Freedom’s Run Marathon training: Time to taper!

I was getting a photo of a billboard in June when I noticed this on the ground. I knew it would be perfect for a future marathon-related post. (Vanessa Junkin photo)

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Freedom’s Run as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find and write race reviews!

I finished my second 20-miler of my Freedom’s Run marathon training this morning, which means it’s now time to taper for the remaining almost-three weeks until the big day — Oct. 6.

In my halfway-to-Freedom’s-Run training update, I outlined my weekly mileage and some other aspects of my training for the first eight weeks.

Here are my weekly goals and totals for the five weeks that followed that:

Week 9: Goal – 39, Actual – 39.15

Week 10: Goal – 43, Actual – 38

Week 11: Goal – 35, Actual – 34.15

Week 12: Goal – 45 (revised – 43), Actual – 40

Week 13: Goal – 45, Actual – 45.11

Although these are not all perfect, I’m happy with these numbers. I also hit my highest monthly mileage ever in August — I ran 150 miles. This month looks like it will come in at nearly the same amount of miles.

Freedom’s Run will be my ninth marathon. Although I know I am not in shape to break my personal record — 4:17:45 in my first marathon in 2013 — I feel that this has been my strongest training cycle yet. I have really focused on my total weekly mileage in addition to my long runs, while also running hills and working on some faster-paced running.

I was interested in comparing my total mileage to what I ran for my most recent marathon, the Vermont City Marathon. I looked back at my Excel sheet and saw that during the first 13 weeks of a 16-week plan for my Vermont City Marathon training, I ran a total of 365.74 miles. For my first 13 weeks of my Freedom’s Run training, I ran 421.76 miles. This is an increase of 15.3 percent.

I also looked back at my 2013 Excel sheet and saw that during the comparable 13-week period leading up to the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon, I ran 360.42 miles. That year, I ran 903.04 miles for the entire year, which I have already surpassed this year. Today’s run put me at just less than six miles from 1,000 for 2018.

However, although my mileage was lower, it was a lot faster. During the training period for that year’s Rehoboth race, I ran my half PR of 1:50:18 — this was an unofficial race with friends, but it was still my fastest — and my then-10K PR of 50:43. It looked like I did a decent amount of long interval work (speed work) that year as well. At the end of July that year, for example, I ran six 800s, all of which were between 3:32 and 3:51.

Back to the present — during this week of training, I ran 10 Yasso 800s to try to predict my marathon time. They ranged from 4:39 to 4:55 and averaged 4:47. This estimate would mean that I would run the marathon in about four hours and 47 minutes, which seems very reasonable. I expect the main factors for me will be primarily the hills and possibly the weather — I’m hoping it will be cool. However, I have had a lot of experience running in the heat and humidity this summer, so hopefully early October will at least be better than what I am used to.

Although my most recent marathon was the Vermont City Marathon, and I ran that in 5:07:17, I ran the Richmond Marathon last November in 4:47:52, which would line right up to that 4:47 estimate.

I looked back at last year’s Excel sheet and saw for the Richmond training period’s comparable 13 weeks, I ran 344.51 miles, which is 77.25 miles less than I ran for the same time frame as this training cycle.

At Freedom’s Run, I would really like to come in somewhere around the 4:45 mark. It is tough to say for sure what I should be able to expect, because of the hills and also because I haven’t done much running near my goal pace because of the heat and humidity. Many of my long runs have been very slow.

However, I am feeling strong and confident going into the race. I hope that even with the hills, I can finish in less than five hours.

To come in at about 4:47, I will need to try to keep each mile slightly under an 11-minute pace, according to this chart. That’s easy to remember — I can just try to keep a 10 as the first number. I also figure some particularly hilly miles might be slower, and I’ll have to even that out with other miles.

In the past five weeks of training, I ran hills twice — one time I ran up and down the same hill 20 times, and the other I ran 10 of that hill starting at about Mile 18.5 of my long run. I also did the above-mentioned Yasso 800s as well as an earlier workout of seven 800s. This month has also included three races so far — the Mike Sterling 10K, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and the Run, White and Blue 5K.

Interested in joining me at Freedom’s Run? Although I wouldn’t recommend signing up for a marathon if you aren’t trained, there are other distances as well, and you can save $5.

Freedom’s Run

Events: Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, Kids Run

Date: Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018

Time: Marathon – 7:30 a.m., with shuttles starting at 5:30 a.m.; Half Marathon – 8:30 a.m.; 10K – 8:50 a.m.; 5K – 9 a.m.; Kids Run – 11 a.m.

Location: Marathon starts in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and finishes in Shepherdstown, West Virginia; other events start and finish in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Registration is open and is currently $100 for the marathon, $70 for the half marathon ($60 for youth), $35 for the 10K ($30 for youth) and $30 for the 5K ($25 for youth). Save $5 on any distance with code “BIBRAVE5.”

I’ve also added myself to the start list on Athlinks. I gave myself a goal of 4:45 a while ago, and I still think that’s a good goal.

Learn more and register at

Like She Runs by the Seashore on Facebook here.