KDF Marathon Training Weeks 12 & 13 (5 weeks to go)

Blogging was the first thing to fall by the wayside over the past two weeks. Work was busy, I was in Texas bridesmaid-ing part of last week, and competing goals took their toll. But the training must go on...

I don't remember many details about the past two weeks of running, so rather than tediously trying to reconstruct, I'll just leave these here:

Week 12

Week 12

Week 13

Week 13

The main takeaways are 1) I had an absolutely awesome 20-miler (my first of two); and 2) I felt kind of awful the rest of the time.

Re: #2: Nearly every week this cycle, I've had nagging twinges in my calves, Achilles, shins, hips, and ankles (hm, that sounds worse when I list them). And the weather, while in no way "bad" on the scale of what people are trudging around in up North, is sloppy enough that it's provided plenty of convenient excuses for me to skip the track most weeks. But mostly, I'm just tired. I don't really understand why because I'm not even training "that hard." Things just aren't clicking...and there are only two more weeks until taper. I begin speculating: Maybe things aren't clicking because I'm not training "hard." Should I, even though I feel like total garbage, push through and train harder/better/faster/stronger? Or is that crazy?

But then, something magical happened that broke me out of my guessing & second-guessing. On Thursday before I had to get on a plane, I cranked out one 8:55-9:05-minute mile after another on my first 20-miler of this cycle. It was easy. I felt wonderful. (Well, at the end I felt pretty bad, but that's okay.)

That 20-miler was the first real thing I can point to as evidence that I might actually be getting better/faster/stronger. Maybe a PR in Louisvile on 4/19 will really happen.  

After Thursday I entered a happy post-run haze that only an exceptional 20-miler can bring. I feel so much more confident than I did before. 

The only thing I have to compare to is NYCM training. Last fall, I dutifully did my speedwork and tempo runs, and I got a new 10K PR (47:33). However, the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that, if I can do only one hard workout a week, I'd be better served by forgetting about speedwork and getting in as many GMP miles as I can. I mean, this is about as marathon-specific training as things can get.

Coming up this week: The Merge 25k this weekend, which I was hoping to race-race before I realized it's way too close to marathon day for a 15ish mile race. Fun run it is!

Other miscellaneous marathon. thoughts: I simply CAN'T DECIDE what to do about my shoes. I have a pair of Brooks Adrenalines (my NYCM shoe) with 300 miles, my Brooks Ravennas with 400 miles (not a real option; they feel pretty done to me), and my Saucony Guides, which I love, but have 200 miles on them now. I will probably put another 150+ miles on them before marathon day, and I really don't want to race in a shoe with 350 miles on them. I guess I should just buckle down and get a new pair of Guides.

So, is there anyone else out there who votes that one good 20-miler trumps 13 whole weeks of mediocre running?