Since my marathon is coming up in 7 days (7. Freaking. Days.), I thought I'd let you into my "kitchen'" to show you how the sausage has been made during my Spring marathon build-up. It was a little shorter than I would have liked since I waited so long to pick which marathon I'd run. This indecisiveness, of course, drove Ashley crazy (I get indecisive a lot. Ask her sometime. She'll tell you allllllll about it.). Ordinarily, I'd prefer a 10-12 week build-up, but my waffling and procrastination kicked me in the special place, so I'll have to deal with it.
In any case, my weekly mileage isn't anything extreme. I maxed in the upper 50s, with a peak long run of 21 miles. Admittedly, I probably run my easy runs too hard, but I've gotten better at pulling back on the pace a bit. This is my second full cycle of working through a Hal Higdon plan. Only this time, I kicked it up a notch and used the Advanced 2 plan, with a few adjustments.
The Advanced 2 plan has me running 6 days/week, with 1 day of rest. For me, that fell on Friday. I told myself at the beginning of this that I'd use my rest day to do yoga. I love yoga. I'm not the most bendy guy on the planet, but holy crap does it feel good to loosen everything up and relax like that.
I didn't do a single yoga session. But I did take my rest days seriously and usually was totally lazy and ate whatever my heart desired. #restdaybrags
For pacing, I ran my tempo runs around 7:10/mile pace (on average), working up to final miles as quick as 6:38. This was really exciting for me, as I felt as though I had some major breakthroughs on training paces. Prior to this cycle, I'd be lucky to crack 7 minutes during a 7-8 mile run once. There were several occasions during this phase where I ran as many as 3 sub-7 minute miles in succession. Such an awesome feeling to finally get past a big milestone.
Prior to last year, I hated the long run. Anything over 10 miles was boring to me. I just wanted to run fast all the time. I've learned to embrace the long run now, and my 16, 18 and 20 milers weren't really too big of a deal. As I said, I probably ran my long runs too fast, avareaging around 8:45/mile pace, but I never felt too taxed. It was comfortable enough. On 3 of my long runs, I incorporated some fartlek aspects to them. During one 16 miler, I included the tried and true 2x6 miles at goal marathon pace (7:40/mile). During my 21 miler, I ran the first mile at goal marathon pace, then the next 2 at 8:40/mile pace, repeating through the entirety of the run. I felt good. I didn't die. My legs held up. Sweet.
I played around with fuel a bit and found that my pre-long run food of choice are vegan Boca chicken patties (2) with mayo and lettuce on a whole wheat bun. Weird, I know. But I could literally eat this and go and have no poo issues. Sweet. During the run, I'd pop a Honey Stinger strawberry-kiwi gel at miles 9 and 15, and 2 pieces of Run Gum at mile 13. I never bonked. Never lost much energy. Sweet. During none of these runs did I drink or carry water. I'm not sure if this will haunt me next weekend, but I've never been a heavy drinker whilst working out, so I'm guessing it won't be too bad.
I have no idea what I'll run next week when I toe the line. As I've said previously, my one and only marathon prior was a complete shit show. Maybe I'll crush it. Maybe I'll bonk. Maybe I'll poo myself at the starting line. I have no clue. But, I have to trust my training and hope for the best. I've put in the work and now it's time to stop freaking out and get it done.