Tuesday, August 23, 2016

#BeMonumental {Weeks 6 & 7}

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The first few weeks of marathon training are exciting. The runs are not too hard, the mileage isn't too high and the idea of starting something is energizing.

But fast forward four or five weeks and it becomes a grind. You have realized that, toto, you are not in half marathon training anymore. The midweek runs quickly go from 3 miles to 6 miles, 7 miles and the quality runs are tempos that require patience and strength. Long runs get longer, get harder.

As the process grows, a funny thing happens – self confidence can diminish. Or, at least it has for me.
Maybe it's trying Whole30 or the heat and humidity. Maybe I lost something when I was sick in May and nearly puked myself through the Indy Mini Marathon. Maybe I lost some of my grit.

I have wondered these things as I've tackled the runs on my training plan. My paces haven't been where I want them to be and things just feel harder than I hoped they would. 

And just when I was starting to think that my pace goal for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon was a bit greedy. Just as I was starting to contemplate adjusting my paces for tempos and race pace miles, I was gifted cooler weather, encouraging training partners and the perfect long run. 

On Sunday, the gang was meeting up for 12 miles (two loops of 6). There would be a group going for a 10:30 pace, a group running between 9 and 10 and a few guys going faster. I had 15 on the schedule, the last 3 to 5 of which were to be at race pace (9:09). The plan for the group seemed great. I'd get to the spot early, run 3 miles, meet up and hang with the 10:30/mile folks for 6 miles and then link up with the 9-10 guys. 

The morning was cool and only slightly humid when I pulled up, and I was grateful that I wasn't sweating just stepping out of the van. 

Aside: Yes. I now drive a minivan. I am so mundane that I can't even handle it.I just need stick figure decals to earn my spot in the pick up line at school.

I ran the first three, being conscious that I had more to go and I needed to patient. PATIENCE. I repeat this word so often when I'm running that I ought to have it tattooed on my forearm.

But back to the run. I ran 3 miles. Met the group and started to walk toward my 10:30 friends when one of them put me with the 9 to 10 guys. I thought about fighting it but meh. That would waste energy, right? 

We talked about pace goals, and I told them what my plan said. I was clear that if they didn't want to hold back or to pick it up, I would be cool. I haven't actually nailed any of the race pace miles in a long run or the strong finishes that my plan has called for. Seven weeks in, I really just want to get in my miles. Luckily, the guys seemed good with it and having ran with one of them a couple times, I knew they were good for the pace.

And they were. And I was. Nobody needs over excessive details from a routine long run (more than what's here), so I'll spare you. Instead, I'll give you splits.

{9:46, 9:50, 9:41} {9:42, 9:29, 9:29, 9:25, 9:07, 9:11} {9:06, 8:56, 8:40, 9:07, 9:15, 9:21}

The best part was not hitting my paces or running an my fastest mile at 12. No. It was that it all felt so natural. 
Truth: I felt like I was working but I could still talk. I could still dream about Diet Coke as we passed McDonald's. I could still bring it home to get the last quarter in.

Here's hoping this run is a sign of things to come.

Week 6

monday, aug. 8
distance | 7.1 miles
time | 1:10:35
pace | 9:55
notes | negative splits

tuesday, aug. 9
distance | 6 miles
time | 59:41
pace | 9:55
notes | trails

thursday, aug. 11
distance | 6 miles
time | 59:41
pace | 9:56
notes | very hot and humid

saturday, aug. 13
distance | 13.1
time | 2:16:32
pace | 10:25
notes | Run Between the Vines half marathon

Week 7 

monday, aug. 15
distance | 6 miles
time | 56:52
pace | 9:28

tuesday, aug. 16
distance | 6 miles
time | 53:56
pace | 8:59
notes | tempo

thursday, aug. 18
distance | 8.1 miles
time | 1:18:00
pace | 9:36

sunday, aug. 21
distance | 15 miles
time |2:20:34
pace | 9:20


  1. So glad to see I'm not the only one who has felt that way this summer too!! Easy runs getting slower and slower and not feeling "easy", long runs feeling like slogging the miles. I finally had an easy run this week that was back to my normal easy pace again. Couldn't believe it! Any tips on where to run when it comes to the long, long runs of marathon training? Being my first marathon this fall, I've not run further than 14 miles at a time. I did that around my neighborhood last spring but if I run the same 3 mile loop for all of my long runs I may just poke my eyes out. Out and back on the greenway? Anywhere else I'm missing?

    1. Hooray for marathon training! Which race are you doing? I do almost all of my long runs on the Greenway. My group and I tend to do "loops" so that we can start at one place, run out, return and head back in a different direction. In the fall, too, there are training groups that run the Fort4Fitness course. I think Fleet Feet is doing one next weekend. Email me if you want (kmtruesdell at gmail) and I can give you some ideas.

  2. I'm doing the Philadelphia Marathon! My first destination race as well. My requirements were cold weather and flat course. And I like the idea of loops. I'm always nervous that I'll be too far away from my car or a bathroom and have issues getting back! And thanks! If I get in the thick of training and need some ideas I'll email you!