This week was 74 miles of running, 24 "miles" of pool-running and 3000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.
And...that's the last hard week done - 6 of 6. Now I have what's essentially a four week taper. I'll taper this week for a half-marathon this coming weekend, and then recover from that before continuing my taper for the marathon on October 8.
I've done it both ways - last 20+ three weeks before, and last 20+ four weeks out, with a half-marathon raced all out three weeks out. I prefer the second. The half-marathon itself is hit-or-miss (and usually a miss, in my case). But I really benefit from lactate threshold work in general, and so the half-marathon ends up being a great final hard workout before the marathon.
I'm feeling really good about my fitness. I deliberately held way back on Tuesday's interval workout (with my coach's concurrence). I've decided that when I'm marathon training, I prefer running the Tuesday interval workouts as a very controlled descending set - starting at somewhere between tempo and 10K effort, and then increasing the pace each interval to end at my normal pace.
Doing the workouts this way, I still reap the leg turnover benefits of the workout, without the stress and injury risk of the "normal" workout. It's not the best way to train for the 5k-10K distance. But for the few toughest weeks of marathon training, it's totally fine.
Friday's tempo was the last hard workout before the half-marathon. Because of the great weather, we were able to extend the distance to 8K - I was really happy about that, since I think the longer track tempos are the single best workout for me in terms of building fitness. I ended up setting a modest 8K PR during the tempo - my official 8K PR is 31:51 from a few years back. Of course, I also ran faster than that during my 10K and 10 Mile PRs this spring, so that 8K PR had already fallen anyway.
Sunday's progressive 20 miler was almost an afterthought. The priority was on getting it done safely and without digging too deep - in a sense, I'm already resting up for the half. Incidentally, that's why the run was 20 instead of 21 - our usual 21 mile long run loop is closed due to construction, and so we did the run as an out-and-back. Because of the out-and-back, we could fine-tune the distance, and so we limited the run to 20 miles. There was no reason to do more, and every reason to be conservative.
Several people have commented on my paces this season, and wondered if I was targeting sub-3. The answer is not really. I'm honestly training at paces determined by my current fitness and recent race performances. It just happens that those paces also generally happen to be in the low 6:50s. Which matches a 3 hour marathon.
If pressed, I'd admit that I suspect I'm in sub-3 shape now, based on objective evidence. But sub-3 wasn't my goal at the beginning of this training cycle, and I'm loathe to shift goals late in the cycle. Getting ambitious with marathon goals late in a cycle usually leads to lousy races. And it would be a shame to be disappointed with a sub-3:05 when that's what I wanted when I started training.
In any event, it's a non-issue. I always race with my watch face blanked, so I'm ignorant of paces. Thus, there's really no need to think about target paces or times before the race. I'll just do what I do every time - target a well-paced race based on perceived effort. If' I'm in shape to break three hours and the weather and the running gods comply, it will happen. If if doesn't, I'll still run the best I could that day. And that's all I can really ask for.
Monday: In the morning, 8 miles very easy (8:41) to yoga, yoga, and then 2 miles very easy home (8:59) plus drills and strides. 4 "miles" pool-running in the evening.
Tuesday: 10.5 miles, including a track workout of 4x1200+800 in 4:50, 4:40, 4:36, 4:30, 2:52. Also did injury prevention work at the gym and 1250 yards of recovery swimming. Foam rolling at night.
Wednesday: In the morning, 8 miles very easy to yoga (9:19), yoga, and then 4 miles very easy (9:19) plus drills and strides. 4 "miles" pool-running and a massage in the evening.
Thursday: In the morning, upper body weights and core plus 10 "miles" pool-running. Another 2 "miles" of pool-running and foam rolling at night.
Friday: 11.5 miles, including an 8K tempo on the track in 31:48 (6:27/6:25/6:24/6:22/6:11). Followed with injury prevention work and 1250 yards recovery swimming. Foam rolling at night.
Saturday: 10 miles easy (9:07) followed by drills and four strides, and upper body weights and core. Foam rolling and 4 "miles" pool-running in afternoon.
Sunday: 20 miles progressive, split as first 7 averaging 9:02 pace, next 6 averaging 7:37, last 7 averaging 6:43 (downhill assist on way back). Followed with injury prevention work and 500 yards recovery swimming. Foam rolling in afternoon.