Hal's program calls for longer marathon pace runs in Week 10 (9 miles) and Week 13 (10 miles). There is one more 10 mile pace run in Week 16. These are the longest pace runs that he calls for in his Advanced 1 Program. So I felt that is was important to get both of these runs as close to marathon pace as I could. They would be the best "practice" for race day that I could get.
9 mile pace run Friday, August 17, 2012
I did the 9 mile pace run with my friend, Julia. It is always easier for me to meet a friend in the early morning hours than to run alone. I did end up running the last 2 miles alone, but she helped me a lot in the first 7. My overall pace was 7:07.
10 mile pace run Friday, September 7, 2012
This run turned out to be a big mental test for me. Julia was supposed to meet me, but she got sick and sent me a text that I did not get until I had already driven to our meeting spot. So I had a choice--run it alone or skip the run. I had 3 things against me: no sunlight, no friend, and no music (I don't listen to music when I run in the dark). So I did not think I would be able to do it. Plus, I'd been battling a cold and wasn't feeling 100% back yet.
I am happy to report that I really pushed through all of those obstacles and made the run happen. I did mile repeats around a nearby shopping center for part of the run and did the rest along a major road, trying to stay in well-lit, visible places. In the last 2 miles, I tried picturing my finish in Baltimore, imagining what the clock would say at Miles 25 and 26 and trying to use that as motivation for me on this run. The overall pace was 7:11.
Both of these pace runs went much better than the ones I did last year in preparation for Chicago. I think I am learning more about why pace runs are important, and I am taking them more seriously. They are good confidence-boosters. They help me to feel more ready to run 26 miles at this pace.
The 20 miler I did the day after this 10 miler did not go so well, however. I will post about that run later this week.