I signed up for the St Albert 10 Miler after a relatively tough but encouraging weekend of training. This weekend was to be one of two times during my marathon buildup where I ran hard on Saturday and long on Sunday. The idea is that I’ll encounter some pain and suffering towards the end of the Sunday long run which should help to build up a bit of durability in advance of the marathon. That kind of resilience in my muscles should help me keep ticking over once I’m past 20 miles in the marathon and put together a good final 10kms split.
The problem with trying to make yourself a little bit more immune to suffering on race day is that you have to do the suffering during training. Both Saturday and Sunday were serious on pain. Saturday I had sketched in my training plan a 10km run TT to be done on flat (or nearly flat) roads and I wanted to try and run about a 41 minute pace. That’s the kind of pace that a Riegel-formula would convert into a marathon split of ~3:08 and a Cameron Formula would convert into a marathon split of ~3:12. I figured if I could run about that speed in a training run I’d be pretty confident that going out at the 3:10 marathon pace on race morning was not going to be too ambitious. I have been hitting the requisite paces in my marathon-paced portions of my long runs to suggest that I’m on form to squeek out a Boston Qualifying time. This run TT was to serve two purposes. The first being to put some stress on the muscles in my legs in advance of the long run on Sunday and second, to build some confidence.
Note that you can see the four places where I had to come to a stop and do a 180o turn.
I was not up for the full 10kms and when it really started to hurt at around 4kms I thought I was probably getting close to 6kms. When I reached 6 I thought I probably should be done, and when I got to 8 kms I pulled the plug and stopped my watch. It was a good effort, but the motivation to stick with it at the end of a tough week of training just wasn’t there. My final time amounted to a 4:04 pace for 8kms which is inside of the 4:06 pace I had hoped to do for 10kms. All told, it was a confidence boosting workout for the marathon even though I really was having a tough time breathing hard enough to keep up with my legs.
Sunday’s run was a bit achy right at the start but the sensations turned for the better and I ran a solid hour with Pat and Aaron through the river valley and we did take in a few hills en-route. I then continued on with Pat past the 1.5 hour mark for a ways further. It was at this point I started to really get achy again and some parts felt like I was running aboard disembodied legs. The good news though is that I was able to keep the pace together and never fell apart and really had to slow down from the pace that I started at. I’m now taking a day off to recover before getting back into it on Tuesday and then I have a relatively important session on Wednesday with 6x1kms at about half-marathon pace. It should be manageable. This coming weekend I’m going easy on Saturday and then have my final long run with a marathon paced section where I plan to attempt a full 10 miles in the second half of the long run at marathon effort. Hopefully I can do this without snow on the ground, in which case marathon effort should be at marathon pace. That’s the peak of training, three weeks out from the marathon.
Heading into the marathon I’m going to show up for a couple of the Wednesday night cross country races and tempo one of them in the middle of a medium-long run at around half marathon pace, and just ride out to another and run it at around marathon pace. I will not be racing but going out and doing the exercise in the middle of a race should help me dial in the right effort in race-conditions so that I don’t go out too hard at the start on May 1. It’s a social experiment I guess, we’ll see if I pass my own test! There’s one big effort left after that, I’ve decided to run the St Albert 10 miler as my final big preparation run. Indication from my 8km TT suggests I can probably do it in under 68 minutes. Of course, I’d rather do it in 66. This one won’t be holding back, it will be a max effort 10 miler, twice the pain of 5 miles, no excuses.