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I Added Miles and I got Tough

I know, I know, enough about the damn Shamrock Marathon already. Sorry, bear with me on one last post on it. Hopefully one last post.

I’ve thought a lot about the training that went into this race. Once I got toward the end of my plan, I knew, given I had a good day at the race, I had a PR in the bag.

I had in my head that I was going sub 3:20 even if I had a not so good day, sub 3:15 if I was on my game and sub 3:10 if all of the stars aligned and I was on my game.

Glenn put together a really great training plan for me.
He served as my coach for the most part. (at the very least, he listened to me babble nonstop about all the details of almost every workout… every day… while he was injured and frustrated that he couldn’t run.) He did a phenomenal job.He’s a good listener, a better listener than me.

Beyond listening to me, he made be believe I am strong. If I needed an unscheduled day off, he supported it and reminded me that missing a run would never make or break my goal. His favorite phrase is: work, works. And it does. 

Below are a few factors that helped me get some speed and take my marathon from a 3:24 to a 3:13. 

  • More Miles
    • The plan called for more miles than I’ve ever ran. I see a lot of women out there running 80-90 mile weeks, I’d like to do that for a training session at some point, but didn’t want to jump in that deep this time. I ran between 45-60 miles a week this training. I had never run a 60 mile week before this cycle. Heck, I don’t even know if I’d ever run much more than a 50 mile week. 
  • Purpose to the Long Run
    • We added big purpose to my long runs. In the past I participated in the whole long slow run most of the time. I would speed up at the end of them if I felt good, but no actual workout inside that run. This time around, unless it was a recovery week, there was always progression or marathon pace miles in the run. I wrote about this a little in a post before one of my long runs- “When a long run was just a long run“. The marathon pace miles taught me what it would feel like on race day. Why should I go into it blindly?
  • Faster and Longer Tempo Runs:
    • I used to be scared of tempo runs. They are hard and there’s no break. The first tempo run of this training session was horrible. The pace wasn’t even very fast and I felt out of control the whole time. Seriously, this run had me completely doubting myself and the goal I wanted to accomplish for this race. BUT, it slowly got better every week. When I realized that my prescribed tempo pace wasn’t challenging enough, I made myself commit to a faster pace. Every time. I wrote about a few of my tempo runs- here’s a post about putting the work in.
  • Better Easy/Recovery Runs:
    • In the past, my easy and recovery runs were shorter and slower. It’s important to run easy and recover, but they don’t have to be 2 minutes per mile slower than my tempo pace.This session, my recovery runs were anywhere from 6-10 miles at 7:30-8:30 pace. If I felt good, I would keep it closer to 7:30, if I felt extra tired, I would keep it closer to 8:30. The majority of these runs were around 7:50-8:10 pace.
  • Confidence:
    • I am married to a man with confidence. He is strong, he is ambitious and when he puts his mind to something he gets it done. Last year at the Mercedes Marathon when he broke 3 hrs for the first time, he went into the race knowing he trained properly and there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that he couldn’t and wouldn’t break 3 hrs. Confidence in my abilities is something I’ve struggled with since I started running years ago. Glenn has helped me realize my potential and pushes me to believe in myself.
  • I got Tough:
    • This goes hand in hand with the confidence. I had to be confident to get tough. When the tempo runs felt hard at mile 4, I dug deep and worked hard mentally and physically. When my long runs with marathon pace miles hurt, I embraced it and pushed harder. And on race day when I was at mile 14 and it seemed hopeless that I could keep pace for 12 more miles, I remembered those days when I pushed harder when it hurt. And I got tough. If you want to get faster, you have to get tough. 

So there’s that. More miles, hard work, purpose, confidence, structure, getting tough, etc., – all ingredients to what helped me run faster for 26.2 miles. 
I’m excited for the next training plan. I’m excited to put more miles and more speed in the training next time and see what kind of goals I can create and where it will take me. I learned a lot this time around. I’ve never trained with that much purpose or structure. For right now, I’ve got a half marathon PR to destroy and will be doing my first triathlon. 
There is still a lot to learn and I’m a sponge. I want to retain it all. 

Are there any changes to training that you’ve done and found successful?

What’s your favorite kind of workout? 

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