Countdown to the Dublin marathon continues and with the October bank holiday 26.2 looming just 3 weeks away, it was time today for my last long run before tapering for the big day begins.
One of my highest mileage weeks for this training period, I totalled 52 miles this week, including a pacey 5k race on Tuesday and a slightly less pacey 5k parkrun yesterday morning. Early this morning (at least I started when it was early… it was less early by the time I finished!), I got in a 22 mile long run, which is the longest long run that I will have done in preparation for the Dublin marathon this year. It was a glorious morning when I looked out my window this morning – perfect clear blue sky, little wind and a definite autumn chill in the air. Nice start for a long run.
Confession: this run has been on my mind for at least the last few days. I wasn’t worried or anxious about it but I certainly wasn’t on the side of excited either. Think it’s probably a combination of the fact that it would be my longest run pre-marathon and I’m also always conscious of finishing my marathon training on a positive note and to complete my last long run feeling happy. Or at least as happy as a person can after running 22 miles… Purely a psychological thing – I didn’t want my last long run to go badly, knowing that to do so would likely mess with my head and have me running on marathon day, thinking about the fact that the last time I ran this distance, it didn’t go well.
Good news: all negativity has been banished! I ran the 22 miles, got through the distance and as a mega bonus… my average mile pace was 9:12, rounding out the full distance in 3:22:38. My goal pace for the marathon will be 9.10 per mile so given that I was quite relaxed during today’s 22 miler and not really pushing at all for pace, to average out at 9.12 per mile is a good result. Potentially, this would have me complete a marathon distance in 4.04 or thereabouts which would be a PB for me so pretty happy with that.
Slightly less good news (note:not using “bad news” as we’re not doing negativity of any form until after Dublin is done): I found the last 2 miles hard going today. It was an effort to get through this last part and I did find it challenging. Douglas and Pfitzinger had me down to just 20 miles today but I wanted to get in 22 instead, for this very reason – I needed to go past 20 to experience the exhaustion that comes when you’ve gone past 20 and to run a little further. I know I’ve run past 20 before but I take comfort (ironically) in the more recent physical confirmation that I can. I’m all about the mind games!
Back of my left calf is also particularly tight post-run. I’ve stretched, foam-rolled and all that stuff and hopefully it will be fine. No harm crossing a few fingers all the same.
Tapering will begin shortly, as will the nerves… Training has gone well so far and I’m happy with how the long runs have gone, in terms of where I need to be to run 4 hours (ish) and also in terms of avoiding any major injuries. With a bit of luck (and taking every precaution under the sun…), I hope to be able to see out the last 3 weeks of training injury free. After that will come the real test to see how good my training has been. As if you couldn’t tell, I’m looking forward to that day 😀