I am quite certain that I have reached the point in a marathon training program where a lot of people quit.
Week 9’s runs were: Monday (4), Tuesday (7), Thursday (5), and Saturday (14). I’m finally up to 30 miles per week.
It’s gotten hard. Today will be my last 4-miler. It’s all 5s, 8s, 16s, and 18s from here on out. My average pace, 11 minutes per mile, means that my shortest run for the next month is nearly an hour in length…and my longest will be over three hours. Tomorrow I’ll have to work a full day, and then come home and run EIGHT miles, hopefully before it gets dark. I finally conquered the 14-miler this weekend, and this Saturday, it’ll be 16.
It’s kind of exhausting.
I’m having to work really hard to remind myself that I’m not to be thinking about any run but today’s. According to that theory, I have only 4 miles to worry about, which by now is no sweat. But the mileage piling up beyond it is daunting, and it’s getting harder to ignore.
Still…I have only 4 killer long runs left. Two 16s and two 18s. After that, I taper down for three weeks, and then it’s just me and the marathon. When I think of it in those terms – only 4 long runs left – it doesn’t seem so hard, and the thought of giving up when I have 9 long runs behind me and only 4 ahead of me seems silly. (Not that I’m considering giving up.) Reminding myself that I have only 4 hellacious days still ahead of me (5 if you count the marathon) makes the next 4 weeks seem easier. Kind of.
And, truthfully, Week 9 was far more successful than Week 8 was. Though I adjusted the mileage for Week 9 as it was printed in the book, I did cover every mile I had planned for. Since my long run for Week 9 was supposed to be 16, and I was making up a 14, I traded a Week 9 short run for a Week 10 short run – a 4 and a 5 – which means I’ll increase my weekly mileage by 3 miles this week instead of by 5. (That probably doesn’t mean anything to anyone but me, but I wanted to log it anyway.)
The short runs for Week 9 weren’t all that great, actually…I’m trying to adjust my diet so that I feel better during the run. Something I’m eating is messing with my digestive system.
However, for some reason, I was unstoppable on Tuesday for my 7-mile mid run. I didn’t walk a single time…completed the whole thing at a pace that averaged better than 11 min/mile, and it was probably my best run of the whole training program so far. It really did wonders to restore my confidence after Week 8 went so badly…and I’m hoping it will serve to be inspiration in the challenging weeks to come.
Still, I cannot help but notice that the feel of this program has changed in the past week. The tough part has arrived, the weather has turned cold, and the temptation to blow off a run and curl up on the couch under a blanket is going to hit me hard and often, I’m sure of it. I have 46 days to go, and I’ve gotta stick it out.
Week 10 for me will be: Monday (4), Tuesday (8), Thursday (5), and Saturday (16).
Any takers to join me on Saturday? =)