So I am six weeks into marathon training under the new program. So how is it going you might ask? You might not ask, so I will ask for you.
The new program is much more structured, has a bit higher mileage and definitely more speed work than plans I have done in the past. So far, I have completed all of my running workouts (three a week), and have hit most all the interval paces. I have also made it to the pool once a week, and I am up to about a half a mile a session. The biking has unfortunately been pretty spotty. In the past, I would normally bike on Sundays, but that hasn't worked out very well so far this time around.
It is quite the change of pace (ha!) to have such a detailed plan for my mid-week runs. In some ways, it has made it that much more interesting to head out the door with a specific plan of attack for the day. Particularly on my interval runs each Tuesday, I have to remain pretty focused and present to maintain form and pace. I have mentioned in the past that having a long term goal on the calendar helps me get out the door for a run. These challenging mid-week workouts have raised the interest level a notch, which makes it a little easier to get out of bed early to run before work (but only a little).
At the same time, the increased structure of the mid-week runs has made me almost look forward to the weekend long runs. Here is where I can just run how I feel, without constantly checking to see if I am running at the correct pace. My mind is allowed to wander a bit more and I can look at the scenery more than my watch. It is still a challenge to get the extra miles in, but I seem to be approaching them with a more relaxed mind.
So, how do I feel? A bit faster, a bit fitter, and a bit run down. The weekly interval sessions are getting a bit more manageable, and I have had more success hitting and maintaining my pace as the weeks go by. I have also noticed that my heart rate is averaging about 5 to 15 beats lower on my long runs than it was last year. I assume that the interval work is helping my body to work a little more efficiently, and I am taking that as a sign of progress.
But I am also feeling pretty worn down this week. Working and running in the heat, coupled with my sleep issues has me feeling smoked both physically and mentally. I was planning on getting in a bike ride this afternoon, but I think it would be best if I just take it easy. I think a few extra hours of sleep will do me much more good than a few extra miles on the road.
So overall, I am feeling pretty good about my prep for the marathon. 66 days to go!