Log for August 27 – Training for Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9th. Goal for the fall and winter marathon season is to break 3:15 for the first time.
- 15.7-Mile Marathon Workout – Today’s workout consisted of intervals that were a variable mix of paces, times, and distances. We started in Percy Warner Park at the Beech Woods picnic area, just at the base of 9-mile-hill. The temperatures at 6am were in the mid 60s, with fairly high humidity. As the workout progressed, the temperatures rose into the mid 70s, but the humidity dropped dramatically (which was nice).
Our first interval was a 45-minute warmup run, and I was not expecting the group to take off onto the horse trails. I was running in my Nike Vomeros (which I’m beginning to sour on as a road shoe) and it is hard to imagine a worse shoe for running tails. They have a really think sole and no lateral stability. Paxton, Nathan and I separated from the rest of the group a bit as we went up the trail. The three of us exited the horse trail at the top of 3-mile-hill and then navigated our way back down 9-mile-hill to the staging area. At the staging area, we ran the 2-mile loop between the 7-mile and 8-mile markers to complete our 45 minute warmup with an average pace around 10:00 min per mile. My legs were a little sluggish during the warmup, so I was a little nervous about the rest of the workout.
After taking a short break to hydrate, we started a 30-minute interval that was supposed to be done at goal marathon pace (7:26 per mile for me). A large portion of our group ran the 11.2 loop backwards towards the Harpeth Hills Golf Course (very hilly), but I decided to do my 30-minutes on the 2-mile loop between the 7-mile and 8-mile markers. During the warmup I was using my old heel-striking stride, but switched to my new forefoot stride during this interval, and felt really good. The first 1/2 mile of the 2-mile loop is all uphill, and my average pace at the top was around 7:45. I was slowly able to bring that lower on the downhill, and was right at 7:26 average at the end of the first 15-minutes. As I began to climb the hill again for the second loop, I switched back to my old stride for 1/2 mile before switching back for the remainder of the loop. I felt really good throughout the 30 minutes, and ended the interval with a 7:24 average pace (a little too fast).
We took another short hydration break, and then set off on an easy 10-min recovery run that was supposed to end at the 7-mile marker to be ready for the next 2 intervals. The next interval was a 1-mile run uphill from the 7-mile marker to the 8-mile marker, which was designed to be done at tempo or half-marathon pace (~20 seconds faster than marathon pace). John, Sue Anne, and I ran this first mile together and reached the 8-mile marker in 6:47. This was again a little too fast, but I still felt really good. After the first mile we were supposed to take a 1-minute recovery, and then run back downhill to the 7-mile marker at tempo pace. Dan really encouraged us to try and remain consistent and resist the urge to pick up the pace going downhill. Nathan joined John, Sue Anne and I on the way down, and we ended up focusing so much on not picking up the pace, that we actually were 5 seconds slower at 6:52. I did both of these miles using my forefoot stride and continued to feel fantastic.
We ran easy for 5-minutes back to the staging area to hydrate before setting off on the last interval, which was another 30-minute run at goal marathon pace. This time, most of the group headed for the horse trails, but again I ran on the 2-mile loop. I ran the first mile of this with John, and was very uncertain of my pacing because my Garmin was doing some weird things. At one point I asked John what he showed for our pace and he said it was hovering between 7:00 and 7:20. My Garmin was showing 8:30. John started to separate from me after 10 minutes, but I still felt pretty good through the first 15 minutes before my legs just revolted. The last half of the interval was tough, but I kept pushing through. Nathan caught up with me about 20-minutes in, and we ran together for most of the remainder before he pulled away from me at the end. At the end of the 30-minutes I was toast. My Garmin showed an average pace of 7:54, but I have no idea what it really was. I’m confident it was slower than my first 30-minute interval, but think it was probably a bit better than 7:54. I again ran most of the interval with my forefoot stride, but did revert back on some of the uphills.
Overall this was a great workout, and I’m pleased at how good I felt through all but the last 15 minutes. The final tally was 15.7 total miles, at an average pace of 8:27 (by my wonky Garmin), including the warmup and recoveries. The forefoot stride now feels much better than my old stride, but I still don’t have the lower leg strength to use it all the time. My impatience doesn’t help with this, but I am excited about what the future holds.
A week from tomorrow will be a Chicago tune-up race, the Tupelo 14.2-miler. I know I need to treat this race as a “dress rehearsal” for Chicago, and resist the temptation to actually race it. That would mean working my way down to goal marathon pace as the race progresses. However, I know that at some point my mind will start reminding me that I am capable of running 14.2 miles much faster than goal marathon pace, and my competitive nature might just take over. Of course, the heat and humidity could be so bad in Tupelo that reaching goal marathon pace might be a pipe dream.