Spending Sunday morning at the Vancouver half Ironman to cheer on Tim (see his race report here), I opted to do my long run the next day, split over two sessions. After the first four hours of the day were taken up by the struggle involved in starting my next book, I headed out for the first part and, mentioned in the previous post, ran a little over 18km at a comfortable 5:05/km average pace.
I ran on the road, out and back, enjoyed the tunes on my iPod following the playlist for last year's Haney to Harrison 100km, and felt simply fantastic. In the past few days I've thought a lot about the need to be more focused if I want to get closer to the 3:00 marathon mark, especially by paying attention to the details.
Among those details will be training volume, as I am experimenting with the running mileage my body can handle after more than a decade of training very consistently. Having focused on running for the past six years, and the marathon distance in particular, I've been experienced, careful and fortunate enough to remain injury-free, in large part because of the excellent guidance of a coach.
Now, as I've gathered the confidence to set my own training schedule, with a renewed drive to break the three-year marathon PB drought, I'm keen to push the boundaries. Recently reading the books of volume-focused runners such as Joan Benoit's Running Tide who says that mileage is her safety blanket, I sense a welcome return of obsession, one that allows for great focus in pursuing a goal.
Once A Runner by John L. Parker Jr., which I'm reading now, will no doubt add fuel to my Trial of Miles: Miles Trials fire. (Incidentally, at page 61 now, I've noticed that the thought, "Hmm the mile sounds interesting" has already crossed my mind more than once. Perhaps something to try in 2012?)
Training as a triathlete with a coach who believed (and still does) in high mileage from 2001 until 2005, I remember the physical and mental excitement that comes with aiming for volume - tempered only by the fatigue that follows.
Triathlete Tim, who trained with the same coach then, described those training days in his race report, "The crazy weekend sessions which would include a 100km/120km easy spin on a Saturday and then a 150km or longer spin followed immediately by a 20-30km run with tempo sets on both the bike and run."
Now that I'm embarking on the Trial of Miles as a runner for the first time, I'm relishing the excitement and exhilaration I feel about my training, and am bracing myself for the resulting tiredness, too.
On Sunday evening I mapped out this week: It started with yesterday's 2 1/2 hour session, split in a morning and evening workout, taking care of 29km.
Today I'm doing the Tuesday Runs session with the Squamish Titans, which should take care of 12km. (If not, I'll make sure I do).
For Wednesday, I'm planning a 15km. On Thursday, I'll do 10km in the morning, followed by a 6km in the afternoon, and repeat the same on Friday. That makes for 90km, allow for rest on Saturday, before rounding it up to 100km for the week by racing the run leg of the Squamish Triathlon in AARM Dental's Team Clean on Sunday.
If the week goes as planned, it will be my biggest running week ever. Bring on those miles.