Guess what? I'm going to follow a marathon training plan for the last five weeks of my training! Are you shocked? Cuz I kind of am.
Lately, I'd been feeling like yes, I was getting in the miles, but wasn't really "training for a marathon." So, I went over to the trusty Smart Coach on Runner's World, plugged in my goal time, distance and preferred long run day and poof! out came a plan.
I won't be following it to a T, as I will be doing our coached Thurs night speed work rather than the suggested speed sessions. And I decided that I want to do tempo runs on Tuesdays where it indicates and "easy run" at 9:15 pace just to push myself a bit more.
Sunday, I did an 18.5 miler that was less than stellar. I started around 7:30 am in the cold (and even a few flakes of snow) to fit in 9 miles before the group run at 9 am. Those first 9 miles on my own were pretty good - 9:25 pace to warm up, then 8:45 min/mi and then 6 miles of marathon goal pace (8:20-8:35) and then eased up a bit until I got back to the running store.
I jogged around the parking lot waiting for the group to start and then headed out on my second 9 miles. I'm not sure if it was because I was now running someone else's pace or the fact that the first half was a bit fast, but the second half just sucked.
It didn't help that it was getting a bit windy out and my stomach was feeling off, but I just didn't enjoy it like I did the first 9 miles. I couldn't help wonder how the entire run would have been if I had just continued on my own merry way without meeting the group.
As much as I love the company of other runners, in marathon training, I seem to do really well running on my own (minus speed workouts - it's good to have an extra kick in the pants then).
For these last five weeks, my goal is to really think about what kind of race I want to run and tell my legs to do it. No, this probably won't change things drastically, but I'm kind of tired of losing focus at the end of marathon training.
Someday, I want to run a marathon KNOWING I'm going to feel strong and run a specific pace (like a sub 3:40 marathon). So here's to focus and a plan - what a novel idea!