Marathon doubts are starting to creep in. I haven't run a marathon since Boston in 2005. Trained for one in 2006, but didn't make it to the starting line. This training cycle was mostly twice a week speed workouts, hills and scheduled six twenty milers. I'm almost certain that's the most I've ever done. One big thing I've overlooked this cycle is the mid week long run. That, plus I've cut back on the recovery runs from eight miles to five miles.
First started questioning my training this cycle after talking to J. He ran a 3:08 in Hartford, CT on two twenty milers. But, he had about 70 miles per week. My mileage has only been around 55 to a high of right at 60 miles. Then this thread showed up on the Strider board. I wouldn't call it a myth. The twenty miler is a necessity for the marathon, two is a minimum. Not that you can't run a marathon if you don't run any twenty milers. It just makes the last six miles manageable.
I have been the victim of running my 20 milers to fast in training. Back a few years ago when I was training for a 3:15, my Boston Qualifying time at that age, most of my 20 milers were right at a 7:30 pace. The alternating weekends, I would run 10-15 miles at marathon pace, roughly 7:15 miles. Never did qualify with that training. Looking back, probably over trained by the time I got to the line for the goal marathon.
Well this mornings scheduled 20 miler was reduced to a 18 miler by design. Asked Speedy yesterday, if he would pace me through 11 miles at 7:30 pace on Spain Hill. We finished with a average of 7:26, first part played perfectly. The rest of the run was just to get the 18 miles. Went out at 8:00 miles, but that only lasted for 3 miles and a nature break. Took way to long on the break and the feet were lead starting back. Slogged home the remaining 4 miles. I'll call it a successful workout, actually felt good when I finished, versus feeling wiped out after a typical 20 miler.
Don't know if I'm in the same shape as when I ran my marathon PR of 3:17 in 2004 at Rocket City. I am down about 5 pounds. Never really thought I'd get those pounds off. Almost feel like I'm in better shape, but the long runs seem to be getting tougher. Depending on how the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon goes, I may have to go to Huntsville and run Rocket City, one more time. I'd really like to run a 3:15, and I'm almost in that kind of shape.