This WeekThis week is the peak mileage week for the training program. The schedule calls for 87 miles this week. Since I was sick a couple of days and I just haven't been able to squeeze in doubles, I only got 84 miles this week. Ok, "only" might not be the right word, but I didn't quite reach the 87 that the plan called for. I really don't think those 3 miles are going to be the difference!
Today was the longest training run I remember at 24 miles. Mark and I met up with the Fleet Feet group to start at the Holiday Inn in downtown Huntsville. We ran the whole marathon course, except for the downtown loop. That turned out to be a little over 24 miles.
We started slow, with a 9:00 or so first mile. Then we settled in to a 8:00-8:15 pace that we maintained for the entire run. There was another 9:00 mile when we missed a turn and we were looking to get back on the course. We just weren't paying attention and ran past a painted "M" on the street. We finished strong with 8:05, 8:00, 7:53, 7:32, and 7:10 for miles 20-24.
I was glad that we ran the course today. I had forgotten about some late hills. From miles 20-24 on the course (18-22 for us today), there are some hills. They may not even be noticeable hills in a 10k race, but at that point in the marathon, you'll notice that it's not flat. We noticed today!
Today gave me a ton of confidence going into the last 7 weeks of training. I never thought a 7:10 mile for my 24th could feel so easy. Granted, a 7:10 mile when you've run 23 8:15 miles is different from a 7:10 mile when you've just run 25 7:17 miles. However, the 26th mile in the race won't be my 84th mile of the week, either. Today, I felt great during and after the run. My legs were tired from the miles during the week, but my heart rate stayed very low during those miles in the low 8s.
I have no delusion that the marathon will be easy. Today reminded me that the distance MUST be respected. However, today also confirmed that my training is preparing me well. Today also reminded me of how much easier long runs are with a partner.