start and ran an easy 1 mile warm up and a few strides.
The race started…and my watch was totally out of whack and I let it get into my head. We ran down 42nd St. in Manhattan—a notoriously bad area for GPS data—and my watch had me at a 5:10 pace. I knew it couldn’t be accurate (I was going fast, but not that fast), but I decided I should play it safe and I reined it in.
As it turns out, I reined it in too much, coming through the first mile mark a solid 15 seconds behind my goal pace. My second mile was okay, but the third, which had a decent number of hills, slipped again.
I ended up finishing in 19:34, about 19 seconds slower than I was hoping. I’m a little bummed out about it, but it is still a PR.
The thing about it is that my 5K result predicts a slower marathon time than my Staten Island Half result. That probably shouldn’t psyche me out (particularly since the SI Half is the longer race…), but I would be lying if I said it didn’t.
The rational part of my brain knows that I didn’t taper for the 5K, that I didn’t do any 5K specific training, and that 15 weeks of cumulative fatigue is no laughing matter, but the irrational side of my brain counters that if I can’t hold it together for three miles, how can I expect to hit my goal over 26 miles?
To redeem myself, I tried to follow up with a good effort in the 22 mile training run less than 24 hours later. At least I was able to do that. I covered that distance in 2:51:03 for an average pace of 7:46. All in, that was 2 minutes and 6 seconds slower than my 22 miler two weeks ago, but I think I lost most of that time in my first mile, so I feel pretty good about that.
All in, I ran 57 miles over 7 hours and 29 minutes, roughly a 7:53 min/mile pace. Not too shabby.
Now, it is time to start tapering…
5 thoughts on “Philly Training: Week 15 (Peak Week)”
For sure the solid 22 miler is a way better litmus test. You backed that 5k up against a workout and a decently-long midweek run. I stay away from 5ks during marathon training for this reason — I know I won’t have the zip and I’ll get freaked out. Plus it is the one distance I run so often that I have tons of comparison data. At least with 10k, I only run one or two a year so my fitness at those times varies a lot. You’ve put in great mileage and solid runs!
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Thanks! I need positive reinforcement for my rational brain. I think I’ll have to take your lead and avoid 5ks during marathon training from now on.
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I thought I was going to hit some PRs during my training for my first marathon and I didn’t. I kind of freaked out about it; it’s hard not to do that! But when you think about it, if you’re not reigning in the fast paced, short distance legs because you’re working on your long distance legs… it’s hard to just pull that out of the woodwork in the midst of high mileage marathon training. Nailing the long runs is definitely the better outline for how your marathon will go, in my opinion. Good luck!
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Thanks! I try to remember it’s the long runs that matter most, but sometimes it is so hard…