5 weeks toward Boston and the first phase of hill work is done. I can say that I honestly feel a little crisper and more powerful and now can feel ascents come to me as I run relaxed(ly) and smoothly up even the more aggressive climbs. It is a nice feeling, leads to further relaxation.
Within this phase I have also been building the long run... of course. Beginning at 90 minutes of easy running, I have now hit that mark two times and then moved on to 1:45 and even 2 hours this week! My goal is to run 20-24 miles (3hour training runs) about 10 times over the 6 month period. This works well for me at ultra distances and keeps my from feeling fatigue as early, obviously. As the distance builds and my body becomes accustomed to it I will add some quality to those runs every 3rd time or so.
It is not enough to slog through the long run- not if you expect to meet time goals come marathon day. For this reason, I will be completing about 40% of my (later) long runs as progression runs to practice goal pace and closing speed when tired. These will be eased in on shorter 90 minute runs (on the in-between weeks) and then transitioned into the bulk of the training later. (Hilly long runs are also priority in a 3 week rotation with easy long runs.)
With the first of two hill phases complete, I now enter the speed phase of quality work. Today I will go to the track for the initial visit with Yasso 800s. I will complete this workout 3 times in what I am referring to as pretest (today), midterm and final exam. All three I will attempt at goal pace of 2:50 per 800 meter session. This workout will serve as my constant on the track, so I can see how things are progressing toward April 18th.
What do I expect today... ? No clue, never done Yasso's really... I will run by feel with the idea of 2:50 in mind and after 10 repeats I will see where things have landed. This early the point is the work itself and building toward the end goal which is months and months away. Not only is the physical work important, but the pre-workout (think pre-race) routine is being ingrained as well, complete with the proper level of relaxation and arousal.
Early on in the process toward the marathon, I am happy with the progress I am making. My volume is just about right (despite a full schedule) and the long runs have come back to me quickly despite a few months away from them. Remarkable how the body and mind are so great at remembering things they have done before. It also helps that my "rest" this cycle was much more active than it has been in the past, not starting from zero is nice. Yasso here I come! Onto the speed :)