The countdown has officially started….
Only 20 (well actually 19) days until the race, and I am so ready for it to be here! It has been a verrrryyy long training session this time around – the summer heat was pretty brutal here in Florida. All of my long runs (except for my weekend in Boston) were all done in temperatures of 80+. I feel more prepared now than ever to run a marathon in the heat, just in case it is actually hot in Chicago. Hopefully I will not have to worry about that for the race, but hey – it could happen.
My long run Saturday was no different from my others from this training – it was super hot, but I got through it. I was up crazy early to beat the heat, and tackled all 22 miles without a hitch. My hamstring was pretty tight for the first 15 miles, but then it magically loosened up. I have no idea how that happened, but I wasn’t complaining. It assured me that I will actually be able to run Chicago, and not have to worry about it really hurting. I am pretty psyched about that! Oh ya, and this big accomplishment from Saturday morning. 22 miles, done!
My training plan over the next 3 weeks has me gradually cutting back my mileage. I haven’t done any sort of speed work for the past 2 months, so I am obviously not going to be doing any sort of intervals. I will just be logging the miles at my standard 8:30 pace each week, starting with my 30ish miles planned for the next 7 days.
This is always the part of training that it is so easy to start guessing yourself. Your body is tired, you feel the fatigue setting in. And then, you start cutting back the miles. Your legs magically start feeling better, and all you want to do it throw in a few fast pace miles here and there. It is so unbelievably important not to give in to the urge to run faster. Between now and race day, any unplanned speed or excessive mileage will only hurt me, not help me, as runners see no benefits in faster/extra mileage the 3 weeks leading up to the race.
Excessive rest will hurt me too. If I were to only run 10-15 miles a week for the next three weeks, instead of my planned 30, 25, & 10 mile weeks, my body would actually start to get out of shape. Seriously. It seems crazy, but the taper really is so strategic. I plan to follow it very closely until October 7th!
Let the taper begin!!