16 Miles (Part II)
Somedays of training are just hard work with little feeling of reward. Today was one of the days where you feel like you are making progress and can see the benefits of the hard work.
I had been struggling with my long runs of late and had done alot of run/walking after 10 or 12 miles. Today I took my long run to a flatter course to gain some confidence with less than 6 weeks to my marathon. It worked. I was able to run all 16 miles at a 8:30 pace.
With the hills of my normal training runs, I have not been able to get under 9 minute pace. My level of confidence had been suffering. Not being able to run for the entire distance and the less than desirable pace.
The run this morning has turned me around and I feel like a 3:30 marathon is a strong possiblity. The biggest difference for me was being able to fight off the desire to bail and start walking. Everytime I got the feeling to walk, I turned around and ran backwards instead. I was able to maintain my pace and gave my forward working muscles enough of a break to keep me charging on. As referenced in my blog “Rough Patches”, backwards running has been a key in my Boston Marathon Qualifying times. I swear by this practice. The key is the switch from forwards running to backwards and back. If you try backwards running, practice on a track or smooth trail before trying it in a race. Practice the switch slowly at first and see if one direction of the twist works better than the other. Is counter clockwise better than clockwise or see there no difference for you.
Experimenting with courses and styles of running can yield some amazing results. Break from the norm.