I did 7x800 intervals last Tuesday which were satisfactory in the 3:45-3:55 range but then wasted a scheduled four mile tempo run on Thursday by simply going easy. I didn't push myself at all. 9:51 pace, which is definitely easy.
Today called for a 15 mile long run, stepping down from last week's last 20. Next weekend is just 10 and the following Sunday is the marathon.
I opted to warm up with a jog to downtown from the house. The first mile was at 11:00 and the second at 9:40. I arrived to the applause of a large crowd of runners (10-12) who waited an extra six minutes for me to get there. I was late.
Having already warmed up I had groovy legs looking to stretch. At the first intersection, that same pack of fasties that merged with us two weeks ago turned the corner again. I was already ahead of my usual group and several of them made the effort to run with me and the fasties.
I wasn't looking behind me. I love the sound of people chasing me. I kept moving and staying ahead of the crowd. Two fasties passed me in the second mile while the rest stayed on my heels. We were moving at a sub-9:00 pace.
It was then that I had to decide. Do I run a marathon training long run or turn it into a forceful tempo run for 10 miles? With the second group of fasties still behind me, my competitive juices kept pushing me forward.
At the four mile stop, we had arrived at an 8:57 pace. At the seven mile stop, it was an 8:52 pace. The final three clocked at a 9:01 pace. I was feeling exceptional for all but the last half mile. I knew I had spent myself. The humidity was causing me to breathe laboriously but I still felt good.
I had some water and started jogging the last three miles towards home. They went by at a 10:29 pace plus I accompanied a newbie jogger who I inspired to take up running a year ago. He manages 30 minutes a day at 9:00-9:30 pace. I gave him kudos and encouragement and eventually pulled into the my neighborhood with a sore cramping left calf.
I waded in the pool's cold water which felt very good. I stretched and, while doing so, marvelled at my fast twitch muscles still vibrating in the feet and calves.
So ... do you think I did right by turning the long run 15 into a tempo 10 plus warm-up and cool down? How will it affect my racing condition?