So January is in the books with a “measly” 284 miles, which is down from last year’s 364 miles. Damn, that’s a lot. But like I posted earlier in the month, I’ve been listening to my body and I haven’t been afraid to cut some of the fluff from my schedule. The good news is that I feel good about my fitness. However, I’d still like February to be a high mileage month for me.
In a recent comment, Mike asked if I’d share Erin’s secrets that took her from 3:04 to 2:53.
1. I increased my weekly mileage to a high of 80 miles, which I hit three times this summer. Otherwise I probably averaged about 70 per week. My average in the past was 50-60, so this was a big increase for me.
2. In addition to my weekly long run of 18-22 miles, I also did a mid-week 14-16 mile run at close to goal marathon pace.
3. Once a week I did mile repeats, usually six, at close to 10K race pace with two minutes recovery between repeats.
4. Very early in the season I did some hill workouts and some 1000s and 1200s on the track, but I wasn't good about doing these later in the summer. Nevertheless, I do think track workouts at under 5K race pace are beneficial.
5. I also race quite frequently, and, depending on the distance, this race replaces one of the workouts.
6. On the day of the marathon I got up at 4 a.m. (instead of 5:30) and had a good-sized breakfast. Being up for several hours before the race gives the body much more time to “wake up”, and also gives the breakfast a chance to digest.
7. Finally, I was given an elite number this year, which allowed me to prepare my liquids the day before and have them waiting in water bottles on separate tables during the race. This allowed me to a) drink much more than I have in the past, because I could carry the bottle with me and not slosh it all over myself and up my nose, and b) mix in some GUs with the Gatorade to take in more calories. I haven't actually heard of anyone doing this mix before, so this was a bit of an experiment for me, but it seemed to work! I took in so much liquid and GU during the race that I felt full the whole time, a strange feeling for a race. I am convinced that the proper hydration and caloric intake were the biggest factors in my good race.
Finally, if you have any interest in running history and the pioneers of the sport, check out my latest interview. Just be forewarned that it’s loooooong.
Quote of the day;
“These runs were not pleasant, but I think they were invaluable.” – Erin Ward, talking about adding mid-week 14-16 mile runs at close to goal marathon pace