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Friday, February 24, 2012

Peak Week

This has been an awesome week for running.  I start counting my mileage on Monday and so far I have already logged 36 miles.  It is Peak Week in my training cycle and I will be running more miles this week than I ever have in all my life.  With 22 scheduled for Saturday and 6 recovery miles on Sunday at run club, when all is said and run I will have completed 64 miles.  That is a lot for me.

This is going to be my 9th marathon.  For my first 6 marathons I maxed out at closer to 40 miles (and never had a great experience as a result of that and also training improperly on a lot of levels).  For marathons 7 and 8 I peaked around 50 miles and PR'd both times.  When I began this training cycle I thought about what I could do to improve my training and one area was more miles - if my body could handle it.  I am really happy to report that so far anyway, after more than 5 weeks at 50 or more miles, I am feeling strong and am remaining injury free.  My body is handling it.

I have never run more than once in a day.  Not ever.  This week I fit my miles in by running 10 miles on Monday morning and again on Tuesday morning with Team Honey Badger.  Wednesday night I ran on the track - a 3200 and a 1600 at race pace (juuuust under an 8:00 mile - it felt amazing) followed by 4x800 (each between 3:17-3:25, right where I wanted to be).  I love the track and I love my =PR= family on the track.  We laugh a lot and we work hard.  It is the best.

track happy
Usually I take Thursdays off because my legs are pretty tight and tired the next morning (as in I feel like the tin man from The Wizard of Oz) after working so hard at the track the night before.  The rest of the Honey Badgers don't care about that though and they always meet on Thursday mornings.  I tried to join them a few times but it was never good news for me - so I would take Thursday as a rest day and then run easy on my own on Friday.  But this week my legs felt okay so I decided to join them.  The track workout was challenging, but in a very different way.  Running race pace laps around the track is tough because it is more about self control and holding back - not about pushing your limits.  Those miles boosted my confidence and felt easy.  It was great practice.  The 800s were hard work but since there were only 4 of them my body just wasn't as taxed.  So yesterday morning I woke up before 5am for the third time this week and ran 8 miles with THB.

8 miles done with THB = bliss
The day started off perfectly and as the hours passed the weather only got better.  Temperatures hit 70 degrees and it was pretty much my ideal day weather-wise (if it were like this every day of the year, I honestly would not complain).  After I took the big kids to school I wanted to do one thing: RUN.  The thoughts consumed me: I could put Baby G in the stroller and run an easy pace with him.  It would probably be totally fine.  Only a few miles.  Who was I kidding though?  I knew that once I got out there I would feel so good and run too much, maybe push too hard.  My gut instinct told me it would not be a good decision to do it.  I've been building my mileage carefully and this week the increase is pretty hefty for me.  With all of my might, I resisted the urge to get out there and run - I decided to save all this energy for my 22 miler tomorrow.  I've been training too hard to let it all go down the drain because of a beautiful day!  Goodness though, it was hard.

For my next training cycle I will likely try to increase my mileage a little more once again.  In order to do that it's going to require a day or two of doubles.  I'm already running 6 days a week and I believe it is essential to have at least one rest day a week.  I'm happy to know that I'll be able to get double days on the schedule if I run early in the morning with THB and then later with the running stroller.  Weather in the summer/fall will be much more consistent for that.

Peak Week has been going well and I couldn't be happier with how I'm feeling.  Next week will be "Transition Week" (as my friend and coach Adam likes to call it - I think it is the perfect name for the week between peak and official taper) and my mileage will still be somewhat high yet nothing like this week.

I can't believe my race is in just 3 weeks!  The energy and excitement are building!!  Racing day is almost here - hooooray!!

7 comments:

64 miles! What a great accomplishment! I should peak in 3 weeks with 46...not nearly the accomplishment of your 64 but still for me that's the most I've ever done. I run all my weekly runs with a jogging stroller, if i have to choose between a jogger or no running at all I'll push the stroller every time! Congrats!

That's some awesome mileage! That's close to where I peaked for 50 mile training. :)

Jess - what a fantastic week of running!!! 64 miles is beyond amazing! I hope the 22 miler goes great tomorrow! Looking forward to hearing/reading all about it =)
Kudos on the restraint yesterday - not running is always harder than running!

You are doing awesome!!! I am a big, big believer in running high mileage (which varies greatly by individual). For some 40 is HIGH. For some 120 is high. But I think when you find that high mileage point that you can handle and not be overtrained, it is the "sweet spot" and really helps with marathon training. I am at 80 miles this week and will peak at about 90 for Boston, and I have never felt better. Good luck with your 22 miler tomorrow!! You are doing SUCH a great job with this training. I can't wait to see what you accomplish in your marathon. Hugs!

You're in the home stretch! Glad to hear things are going so well!

What an impressive week! Good luck on your 22 mile run!

Oh, Jess! I'm SOOO proud of you and your mileage! That's incredible! I'm eager to hear about your long run today. Were you running outside during that mini snow squall we had this morning? I say mini because it only lasted maybe 5-10 minutes? But it looked yucky. I hope you were safe and warm and still running well!

How do you handle recovery on such a long mileage day? Do you get a nap? Are you able to be spunky and interact with your family? Does it totally wipe you out? How do you do it? Thinking about you... and hoping today was good! :-)

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