When I signed up for Eugene back in early November, it seemed SO far away. At that point, I wasn’t sure what my goals for the race would be yet – I didn’t know if Surf City was a possible BQ or if I’d even feel ready at Eugene. I just knew that it would be a fun racing with girlfriends. After realizing that Surf City wasn’t going to be my BQ and officially setting my sights on doing it at Eugene, April 28 suddenly had more significance.
And now it’s only 2 months away.
Do I feel ready? I have no idea! After Surf City I knew that I still had work to do. Running a 1:46 was a great PR but it was only a slightly faster pace than I’d need to run 26.2 miles at Eugene (hey at least it wasn’t slower than my BQ goal pace!). I hired a running coach and my training has been going well. Although my weekly workout structure is very similar to what I was doing while using the Advanced Marathoning training plan, I’m actually running less miles than I would have if I had self-coached myself.
But, those miles have been faster. My coach often gives me pace goals for my workouts and they are pretty fast. Instead of speed-work like Yasso 800s, I’ve been doing tempo intervals. When we first started, three weeks ago, he said my goal tempo pace was 7:31 and my current pace was 7:51. As of this week, my new tempo pace is 7:31! I’ve inched it down each week and have gotten faster. My long runs haven’t been that long, but the last two have included 25-30 minutes of tempo intervals at the beginning of the run which has made the runs seem MUCH longer than they actually are. After my 12.6 mile run on Sunday I felt like I had run at least 16 miles.
I’m really excited to put some of this new fitness to the test next Sunday (March 10th) at the San Diego Half Marathon. I won’t be racing it, but I believe the plan is for me to run it at goal pace with a few warm-up miles before. I won’t be tapering either, so I’m curious to see how 8:10 min/miles feel, considering I ran Surf City at 8:05 min/miles and it felt pretty challenging. If I can pull of BQ pace for 13.1 miles at San Diego half without a taper, I will feel like I’m definitely improving and on my way to a good race at Eugene. I won’t know my plan for the race until Sunday at the earliest with my Coach emails me my weekly workouts but as of now, I think that’s the plan!
The first of what i would consider a “long” run is tomorrow – 16 miles! I actually really like long runs over 14 miles for some reason. They make me feel strong and accomplished. I usually run long runs on Sunday but this week Asia and my long run instructions from our coaches are similar so we want to run together and she can’t run Sunday. My instructions are to run it at a 8:50-9:10 pace and I’m hoping to easily run it sub 9. I’ve been running my mid-week long runs (8 miles) sub 9 consistently without feeling difficult so I think this can happen. However, my legs and glutes are very sore today from my hard tempo on Wednesday night and my strength training last night (I decided to do P90X Core Synergistics). The workout kicked my ass! I’m expecting the sore shoulders, back and arms to set in later today from all of the push-ups and plank. This morning my legs were heavy on my 8 mile run so I made sure to stretch for extra long and even foam rolled!
I’m definitely happy with my decision to hire a coach and I think that my fitness has improved quite a bit already. I just need to calm my mind sometimes that I should be running farther and remind myself that my coach knows what he is doing – that’s why I hired him!
How can you tell when you’ve increased fitness/gotten faster? Do you like running long like I do?