Marathon Training Week 4 Recap

This is going to be fairly short and sweet because I’m writing at my office before my work hours *technically* start. I have no idea how this weekend went by so quickly.

Week four is in the books and I have mixed feelings about it. So here’s the recap.

Tuesday: Three miles.

Wednesday: Four miles. I had a bit of a Zen moment this day. I was running by myself (Joe still isn’t doing the full mileage yet) on the path between the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. The sun still wasn’t up yet and for a few moments, there wasn’t anyone else in sight. All I could hear were the crickets, birds, my footsteps and my breathing. I felt like I was the only person in the whole city. It felt so peaceful and it reminded me why I love to run in the morning. As I got closer to the Lincoln, I could see people lining up for the November Project. If you haven’t heard of it, you can read more here. Let’s just say I was glad I was only running.

Thursday: Three miles.

Saturday: Nine miles. This sounded sooooo far. It’s been a few months since I’ve done that kind of mileage. And when I did, it was a heck of a lot cooler. Although the weather Saturday morning was pleasant by D.C. standards, it was still humid early in the morning. Joe ran with me to the Lincoln and then I was on my own. I took a nice, easy pace. I crossed over the Memorial Bridge and then went down the Mount Vernon Trail toward the Key Bridge and over into Georgetown then went down the Waterfront and made my way back toward home. I took a quick stop (a little more than halfway) before crossing the Key Bridge to drink some water and eat a couple of Shot Blocks. I was feeling okay but going another 4.5 miles still felt really far.

Somewhere in mile five, I started getting into my head, which is never good. I told myself if I just got to six miles, then I’d only have three to go. Three miles is no problem. Then my legs started to feel tired and the tank started to feel empty. Somewhere in mile six, I took a quick walking break. I got back near the Lincoln Memorial and ran into a mass of people. So I walked. At that point I was at about 7.25 miles. I kept walking. Mentally, I was done. I told myself I’d just walk the rest of the way. My virtual running coach Hal Higdon explicitly said, “Don’t be afraid to walk” during this run. Okay, whatever you say Hal.

I got back to Constitution Avenue and got mad at myself. Why was I walking so much? It’s okay to walk a little but not a full mile! So I ran most of mile eight to get back home.

I’m not proud of this run. My average pace came out somewhere around 11:15 and my goal is to keep my pace closer to 10:30-10:40 during my runs. I was reading something in Runner’s World about how walking breaks can actually make you run faster. And I’d had this thought as I was running home. I think in the future, I might try walking 30 to 60 seconds after each mile (per Runner’s World suggestion), even in the early stages of my run, if I feel I need to.

Also, fuel. I didn’t eat properly on Friday. Gotta do better with that. I ate well most of the week. Until about Thursday night.

Next week’s long run of 10 miles should be interesting since we’ll be camping at Assateague. At least I can jump in the water when I’m done?