After last week's mini taper, it felt good to get back to the mileage building. At the same time, knowing that every few weeks will repeat this pattern of rest helps reassure me that when race day arrives I will be ready to run strong on fresh legs.
Monday: 3 Miles - With the rain/snow/sleet mix that pummeled anyone daring to venture outside, the treadmill served as my running savior once again. As a bonus, my wife and little one joined me in the basement so we could catch up on our day and be amused by my daughter's fascination with her father moving but not actually going anywhere. It's the little things that add joy to life.
Tuesday: Rest Day
Wednesday: 6 Miles - One of my goals for this training cycles is to learn how to run hills, especially down them. While I have a pretty decent ability to glide up the inclines, I find that going the other way is just one out-of-control loud stomp after another. Since the route I ran today had some pretty decent grades, I really focused on light, quick steps without letting my legs get away from me. I'd rate myself at being about 50% successful, with the steeper hills still being a problem.
Thursday: 3 Miles - I've made the decision today that, going forward, if the distance is short enough, I'll default to using the treadmill. This way, if the peanut wakes up early from her nap, my wife doesn't have to be the only one to get her. Hitting stop on the console at the sound of the banshee wail and just picking where I left off when the little one goes to bed is an adjustment that I've found comes with being a parent. Having to take a break like this will in no way be the bane of obtaining a PR.
Friday: 6 Miles - Like last Friday, today's miles were to be completed at race pace. After a good bit of searching, I found myself checking out the Runner's World Race Time Predictor, which had recently been updated with new algorithms. After entering my data, it kicked back a number that seemed more reliable, but extremely different than my previous marathon pace: 8:14/mile. That's almost thirty seconds slower than my last goal! But, considering how badly I crashed and burned at Akron, I figured going conservative wasn't necessarily a bad thing. In truth, running at this pace fell within that "uncomfortable but doable" descriptor that every marathon training guide speaks of. Pending the acquisition of the speed of the Flash (just need lightning, some chemicals, and, you know, the Speed Force), I'll be using this as my goal pace for May.
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: 13 Miles - If you remember from last week, I was super excited to be joining up with Up-N-Running for my weekly long runs. This was the plan until my stomach decided to revolt Friday night. Even into Saturday, while I didn't necessarily feel sick, I still didn't feel quite like myself. By today I was finally back to normal enough to get in these miles. I gave special attention to keeping my pace nice and easy as I got over the disappointment of missing out on the group run figuring there would be many more weeks to partake in the camaraderie.
With the conclusion of this week, the first month of training is coming to a close. Between the crazy swings in weather to adjusting to training with an infant in the house, the past four weeks have added a good bit of variety to my routine. And as someone who can be driven to boredom by monotony, I'm going to look at the constant unpredictability as a bonus.
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