Four weeks to go. Just finished the biggest week of the cycle; 55 miles, which is my biggest week since 1981. I've been able to hit every run on my schedule without any injury problems, and now I gradually dial it down. Feeling very positive!
Since Christmas my weeks have been 36, 46, 50, 52, 33 (cutback with a 10K race), 53, 55. My body is now used to 50+ mile weeks. Sure, the legs are tired, but I feel like I can go out for 10+ miles every day now. I see people running 70-80 miles and think, yeah I could do that. I'm still taking two rest days a week, and if I was really motivated I could change those rest days to easy 5 mile run days. Anyway, I'm good for now. But maybe next cycle I will bump it up a little more.
This week went like this:
Monday: rest and gym
Tuesday: 11 miles
Wednesday: 5x1 on the track with 1/4 mile jogs. Legs a little tired, but I felt fresher as I went along. 7:04, 7:01, 6:53, 6:51, 6:51, for 8 miles total.
Friday: Goal for this week was a trifecta of long runs; 10, 12, 14 in 3 days. I've never done three long days in a row before. I thought I'd do this instead of another 20, inspired by Hanson's methods. The ten was rolling hills and felt pretty good.
Saturday: About 12 miles with my group over some big hills. Legs felt flat, but pretty fine and just went a tad slower than normal.
Sunday. 14 at the beach. Again, the legs were feeling the cumulative fatigue, but the pace still was very close to my usual pace. Beach miles were 8:00-8:10. I never hit a wall. I just kept on trucking through the fatigue. Felt like I could do whatever I needed to do. Good training for the end of the marathon. My goal with all these miles is to finally be able to get through miles 20-26 without hitting the wall and fading. Now if I can just hold back the pace on race day for the first 20...
So, monster month is over. This week I'm cutting back to four days and 45 miles, but finishing with 21 over a ginormous hill. It's a locally famous run called "The Drives" and goes all the way around our local hill, Palos Verdes. Except you still need to climb over most of it. So there's a brutal uphill, and even more brutal downhill. It's a bucket list run. I did it once in the heat and about died and had to walk a lot. I tried a second time and cut it short when I had an offer for a ride after my legs had quit. So I want to do it right for once. It looks like the weather should be cool (40s and 50s). After that it will be time for a three week taper.
Life is good.