This morning I ran the second long run on my marathon plan from McMillan Running. McMillan has me running for time rather than distance on my runs, so I did about 12.5 miles in two hours. I'm supposed to take the pace nice and easy (for now) but incorporate hills to get my body used to an even effort on all terrain. And that's just what I did, feeling good for the entire two hours (except for some potty stops--more on that below).
My new plan, because it was written with my past training in mind, resembles my FIRST training quite closely, at least on the surface. I'm in what McMillan calls the "pre-marathon" phase of the cycle. Unlike many marathon programs, which ramp up distance early and then work on speed closer to the race, this program works on speed in the early weeks and on distance closer to the race. The theory is that for a marathon (unlike a 5K or 10K) the endurance part is the most important but that runners on most programs hit their endurance peaks too early for their races because of the later shift to speedwork. For more on this, here's Greg McMillan's article on the theory behind it.
Despite the running-for-time-stedda-miles component, my weekly mileage is up (27 miles last week, 29 miles this week and climbing in the week ahead). The speedwork (so far in the form of stride drills and fartleks) has been hard but fun. I'm still doing one day of cross-training (I just think it's better for my body), but the other one has been replaced with an easy run. I'm trying to be good about stretching after every run, and I'm doing a weight-training class twice a week (no bootcamp for the time being--I think I'm getting plenty of cardio from my running at this point).
I'll be curious to see how this works for me and my Sept. 17 Top of Utah Marathon. I have a test race on July 17 in the ZOOMA Women's Half-Marathon. This coming weekend we are traveling to Missouri for my 20th high-school reunion, so the long run will be done at sea level (though I fear the humidity and heat will wipe out any low-altitude advantage I might have!).
Potty Update: It's official: I'm calling a gastroenterologist this week. Today's long run featured five trips to the bathroom--two at home, two in a golf course port-a-john and one at a friendly 7-11. Five is too many. And every other run I did this week involved a bathroom stop, too. I need to get this fixed. I'm sick of it.
Here's today's run (and you can scroll back to see older ones, including the Garmin's take on the Bolder Boulder):