When I looked at my training plan Sunday to mentally prepare for this week’s runs, I saw this in place of my tempo run:
1 mile warm up + 10 miles at PMP (planned marathon pace)
I know I am getting deep into marathon training when I spot this workout in my training plan instead of a typical “tempo” workout. It always magically shows up the week after a 20-miler and a tough speed workout, when I have dead legs and a tired body.
During Kiawah Marathon training last year, this run made me seriously question my ability to meet my target marathon pace for 26.2 miles. All I could think about was that was only 10 miles and it was challenging. This single workout is what allowed negative thoughts about my marathon goal to creep into my head and I am pretty sure the remainder of the training suffered as a result.
Don’t get me wrong, my legs felt DEAD during this run yesterday and I felt like there was no way I could run 26.2 miles at that pace, but I also know that completing this run at the target pace is building my body’s ability to maintain a tough pace at the end of the race on tired legs. This is what marathon training is all about…training my body to perform at a high level when it is tired. It is about teaching my legs and muscles to continue to go when they have had enough and want to slow down or stop. And maybe just as importantly, it is about proving to my HEAD that I can and will maintain my goal pace until I cross that finish line, regardless of what my legs want to do.
I didn’t plan a good route. I didn’t have a running parter. I didn’t listen to music. I focused on the paces (negative splits!) and the run itself and by mile 9, I felt better than I did at miles 1-4.
I reminded myself how easy those first 5 miles at 8:33 will feel on January 15th. I reminded myself that the taper will leave me fresh and ready to tackle 26.2 in 3:40:00. I reminded myself that I CAN DO IT.