Last meaningful run until the marathon, that is. I had my final scheduled double-digit run today. It was originally penciled in as a 12-miler, but I decided to make it a half marathon so I could do a test-run of my marathon, in miniature. It was VERY windy, but the rain held off.
My main concern is finding appropriate paces at different times during the race. My race plan can be summed up in two words: Patient and Conservative. That describes the first half of my race, anyway (I hope). I had a few friends run marathons this past weekend, and while I congratulate them for doing great, the comments I heard most were similar to, "man, I died at mile 18" or "those last 6 miles took forever!", etc. That may happen to me even if I do go out slowly, but I know they WILL happen if I'm NOT patient and conservative for the first half (or longer) of the race.
So, with all that said, here's how I approached today's run, as told by the numbers:
Overall time - 1:45:41 - 8:04 pace
First half - 55:23 - 8:27 pace
2nd half - 50:18 - 7:41 pace
I'm pretty happy with my pacing. My later miles were a little quicker than planned, but it's what my body naturally wanted to run. We'll see if that happens during the race. As I did in this mini-test, I'll take the first few miles very slowly, then gradually pick up the pace. Later in the race, if I've got sub-8's in me, then I'll go for it. I'm also pleased with how my heart rate settled into a nice zone later in the run. Low 140's seem to be pretty sustainable for me for a reasonable distance.
Hydration: I decided to take a drink every half mile. It ended up being a little annoying, but I wanted to make sure I was well hydrated. In the marathon, I'll probably drink once per mile. I took a shot of Hammer Gel at mile 5. In the race, I'm planning on taking a hit every 6 miles.
I weighed myself right before the run. After the run, I peed about 15 oz (don't ask me how I know. Just…trust me). During the run, I drank about 25 oz of weakly mixed Heed. When I got home, I weighed myself again and had lost 2.2 lbs. It was more than I had hoped to lose, but better than the 4.6 lbs I lost after last week's 16-mile run.
My messed-up toe was an issue again. It started feeling uncomfortable at about mile 8. I tried to focus on not pushing off with my toes (while not altering my normal stride), but I'm now convinced that my shoes are the main cause. Sadly, my Brooks Launches (my favorites) may not be my race day shoe. If I don't go with them, it'll have to be my Brooks Defyance 3's, which are a great training shoe, but a bit heavier. I'll bring both to the race and make the call there.
From here on out, every run until the race will be relatively short. I'll still throw in some marathon pace miles, but it's time to let the body fully recover. I'm still feeling a little tired, so I welcome some down time.