Hot and Fast

Another week of “I might be running a marathon” training has concluded, and I’m still not signed up for a race. But I do think that I’m closer to a decision now! I’m leaning towards racing this fall (!), and I’m ready to change up some of my non-long runs to reflect that.

So, two things happened this weekend that have me leaning towards signing up.

First, I hung out with my husband’s family on Saturday and talked to his sisters about all doing a race together. We’ve been going back and forth on this together for a couple weeks, and on Saturday I realized that his one sister is about 90% there. That made the whole thing seem more real and I got excited about the possibility of racing.

2014-01-04 08.13.09

Us three in the back would be marathoning together! Two in the front seat would (hopefully agree to) be part of our support crew.

The second thing that happened was that I realized that my alternate plan is stupid.

My main reason for not wanting to run this fall is that I want to build speed before my next marathon, and I am doubtful that I can do that in this training cycle. As an alternate to running a marathon, I’ve been thinking that I would run about 10 to 12 mile long runs all summer and somehow magically get faster at that distance without having to do speed work during the hot and humid summer.

Yesterday, I realized that that is insane. Sure, I will build a good base with that, but I will not get significantly faster. If I want to get faster I will have to do speed work. For some reason, this realization is encouraging me to run a marathon. Probably because my favorite part of the alternate plan was that there was no summer speed work.

So, I’m adding speed work to my “I might be running a marathon” training plan. And marathon or not, I’m going to push as hard as I can to get faster this summer.

I started with a tempo run yesterday morning.

I had been somewhat following a Leading Edge training plan during May and June, and have decided to pick that back up after a few weeks of only easy runs. My current plan is to follow this training schedule for midweek runs, while continuing to up my mileage according to the long run schedule I made up a few weeks ago. This is a bit of a mish mash, but strictly following the Leading Edge plan would require me to jump into a level that is too advanced for me (speed work wise) at this point.

training plan

Speed work is less scary when it’s on a plan that looks like this. (At least I hope that’s true)

Yesterday’s tempo run was the key speed workout in level six. It was oppressively humid, but I want to get faster, so I had to just get over that.

The run was: 10 min easy, 25 minutes A.T., 10 min easy.  The plan describes A.T. (anaerobic threshold) as significantly faster than goal pace and pushing the edges of my comfort zone. I used an online pace calculator with my spring half marathon time to decide my goal pace. The pace calculator thinks I can run a 4:10 marathon (current PR of 4:51), which is totally insane, but puts my goal pace at 9:32ish. So I shot for faster than that. I ended up averaging 8:52/mile in that 25 minutes. Is that “significantly faster” than goal pace? I don’t know, but I’m pleased with my pace and I certainly wasn’t comfortable, so I’m judging this a success.

Whatever I decide about the race, I’m happy with my decision on the speed work.