Right now I’m in the middle of base building (Week 1: 15 miles, Week 2: 17 miles, Week 3: 22 miles, Week 4: 26.8), and it was going so well. Was. Until this morning when a previously tight left calf turned into a seriously sore left calf. Sad face. My warm-up mile went fine, followed by a fast mile (7.13 min) and then OW. I cut my run short and headed home to work it out with a stick. So a RICE day for me and probably a few days off. I think that hilly run on Sunday may have been a little too much. Oh well.
But it has given me time to think about my marathon training (after I googled the hell out of calf pain/strain) and what my approach will be to try and get a new PR. Last time I followed and Hal Higdon’s Intermediate I plan, and I think it worked out pretty well. What I liked about it was that there was two 20-milers (which was good because my first one sucked and I got a redo), and most weekends consisted of a run on Saturday that was usually shorter (5-9 miles) and often done at race pace and a long run on Sunday. It didn’t include any speedwork aside from this race-pace Saturday run, so I added in a midweek tempo run (6-9 miles) after the first month. My mileage peaked at 45 miles but was consistently around 35 miles per week. Despite having an awesome training cycle I have been wondering if I should do more?
For the last week, I’ve been reading Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger. This is the training plan that my husband used when he qualified for Boston last year. They have a couple of different mileage options but the lowest mileage plan tops out at 55 miles. Although I’m not committed to this plan it has been interesting to read about the physiology of different running workouts (lactate threshold, strides to improve form) and one thing that they have mentioned is doing long runs at a reasonable pace. That is doing part of some long runs at goal marathon pace – and this really speaks to me.
The long runs I did last cycle convinced me that I could run at least 20 miles but I had no idea what pace I could sustain for a full marathon. Pace runs gave me a clue about how far I could run up to 10 miles but how would that translate to 26.2? That’s what I want to try to figure out for this cycle. So, I’m going to listen to both Hal and Pete and incorporate some miles at goal marathon pace (or close to it – 10 to 20% slower) into some of my long runs. Interestingly, both recommend avoiding short interval speedwork. Hal is totally against speedwork (except long pace runs) during marathon training – that should wait for another time of year. Pete – well I’m just about to start that chapter – but he likes strides (which I’ve never done) and longer intervals.
I thinking right now that I’ll follow Higdon but incorporate some of the things I’ve learned by reading Pfitzinger’s book. Or maybe……well I’m not 100% sure but I will decide soon. And by soon I mean next week. Because next week marks the 18 week countdown until marathon number 2 (Ogden marathon May 16th). I realized this on Monday when I was trying to figure out how many more weeks of base building I had left. Oops. Somehow I thought I had another couple of weeks.
Pfitzinger also devotes a chapter emphasizing the importance of proper hydration and nutrition – especially during long runs. It had definitely motivated me to keep my water intake up and to think about fueling as training ramps up. One thing that I have discovered is that there is now a name for my way of eating: reducetarian. People who want to eat less meat (but not ever quit eating meat) for ethical, health and environmental reasons. Finally, I have a pompous name to call myself! One recipe that I have been loving is this one from skinnytaste. It’s simple to make and absolutely delicious.
Any recipes that you’ve been loving lately?