I finally got myself into a training mindset today.
This wasn't the most useful time for it to happen, mind you, because today was meant for resting. I got to bed a little late last night, so waking up on time was not really in the cards. Fortunately, with only three resting miles to complete, I could easily fit the workout into my lunch break.
During the run, however, my mind strayed to what was ahead. I thought about tomorrow's speed work and the following day's 9-miler, not to mention the 22 miles that I've got on tap for Saturday. With so much on the horizon, it could be very easy to be overwhelmed, but instead of thinking of it as a large number of miles, I chose instead to focus on the individual challenges.
First, I've got my speed work tomorrow. I have found that my new workout of 800s leaves me with more energy and less trepidation than the 400s that I had been doing before. However, they're not as challenging, which means, theoretically, that they're not making me as strong. What is the solution? To look at the race that I'm choosing to run. If I were trying for a 5K personal record, 400s would make more sense, as my desired speed would be much higher. But I'm not. I'm running a marathon, during which my pace will never approach my current 800 time, let alone what I run in 400s. I think that tomorrow's plan will be 8x800, with a slightly faster time than I've been trying for in recent weeks.
Which brings us to Friday. These pre-long runs, according to Hal Higdon, should be run at or near race pace, in order to train my body exactly what the pace feels like over distance. I haven't been doing that the last few weeks, because technically, I haven't been in training. That starts now. I went over my course today and identified the mile markers in the hopes of keeping myself on pace throughout the run.
My trouble here will be the way that I've built up the miles. Though I've had several quality runs on Fridays, I've never tried to keep a pace, and to start doing that at 9 miles seems like it may be a little ambitious. Therefore, my plan is to keep the pace for as long as I can, at the very least 6 miles, and if I have to build later, then so be it. I've still got lots of time, and there's no point in pushing too hard if it's going to kill me. Especially the day before a long run.
And then my strategy on Saturday, as always, is to survive. The best preparation for this, of course, is to make sure that I fuel up properly on Friday, something I'm trying to focus on more carefully. If I can make it through these few big runs, I have no doubt that I'll be able to make it through the rest of my training, as I consider these two weeks to be the hardest on my schedule.
Good thing I'm planning ahead.
75 degrees, sunny