This week marks my peak mileage week. Anyone who has ever trained for a marathon knows that peak mileage week is the last “hard” week before the taper period begins. Once completed, you can begin to decrease volume of mileage for about three weeks leading up to the race.
I will continue to do some long runs, speed work and tempo pace workouts, but, in general, peak mileage week marks the climax of training intensity.
My goal was to peak at 60 miles with a long run of 21 miles. I nailed the mileage and the long run this week and I’m feeling good. I am starting to put more emphasis on doing core work, including my crunch routine and planks. I have had trouble with my lower back lately. I hope that working my core regularly the next few weeks before the race will ensure that I’m set up for success on race day.
Monday, Apr. 25
I ran 13 miles at marathon race pace, the same tempo workout I did last Monday. My average mile pace was 7:07. It was a difficult run. I was tired, my lower back was sore and I had to take several breaks. I did not feel very hot, but I tried not to get discouraged about it. There is no way you will feel good for every training run in a 14-week training plan, and today I just didn’t have it. At least I fought through the workout. To me that is more important than never starting, or quitting when it got hard.
Tuesday, Apr. 26
I ran 6 miles at relaxed pace on the treadmill after lifting weights at the gym.
Wednesday, Apr. 27
I ran six 1-mile repeats at 9.5 mph (6:18 pace) with 0.3 miles recovery between sets. This is the exact same speed work I did last week, only this week it felt much easier.
Thursday, Apr. 28
I ran 7 miles at starting marathon race pace. I typically would have taken today as a recovery day but I decided back-to-back hard efforts would be beneficial since my tempo run on Monday was less than my best. My goal during my taper is to really nail down the pace I want to run at the beginning of the race. I definitely don’t want to make the beginner mistake I made in both of my races last year: starting off too fast and burning out in the second half of the race.
Friday, Apr. 29
About 12 hours after my tempo run yesterday, I was back at it again, running a 5-mile recovery run in the morning before work. Today, Megan and I took a half day to travel back to Sioux Falls to meet my nephew, Gavin.
Saturday, Apr. 30
I was scheduled to run the longest distance in my training period today. I knew I would be running my final long run of 21 miles in my hometown and old running stomping grounds, Sioux Falls. I was looking forward to it. I have run practically everywhere in this city and I genuinely miss training here. Sioux Falls has it all. It has hills, nice residential neighborhoods, an excellent bike trail system, Falls Park, and so on. It really is a fun city to run in.
Today, the conditions were, in a word, awful. I ran into a headwind the first 7 miles as I made my way to Falls Park. I jumped on the bike trail from there, at which point it started raining, and proceeded to get heavier as I went along. I finished the run soaked from head to toe. Thankfully, I wore appropriate clothes, so I was never cold, and I managed to stay comfortable despite being drenched for more than half of the run. While this run was difficult, due to challenging conditions, I count it as a positive. I felt good, physically, and it helped prepare me for absolutely any weather come race day.
Sunday, May 1
Today was my only off day of the week. We made the trip from Sioux Falls to Chicago, but not before saying a final goodbye to my nephew and hitting up the local B & G Milkyway. We hit a traffic jam on the interstate near Madison that was caused by a shooting earlier in the day. This put us about 1.5 hours late getting home. With sleep being very important to recovery, I look forward to going to bed early (for me) in the coming taper weeks.