So, apparently it’s still winter in a lot of places. I don’t want a blaze of mind bullets or bad vibes shot my way, so I won’t go into graphic detail about how warm it is down here in Louisiana (hint: I wore a tank top and needed to towel off after my long run yesterday…) What I WILL say is that Louisiana weather has made training for my first Boston Marathon relatively painless thus far. That’s the good news! The bad news is that the training itself is only going to get tougher over the next 8 weeks. Gulp.
I run on a block schedule, which means I always run 3 weeks “on” and then cut my mileage nearly in half and take the fourth week “off.” I also take at least 1 or 2 rest days every single week. No exceptions! I know a lot of serious runners are uncomfortable with taking days off, but I’ve never had an issue with it. They keep me sane and allow me to do all the other stuff I enjoy just as much as (if not more than…) running. Reading books, cooking/baking, walking my baby Great Dane, playing nerdy board games and listening to NPR with my husband…I keep a lot of time available for this stuff, even if traditional running programs would have me training 6+ days a week. No thanks!
Last week was week #1 of a block, and I will slowly ramp up my mileage and intensity for another 2 weeks before my next rest. Then I ramp for 3 more weeks before tapering for 2 weeks. This formula worked well for me before the Louisiana Marathon in January, so I’m giving it a shot again. The only difference is that my paces are faster and my volume higher.
“Higher” is still not as high as most people expect when they hear that I’m gunning for my first sub-3 hour marathon in April. Before my PR performance (3:02! woo!) in January, I spent a block of three December weeks in the 50-mile range. The rest of the 18-week training period was spent in the low-to-mid 40’s – again, with an average of 2 rest days per week and lower weekly volume every 4th week. Because I’m somewhat new to “real” training and racing, I find that I can still improve rapidly off minimal training. This doesn’t work for everyone, and it might not work much longer for me, either. When my improvement slows or plateaus, I’ll know that it’s time to make a change and move toward higher volume. Until then, I’m in the “less is more” camp and I really like it.
For my current training block, I started at 50 miles (workouts below) and I’ll be building up to 60 over the next 2 weeks, which would be an all-time weekly mileage high for me. I’m excited to give it a shot! Here’s how Week #1 went down:
Monday: 5 miles, 7:26 pace, with the last mile at 6:40 just to shake things out a bit.
Tuesday: Off, although I DID walk the dog 3 miles, so I wasn’t a total slug
Wednesday: 11 miles – interval day! I’m up to 5 of my favorite 10 x 2 intervals. Warmed up nice and easy, did the workout, then cooled down a bit. Four of the 10min. sets were run at 6:22 pace, and one set was a 6:26 average due to a headwind and wimpy-ness. I hate wind! But I’m happy with how this faster interval pace is feeling so far.
Thursday: 4 miles, 7:45 pace, and another walking date with my handsome puppy. He’s turning 10 months old next week and he’s my favorite walking buddy! Dunkin is my first dog (ever) and he is 120lbs. of furry love. I’m kind of attached to him. So much so that I’m gonna be a total dog mom and post a photo of him even though it has nothing to do with running… :)
Friday: 10 miles, 7:13 pace. I included hill repeats on 5 different hills around town. They weren’t steep or long, but they’re better than nothing. Gotta get the legs ready for Boston!
Saturday: Off. See what I mean? I am the QUEEN of rest days!
Sunday: 20 miles, 7:33 pace, with a sweeeeet kick at the very end just to see what kind of legs I had left. Ran mile #20 in 6:32. Quite proud of myself.
Total: 50 miles