Less than two weeks until the New York City Marathon – which means the hay is in the barn, as they say. (I have no idea why that agrarian image has become the go-to metaphor for marathon training, but it’s what everyone says. Even here in Brooklyn, where there is little hay and few barns.)
From here on out, nothing I do is going to increase my fitness in any appreciable way. I can still mess myself up, though, which seems a little unfair. The balancing act between now and November 1 involves:
- Cutting back on mileage enough to allow my body to rest and recover.
- Maintaining mileage sufficient to satisfy my body’s craving for consistency and routine.
- Continuing with workouts at marathon goal pace, intended to drill it into my overly enthusiastic legs and my traitorous, self-deluding brain. (The latter is the bigger challenge.)
- Not tripping and hurting myself.
- Not going crazy.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with my training. My body held up – blogging in flip flops proved more hazardous than running – and even after losing two weeks to a twisted ankle, I was able to reach the peak mileage I’d planned. If I’m not quite as cocky as I was at this time last year, it’s because last year was so thoroughly humbling.
Here’s an overview through this past Sunday.
Total mileage for the month: 163 (vs.149 last year). I seriously piled on the miles, culminating in 72 and 67-mile weeks. Last year, my weekly mileage topped out at 65.
Over the full 14 weeks of this training cycle (ignoring the two I lost to injury, and the two taper weeks yet to come), I averaged 57.7 miles per week. Last year, my weekly mileage over the same period averaged 53.3.
Long runs: 18.5 (with three miles at the end at or below marathon pace), 16 (including the Staten Island Half Marathon, about which more in a bit), and 12 (the beginning of my taper).
Last year my final long runs were a fast-finish 16, 15 (also including the Staten Island Half), and 12.
All told, in this year’s marathon build-up I did three 16 milers and two 18 milers (one of them under race conditions at the NYRR 18-Mile Tune Up). Last year I did three 16 milers and one 18-miler (most decidedly not under race conditions).
Workouts: Just one interval workout – 2×3 miles with 600m jog recovery in 24:35 and 23:41. (This was the workout I bailed on in early September, but with less recovery and more hills this time.) My main focus was marathon pace tempo runs of 10, 6 and 7 miles.
Last year – no intervals, marathon pace tempos of 10, 8 and 6 miles.
Advantage: 2015 by a nose.
Tune-up race: The Staten Island Half Marathon is held three weeks out from the New York City Marathon, which – to my mind – is the perfect time to run a tune-up race. (I know opinions differ on that; my reasoning is that three weeks is ample time to recover from a half, and allows my recovery to coincide with my taper.)
Last year, I ran Staten Island close to all-out in 1:43:59. That was a big confidence boost (maybe too big a confidence boost, in retrospect).
This year, I kept it relaxed and ran 1:47:37. I started out a bit faster than marathon pace and then worked it down for a nice negative split (on a redesigned course that was unquestionably tougher in the second half), with the last three miles all under 8:00. Slower than last year, but, I would argue, smarter.
You’re ready! We’ll be a week apart … So I’ve got this week of actual training left. The other quote I heard recently that I like — “The cake is baked, now time for frosting.”
Definitely appreciate the vote of confidence (especially now that the cake is baked).
Who doesn’t like cake?
Hope you have an amazing race! I will be driving from North Carolina next week. Should be all set for an amazing race in NYC. See you there and best of luck! (No stubbing toes, no tripping, and take it easy on the stairs. Use railings.). Lol
Thanks, and back atcha!