JC Marathon Training Week 10: Cresting the Final Peak

In the beginning, marathon training seems endless. The race is so far away.

But slowly, it comes into picture. The majority of the plan is behind me, this week is the last big push.

Once I make it through this week, I’m done with the worst of it and I can ease up for the final few weeks.

So far, training has gone pretty well. I’ve consistently hit my mileage goals, and most of my workouts have gone well.

Can I end on a high note this week?

The Plan for Week 10

This was the final peak week of this training cycle – with 85 miles. I also hit two peak workouts. Once I make it through, it’ll be time to start easing up.

Here’s the daily breakdown:

  • Sunday: 18 mile long run
  • Monday: 8 mile easy morning run, 5 mile evening treadmill run
  • Tuesday: 8 mile easy morning run
  • Wednesday: 10 mile I workout, 4.5 mile evening treadmill run
  • Thursday: 8 mile easy run, 4.5 mile evening treadmill run
  • Friday: 11 mile T workout
  • Saturday: 8 mile easy run

And here’s how it went.

Sunday’s Long Run: Overcoming Obstacles

Sunday’s long run was a bit problematic from the beginning – but I was determined to make it happen.

I had to attend a work event, which meant I needed to leave the house around 11am. So I got up early – and with the switch for daylight savings time I didn’t get much sleep.

But I got out the door at 7am, and I got moving. The first ten miles was a bit slower than I expected, and I had to run through some minor flooding. There was a stretch of my route with 1-2 inches of water covering the entire road.

The low point of the run came at the ten mile mark. After I checked my splits and saw the pace, I went to take a sip from my flask. I must have pulled on the bite valve a bit, and it ended up coming off the flask entirely.

I just stared in disbelief as the water flowed out of the flask and poured out on the ground …

But it was nice and cool, so I didn’t really need the water. I only brought it to wash down some gels. With eight miles to go, I decided to forgo the last two gels and just finish up.

Things got better in the second half. I pushed the pace a little bit for the final eight miles. I wanted to see if I could comfortably average under 8:00/mi.

After running the first ten in 1:28:24 (just under 9:00/mi), I managed to wrap up the the final eight in 1:03:38 (just under 8:00/mi). It was on the tougher end of easy – more of a steady state than a simple easy run – but it was definitely comfortable. Or at least as comfortable as 18 miles can be.

I finished up feeling pretty good. I went home for a quick shower, and relaxed off my feet for an hour or so, sipping some coffee. Then, it was time to head out for my work event. I got back at 6pm and promptly dropped in the bed for a well earned nap.

Slow Recovery Monday

After Sunday’s long run, Monday was a scheduled recovery day.

I started off with an easy 8 miles in the morning. Things went well, and I felt fine.

The temperature had dropped over night, and it was in the 30’s, cloudy, and windy. One last gasp of winter. I bundled up with a long sleeve shirt and my heavy gloves and got to it.

I started out slow, and halfway through I stopped to do some leg swings. I’ve been incorporating them more as a warm up during my runs. Things definitely felt tight, but after the leg swings the pace quickened a little bit (8:45/mi) for the second half.

After I got home from work, I hopped on the treadmill for an easy five miles. Uneventful, other than feeling pretty good.

Tuesday: Slow and Easy with Some Strides

On Tuesday, I just had an easy eight miles on the schedule.

I didn’t have to go into the office, so I was able to sleep a little later. The weather was also nicer than Monday – one step closer to spring.

After a leisurely cup of coffee, I finally got out the door and made my way down to the reservoir.

I felt a little looser than Monday. When I stopped in the middle for the leg swings, they were a lot easier. Much less stiffness. I wrapped up with 10x strides in the second half.

I was feeling good – still a little slow, but mostly recovered from Sunday’s long run – and looking forward to a good workout on Wednesday.

Wednesday: Another Chance at an I Workout

Last week, my Wednesday workout did not go well. My first rep was decent, but then I lost the pace and I just couldn’t keep things on track. I ended up running an average pace of 6:21/mi – which isn’t horrible but is much slower than I had wanted.

This week, I was hoping to do better.

The total volume of the workout was the same – 24 minutes at I pace. I increased the length of the reps one final time. The workout was 6×4 minutes at I pace with 3 minute jogging recoveries. My watch was programmed for a wide range (5:55-6:20/mi), but my hope was to dial in around 6:10-6:15/mi.

Things went much better this week.

I felt good, and I ripped out the first rep a little fast 6:05/mi. The second one was right on target – 6:12/mi.

The longer reps are tough, and by the end of 4 minutes I’m really huffing and puffing. The start of the recovery is super slow, but with three minutes I was good to go by the time the next rep rolled around.

The third rep, I started to slow down a little. 6:20/mi. The next two were 6:15 and 6:19.

Through five reps, things were pretty good. The last rep, I really started to flag at the end, though. I felt like I was really pushing the pace, but I must have been totally wiped. I looked at Garmin Connect afterwards – 6:28/mi.

Other than the last rep, everything was right on target. Even with the slow rep, the average pace was 6:16/mi.

All in all, I’d say it was a good workout. Not perfect, but much better than last week. And I’ll consider this ending on a high note for the final real I workout of the training block.

After work, I added a four and a half mile double on the treadmill to pad the miles a bit. Uneventful.


Thursday was an easy recovery day, and I needed it.

In the morning, I was stiff and tired. I jogged down to the reservoir for my easy 8 miles. I felt a little something odd in my right knee, and I made a mental note to check in on this throughout the run. If anything felt off, I’d stop and go home.

But it loosened up and felt fine. The run was super slow, though. 10:00 for the first mile, mid 9:00’s for the next few.

I stopped halfway through for some leg swings. The first few were stiff, but by the end I had opened up to the full range of motion. I finished up with 10x strides in the last few miles.

I felt ok at the end – but I wasn’t sure if I’d be ok for a workout the next day.

In the evening, I hopped on the treadmill for an easy 4.5 miles. Uneventful.


I slept in a bit to get a little extra rest, and I felt pretty good when I actually left for my workout. The plan was the same workout as last week – 2 x 5 minutes T with 1 minute walking recovery, followed by 3 x 10 minutes T with 2 minutes walking recovery.

It was hot the day before, and I didn’t think to check the weather to see how warm it was in the morning. I probably should have done so. It was around 60 when I left the house, and it was in the mid 60’s when I was done. Not super hot – but definitely warm considering how cool it’s been lately.

As I warmed up, I felt pretty good. Did the first four miles, some strides, and some leg swings, and it was time to hit the reps. But I was feeling the heat a bit, and I was already pretty sweaty. Between some light wind, the moderate heat, and all the fatigue, I dialed back my expectations a bit and decided to target 6:30-6:35/mi.

The first rep felt pretty good – 6:32/mi. The next one, shielded from the wind, felt even better – 6:31/mi.

At this point, I was feeling good about the workout. In the next rep, I split the first mile at 6:36 and finished slightly faster (6:33/mi) over the last half. Pace was good, but it was catching up to me. It might have been a little too hard for the weather.

The next rep was similar – albeit a little slower. 6:38 split at the mile mark and 6:36/mi for the last half mile.

So far, so good. But when I started the final rep, my legs were dead. When I checked my pace it was only 6:40. I kept going a little further, and the pace was getting slower. I might have been able to push through for a short, 5 minute rep – but 10 minutes wasn’t going to happen.

I decided to bail on the rest of the workout. I jogged slowly for a couple minutes to fully recover, and then I finished up at a steady 8:15-8:30/mi.


Friday afternoon, we left for a weekend away in Philly. We’re staying downtown near city hall, so it’s a mile over to the Schuykill River Trail.

I needed to run an easy 8 miles to round out my mileage for the week. I left the hotel, ran up Ben Franklin Parkway, and hopped up the Rocky steps at the Art Museum. Then, I cut down to the path along the river and went out another three miles before turning around.

The weather was beautiful – 40’s and sunny. The park was full with other people running, walking, and biking. There were a bunch of kids out as part of Students Run Philly Style. A few early trees were starting to bud.

The vibe was great, and after a slow first two miles I eased into a steady 8:15-8:30 pace. I felt good, and hopefully I’ll feel alright for my long run tomorrow.

Looking Ahead

I’m glad this week is over. It wasn’t perfect – Friday’s workout was the first time this training cycle I bailed early.

But the rest of the week was great. My long run went well, and Wednesday’s workout was solid. I hit my mileage mark, and I ended the week feeling pretty good.

Now, I can start to come down off the peak. I’ve got the Spring Distance Classic coming up on Sunday, so I’ll trim the mileage down to 70 miles this week and ease up on the workouts.

After that, I’ll have an easy week to recover, a final big workout, and then it’s full on taper time.

Tomorrow is four weeks to the Jersey City Marathon. I’m feeling ready.

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