One more week with a 16km Sunday run, and then it’s 19km, 23km and 26km through the month of February.

That big-time ramp up at around week six has killed the dreams of many who take on the challenge of training for a marathon. This is the time when the going gets tough. The choice? Either get going, or…not.

I’ve spent the last eight weeks building a very good foundation on which to build in the next phase. Heading into the house building phase that awaits in February is actually not something I dread. Rather, because I know I’ll be building on that solid foundation of fitness and strength, it’s actually exciting to think about the big Sunday runs to come.

But as the mileage ramps up quickly on Sunday, I also need to slow down to ensure that I can avoid injury and build smart. That started this week with a focus on paying attention to running the right pace on my various runs.

Four Good Runs

Tuesday is tempo day, and that’s my chance to run a bit faster and push things a little bit. It’s only a 6km run, so that translates to a little less than 30 minutes total for me. I ran it in 28:18 this week and that was still a fairly conservative tempo pace. I might look at just running 30 minutes on Tuesdays rather than running the usual 6km distance.

Wednesday is also a chance to run faster, but over a longer distance (and therefore, more time). A 47:17 this week showed the progress I’ve made in building strength and fitness. Keeping things reasonable through the non-tempo runs, and not pushing things too hard on Tuesday will make these Wednesday 10km runs better.

On Thursday, I eased the pace back and ran 8km in just over 42 minutes. That’s not slow, but it’s certainly an easier pace for me than the tempo runs. It’s a bit tough mentally to run that slower pace, but I know that the payoff comes on Sunday when I’ll have more strength and endurance, with less fatigue.

Saturday is another 6km run on my training schedule and it’s super tempting to run this one fast as well. But I worked in some hills and kept the pace easy, averaging 5:20/km for 32:05.

Sunday Runday with EBRC

That brings me to Sunday. It was another run with the Eastbound Run Crew (EBRC). Things are really coming together at EBRC with the Sunday runs from The Lab. We have a good group with a lot of experienced runners, many of them long time friends. I stepped back to the 5:30/km pace group today and we did really well.

I ran up front, setting the pace for much of the run. I used page two of my Garmin which omits the time screen in favour of a realtime pace as the main metric. Keeping the pace around 5:30-5:40/km was a bit of a challenge at times, but the overall average pace for the run was right on the money: 5:30/km.

The great news was that 18.5km felt pretty easy. It’s been a long time since I’ve run that far, and while the schedule called for 16km again this week, we’re adding on a bit since most of the group has been to 42.2km multiple times.

200km Month

January comes to an end on Wednesday and I’ll finish up the month at around 205km. Running 200km a month is a pretty big deal for me. I’ve written about this before, but not too many years ago, I wouldn’t hit 200km in a month until March. Thanks to running a higher mileage program, and mostly thanks to running five times a week, these 200km months come earlier in the year for me now.

Onwards to the next phase. 98 days to go.