Shoes on the drying rack, perpetually
Shoes on the drying rack, almost perpetually

Eight weeks down, ten to go. Nearing the half-way point my training. That would feel like a big accomplishment, except that training is always back-heavy. The second half contains most of the hard work. Deep breath.

The weather has been crazy warm and spring-like for February. The lower-level trails are already clear of snow, which is amazing. Normally this doesn’t happen until mid-March. There’s been a fair bit of rain. My shoes are almost always sopping wet when I get home. Up on the drying rack they go.

When I ran my marathon in 2012 I remember how momentous the Sunday long runs felt. They increased relentlessly by 2k per week from 10k all the way up to 32k. The final phase, when every Sunday meant a run of more than 20k, wore me down. By the last month I started cheating. I was burnt out. I completely skipped one long run and starting cutting corners all over the place. My taper started 4 weeks out, instead of 10 days. Gah. I was just so ready to be done.

So it was interesting today to look back at where my mileage was at this stage when I ran my first marathon. In 2012 I had run 481 kilometres by February 24. Really? That seems nuts. This time around I’ll have done a measly 360 kilometres. I wouldn’t have guessed it was so much less. It feels to me like I am running lots. Like really lots. I haven’t taken a day off in more than 6 weeks. Most of my runs take about an hour now and that “cumulative fatigue” thing is real; I feel it in my leaden legs the day after an SOS workout. I wonder if I’ll feel as burnt out by the beginning of April as I did in 2012.

I hope that because the long runs aren’t as long this program won’t leave me feeling as burnt out. My longest runs this spring will peak at 26k; there will be just three of them, and they’ll be spaced two weeks apart. I think I can do this.

I’m surviving the speed workouts. They’re still the hardest, but there are only two more to do. They’re progressive, so on paper they’re getting more challenging, but they’re not feeling any tougher, so I must be improving. With these I notice what a huge difference tension makes. Efficiency of form is so important when running fast. After the speed workouts are done I switch to intermediate-paced longer-interval strength runs. For me I think these will be easier.

Marathon Training: Week 8

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