Salisbury Marathon: 493.54 miles down, 26.2 to go

I took this selfie on today’s run by the location of what’s on the Salisbury Marathon medal.

I just finished my last run before the Salisbury Marathon, which is coming up Saturday.

I’m a Road Runners Club of America certified coach, and I wrote my own training plan for this race, which I shared with the public (see it here). I also wrote beginner training plans for the half marathon and marathon, along with an intermediate training plan for the half marathon. I checked in with runners on the race’s Facebook group each week. I was able to get a free entry to the race since I served as the coach.

During this training cycle, I attempted to challenge myself with high-mileage weeks, although I did do a gradual build-up and include cut-back weeks. My training went well, although not perfectly. Very early on, I had a minor sprained ankle. Then, I had some hamstring pain.

Numerous weeks passed without abnormal pain, and then on March 14, the hamstring pain came back (I can’t remember if it was the same leg, but it was the same feeling) and I took some unplanned rest days to heal — which did help. This resulted in basically having a four-week taper instead of a three-week taper, but — knock on wood — that pain is gone, and I was able to do well for my expectations at the Tim Kennard River Run. I’ve been taking it easy since then.

This will be my 10th marathon, and my first one — the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon in 2013 — still remains my fastest, at 4:17:45. However, I think I am on track to run my third-fastest marathon, and I’ll be moving closer to that personal record. I’m excited to test myself on a flat course.

I believe my goal of sub-4:45 is in reach. What I plan to do is try to keep a pace of approximately 10:45, and speed up in the last few miles if I feel good. I also saw that the high is currently forecast at 71, according to weather.com, so I really hope it doesn’t get that warm during the race.

At least it’s supposed to be partly cloudy. I just ran in 65 degrees and sun, and that felt warm. However, I can’t change the weather, so I’m just going to hydrate, hope for the best and listen to my body.

Here’s how my training looked. I did make some adjustments along the way, but I didn’t change the weekly goals that I created in the beginning since I had shared the plan with others. Before starting the plan, the previous four weeks’ mileage totaled 30.01, 27.24, 31.9 and 11.03.

Week 1 (Dec. 17-23): Goal – 30 miles; Actual – 30.4 miles (workouts included one faster mile)

Week 2 (Dec. 24-30): Goal – 33 miles; Actual – 14.13 (I injured my ankle, shortened my long run and let it heal)

Week 3 (Dec. 31-Jan. 6): Goal – 36 miles; Actual – 22 miles (ankle still healing)

Week 4 (Jan. 7-13): Goal – 30 miles; Actual – 30 miles (included two tempo miles and 2×1 mile)

Week 5 (Jan. 14-20): Goal – 36 miles; Actual – 33 miles (the first hamstring pain started coming on at the end of this week into the next week)

Week 6 (Jan. 21-27): Goal – 39 miles; Actual – 36.17 miles

Week 7 (Jan. 28-Feb. 3): Goal – 42 miles; Actual – 36.07 miles

Week 8 (Feb. 4-10): Goal – 36 miles; Actual – 36.26 miles (did two tempo miles and later tried to run a fast solo 5K – 29:23)

Week 9 (Feb. 11-17): Goal – 42 miles; Actual: 43.5 miles (included two tempo miles and 6×800 – ranged from 4:21-4:40)

Week 10 (Feb. 18-24): Goal – 46 miles; Actual – 46.15 miles (included three tempo miles and the RRCA Club Challenge)

Week 11 (Feb. 25-March 3): Goal – 50 miles; Actual – 50.41 miles (included 8×800 – ranged from 4:36-4:44)

Week 12 (March 4-10): Goal – 42 miles; Actual – 42.04 miles (included trying to run a fast solo 5K – 28:24)

Week 13 (March 11-17): Goal – 50 miles; Actual – 22.25 miles (My hamstring pain came on as I tried to do my 10 Yasso 800s. I got in four good ones — 4:41 twice and 4:38 twice.)

Week 14 (March 18-24): Goal – 35 miles; Actual – 23.8 miles (still healing; also included Tim Kennard River Run)

Week 15 (March 25-31): Goal – 20 miles; Actual – 20.36

Week 16 (April 1-6): Goal mileage before race – 7 miles; Actual – 7 miles

I also did my planned long run every week except for Week 2, because I had the injured ankle, and Week 13, because I had the hamstring pain. On the day of the RRCA Club Challenge, I ran an additional six miles at home to get my 16 miles.

I felt like I had a strong training cycle for my last marathon, Freedom’s Run, but since I rarely run on hills at home — it’s so flat here — the hills just derailed my chance at a fast-for-me time. During that 16-week training cycle, I ran 480.31 training miles, and I ran 493.54 this time around, so I ran about 13 more miles in the training period (which amounts to an average of less than one per week).

I’m excited for race day and for the experience of running a marathon in my own community. I’m used to traveling for marathons, so it will be a change to do one so close to home. I’ll know so many people and it will be flat — which will be a huge change and benefit for me. Stay tuned to see how I do! I’m sure I will also be posting on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

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