DAY | PLAN | ACTUAL
MON | REST | REST
TUE | 3M/STRENGTH | 3.2M (8:59/MI)/STRENGTH
WED | 4M | 4.2M (10:05/MI)
THU | 3M/STRENGTH | 3.2M HILL INT (9:33/MI)/STRENGTH
FRI | REST | REST
SAT | YOGA | BIKRAM90
SUN | 9M | 9.4 (10:35/MI)
TOTAL |19 MILES | 20 MILES
Have you ever realized that you’ve read or been given the same advice over and over again, but it hasn’t registered until you’ve had that click–that moment of clarity where you actually hear, understand, and receive the guidance you need? That’s exactly where I’ve landed here in week 4 of my marathon training. Let’s be clear, I am pretty stoked that it only took four weeks to have this lesson sink in–I’ve banged my head against the wall for much longer trying to learn other things–this is progress.
I feel badly because I cannot remember whose blog I read it on this week (thank you blogosphere!) but someone wrote:
One of the biggest mistakes people make in training is not running slow enough on their long runs and not running fast enough on their short runs.
I’ve heard this said many times before but for some reason, this week was the first instance I was really able to apply it to my training. It could not have come at a better time because Sunday was my first not “short”, long run. I’ve been running for a long time, but since this is my first marathon, I decided on a Novice 1 program for beginners. There have been moments when I worried that the plan started out too easy–but those concerns have absolutely subsided as I’ve let the program discipline me and slowly build up my fitness. This week, two of my three short runs felt amazing–I had great pop in my legs and was able to manage a really steady pace with a burst of speed in the last 1/1.5 miles–even with hills!
I just want to pause quickly to note something I will be doing from now on: I’m not going to belittle my speed or pace anymore by qualifying it every time I write–I’ve officially tired of that. I’m going to try to make an effort to no longer start sentences with: “I know I’m not fast, but…” You see my paces above–to some of you they may be slow, to others lightning. To me they are numbers that make me proud because they mean I’ve gotten out there and done the work. So when I say fast, and it’s about running a mile in 8:00 or 8:30 or even 9:00, understand that that is what I have defined as fast for me.
Early in the morning, as I hydrated and fueled and prepared to leave, I reflected on those great short runs I was able to put together earlier in the week. My confidence rose even more when I remembered that each run followed a thorough and intense strength training session. So, with well rested and stretched legs–thanks to a rest day on Friday and yoga on Saturday, I set out on my 9 mile run on Sunday with the long run slow advice at the forefront of my mind. Instead of letting that anxious and egotistical voice of mine that says “your time is going to be embarrassingly slow”, butt in, I looked to balance out my Tuesday/Thursday fast miles, with some Sunday slow miles.
Rejoice! It was the most enjoyable long run I have had in a longgg time. When I was training for the Brooklyn Half I was so concerned about coming in under two hours that I never really let my mind get too far away from the run. On Sunday my brain was almost completely immersed in my podcasts and I absolutely loved it–it was the best me time I had had in a long while. For the first three miles I kept my pace between 10:30-11:15 and was delighted to enter Prospect Park light on my feet and breathing easy. It was a welcome change from pushing myself too early and arriving winded; I felt happy to hop into the flow of runners and cyclists and start my two 5k loops around the park.
My second 5k held pretty steady at around 10:45, with a bit of a slower 6th mile as I prepared to go into my quicker last third of the run. I have been trying to make my longer runs progressive and I did pretty well here: Mile 7: 10:12, Mile 8: 9:34, Mile 9: 9:43, Mile 9.4: 9:02. I was especially happy with these times seeing that the last 1/1.5 mile of this loop is the infamous hill in Prospect Park. There was a guy who insisted on racing that last mile with me and I happily obliged him–it was great fun and I felt thrilled to feel like I was flying up that hill even on “tired” legs. As I reached the top (after beating him, of course), I stopped my watch and walked off smiling–I had yet another example of awesome results from letting go and trusting the process. Thank you to all of you who have written about your successes and failures in training, and left me pointers and words of encouragement on my posts as well. Your place in my journey is already so prominent, and I’m so grateful to be guided by such a generous running community.
Any advice you’ve been given a million times that has clicked only recently? I want to hear it! How’s training going? Any struggles you want to voice? Feel free to talk them out here!