As I said in my post, Next Up: Copenhagen Marathon (Again), the overwhelming feeling that I had in the first 7 weeks of training for the Copenhagen Marathon was one of excitement.
I was enjoying the whole process – the training as well as some of the things surrounding my training like strength and conditioning, stretching, and nutrition.
As the weeks have gone by, I have become even more focused on my training and the opportunity that I have in front of me on this Sunday (May 14th) in Copenhagen.
But just as importantly, I have continued to focus on stretching every day as I have really felt the benefits – better and quicker recovery, which have allowed me to be ready for the tougher training days in the plan.
On top of all of that, I have continued to enjoy the process of taking it day by day and week by week.
Here’s how the rest of my training cycle has gone and how I feel going into the Copenhagen Marathon this weekend:
Garden Spot Village 1/2 Marathon
When I left off the last training post, I was getting ready to run the Garden Spot Village 1/2 Marathon at the end of March. The goal for that race was mainly just to test my overall training and see where I was through the first 7 weeks.
The plan for the race itself was to run at my planned marathon pace for the first 9 miles (15km) and then, if I was feeling good, I would speed up for the last 4 miles (6km).
Fortunately, everything went according to plan that morning.
After a warmup jog with my friend, Jeremy, I was able to start out comfortably and keep that pace until the last few miles, when I could (and did) speed things up.
Finishing the race in 1:34:31, I was more than happy with my plan for the race.
But I was even more happy with the feeling that my training so far had made it possible to execute my plan in the way that I did.
Weeks 8 through 14 of Training
After the 1/2 Marathon, it was right back into my marathon training and the very important weeks that were coming up.
Increasing mileage and intensity over the next few weeks made everything seem more important – including rest, recovery and stretching.
And while I did those things, two runs stick out during these weeks as highlights – an 18 mile (30km) run on Easter Sunday and a 13+ mile (22km) run to end Week 12.
First, the 18 miler (30km) on Easter Sunday.
I ran this around the neighborhood where I grew up. It was a welcome change of scenery compared to some of my other recent long runs.
What really makes it stick out though was that I had to battle through the last few miles to complete the run as planned. Even though my body was struggling towards the end, I knew I had it in me to finish the run.
Then came the long run to end Week 12. This was a planned run of about 14 miles (22km).
After waiting for the heavy rain to stop that morning, I headed out only for it to start raining immediately and then for the entire run.
Overcoming the physical part of this run wasn’t that difficult for me (except for the chafing!), but overcoming the mental part of it is why this run sticks out. Before the run, I didn’t feel mentally ready to run over 1.5 hours in the rain, but I knew that once I got going, I would be fine.
In between these two runs (during Week 10), I started to get some tightness in my hips. Having had a similar issue before, I knew that this was most likely due the increased training load. This time though, I took immediate action. I went to see a chiropractor and then I really focused on stretching my hips in the days and weeks afterwards. I became very conscious of how they felt before, during and after my runs.
Fortunately , the tightness eased up after a few days and allowed me to finish the last couple of peak weeks pain-free.
Before I knew it, it was time to start to taper until race day!
Plans for Copenhagen
The goal since the beginning of this training cycle has been sub-3:20.
That remains the goal.
If you have been following along (if you need a refresher – RunPatRun Race Series – Part 9: 2022 Copenhagen Marathon), you might remember that last year in Copenhagen I ran with my friend Rune and even though I struggled mightily during the last few miles and I missed a personal best time by just 1 second, I had a great overall experience.
Unfortunately, Rune picked up a serious knee injury and won’t be able to run in Copenhagen this year.
The plan was always for me to run solo this year, so that part won’t change, but having a great friend like Rune out of the race through injury is tough to take.
After 14 weeks of training in this cycle, I feel ready physically and mentally to do what I couldn’t do last year.
My plan is to start out at a reasonable pace for at least the first half of the race. Then, I will make any adjustments necessary to give myself the best chance of reaching my goal.
What remains to be seen is how everything is feeling on race day to allow me to run as planned.
No matter what though, I’m really happy with how this cycle has gone and I will definitely be giving it my best effort on Sunday!
2 thoughts on “Sub-3:20 or Bust??”
Pat, I’ll be thinking of you on your run and praying that all your hard work and planning is as successful as you hope. Good luck and God Bless. Can’t wait to hear the results.
Thanks Aunt Susan!