Day 51: Making the Shift from Speed to Endurance

My marathon journey has required me to shift from focusing on speed to focusing on endurance, which, as my running coach Jeff Galloway says, is what the marathon is primarily about. For the solo marathon early last year, after running under 9 minute miles throughout 2020, it was a big deal to let myself slow to 9:30 min/mile. But it was exactly this change that helped me complete the marathon distance. Last fall, to handle a training load of 40+ miles per week getting ready for CIM, I slowed to about 10 minute miles, and I truly got the distinction of “long run” pace for the first time.

This time around I plan on running closer to 11 minute miles for long runs. I’m off to a good start. Two days ago I ran 17 miles, using a minute walk break every five minutes. Not only was this the longest run I’ve done this year so far,** it was the sloooooowest long run I have done, at about 11:20 min/mile. In fact, at over three hours and eleven minutes, it was the fourth longest amount of time I have ever run:

My Longest Runs in Terms of Time-Duration:

  1. Marathon #1: Time: 4:07:38 April 18, 2021
  2. Marathon #2: Time: 3:57:41 December 5, 2021
  3. 20 miler training Run: Time: 3:34:02 October 23, 2021
  4. 17 mile training run: Time 3:11:51, TWO DAYS AGO (August 20, 2022)

In fact, I have done six 20-milers, and all of them but the one above took less time than my 17-miler on Saturday! This is no accident. After all, I am doing the Galloway program, which features four (count ’em four!) 20+ mile runs: a 20-miler, 23-miler, 26-miler, and a 29-miler. I have never run these distances, especially in training. And I am doing everything I can to make sure I have a good experience.

These are the dates of the upcoming long runs:

  • 20 miles: September 3rd
  • 23 miles: September 24th
  • 26 miles: October 15th
  • 29 miles: November 6th
  • CIM (26.2 miles): December 4th

Outside of some faster running that’s part of the training schedule, I am calibrating all my focus this time to handling these long runs with maximum ease.

And that means going slow!

So far so good! I wrote about my blissful day of doing nothing yesterday. Today I ran 5.5 miles today and generally felt well-rested, which is an improvement on how I sometimes felt last year after long runs.

*Interestingly, this is also my surname 🙂

**I ran two 15 milers and two 14 milers earlier in the year, as well as two public half marathons. I kept my base of training really strong in anticipation for marathon training. “base training” for the first six months of the year looked like 25-30 miles a week. I am quite well-adjusted to this and it went very well. I enjoyed my runs, but I didn’t feel that it was too much at all. I easily got 115+ miles per month in the first half of the year.

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