Week 4 - Boston Marathon Training

This week was good. After 2 really tough long runs a few weeks ago, I nailed my long run this past weekend. It involved zero specificity. I was supposed to do 20 miles and the only direction was to be "comfortable." I had to get up at 3 am to get this run in because I had a funeral to attend late morning. I've NEVER gotten up that early for a run and it was soooo hard. Not to mention I basically ran the entire run in the dark and finished just as the sun was coming up.

I knew this was one of my last chances to practice fueling and my prerace routine. I had chicken, quinoa, and broccoli for dinner and my typical pre long run banana ice cream. Everything had to go down super early because I had to be in bed by 8:30. When I got up at 3, I was so groggy. I ate my apple and Honey Stinger waffle while I drank some water and tried to wake up. I was able to go to the bathroom twice, which was great! Yah! I decided to finally give Run Gum a try too. Maybe not the best idea since I haven't used it all training cycle. Super weird at first, but ended up giving me a little boost. I headed out around 4:15 and it was so quiet. I took my pepper spray with me, but felt pretty safe. 

The first 5 miles were a little tough, and I honestly thought I just wasn't ever going to get into this run. I stopped to pee super quick at mile 5, almost practicing a quick bathroom break on the course if necessary. Definitely helped me feel much better and I started cruising at sub 8's.

20 milers are always a bit weird for fueling for me. I usually fuel at mile 6, 11 and 18. When doing a marathon, I might change this to 5, 10, 15, and 21, but when I'm running a 20 miler, it's not really going to help me if I fuel at 18 miles with only 2 more miles left! By mile 14, I'd finished my 2 Glukos gels and was still feeling really good. I have spent so much time this training cycle focusing on segments of my long runs. I find this mentally helps me focus on the mile I'm in, push through to the next mile and really understand how I'm feeling. At this point, I just kept ticking off the miles and constantly asked myself, "Do I feel comfortable? Is my breathing too labored?" and so on. I kept saying, "Yes, I feel good. This pace is manageable." When I looked down at my watch on mile 16, I was hitting a 7:05. Mile 16 was my fastest mile at 7:14! I finished with a 7:42 average and felt amazing afterwards. This was exactly how I wanted my last long run of this training cycle to end.

Another thing that has really helped me this training cycle is positive affirmations. I constantly tell myself during my runs, "I am capable of hitting this pace. I am able to run faster. I have control." It's easy to find negativity in training. You don't hit paces, you feel like crap while you're running your goal pace, you're taking a long time to recover. The list of things that go wrong during training is long, but changing your mindset can make all the difference.

Week 4 Schedule:

Monday: 7 miles (8:02 avg.)
               Hip strengthening + band work
Tuesday: 9 miles (7:18 average)
               1.5 m w/u, 1 mile @ 6:39, 2 miles @ 6:41, 3 miles @ 7:02, 1.5 m c/d
               15 min kettle bell workout
Wednesday: 5 recovery miles (8:56 average)
                     20 minute recovery yoga
Thursday: Cross Training - 20 min stairmaster + strength training
Friday: 5 miles + 8 x 100 meter strides with 100 meter recovery between (8:14 average)
Saturday: 20 miles (7:42 avg)
Sunday: 6 recovery miles (8:56 average)

Everything about this past week was good, even though I'm feeling super burnt out still! So excited to taper :)

How'd your training go this week?