another Modesto Marathon training update

another Modesto Marathon training update

Since we’re less than a month out from Modesto (!), I figured it was high time for another training update. I still have other posts I want to write about training postpartum and how it’s different compared to how I’ve trained before – and I know you’re on the edge of your seat, eagerly awaiting those posts’ publication – so I’ll get to it… eventually. That’s what taper is for, right?


2/6 – 17 with final 4 at GMP; actual 17.12 @ 8:14 average with Meredith, some rollers, and GMP at 7:19, 7:28, 7:17, 7:15

Thanks to a confluence of extenuating circumstances, Meredith and I decided to go long on Saturday for a change. She had 10, I had 17, so I posted the first 7 sola before we ran the balance together on the rollers between SJ and an adjacent ‘burb. GMP is still a big mystery to me – somewhat problematic because I’ll soon be posting 26.2 GMP in fewer than four weeks’ time – so I tried to go on feel and hit 7:19, 7:28, 7:17, 7:15. Many of the GMP miles were over the ascent portions of the rollers, which made the effort a little higher, but I felt really good – in a fatigued sort-of-way that comes with doing GMP at the end of a long run – and got totally lucky and managed to hit all the stoplights at the right time, thereby running the GMP continuously, without interruptions. Score.

during some of the earliest miles

2/7: speed lite – 8 miles with 8×1′ at 10kRP; 2′ recovery. Actual: 8.75, 7:51 average

A very delayed start – during my kids’ attempted-but-aborted afternoon nap – for this run and fortunately, Meredith also had similar mileage and a similar I just don’t waaaaaaaaanna attitude to contend with. Bless her for being willing to drive all the way back to SJ for “just 8 miles.” I haven’t run a 10k in a while, so my 10k RP time (for training purposes) is based on my racing from about 2013-15, making my 10kRP around a 6:40-6:45, which is about what I’ve been posting for tempo runs, so… yeah. Just using the data I have available. I hadn’t done a “speed lite” workout like this before, but I was happy to have this on deck the day after a 17 instead of my usual tempo. You can definitely tell that I’m not used to pacing this stuff, since my times were unnecessarily (and potentially deleteriously) faster than they needed to be, but dammit if it wasn’t super fun: 1′ at 6:24, 6:20, 6:31, 6:08, 6:23, 6:21, 6:14, 6:28. It was also about mid-seventies and pure sun (a big change for what I usually run in) for this, which made chasing this run with popsicles just delightful. I finished this run feeling strong and satisfied… and thirsty.

many left turns

2/13: 12 miles with 4-7 at tempo + 6x (1′ at 10kRP; 2′ recovery). Actual: 13.16 @ 7:34 average

The Olympic marathon trials were this day, so I was totally channeling my inner Desi (love her) to rock this run. I overshot the distance to 13 (which seems somewhat inevitable, based on how far away the track is, the route I take to get there, and those little details), and even with little sleep and sub-par nutrition from the night before, this went over pretty well – 6:40, 6:44, 6:35 for the tempo [prescribed range is 6:55-7:05] and 6:15, 6:26, 6:14, 6:25, 6:08, 6:10 for the 10k 1′ portions [can you tell where the wind was?!]. I had to rally a bit on the tempo because I started too quickly, and the wind made for some tricky pacing on the 1′ sections, but overall this went pretty well. Doing the 1′ portions after the tempo can be mentally taxing, but I’m finding that I enjoy it because it allows me to open up my stride a bit more and finish the run by breaking through mental and physical fatigue – just like we all have to do at the end of any race we run. It only amounts to a three mile tempo plus six more minutes of fast running, but I think these types of runs are excellent for mental callousing.

2/14: first 20 in a couple years! Actual: 20.16 @ 8:18 average

The last time I ran a 20 was in advance of the Santa Rosa ’14 marathon, when I was training to pace the 3:35 group, so I was a little anxious about how this run would go – and because I’d be doing it by myself and the day after speed. It went well though, and by some miracle, even though I ran city streets for the entirety of the run, through parts of down that are usually clogged by vehicular traffic, I only lost seven minutes on the run to stoplights and cars. (For perspective, some days I can easily lose 10-20 minutes!). I decided from the get-go to take things pretty easy early on, averaging in the 8:30s and ultimately ended up negative-splitting this run. I went on a tour of SJ and SC, which was pretty fun, and the 20 was actually pretty relaxing overall. Running is so weird sometimes. Who the hell says that running 20 miles is relaxing…

2/20: 12 with miles 4-7 @ tempo + 6x(1′ at 10kRP, 2′ recovery). Actual: 13.05 @ 7:38 average

Same workout as 2/13, same overshooting-to-13 as before, but better pacing this time around, with the tempo at 6:43, 6:43, 6:35 and the 10k 1′ at 6:07, 6:08, 6:11, 6:03, 6:11, 6:10. I attribute the pacing improvement to having a better grasp of the workout (since I had just completed it a week prior) and the virtually non-existent wind. I made a conscious effort to focus on consistency and smart-starting my tempo – trying to avoid blowing up and petering out – and I think the focus helped tremendously. Typically when I’m running tempos on the track, I only check my pace every 400 m, and for most of this tempo, my pace was exactly the same each time I looked. Just like last week though, the 10k pace was harder to dial in, and I’m sure I’m running those segments faster than I need to be, but I think it’s mentally good to push through the final bits of mental/physical fatigue in an effort to prepare myself for doing the same on race day.

2/21: another quiet and sola 20. Actual: 20.08 @ 8:24 average

Just like last week, I had another quiet and sola 20 on deck the day after speed, and just like last week, I gave myself permission to ease into it for as long as it took. I wasn’t expecting to be in such a mentally shitty place for so long though – it was one of those moods where I was wondering why the hell I was voluntarily doing this stuff – but after about 9 miles of that, both my attitude turned around, and my legs came to life a bit. This 20’s route was flatter than that of the previous, and again, by some miracle bestowed upon me by the running gods, I lost only five minutes to cars/stoplights this time around. I ended the run posting a negative split, was buoyed by a nice dude who mid-run, somewhere around mile 13 or so, yelled to me to JUST KEEP ON RUNNING! (thereby becoming my new running BFF, unbeknownest to him), and though I was tired at the end, I was in such a better place mentally than I was when I started. That’s the funny thing about running: sometimes it can take such a long time (nine miles for me on this run) to a) feel good and b) be happy that you’re out there and able to do this stuff in the first place. We just gotta roll with it, and trust the process. Oh, and I finished the run and was home by 8:30, pretty much as the rest of the family was waking up. That rocked.

total adoration

The next training update will be written from the exciting locale of Taperlandia – can’t wait!

2 thoughts on “another Modesto Marathon training update

  1. Only a month left! The excitement builds! Great workouts you are getting yourself prepped for a stellar race. I wish my workouts were so well planned out and executed like yours. Just wondering does 1′ mean one minute? Looking forward to your post from Taperlandia. Woo hoo!

    1. yup, 1′ refers to 1 minute, whereas 1″ would refer to 1 second. thanks for your encouragement! training has definitely been smoother this time around compared to past cycles, especially when it comes to speed stuff… not sure why!

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