Today I ran 6 miles in the sauna otherwise known as West MI. It felt really good, which was surprising, as yesterday was a pretty miserable 18 miler (I walked a good share of that run...mostly due to exhaustion. The 18 I did a week ago felt FAR more comfortable and strong). Today's run was quite possibly my ONLY good run all week. I blame a tough week last week followed by inadequate/poor sleep this week. But I still managed to run my highest mileage week ever, 53.5 miles. Because I was so horribly slow and out of it this week it took me 10 hours to do so, but I did it.
Though it is frustrating when I know runners who will log 70-80 mile weeks in the same amount of time. The catch-22 of running is that one must run more to get faster, but to get faster one needs more hours in the day. And there's that thing about diminishing returns--eventually more time on one's feet puts more of a toll on one's body...regardless of whether that means 50 mile weeks or 100 mile weeks. I'd just be happy to consistently log easy runs in <10>
This next week will be relatively easy. I am going to work on recovering from the last 2 weeks and getting more speed work in. I'm hoping to do 5 miles worth of mile repeats. This is something I haven't really done, but I think I may enjoy this more than a longer cumulative distance at race pace. I'm planning to do my mile repeats at closer to my half marathon pace. I'm really starting to enjoy the bit of speed work I have done in the past month and it's definitely seeming to bring my average run pace down. I think a big factor in my cramping issues during my first 2 marathons was the reality that my body only had one gear. Since the bulk of my training was all done at the same pace my muscles had no knowledge of any other speed.
This time around I am hoping to change that. Even if I only PR by 5-10 minutes it will be worth it. And if I can push cramping back a few miles or even avoid it entirely...that would be fabulous.