March was a banner month. I ran my first marathon, fired and hired personal trainers, recovered from a minor injury and ran a total of 248.2 miles.
Egads, no wonder I’m a little worn out.
I did a 6 mile recovery run yesterday, which went fine at an 8:48 pace, but after I had a painful cough. I’m not sure if this bug is settling into my chest or if it was just accumulated exertion from Sunday. This morning I planned to go to yoga, but I decided to take a complete rest day instead. I hope to feel better for my session with my new personal trainer tomorrow. I also have a tempo run on the schedule, but I think I can safely shift it to Thursday.
I discovered an interesting fact when I received my final 4 weeks of marathon training from my coach yesterday: McMillan Running plans don’t really have a traditional taper. That’s right–I won’t be sitting in a hammock with a mint julep (not that I’ve ever had one. I’m not even sure what’s in one. I’m the worst alcoholic ever.) those last days heading into my race. I’d kind of been looking forward to a taper. Alas, it’s not mean to be.
Greg McMillan explains the training phase he calls Peak in this article. Basically, volume of training is reduced around 20 percent, but intensity is maintained. Which is good since I have two races prior to the marathon. I’d asked my coach about how to approach a 5k race I have in less than two weeks, and she said I can do an “honest effort” vs. taking it easy. I know I can beat my previous course time of 30:11 from last year, and it would be nice to beat my 5k PR of 24:45 from July (the last time I raced a 5k). This 5k was my very first race, so it should be fun to compare how far I came since I started running. It’s funny to think of how disappointed I was that first race that I didn’t come in below 30 minutes. And how hard that 30:11 felt at the time. I wouldn’t expect this year’s attempt to feel any more comfortable — it’s all relative.
I’m not yet sure what strategy my coach will suggest for the Nike Women’s half marathon, which is the week before the full. I think McMillan usually would have another 18 mile fast finish run after the 24 miler, but since I have a race, it’s been eliminated from my training cycle and replaced with a 90 minute easy run. I’m not planning a PR for the half marathon, but it would be nice if one happened and it felt easy 😉
FINAL 4 WEEKS MARATHON TRAIN PLAN
Easy runs in minutes
Although I’ve been hitting my paces, I’m still not sure if I’ll be able to qualify for Boston this race. It is within my abilities, but everything has to go right for it to happen. I don’t think I’ve got much wiggle room to finish faster than 3:55. I’ve signed up for a backup marathon in the fall (Baystate), but it would be great if it is unnecessary. I don’t know why I’m feeling so insecure at this moment. Maybe because I’m sick and feel low in general. I’m nervous that I spent so much of this winter on the treadmill rather than the road. The pros are that it was easier on my joints and I avoided the crappy weather, the con is that it can’t substitute for the feel of the road.
Regardless, I’m going to give this marathon my best. It’s all I can ask of myself.