This is it! 16 weeks of training, literally going from zero to 26.2 miles over the past four months, culminates this Sunday at the Mountains2Beach Marathon. In my blog post Mental Toughness and my Laughlin Half Marathon experience I wrote about the struggles I had the first half of my marathon training. I used the half marathon to assess whether it was even feasible to attempt a BQ at this marathon. Finishing the half as a PR, although difficult, told me it was.
That was the jump start I needed to kick my training into high gear. I had six weeks left to dial it in and dial it in I did. My speedwork and tempo runs became more intense and focused but my next two long runs (18 and 20) were extremely painful after about mile 15. Something had to change. I started doing core exercises – yes, I know how beneficial they are for you but it’s one of those things I never make the time for. But this was important to me so I found a few simple core and glute strengthening exercises I knew I’d stick to. I also stopped drinking alcohol during the week. I love my beer and would typically crack open a cold one (or two) every evening. That stopped. The very next long run was a 15 miler and not only did I feel my best, the last mile was my fastest at a 7:40 pace! (I did have a few cold ones that afternoon!)
My “BIG” week was my best yet. I ran Yasso 800’s and averaged 3:28 (supposedly a good predictor of your marathon finish time); I ran a six mile tempo run at a 7:40 pace; and my final 20 miler I ran miles 12-15 near marathon pace and I am thrilled to say I ran the entire way pain free!
And now it’s been taper time. The first two weeks of taper I loved – still good, intense workouts during the week with a 15 miler then a 10 mile long run. It’s been this last week that has me all worried. I feel like I’m losing all my fitness, I ate too much today and am stuffed while I’m writing this now. It seems like my 20 miler was forever ago and what if I can’t run that far anymore?!
The good news is that I’ve been training for a 3:45 finish or better to qualify and I learned just over a week ago that I only need a 3:55. Turns out BQ times are based on your age at the 2015 event, not how old you are now. Ten extra minutes is huge – I was so excited I told my husband it was like finding money in your pocket. He completely disagreed but then he’s not a runner so what does he know?! Ha I still plan on doing my best and hope to do a sub 3:45 but it’s nice to know that if something doesn’t go as planned I have that ten minute cushion.
So here’s my nervous blog post the final few days before my marathon and the big question looms, will I Boston Qualify? Stay tuned as we all find out together!
Do you ever doubt yourself the final week before the event? How do you overcome it? I would love to read your comments below.