September 5, 2010

Training update

So I just finished week ten of the sixteen week marathon training program. Quite often during a training period, I reach a point where I grow tired of it, and I am skimming along that point right now. The training runs are getting faster and longer, but the marathon is still far enough away (six weeks) that I can't quite see the finish line. It is that point in climbing a hill where your legs are about to fail, but you can't quite see the summit. It is the discouraging feeling where you are not sure if you will make it and you start to wobble. 

The miles have been piling up, and I feel like I never quite recover between workouts. I start each run with legs that feel a little too sore and a little too empty. The weekend long run is now becoming legitimately long, and is a two to three hour investment of time and energy. The weather has been warm, and though I try to get out earlier, I often weigh an extra hour of sleep against trying to beat the heat. Though this has been a milder summer from what I understand, it is still hot enough to make it a struggle for me.

And there is just the mental fatigue of trying to run every scheduled mile, to hit every scheduled pace. The training calendar becomes this thing you just dread looking at. I had a tough long run last week, and was feeling like I could use a break to recharge. But this week's mileage was going to be the highest so far.

But this time, it feels like the dip in enthusiasm may be more short-lived than in the past. Even though the last three days of work were physically draining (digging through clay and rock, carrying 8" x 18" wood beams), I put in 10 miles on Thursday and 18 on Saturday. Both were run at a decent pace and I finished feeling like I still had some more in the tank. Though I was feeling a bit run down physically and mentally, I was able to find a reserve I wasn't sure was there. I gives me some confidence that I will be able to push through this lull and show up race day ready to run.

I am still happy with the new training program, as challenging as it has been. I haven't missed any of the runs, and have only cut one short so far - a 17 miler became a 14 miler in the Phoenix heat. I haven't been as good at the cross-training, averaging about once a week rather than twice. But overall, I think the program is a solid one, and I am feeling more prepared than I have in the past. 

Less than six weeks until the final exam. 

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