The first phase of training for the Carmel 2013 Marathon is complete. This phase is called the endurance phase and lead me through a build up in mileage from running 55 to 80 miles in a week. I am now in the last few days of a recovery week where my mileage and intensity is purposefully cut so that my body can respond to the stimulus provided and make the adaptations needed to allow me to run more with less fatigue. This will be valuable in the next phase as I will increase the intensity of running while maintaining and even increasing the distance in order to teach my body run further, faster.
In looking back at this period of training which began on 12/23/2012 I have logged about 350 miles at an average pace of 7:41 / mile for a total of over 41 hours of running. My average distance is about 8 miles per run with the longest run being 21.1 miles. The average of 8 miles per run doesn't really tell the story though as the runs tend to be either 12 - 15 miles or 5 miles. About once a week the distance is bumped up over 15 to somewhere between 16 and 22 and on occasion I throw in a shorter run of 1-3 miles.
A couple of things that I began doing and will carry forward into the rest of the training are easier easy runs and longer long runs. First, easier easy runs. I really do not like running slow. I mean I really don't like it. I would describe slow running as something that sucks the life out of me. But I am really starting to see the value of the slow/easy runs in the additional mileage it allows me to run without increasing my fatigue debt. In other words, these miles still cause my body to make adaptations that make me a better runner but they do not increase my over all level of fatigue. This allows me to maximize my efforts during the next hard workout. I think that I finally get it and am willing to accept that a couple of days a week I need to run like this in order to get the most out of the time that I put into training.
The longer long runs are what I blogged about before. Running further than the plan calls for and hopefully longer than the actual marathon distance a few times. But doing it slowly and with several walk breaks in order to ensure that I do not incur any need for additional recovery that would interfere with the rest of the training schedule. The purpose is to develop the muscular skeletal strength that will allow me to finish the marathon without feeling like my legs are "coming undone."
So phase 1 is in the books and the goal fatigue has been achieved. At the end of this recovery week my legs really feel like they are coming back to life and I am excited to get started on the next phase; The lactate threshold phase. This phase will focus on increasing what my body can tolerate before it produces more lactic acid than it can clear. This in turn will allow me to run further, faster.