Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I ran a marathon last weekend

kind of (but not really)

I have been training for the Seattle Marathon for the past 15 weeks.  Initially, following the Hanson's plan exactly.  Things got a bit tricky when the mid-week tempo runs jumped to 8 miles (10 total with warm up and cool down.)  

Even at a tempo pace - that is like 2 hours of running for a slowpoke me on a weekday.  Our family's current work/life lack of balance situation doesn't permit that. So I had to modify the schedule a bit.

I  still ran a lot more than I ever have, but kind of hate that I did not follow the plan as written. My changes meant shortened tempos, and reducing the number of strength intervals (like speedwork, again sometimes 2 hours worth). I kept all the weekend runs, and most weekday runs.

Since I was not running all of the miles that the plan called for, I worried that topping out my long runs at 16 was a recipe for a major marathon bonk disaster.

So I decided to add 4 miles to my long run last weekend. What's 4 miles, right? (but there is so much out there that talks about how BAD 20 mile runs can be on a person, particularly a slower runner like me. As much as I wanted to do 20, I was also afraid that it could do more harm than good and I'd end up injured. Again. I obsessed over this all weekend, then decided to just shut up and not take it, or myself, so seriously.)

The schedule called for 6 miles on Saturday and 16 miles on Sunday.

I did 6 on Saturday, then 20 on Sunday - (almost) a marathon in a weekend (but not really)

The 20 was at my 'long run' pace, per the Hanson's plan.

Actually a little faster (kept it a bit slower for the first 10, picked it up a little miles 11-19, then did a slower mile 20)
I know Garmin shots are worthy of an eye-roll, so go ahead. I totally get it.

And it felt great - way better, and 14 minutes faster than the two 20 milers I did a year and a half ago while training for Pittsburgh (I was able to find that out by looking at my old Garmin shots.)

I love long, slow running. There is such a stigma attached to being a slow runner in a marathon.  I do take the race seriously (though I think the whole 'respect the distance' thing sounds a cheesy as 'beast mode'.)

This didn't bother me because, marketing.
I want to improve my time, but I really enjoy longer runs at a mosey pace where I can still smile and maybe sing out a bit of a song on my playlist (Not the whole song - I know that is not working hard enough, and no one wants to hear that much of my singing)

To practice the whole eat/drink during the race thing, I took short walk breaks every 2ish miles to take a drink from my water bottle and have a gel or a Shot Blok (like almost a whole pack), but I didn't stop my watch.  I always walk through water stations at races, so I thought this would give me an idea of how much time I might lose - turns out none, really

So now - it is time to taper.

Since I didn't peak in the 50+ mile per week range, I'll need to modify (ugh) some more to get the miles down for the next couple of weeks.  I'm not really sure how I'll do it. Cutting an easy run would seem like a simple way to do that, but I really enjoy running six days a week now (rest days make me feel anxious, and make me feel like I forget how to run when I start up again.)

Ever done a self-designed taper? How did you decrease your mileage? By a certain percent or number?


  1. That is an awesome 20 miler! And I agree with how hard it is to do a long tempo run (because 8-10 miles in the evening is long to someone like me) in the middle of the week if you have to work. The one night I had to run nine miles after work was harder than the 18 or 20 I did in the morning on a weekend.

    1. Thanks. Yeah - to fit them in in the morning, I would have to be awake at 4am (never gonna happen), and I like to actually spend some time with my kids in the evening. Waiting until 8 or 9pm and running until 10 or 11 just won't work either. I know others do it they are way better than I.

  2. you trained the way I see it happening for me!!! I looked at the plan and thought that there is no way I would be able to do those long week day runs unless I break them up or something, but most likely they will be shortened like you did. I am really looking forward to how you do...and I truly hope you are successful!!!!

    1. I am kind of nervous, since the whole idea of the plan is based on running a lot of miles throughout the week and I didn't do that in the 2nd half. I am running 3 more days a week and a lot more miles than I did last marathon training so I hope that helps. Thanks for the encouragement [I need all I can get :)]

  3. I am wicked impressed with your 20 mile run. I don't know why you call yourself "slow". I'm a slow runner, my last half was clocked at 2:51. I'm training for a full marathon in March and we have 6 hours to complete it - it's highly questionable if we'll make it. I'm not logging nearly the miles you are. Eek!

    1. I ran 30 miles or less per week for my first marathon and finished - you can do it! The slow thing, yes... I get annoyed when those who run faster than me complain about being slow. I am just as bad. Must be my inferiority complex :)

  4. BTW...I like the watch picture! I take them all the time...it's like the proof of what was run!!! keep taking and sharing them! :) :) :)


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