Only 17 more days left to go before the Stone Mad
Multi Marathon and I did my last long run on Sunday. I’ve been following the 55 mile per week Douglas and Pfitzinger plan and according to their schedule, they would have had me running 20 miles as my longest run in the schedule and also as my last long run on Sunday last. Last year, I ran three 22 milers in the build-up to the Dublin Marathon and also threw in a 23 and 24 mile run, with the purpose being to make myself become more comfortable with the 20 mile point in the run. In my previous marathons, I’d found the 21 mile point (ish) to consistently be my low point – sore all over and mentally in a puddle, wishing for a hot bath, coffee, a hug and most of all, the finishing line. So, my plan was to somehow make myself get used to running 20 miles, or a bit more, and then that way, there would be less “extra” new territory to overcome on race day.
In hindsight, this may have been somewhat naive however and I ended up having to report to the physio 2 weeks out from race day with borderline stress fractures in multiple places in both of my feet, which she categorically described as overuse injuries. In other words, I overdid it in training and my body wasn’t able to handle it. Much as I want to break a 4 hour marathon, the idea of not being able to run at all is more that I can handle so I’ve since tried to be more conscious of my body, niggles and planning my mileage in a manner that is more cautious and more considerate to my body.
Douglas and Pfitzinger’s 55 mile (at its peak) plan actually works out higher on average per week in terms of mileage than any of my previous training plans, yet the longest run in the schedule is actually shorter than I would’ve done in other marathon training schedules, at 20 miles. However, they always have you running the day before your long run and often with a medium-long run 2 days before and as a result, you’re often running on tired legs by the time you get to your long run. This is quite clever because you’re effectively clocking up mileage, training your body to run on tired legs but without ever running more than 20 miles in any one go. The smarty pants bit is that the cumulative mileage of your long run day plus the shorter run from the day immediately before is generally between 22 miles and 26 miles. And you didn’t even realise you were doing it! In any of my previous marathon training schedules, I’d always have left the day previous to my long run as a rest day. So actually, under Doug and Pfitz, the cumulative mileage of the long run day + day before is longer than I would have run in any previous year. They are clever clogs, aren’t they 😉 ?
All this being said, I wanted to just do one run that went beyond 20 miles as I believe that on a personal level, I benefit massively from the psychologically advantage of knowing that I have run over 20 miles in training. Then on race day, in my head, my plan will be to simply get to 22 miles because I know this is “no problem, sure I’ve done it in training…” (I know, right? Simps…). Then, I know I’ve always got 2 miles more I can give (even if it’s as slow as a funeral march)… Then there’s only 2 miles left and sure then I’m on the home stretch to the finish line. Sorted. Know what I mean?
Anyways, as I mentioned in a previous post, this was originally meant to be a 2 day marathon affair, so now that it’s just a one day event, I keep saying to myself, but sure at least it’s just the marathon that I have to do. Yeah.
I made it through the 22 miler on Sunday, with the conditions being not the easiest on possibly the most humid day of the year to date so I was happy enough. I took it really handy and tried to keep my pace easy, with the priority being to cover the distance and still be able to run an even pace in the last few miles. I managed to do this and ended up running the second half of the run faster than the first. This is also a new experience for me having spent years going out like a racehorse (ok, not actually anywhere near a % of racehorse speed), only to burnout around mile 14. This year, I’ve been trying to discipline myself to take it easy in the first few miles and then let the pace come on its own, which worked for the mini marathon in June, when I ended up running a PB, taking off 3.30 minutes, having spent years torturing myself with trying to get under 51 minutes.
Even better still was that the day after my 22 miles, I finally got back on the saddle and went for a spin on the bike. This is something I’ve been meaning to do since about February but have been very bold, skiving off in the meantime… however, I’m due to to an olympic distance triathlon in a few weeks time so with that having struck the fear of God into me, I’m now committed to cycling at least once a week. I really enjoyed Monday’s cycle and am looking forward to the next one.
Oh, and I’m also an introvert, apparently. Told you so 😛 http://www.my-personality-test.com/personality-type/?profileid=1563693535373436551