I'm finally entering the final phase of my training for Boston. During these final four weeks (have I written "final" enough in last two sentances?) I'm going to try to post more frequently than I have recently - focusing on the history and uniqueness of the Boston Marathon. I'll also have a lot to say about what has worked in my training and where I've struggled.
Whatever happens four weeks from tomorrow - I know that my training has improved my fitness to a level I haven't seen for awhile. How do I know that? Yesterday was my first real test since my training started in November. I ran the National Half-Marathon in DC - although it was cold (~30 @ the start) and an early morning (7am) - the wind was pretty much non-existent. I started out with the lead group of marathoners - our first mile was 5:29 - which was about what I planned to average over the 13.1 miles. As we descended down E. Capital Ave to The Mall the group picked up the pace a little - our second mile was ~5:20.
Although I missed the 3rd & 4th mile markers - I could tell that they were picking the pace up even faster - and I didn't quite feel comfortable running 5:15's. So, I backed off the pace a little around 3.5 miles. Around the 5 mile mark we started to ascend gradually - through these hills my mile splits slowed to between 5:30-5:40. After the 7 mile mark the course started downhill again - I knew that the significant hills were pretty much over - and I started to push the pace. My splits went back down ~5:20 - with my 10th mile at a 5:06 (the marker certainly could have been off). I was 53:45 through 10 miles - I usually fall a part in 1/2 marathons after the 10 mile mark - but, I felt strong. I was able to average a little over 5:20 in the last 3 miles - coming through at 1:10:36.
A week ago I said I'd be happy with a 1:12:00. Then I had a confidence boosting workout on Tuesday that made me think that a sub-1:11:00 was reasonable. This is really the best that I imagined myself running when I started this crazy trip back in November. There are so many things that can go wrong in marathon training. So far, knock on wood, the training seems to be working out perfectly - pushing me to my highest level of fitness without leaving me stale or injured.
Next is the "easy" part. I have two more weeks of decent training (although lower mileage than my fourth phase) and then the wonderful taper.
More evidence that this training plan is good preperation for the marathon is the performance of Brennan Feldhausen yesterday. He ran a very strong 2:42 for his first marathon at the National Marathon. Brennan and I've been runing a lot of our training together - and I think we have a similar philosophy. He not only ran a good time - he looked very strong doing it. Hopefully next month, I can execute as well as he did yesterday. Great job Brennan!
This week is a little step up in mileage. The first few days will be pretty easy as I recover from yesterday. I'm planning a massage on Tuesday to get the kinks worked out. Then it's back to business on Wednesday with a long tempo workout - and my last 20+ miler this weekend.
Monday: 8.5 miles
Tuesday morning: 4 miles
Tuesday evening: 17 mi total 9 mi easy 6X1mi (5:24;5:20;5:27;5:13;5:19;5:10) 1 min rest 2 mi easy
Wednesday: 8.5 miles
Thursday: 9.5 miles 5X100m
Friday: 4 mi
Saturday: 15 miles National Half-marathon 1:10:36
Sunday: 10 miles
Total: 76.5 miles
Monday: 7 miles
Tuesday: 8 miles
Wednesday morning: 4 miles
Wednesday evening: 18 mi 2X(5 mi easy 3 mi T pace) 2 mi easy
Thursday: 10 miles
Friday morning: 4 miles
Friday evening: 9 miles 6X100
Saturday: 6 miles
Sunday: 22 mi 2mi easy 4X1mi <5:30 10 mi easy 4X1mi <5:30 2mi easy
Total: 88 miles