Smile Politely

Monster Month

It’s hard to understand just what running 60 miles in a week actually means. You know? It’s like being tired. Exhausted. Unbelievably so. Then forcing yourself to run again, and again, and again for six out of seven days. You’ve got one day a week to fully recover and get ready to do it all over again.

It’s also about bringing the fatigue of long runs and the lack of motivation to run closer together. I’m forcing myself to overcome some of the same feelings I will experience come race day.

This is what my training has been like in my attempt to Boston qualify (BQ). I’ve just completed what the training calls a Monster Month of running. From November 26 to December 30, I’ve logged 284 miles. That’s equivalent of running from Champaign, IL to Columbus, OH.

In just two weeks I’ll toe the starting line for my third marathon and, hopefully, first BQ. In case you don’t remember, I had to select one marathon to target. The choices were Phoenix, Maui, the Gran Canaria islands, and Miami.

I chose Phoenix for several reasons. Mostly, the temperatures should be cool and the humidity should be low. The course is flat, and I imagine the weather should be good. Those important factors made Phoenix stand out above the rest.

Now, I’ve begun the taper, that point in the training where I begin to run less, bring down the weekly totals, and concentrate on conserving energy while keeping the muscles sharp.

I’ve had a shortened marathon training. Most marathon training plans are sixteen weeks long; however, I started mine with ten weeks to go. That was because I had already been running half marathons this summer, and it was easy to continue increasing the miles and transition to marathon training. Marathon runners usually start with a ten-mile base, meaning they can comfortably run ten miles before they begin the sixteen-week training period.

So what does my marathon training look like? Here’s what the 3:00 training plan that I’m using says for week eleven as an example. Week eleven was a sixty-mile week:

Monday – 8-mile run at 7:27 average pace.

Tuesday – Yasso 800s, named after legendary runner Bart Yasso, the plan calls for a 2-mile warm up followed by 6 x 800 meter repeats at 2:59 pace with a 400 meter recovery after each 800. After that, run a 2-mile cool-down. I mostly run this on the treadmill to keep my pace consistent, but people certainly can run them on the track.

Wednesday – 7-mile run at 7:27 pace

Thursday – 8-mile run with 1-mile warm up, 6 miles at marathon pace (6:52), and a 1-mile cool-down. Usually, I run this on the treadmill for the reasons noted above.

Friday – 6-mile run at 7:27 pace

Saturday – 22 mile long run between 7:36-8:36 per mile. The training suggests I try to run the last three or four miles at marathon pace (6:52). Uh … seriously? Apparently. I gave it a try, but I didn’t do so well with it. Mostly, because I forgot to eat while running this 22-miler. I ran eighteen miles on the roads of C-U and then finished the last four miles on the treadmill. That forced me to hit my pace, but I was only able to maintain the pace for a mile and a half because of lack of energy.

Sunday – Rest. Thank you! I needed it.

The training calls for six days of running. Up until this year, I’d almost never run six days a week. I’m not sure I’d ever done it before. I was mostly a four-day-a-week runner. That said, the results have shown me that running six out of seven days makes a difference.

The taper has begun, and now it’s time to psyche myself up for the race!

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