Boston Training Weeks 12 and 13: Up All Night and Revising the Plan

By Carissa

The finish line is in sight.  Ahead are two weeks of hard training and then it will be time to taper.  Weeks twelve and thirteen brought more lessons in training.  Literal, by-the-book, see-the-workout-through-even-if-it-kills-you Carissa made some revisions to the plan and they were good choices.  

The best part about week twelve had nothing to do with running.  For the second year in a row I had the luxury and privilege of attending a Women’s Night of Prayer.  This event went from 11:59PM to 6:00AM.  Last year I was training for a spring marathon as well. It was with trepidation that I ran seventeen miles the morning of the event wondering if I really could stay up all night.  By the grace of God I did and I knew I could do it again this year.  I wasn’t the only one either.  Three of my friends that attended Night of Prayer are also marathon training.  I love that they chose this event over sleep.  The night was food for my soul: worship, prayer, confession, quiet time, girlfriend time.  I came home refueled and refreshed.
My name of God from the night of prayer.
I'm so thankful that He DOES supply all my needs.

I’ve been making a few revisions to the running plan.  I mentioned last time that I didn’t realize when I chose this plan that it would be so much harder than my last training plan.  I continue to suspect that I’m toeing the line with overtraining.  I feel pretty unequipped to make the call but I’m doing my best to be smart and open to revisions.

My first revision was in week twelve.  The day before my 17 mile long run I was supposed to run a race.  It was a Thursday and there was no race for me to run.  In fact I was at home running on my treadmill.  Initially I thought I would run a mock 10k.  I’ve read about runners doing this and it seemed to go well for them.  However, thanks to some wise advice from the Team Athena coach I realized this workout wasn’t the right choice.  Instead I ran a tempo run and it felt like the appropriate level of difficulty.

The next revision came this week for my long run.  As I have mentioned before, the Hal Higdon schedule I followed last spring alternates peak training weeks with recovery weeks.  The Advanced Marathoning schedule has five hard weeks in a row.  This week was the third hard week.  My long run was going to be a tough one: eighteen miles with the last fourteen at marathon pace.  Suffice it to say this run has been taking up a lot of mental space all week.  
I picked up this tank and shirt to get printed with the Team Athena logo.
I will probably be wearing one of these for my race.

On Thursday I came to terms with how tired my body was.  My speed work on Tuesday was a poor showing yet again.  I just can’t rely on my legs for speed lately.  I thought to myself, "I’ve already logged 29 miles this week.  I should just log two more easy runs, use this week as a recovery week and go into the next two hard weeks refreshed."  

The morning after I made the decision to scrap my long run, I planned to run six easy miles.  It was a cool sunny day and it felt great to be outside.  With a full night’s sleep under my belt and no expectations for the run, I set out.  I was less than a quarter mile into my run when I decided I should make it a pace run.  The schedule doesn’t have me running race pace very often. I felt good. Why not take this opportunity to log some miles at race pace?  Six miles became eight.  And eight miles became ten.  I felt great. I could have kept going but I needed to get back home. 

After the workout I felt conflicted.  I thought I was being smart by making the change.  But because the run felt so good, I also felt like I just missed my opportunity for a confidence building, challenging eighteen mile run.  In either case, the benefits remain.  I was happy that ten went so smoothly and I think my legs will feel better going into next week.  Even if I could have run eighteen and have it go well, it doesn’t change the fact that cumulatively it might have done me in.  It’s a hard call to make.  
Try this for a quick lunch: massaged kale (prep ahead), lentils,
avocado and Annie's Goddess dressing

On another note, my pacing is dreadful.  The race pace I wanted to train at was 7:38.  Hitting 7:3X on my pace run would have been great but I couldn’t do it.  Every time I looked at my watch I was up to 30 seconds faster.  If I tried to slow down I would miss the mark and end up being 30 seconds too high.  My overall pace ended up being 7:24.  I hope this isn’t a problem when I’m running Boston.  I am queen of going out too fast at the start.

Do you ever notice your body wants to go a certain pace?  What if your targeted race pace is different than what feels natural?


  1. I think that you were being really smart by making those changes. I feel like a training plan should be a guidance, but not every workout should be set in stone. I never used to think like that until last year when I had a heart to heart conversation with my coach. Leading up to Eugene I never missed a long run, but I missed about 6 workouts during the week. Like missed as in couldn't even run them. Looking back now obviously something was seriously wrong, but at the time I was just doing what I could do to get to Eugene.

    Love the tops you got for your race! I am getting a Brooks singlet screen printed next week for San Fran and probably for Windermere. The top is hot pink and I will put the Nuun and Brooks logos on the back. Maybe my name on the front?

    1. Your personalized singlet sounds fun Tasha. Thanks for the encouragement about the missed workouts. If I've ever needed help making revisions to a schedule it is this one. The good news is that I am ALMOST done. Being this close propels me on to the finish.