October has come and is now gone. The day before yesterday was Halloween and I was able to squeeze in one more run in the afternoon before handing out candy to the kids. It was actually a fantastic run yesterday. I ran 7.51 miles at an 8.46 minutes average pace which is really fast for me. Everything came together nicely and I even improved some records of mine (disclaimer: I am only keeping track of my running times since I bought a GPS watch in late summer). The image on the left shows you how things went.
I ran for a total of 191 miles in October and I have seen dramatic improvements in my pace times. I am really happy with the outcome and things are coming together nicely from a training perspective. October was the last full month of my marathon training. My race is scheduled for November 17 and I am not too far away from going into my taper. Just thinking about the taper is kind of weird. Doing 2 workouts per day with doing a bootcamp style workout (Kosama) in the mornings and going running every afternoon after work (and a really long run on the weekends), my days will definitely look different. I guess the saying that if you start doing something specific for 30 days and it becomes a habit is true. Going running that often and going long distances has become a habit. I was running before I started my training. I picked up running in 2006/2007, but running that often and as far as I did is something new and it definitely added fun and excitement (and pain) to my life. Cutting back during the taper will make life different yet again. Fortunately the taper period will only be for roughly 2 weeks and then my marathon is finally there.
October was a good month for running for me. Besides of doing many long runs, I was also able to go on vacation and to get some running done at the Pacific coast of California. Every time I ran I was able to run along the coast for quite a while. Seeing the Pelicans dive into the water for fishing, hearing the waves breaking, and seeing the coast line has definitely been inspiring and it kept me motivated. I am used to mountains and hills and desert and so being near the ocean was awesome, but time flies and the vacation came and then went. We stayed in Dana Point in California. It is just south of Newport Beach and Laguna Beach inside Orange County. We had rented a condo with a nice view at the ocean and we could even see Catalina Island in the distance. Most sunsets were amazing to watch. We even went on a whale watching tour, but unfortunately the whales decided not to show up. Hundreds of Dolphins however weren’t as shy and so the trip was great anyway.
Back to running. October saw my longest run so far ever. On Saturday, October 5th I ran 22.1 miles. You can read the run report here. I know that a 20 miler would have provided the same fitness benefits, but I wanted to get a bit closer to 26.2 miles from an experience perspective. My goal was to see how I feel after such a distance and it will help in determining my final marathon pace for the Las Vegas Marathon. I really enjoyed the run, but could tell that I was pushing it towards the end when I ran some of my fastest overall miles.
I ran a few back to back 12 milers in October and I could tell that fatigue was paying a visit after each second 12 miler. However, each 12 miler showed a higher average pace compared to my normal runs and I hope it is a good sign of improved fitness and training paying off. Looking at most marathon training plans, I should have reduced the mileage and the speed every other day and I probably would have fought of the fatigue. But in general I was Ok with things and I added some extra rest in the end (good for the body, good for my mind and spirit).
Coming back from vacation I saw some training videos that showed the benefits of a slightly modified running style and I decided to try to implement some of these changes. The first 3 runs with the modified running style felt great and I kind of automatically ran faster than before while adding an additional mile to each run compared to my normal running distance for these days. The forth run with the modified running style was not as good, but I was still able to improve my average pace. I paid a price for it though. I felt fatigued after the run + my left calf was “grumpy” for about 4-5 days and I made the painful decision to fully rest Friday of that week. I did not even do my beloved Kosama workout. Instead I went to 24 Hour Fitness and spent some time in the steam sauna and the hot tub – massaging my calf while enjoying the warmth of the water on this chilly Friday morning. Now during the last week of October I used the new running form here and there and I have to concentrate less on it. The super-speedy run on 10/31/2013 is partially a result of that new running style.
Now with my average pace improving it makes it difficult for me to decide how fast to run my marathon. While I am not going to race it, I do want to perform well and not leave too much time on the course. My first long run in November (last long run before going into the taper) will hopefully help me to determine what pace I want to run and can run without crashing and burning while hitting a wall.