One of the rules of marathon training is to trust the training schedule. When the training schedule depends you to dig deep, you dig deep. When you start on week 1, that first 20 miler on week 11 seems impossible. For the most part, I have followed my training schedule to a T. I missed one of my long runs when I was in Arizona, but other than that I had completed all of my long runs and short runs in between.
This past week, however, I broke that rule and deviated from the schedule. I have good reason though. At least I consider it good reason. The schedule I am following is the Intermediate II plan by the renowned Hal Higdon. It calls for 3, 20 mile runs with 12 mile runs on alternating weeks. The first 20 miler gave me some doubts. I finished it – barely. I walked a bit on my water breaks, but ran it (slowly) for the most part. The second 20 miler went much better. I ran the entire way with only a stop at the 12 mile mark to refill my water bottle (I highly recommend the single serving Gatorade mixes for long runs). In the end, I ran the 2nd 20 miler about 15 seconds/mile faster than the first one.
That’s where my training schedule got slightly derailed. Rather than doing the third 20 miler, I ended up running the River Bank Run at a faster pace than I anticipated. In light of the extra effort, I feel that it shouldn’t affect my overall training by substituting a long easy run for a slightly shorter pace run. Recovery from the RBR took a couple days, so my mileage the following week suffered a bit, but I was still able to knock out 10 and 12 mile runs back to back.
Now that I am back on schedule, I can begin the taper phase. 2 weeks and counting…