Monday, March 8, 2010

Marathon Training Program: Week 10

This was a challenging week of training, 45 miles total.  The week contained rest days Monday and Friday, 4-mile runs Tuesday and Thursday, 9-mile runs Wednesday and Saturday, and a 19-mile run Sunday.   Sunday morning's 19-mile run turned out to be a breakthrough run. 

Sunday's run was a new PR distance; my longest previous run was 18.2 miles in October, 2009 so I expected it to follow the typical pattern and be really difficult toward the end.  However, a somewhat unexpected result occurred.  I kept expecting it to get really difficult toward the end, and it never happened! Sure, the little expected aches came as the miles rolled into the teens, and the pains at the end of the run approached expected levels.  But the fatigue factor I expect beyond 15 or 16 miles just never came.  In addition, the physical effects after the run were much less than I normally expect.  I've been accustomed to feeling significant deep muscle soreness in calves, hamstrings and glutes after my long runs, soreness that lasts for a day or two.  After this run, I had minor soreness for several hours after the run, and the soreness was almost completely absent by late Sunday afternoon.

These results are a tribute to the effectiveness of a great training program.  I'm using the Intermediate 2 schedule from Hal Higdon's Training Guide.  It is such a well-designed program!  Each week, the schedule alternates short and long runs with strategically placed recovery days.  Through the first 12 weeks, weekly miles increase two consecutive weeks, then step back for one week before increasing again.  The program makes steady gains by pushing the body just short of its limits, and backing off to provide needed recovery just when it's needed.

The schedule's peak distance is scheduled in the coming week, adding 1 mile to each day's run, 5-10-5 on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, and 10-20 on Saturday-Sunday, for a total of 50 miles.

10 weeks down, 8 to go! 

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