Prepping for the San Francisco Marathon
Each marathon training cycle I have tried different things. Before Myrtle Beach, I ran a ton of miles and peaked at 60 miles. Before Providence, I ran less miles than before Myrtle Beach, but I incorporated long runs again one day a week and speed workouts one day a week with a little bit of strength and cross-training. After every marathon, I think about how can I do it better and what can I do differently to get a better time or feel stronger. I'm really understanding the race and how to tackle it and I am definitely not someone dragging at the end. I'm moving at a decent clip the whole way (if you ask me!). I never have to stop unless it's an emergency port-o-potty break. I'm so proud of myself, the last 2 marathons, no breaks!!! During the Providence Marathon on May 7th, I have to say, it was my fastest 2nd half of a marathon ever (2:12). I felt very strong in spite of the hills at the end and I was pushing it to get my 2nd fastest marathon time (4:16). I'm definitely not an elite runner (LOL!) but I've come a long way and I know eventually I will run a sub-4 marathon. It might just take time but I don't want old age to catch up with me first!!
Because San Francisco is very hilly, I am looking to get stronger and faster so those pesky hills feel like a walk in Golden Gate Park! LOL. I was just going to pick up where I left at the Providence training and go from there but I need to mix it up. I am focusing on strength training and timed speed workouts 4 days a week. My plan is to focus on hips, glutes and abs 2-3 days per week and increase the number of speedy miles (< 9 minute miles).
So far, what I am finding is thoroughly amazing me. Over the past week, I have been running the exact same route (with 2 major hills of 100 ft elevation gain in mile 1 and 2) and my times have been quicker each time. I took a break for a few days just to "rest" and simply run easy miles but then today I picked it back up and it blew my mind. I ran an 8:19 pace for the first mile and it didn't feel that hard. I mean it was work, sure, but last week I ran a 9:35 first mile. In comparison, that sucked and felt harder. The proof is below. I am not sure how long I will keep this up but in some weird kind of way, I love competing with myself every day. It's fun to treat myself as a "lab rat" and see what I can do. This is why I love running so much and the older I get the more fascinated I am with the human body and its limitations. I love just seeing how fast I can be. I definitely don't think I have reached my potential yet. Stay tuned to see if I ever get into 7's on this. My hypothesis behind this training is that if I train myself to run fast on a regular basis and stretch out those miles at a fast pace (plus long runs built in for endurance) that I will be more able to keep that ridiculous pace in a marathon. Let's see what happens!!! The neat thing is though I like feeling that I worked hard every day. The training plan before Providence only felt hard 2 days a week and I felt like that was too wimpy for me. Time to change things up!