I’m T-28 days away from running my first Boston Marathon. There’s light at the end of this training tunnel. Finally! I feel like I’ve been running forever!!
This week’s training went really well. Just like every week, I had three days of easy paced 6 mile runs (Monday, Friday, and Saturday) and three days of something of substance (SOS) runs (Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday). Recall I am using a Hanson’s training plan. My easy paced runs were completely uneventful. My SOS runs were hard, probably the hardest on the plan!
Tuesday, is speed/strength day. I had to run 2 times 3 miles on hills at marathon pace minus 10 seconds, with a mile recovery in between. That plus my warm up and cool down was 10 miles. Tuesday was cool and windy. I kind of dreaded doing my run because my only option for hills, at least by myself in the dark, are the bridges that cross the Peace River. These bridges run north/south and the wind on Tuesday morning just happened to be coming from the north northwest. But, check out these paces. Mind you my marathon pace is 8:35 min/mi.
Thursday was my tempo run. 10 miles at marathon pace, plus warm up and cool down for 13 miles total. I could stay flat for this, so I opted to do it at Babcock Webb Wildlife Management Area. They have a nice flat road that is five miles down, so out and back is 10 miles. There’s virtually no traffic, and the road is marked in half mile increments.
Thursday was another windy day, although not as cool as Tuesday. Running at the Webb was a good choice. Much of my run was protected although at times the wind funneled down the road making for some tough running. But again, I hit my paces throughout! And, as an added bonus, I saw 5 deer 🙂
Today, Sunday was my long run. My plan called for a 16 mile run on hills. I opted for a 18 mile run on hills so I could work on my late race fueling strategy. I am using UCAN. Unlike gels which are a pretty straightforward 1 gel every 45 minutes or so, UCAN lasts much longer, and it doesn’t give me any stomach issues. It comes in a powder that you mix into a shake with water, or a gel with less water. The biggest downside is that to take on the course, it has to be pre-made, and stored somehow.
Thus far I have tried a cheap travel bottle. Works OK but it’s hard to get everything out of the bottle. I tried a squeeze tube made for packing your own gel. My girlfriend swears by these. But I am apparently too uncoordinated to use effectively. Today I tried skinny little ziplocks made for making your own push-up pops. These worked great. Only downside was the ziplock kept wanting to re-lock. So my plan is to pack single servings and if the ziplock is a problem, bite it off.
My second goal for my long run was to run a route that would put the bridges at the end to mimic the hills late in the marathon course. I even called the hills by name as I ran over each bridge. Let’s just say Heartbreak Hill kicked my butt!! But I wasn’t alone, and haven’t been alone on a long run yet. Can I just say I have a great group of running friends!!
I now have two more weeks of hard work before I get to taper back, or “peak” as my plan calls it. This week is going to be tricky as I have a work trip Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. On a good note, I’ll be in Gainesville, which does have a few hills (real ones as opposed to bridges), and Friday will be a travel day so I am planning to do my tempo run Friday morning before heading home.
I also plan to do Friday’s easy paced run on Wednesday morning before driving up. This will leave Thursday, my busiest day, as my rest day. Hopefully this all works out. Work travel is always filled with good intentions, but they don’t always implement as planned.
14 weeks down…4 weeks to go!