I am about 6 weeks out from the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I haven't blogged to much about my training to date but I am currently on week 12 of an 18 week cycle that peaks at around 90 miles per week.
As usual I have been running a lot of 20 and 20+ mile runs. More than prescribed because it works well for me. I have also been pushing the pace because my primary goal is to drop about 3 minutes and 30 seconds from my marathon PR which is currently 2:53:28. While that might not sound like I knew when I set it that it would require a lot of work...hard work.
With that in mind, this morning I ran a tough workout that was not on my schedule. The workout was a total of 22 miles and required me to run at goal pace and faster for about 8 miles after I was already 12 miles into the run with my legs good and tired. In this workout each 6 and a half minute segment begins at 10k pace, pretty hard but sustainable, for a minute and a half and then finishes with 5 minutes at goal marathon pace. No rest between just continuously alternating between the 2 paces.
The point of this post isn't a single workout however. Instead it is about where I am as a whole with running and marathon fitness. I have been wanting to run this workout for about a year but until now I haven't made room for it in my schedule. It is not actually a part of the training plan that I use, rather, I found it at RunnersConnect. My thought was that I didn't want to sacrifice a workout that was part of the plan in order to substitute this one and it looked tough enough that I didn't know how it would affect the rest of my training to insert it into an otherwise standard paced long run.
But I have noticed in the last couple of weeks that my conditioning has reached a point that I am recovering very quickly from workouts. For instance, last Friday I ran the full marathon distance at a quicker pace and was ready for another hard workout by Monday. This is no doubt the accumulation of fitness from the last couple of years spent training hard and running high mileage for 2 marathon cycles a year.
When I was able to run that workout on Monday there was no longer any doubt about how quickly I was recovering and that it was time to increase the workload to reap even more fitness.So this morning I substituted a standard easy pace and less than 20 mile long run with this tougher, longer workout with full confidence that I will be recovered and be ready for another hard interval workout on Monday.
More importantly than getting to run a single workout that I have been putting off for a year is this new level of fitness I have reached which allows me to increase my total work capacity. In terms of marathon training this should continue to produce faster and faster times. So, I am excited, both for the rest of this cycle and the race it is aimed at and also for the marathons to come in the future and the potentials I can see.