Today was our last 20 miler of this training cycle. Marathon day is in four weeks, and all we have left are a 16 miler, 12 miler and the Maine Marathon Relay (6-8ish miles, not to be raced). This has certainly been one of my favorite training cycles yet. We have had many long run Saturdays where we have had 7-8 people running and it has been an absolute blast. We all start and finish together, but the miles in the middle are our own game, because we all train on heart rate.
Our long run plan is 10 beats below lactate, with the middle miles at 5 beats below lactate, or marathon pace. This summer, this has typically been between 8:25 - 8:40ish pace for me, depending on the heat and humidity (one of the heat wave days my heart rate pace had me at about 9min/miles for the long run..phew!).
This morning, Alice and I set out alone on our last 20 (we missed all of our long run buddies today!). It was perfect running weather, despite the high humidity at the start. I had an issue with my breakfast this morning, and wound up gagging and burping it up over the friggin' toilet 20 minutes before our run. Please note - I did NOT buy any bananas for breakfast this week...even the thought of one right now is still making me nauseous. Luckily, I pulled through and went to meet Alice. The nausea continued for nearly the first 8 miles of the run, along with 3 miles of an unusually high heart rate. Usually, my HR spike for about 1-1.3 miles when I start running, and then drops. 3 miles of this was very unusual (I blame it on the nausea). After 3 miles, it finally dropped down to 10 below lactate. Mile 6 was a pleasant recovery mile, my HR dropping to 148 - 20 beats below. This may have been one of my only training runs where my heart rate consistently dropped as the miles ticked by, while my pace got faster. The last 4 miles, my legs felt great..and my HR cooperated. My last mile was near marathon pace, at 7 beats below lactate! WOOHOO!
The Last 20 Before Hartford!
As Alice said, this run was definitely a big confidence booster for both of us. The pace was very comfortable, even on some pretty beat up legs. My lactate runs are done for this cycle, and I should only have two track workouts left (two large ladders). The rest of my runs the next two weeks are easy level 2 runs (10-15 beats below lactate for the entirety). I feel like most of the hard work is behind us, and from here on out it is just maintenance and remaining healthy!