This training cycle has been by far the most challenging cycle I have ever done. I hit a 70 mile week for the first time in early February and have done 2 more since then along with averaging higher mileage in general. I am actually not sure if my legs remember what they feel like when rested. They certainly didn’t during the final week of training, but now they get to relax and recover. Race day is almost here!
The NYC Half is not going to get more than a brief mention because it ended up not being a race. I have no idea what I was thinking when I signed up to race the Sunday before my hardest week of the training cycle. Instead of losing my $100+ and ruining the next week of training which I considered more important, I decided to use it as a steady-state run. (NYC Half: 1:40:10/ 7:39 min/mile)
McMillan is a big supporter of fast-finish long runs being a good predictor of your upcoming marathon performance and I have found that they are fairly accurate for me, especially at the end of a hard week of training. They really simulate what it will feel like to maintain marathon goal pace on tired legs without doing something dumb like running the whole 20 miler too fast. in my mind, this final 20+ miler which I would do on the Boston Course was one of my important tests of training. In terms of specificity there is really nothing better you can do than run on the actual course.
Monday: 4 miles with hills @ lunch, 7 miles after work
Tuesday: 13 easy miles after work
Wednesday: 6 miles with 4 @ tempo during lunch, 7.5 miles after work
Thursday: 6.5 miles @ lunch
Saturday: First 23 miles of the Boston Marathon Course; 11 easy, 10 @ marathon goal pace, 2 easy
By Saturday my legs were tired, yet I love the course so I was excited to be able to run it again. Even though I knew my legs weren’t fresh the first 11 miles flew by and were easy. Then it was time to speed up. It worked out nicely that this section also includes in my opinion the hardest part of the course. Mile 11 starts around 260 ft then climbs and drops again to 180 ft before climbing a series of hills to 411ft at the top of Heartbreak Hill by mile 21. Despite getting my marathon PR in San Francisco, I actually don’t think I am that strong a hill runner. I ended up averaging 7:37 min/mile for those last 10 miles. It was also my fastest 20 miler by one whole second. Except for the two biggest hills I felt strong and it felt almost easy, but I know I will lose some time in this section on various miles and I just need to remember not to panic.
Sunday: 4 recovery miles
Total: 71 miles
Now it is taper time!!!