RLRF schedule a 15-mile long run, but I always wanted to do a half marathon about four weeks out. Based on different things that I’ve read and other runners’ experiences, it seemed as if a half marathon at this time point was a good way of gauging fitness and predicting marathon performance. I didn’t want to simply treat the half marathon as another training run, but I wanted to race it. On Wednesday, I thought over carefully what I wanted to accomplish this week and decided that I would do a “mini-taper” to give my legs some rest in order to put in a good race effort.
Thursday – Key Run #2 Tempo Run (10 miles @8:38)
Because of Sunday’s 20 (okay, 19.5)-miler, my legs were really tired and beat. I really needed rest days on Monday and Tuesday. In terms of feeling recovered, I could have ran on Wednesday, but it was a busy day for work, so I didn’t get a run in until Thursday. Because of my decision to race a half on Sunday and to do a mini-taper, I modified to the plan to do only 5 miles at 8:00 pace on the treadmill. I did my usual thing of running at a faster pace for 1 to 1.5 miles then taking a short break by running a bit slower for a quarter to half mile, and repeat. The last half mile, I gradually increased the speed my .1 mph for every .1 mile to work on having a fast finish. It was a nice run and I left feeling good and not completely exhausted.
Friday – Key Run #1 Track Repeats (3×1600 @7:13 with 400 m RI)
Normally I compensate for a treadmill’s lack of air resistance by going faster, but I was too tired this time. I did all three miles at 7:15 pace. Doing the tempo and speed work back-to-back isn’t ideal, but I wanted to have a rest day on Saturday and the half was on Sunday. Sometimes good training is just about doing the best you can under the circumstances.
Sunday – Key Run #3 Long Run (15 miles @8:53)
I ran the Swanzey Half Marathon (13.1 miles) in 1:49:55 (8:24 pace). I’ll admit that I really wanted to PR, but it wasn’t in the cards for me. I ran well and did the best that I could under the circumstances (not PR-friendly course, warm weather, and still tired legs). After a couple miles, I realized that I was not going to PR (actually I knew it before I completed the first two miles, but I gave it a try for those two miles). My legs were simply too tired. What I’ve learned about myself from all the races that I’ve done, is that I’m actually really good at dialing in at the correct pace for that day after a few miles (which is why I will never be a great 5K-er). I settled into a nice 8:20’ish pace. The rolling hills made it difficult to keep the same constant pace, but I managed to run at an even effort which lead to an overall pace of 8:24. Obviously Garmin measured the course a bit long so if you took that into account, I did even better in terms of even effort because Garmin recorded it as 8:21 pace. Regardless, what I’m most pleased about is that I’m a good judge of figuring out early in a long race, what is a good pace for me that day and that I am good at running even effort.