The mileage is a bit deceiving this week, as I ran 7 days instead of 6 this week, due to shifting my normal rest day from Monday to Sunday last weekend. So, though it was technically over 70 miles, it didn't feel that way.
Which was good, because this was supposed to be a moderate week. Despite the fact that I'm 12 weeks out from a marathon.
Yup - I'm marathon training. I entered Grandma's Marathon on Tuesday, after getting my coach's approval. 12 weeks out is generally not enough time to prepare for a marathon. Unless (like me) you've been training solidly since January, with a focus on 10 milers and halves. The training for 10-13 miles and for a marathon is not that different - training for halves just meant a greater focus on stamina and no 20s. But my overall mileage has been decently high, and I've had several long runs in the 17-18 mile range.
Upon getting my coach's agreement (and after formally entering), I drew up an abbreviated training schedule that looked like his normal one, including the same overall weekly mileage, with a few slight differences. He normally schedules three or four 20 milers, and three marathon pick-up workouts (4-3-2-1 mile intervals with one mile recovery between each). My proposed schedule had only two 20 mile runs, and only two of the pick-up workouts.
Why did I cut out the 20s? Because I honestly don't think they're the best use of my training time.
I think they're essential for someone with speed who is working on sustaining that speed over a longer distance; however endurance is not my limiting factor - stamina/lactate threshold is. So I think my time is better spent working on my lactate threshold and turnover - less 20 milers mean that I'll be recovering a bit better, and have more energy to dedicate to longer tempos and to maxing out the volume (though not the speed) on the track workouts. I'm not terribly worried about my ability to cover 26 miles - my natural endurance plus my generally high weekly mileage will get me through that, with the two 20s on my schedule being as much for my mental confidence as my physical preparation.
Happily, my coach agreed with my training schedule, with two slight corrections. I had scheduled 16 miles for this weekend, and 18 for two weekends from now. He nixed both of those in favor of no more than 14 this weekend, and a max of 16 on April 19th - he noted that I had been training fairly hard since January, and so it was better to ease off on the distance of the long runs for a few more weeks, so that I wasn't fried come June. So we made that change.
And the end result is, having made a fairly late decision to jump into marathon training, we're starting off the condensed training cycle by....backing off on the distance of the long runs. It amuses me, but I think it's the right decision. I've found that I don't need to build up to the 20 milers the way some others may, so it makes more sense to take the next 2-3 weeks to refresh (and race Cherry Blossom), and then build up steeply before tapering and hopefully peaking in mid-June in Duluth.