I just completed the last of three 20 mile runs on the Hal Higdon Intermediate II marathon training program in preparation for the October 2nd Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon in Hampton, New Hampshire. Each of those 20 milers were preceded by a 10 mile run the day before, and each of those weeks totaled 50 miles. This program has been fantastic and I'll definitely use one of Hal's programs to train for the my next marathon (Hyannis Marathon - Feb. 26, 2012).
My goal for this marathon is to come in under 4 hours 30 minutes (4:30), which "should" not be a problem as my planned marathon pace will bring me in at about 4:15. For comparison, I finished my first marathon in about 5:20. I had expected to run that one much faster, but for a half-dozen reasons, I wasn't even close. I did finish, and I knew I had just completed something most people never even attempt. So despite things not going even close to plan, when I crossed that finish line, well it's a feeling you have to experience to really understand, but it was amazing to say the least. I wasn't as prepared for that February marathon as I had thought I was, and not having run one before, I really didn't know what to expect.
With only three weeks left until Smuttynose, I have completed over 500 training miles since June, over 900 miles for the year to date, and the benefit of marathon experience. I've trained, I feel good, I'm confident, I know I'm ready. I have a total of 34 miles scheduled for next week, then my official taper begins with 26 miles schedule the week preceding the marathon, and just 9 miles scheduled for the week of the marathon excluding the marathon itself. From here there are three things I need to focus on, completing remainder of the training, continue to maintain a good diet, and not getting injured between now and then - not necessarily in that order. Of the three, the injury part is the most worrisome as it's the one I have the least control over - three weeks simply is not a sufficient amount of time to heal properly and expect to complete a marathon.
But staying positive - I just need to be mindful and enjoy the downhill ride from here.
Happy miles everyone!