Today was the day Indiana runners dream about all year...a fall day with sunshine, clear skies and comfortable temperatures. Shoot we get 4, maybe 5 days like this each year...and if it falls on a weekend, it's even better...and if it falls on a day when you have a long run scheduled, well, that's just amazing.
A bonus was a home football game for Purdue with a noon kickoff. My loop through campus allowed me to share a bit in the fun, pregame atmosphere. There is something fun about the drum cadence from a big marching band. It's a hoot to jump into a touch football game with some college kids as you run by. It's fascinating to watch the people trooping to a game.
Three weeks until the Chicago Marathon, so today is the last long run. I had 22 on the calendar and it went well. I ran today the way I plan to run in Chicago, a 4/1 run/walk ratio, using heart rate to indicate effort. During the first 16 miles of the run, the pace was steady and it all worked fine. Over the last 7 miles, the temperature had risen to the upper 70s and my HR was up, more and more. I found it worked well to simply slow down to get to a proper zone. That got me home fine. Due to a slight route change, I had 22.7 miles as I neared home...I went a bit farther to round it off to an "even" 23.
One perplexing thing during the run...the legs seemed "tired", more so than I anticipated they should be. Why?? Later in the day, I realized the likely reason. All my reading on training and all the training I've done in the last four years counsel to separate long runs by three weeks. And I have not. I did 22 on August 21, then did the 30K race two weeks later and now 23 in two more weeks. Yep, the legs were tired and the two-week separations explain why. Particularly at age 56 (nearly 57!), that timing is key.
So, I'm glad to have three weeks before John and I line up with 40,000 of our closest friends in Grant Park and begin a tour of the Windy City. An intelligent taper should leave the legs fresh and ready to run early and run often that day.