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August 8, 2010 / elodie kaye

What Now?

While I was debating whether to continue with my marathon training, one of my first thoughts was what I could be doing instead.  This year there happen to be 3 half-marathons with just 3 weeks between each of them, starting in late September.  I’ve run two of them before; usually I run the first as a tune-up and the second as my goal race.  This year I’ll have the choice of racing the same distance a third time, or finishing off my autumn with a 10K instead.  I’ll have to play that last one by ear, sometimes I’m a bit burnt out by the time November rolls around.

Though I’m dropping down to do half-marathons, my training ironically won’t be very different.  Mainly, I get out of extending my long runs, and I’ll do them a little less often.  I’ll still finish several more long runs of 15 miles or more in this training cycle.  What makes them more palatable to me is that I get to do some faster running within those long, slow miles.

Yesterday I did a long run of 13 miles starting at my usual long run pace of 12:30, and then tried to drop 15s every two miles.  Because the total length is short compared to the farthest I’ve run (18 miles), it’s a reasonable workout.  However, because the fastest miles come after I’ve already been running for 90 minutes, it requires some mental focus to keep pushing a pace that isn’t comfortable any more on depleted legs.

I did okay.  I couldn’t hold the final mile, because I had run out of fluid and started to cramp.  The wind kicked up in the second half but I kept a pretty steady pace which surprises me.  I run this workout almost entirely by feel on a rolling course, so usually my splits are all over the place.  That’s part of the challenge, but yesterday I lucked out.  Each mile was faster than the one before, and my middle miles flowed smooth and natural.

If I had felt a little better at the end, it would have been a great run — a run I could grow to love.  Instead, I was beat.  It was tough, but next time I’ll improve on this effort.


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