I’ve been paying a lot of attention recently to how I’m handling marathon training for Pittsburgh- both mentally and physically. For Philadelphia back in November I think the process was more about following my plan and trying to remain as consistent as possible. Now, I know plans vary from person to person and so does the term “consistency”. It’s very subjective. So, what did that mean for me?
What has always worked for me is running 6 or 7 days a week. I’ve found that when I take one day off, getting up to run the day after a rest period is the hardest day of the week for me (yes, even harder than a long run). I would rather run 7 days a week and split up a 6 mile run into two days of 3 milers, than go out on one 6 mile run; For me that worked. I liked knowing that everyday I had to run. It gave me a sense of control and routine. It also kept me mentally in check with a constant awareness of how my body was feeling.
This time around one of the best strengths marathon training has given me is establishing a solid “base”, meaning six or seven miles used to be a “long” day for me… now I don’t feel warmed up until mile 5! I see this as a good thing, that I’m getting more in tune with what training for long distances can do to your endurance, but it is becoming more difficult for me to enjoy short runs (3 or 4 miles). I end up feeling very inconsistent and when I do get comfortable, my mileage is met and the run is over.
I am knee-deep in training week 11 (of 15) for Pittsburgh… I’ll be at the starting line in one month tomorrow. I’m reaching my mileage peak this week, and so I thought I’d try out the more mileage is fewer days strategy. I’ll end up with two full days off this week to be active in other things besides running, and a short 3 mile run on Sunday to “shake out” after my long run on Saturday. So far I’ve noticed a dramatic different in how fresh my legs feel, and my paces have been well below my goals. If I can maintain feeling this strong through the end of taper I’m going to consciously make the effort to use the time between completing Pittsburgh and starting Chicago Marathon training to run only 4 days a week but log 7-12 miles per run.
It’s experimenting with your body really, the same way I would with energy sources. The best thing you can do when you become aware of our patterns is to get out of your comfort zone and try new ones! Hope everyone’s training is going well!
Thoughts? What do you prefer? Running 6-7 days a week with low runs added in, or more mileage packed into shorter spans of time?