I haven't posted about much of my training recently because...well...I've been busy...training. Since I started marathon training 5 weeks ago, I have come pretty far. Around Thanksgiving, I ran what seemed like a challenging 5 mile Turkey Trot race. Of course, I started the race at a pace I thought I could be running, rather than the pace I should be for my fitness level at the time. I finished with an ok time, but not by my standards. I knew the race would be useful though, because it was the kick in the arse that I needed to get going with my training. Knowing that Thanksgiving (eating/napping/eating again) would ruin any training I was doing, I waited till the end of the holiday to start. Since then, its been non stop. It had been a few months of R&R from the official end of the triathlon season and I was just starting to run again and feeling good doing it. My marathon training plan is pretty straightforward. 1 easy day, 1 medium distance hard day, 1 speed day, 1 long run, and 1 cross training day. Since it is the winter, I have been using the cross training day to hit the pool. Swimming is and always will be my weakness, so it needs the most work now.
This weekend proved to me that all the training so far is working. My long run plan called for a 13 miler on Saturday, but the course I decided to map out came closer to 14. I wanted to make sure I start running parts of the National Marathon in my training so I am familiar with the course as much as possible. It also provided that extra motivation to me, since I've gone 13 miles many times, but never 14. Running that far would be a breakthrough for me. The true test of my conditioning would also be how I felt after the run. Well let me tell you...it was awesome! My course consisted of a scenic run along the Potomac, up Rock Creek Parkway, down through downtown DC, around the Mall, past Arlington Cemetery and the IwoJima Memorial and back home. I'm also a "natural" runner, and go WITHOUT headphones. If I'm outside running, I find no need for music. I just focus on my running and THATS IT. The way I see it, if you don't wear them on race day, no reason to wear them in training. At about the 10 mile point, I decided to push the pace a bit, since I was feeling good. I finished the run strong with an average pace of 8:33. Definitely a lot of room to run faster, since I took the first 10 miles easy. Bottom line is that I felt really good after the run and was able to move around pretty good for the rest of the day.
Since I was still feeling pretty good by Sunday, I decided to hit the pool. I wanted to stay off my feet and give my legs some time to recover, so I figured the pool would be great. Best part was that Rebecca came too, now that she is starting to get moving in her training as well. Its always nice to have someone with you, especially when you are used to working out alone. Even better was that we were also able to share a lane to ourselves for most of the workout. I decided to focus on easy long distance swimming, since endurance seems to be my biggest limiter right now and I didn't want to strain anything trying to push to hard doing speed work. 30 minutes later, I had covered a mile by starring at that little black line at the bottom of the pool. The last few laps were a bit tough, but I kept moving through. For the 2nd day in a row, I hit another breakthrough in my workout.
Now that its New Year's Eve, I'm taking the day off to rest and enjoy the satisfaction of some solid workouts, knowing that I'll enter 2008 in great shape with an excellent start to the season.