I’m writing this a few days before my marathon, and am planning to publish it a few days after my race happens. During this last week of the taper I’ve had a lot of thoughts about my marathon training cycle. I wanted to take some time to write down all my thoughts before my race even happens. Because no matter what happens this weekend, I want to appreciate what went well and learn from the things I could have done better. I know I won’t be able to have a race recap up the week after the race, so I’m planning to post this first and then a recap will come next week.
Got in all runs
Despite being pretty busy this summer, I was able to get in all my scheduled runs. They happened early, and some were on the treadmill, but they happened.
Ran through the heat
This was a very hot and humid summer. It made long runs and workouts very challenging. I’m glad that I was able to run through it and still hit most of my paces. I felt like I needed extra recovery, but by keeping my easy runs easy I was able to manage the workload.
Peaked at 50 miles
My goal was to peak at around 50 miles per week. I started in the mid 30s so I took my time getting up there. I took cutback weeks every 4th week which seemed to work well since my mileage was building up so slowly.
Didn’t get sick or injured
I don’t want to jinx myself since I still have a few days to go before my race, but I managed to stay healthy which is a huge win! Especially considering how many times Grayson got sick this summer.
I continued working with Mary and she programmed my strength training workouts for me. I did these twice a week and lifted heavy up until the end of my training cycle.
Kept up with prehab
Outside of heavy lifting, I also did foam rolling, mobility. and core/glute exercises a few times a week. I tried to do a little something every evening, even if it was just for 5 minutes.
Ran easy runs easy
As I said, I needed some extra recovery after hard runs in the heat. My watch shows my recovery status and there were some days when after a hard workout when it said I needed like 4 days of recovery. While I didn’t rely 100% on my watch, I did take it into consideration when scheduling my runs. I usually did my hardest workout of the week on a Wednesday and a long run on Saturday to space them out.
One 20 miler
I would have liked to do more than one 20 miler, but this was really all I could fit in with a slow build. Mentally, I’m glad I got in at least one 20 miler.
Longest MP run was 6 miles
During my peak weeks I added alot of MP miles, but the most in a single run was six. That week was hot, and with my time limitations I really couldn’t fit in more than that.
Sleep was a challenge
With a kid who wakes up at 6 (or earlier) every day, I have to go to bed really early to get enough sleep. Now that I’m in the offie and he’s at daycare it feels like we are always rushing after we get home to eat and do the bedtime routine. I still try to go to bed no later than 9, but I’m up around 4 ish every day, Once a week I tried to sleep and I also snuck in naps when I could.
If you’ve been following my blog this summer (and year) you probably know that i’s been a stressful few months of cold and COVID tests in our house. On top of that the last 18 months in general have been a stressful time for just about everyone.
Didn’t do many runs on terrain similar to course
My race is on the C&O Towpath which is described as “unpaved gravel”. I am not really sure what to expect by this, but I am hoping its similar to the NCR trail here in Maryland where I did a 15 miler. I didn’t even notice running on different terrain there. But all my other runs (besides 2 trail runs) were on roads or the treadmill.
What helped me the most during my last marathon training cycle was really learning to get used to what marathon pace feels like. That didn’t happen this time for a few reasons. First, I wasn’t 100% sure what MP would be. I had a range, but on most of my runs it was so hot and humid that I went into the run planning to adjust to a slightly slower pace. I also do most of my runs in an area with alot of curves and turns, and my GPS signal goes in and out quite a bit. Even though I set my watch on “Lap pace” it would still be pretty off at times.
What I’m worrying About
I need to drive to DC, find parking, and pick up my bib for an 8 am start time.
I am probably going to be gone from 5:30 to 2:00 or so on Saturday, which I feel bad about. I know it’s only one day, but the weekends are so busy and we really need that time to get things done. I keep telling myself that I’ll have plenty of time to be around and do other things after this race is over.
As I said, I am unsure of the terrain. I’m also not thrilled that it’s two out and backs which will probably be very boring.
Because this is such a small race there will likely be very little crowd support. The views won’t change much because its along a river and there are two out and backs. Headphones are discouraged so that volunteers can be heard giving directions. (I don’t race with them anyway.)
After running a marathon I’m going to have to drive over an hour to get myself home. It’s not ideal, but it is what it is. I can wait a bit to leave after I’m done running and even stop halfway if I need to.
While there were plenty of challenges over the last 16 weeks, there were also plenty of successes. I’m glad that I made it (almost) to the start line ready to run. If nothing else, I had a great time training for this marathon. I love working towards goals and getting in long runs. Hopefully this weekend will just be a victory lap.
Do you reflect on your training before a race?
How do you decide if a training cycle was successful (besides the actual results of the race)?
Now it’s time for the Runners’ Roundup! Link up your running and fitness posts below! Join myself, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs , and Laura Norris Running to post your favorite running tips, experiences, race and training recaps, workouts, gear, and coaching ideas.