This week was 61 miles of running, 22 "miles" of pool-running, and 2000 yards of swimming -- training log is here.
For this marathon training cycle, I'm trying to stick to what has worked best for me - reasonably high but not excessive mileage, and a substantial volume of "controlled quality."
By "controlled" quality I mean running between marathon and 8K pace, saving the faster running for when I'm focused on shorter distances. "Reasonably high" mileage means around 60-65 miles a week on land. Certainly not inadequate, but not big mileage.
Different things work for different people, with each of us needing to strike our own balance. While some people can run very well off of high mileage, history has proven an inverse relationship between my weekly mileage and my marathon performance if I go above the 60s. At the same time, I run better with a higher volume of quality running, as long as I don't overdo the pace of it, and make sure that I have enough "space" between each workout.
This week, "spacing" the workouts meant that I only did two workouts, intervals on Tuesday and a long run on Saturday. While I could have squeezed in cruise intervals on Thursday, my gut told me it would be too much too close together, so I went with two hard days.
Since I only had the two workouts, I had hoped to extend out the Tuesday workout, maxing out the allowed reps. That got nixed when I accidentally ran the first 2000m rep too fast, due to misunderstanding my coach's instructions (he told me to "group up" - I thought he meant to catch up with the group ahead, when he meant I should join the group behind). I hit the brakes for the 800s, but the damage was already done, and my coach shut me down after four 800s. I wasn't happy, but on reflection it was the right call.
Saturday's workout was 2x5 miles at marathon pace - a modification of our normal 4-3-2-1 miles at marathon pace workout. When mapping out my training cycle for this spring, I had asked my coach if we could try the 2x5. My reasoning was that it was the same volume of marathon-paced work (10 miles total), but fewer longer reps gave me more time to actually lock into and feel marathon pace. When I do the 4-3-2-1, it feels like I'm never running at marathon pace for very long. Additionally, since the duration of each rep is short, it becomes very easy to run the workout too hard, even if I'm trying not too. Doing two segments of five miles encouraged me to find an honest and not overly optimistic rhythm.
(also, I've done the 4-3-2-1 workout for years now, and while I like it, I'm also bored with it).
Having never done the 2x5, I went into it with caution. As it turned out, it was surprisingly easy - it felt as easy or easier than the 4-3-2-1. The first five was really just a one mile extension of the normal four at marathon pace. And then the second five felt just like the controlled conclusion of a progression long run. Had I needed to, I could have continued on longer. All good signs, I guess.
Normally, the 4-3-2-1 workout would be proceeded by a "25x400m" workout on Wednesday (twenty-five 400m repeats at 10K pace with 100m float). When discussing the 2x5, my coach had cautioned that he thought doing both the 25x400m and the 2x5 in the same week would be excessive.
As I thought about it more, I also realized that the 25x400m is a grueling lactate threshold (LT) workout. While I normally thrive on LT workouts, I entered this short marathon training cycle off of a half-marathon cycle that was focused heavily on lactate threshold - I really don't need to be hammering at that system more right now. My sense is that the tempo workouts that precede each 20-22 mile long run are more than sufficient for LT work for me for this cycle. So it was an easy decision to skip the 25x400s this spring.
I only have three weeks left before I start to taper. This cycle has gone by surprisingly fast.
Monday: 5.5 very easy to yoga (9:29), yoga, and then 4.5 very easy home (9:05). Foam rolling at night.
Tuesday: 12 miles, including a track workout of 2000m, 4x800m in 7:32, 3:04, 3:03, 3:03, 3:04. Also injury prevention work and 1400 yards recovery swimming. Foam rolling at night.
Wednesday: 10 miles very easy (9:24) to the gym, upper body weights/core, and then another 2 miles very easy (9:21). Foam rolling at night.
Thursday: Yoga and then 8.5 "miles" of pool-running in the morning; 4.5 "miles" of pool-running and foam rolling at night.
Friday: 7.5 miles very easy to the gym (9:13), light upper body weights, core, and DIY yoga, and then 3.5 miles very easy home (8:47) plus drills and four strides. Foam rolling at night.
Saturday: 16 miles, including 2x5 miles at marathon pace with one mile easy in between Splits were 34:14 (6:55/6:56/6:48/6:50/6:45 - 6:51 average) and 33:55 (6:48/6:50/6:48/6:45/6:44 - 6:47 average). Followed with 600 yards recovery swimming. Foam rolling in evening.
Sunday: 9 "miles" pool-running, followed by foam rolling.