Since starting up Pete Pfitzinger‘s Advanced Marathoning plan in preparation for IM Wisconsin (also known as IMmoo), I’ve been feeling more confident with my running. Maybe it’s because I’m trying something new, or because I haven’t really had to put the hammer down yet. Yeah, sure, last week I had to do a 4mile lactate threshold run (that’s at 15K race pace) and Pfitzinger’s plan demands that your second half of long runs is faster than your first… but we’re not talking race-fast, we’re just talking “pick it up a little.” So, when the first marathon-pace run came up on my schedule for today, I was pretty nervous.
It’s not that my goal marathon pace isn’t something I can keep for a few miles. But with Pfitzinger’s plan, again- the last half of the run is supposed to be the hardest. So, for today’s marathon race pace run, which was supposed to total 16miles, 8 of which were designated for marathon race pace. I assumed, based on his book, that the 8 harder miles take place at the end (and I am pretty sure that’s the right approach, but if its not, someone should let me know before I get too far into this plan!). So that was the plan.
Margot, Karl, and I set off down the snowmobile trail that heads from Houghton to Ontonagon. It’s a pretty easy, gentle climb all the way to South Range, and when we approached the town, we decided to pop out onto the road and head back to Houghton via the paved route. This was decided 1) because of the GPS’s accuracy issues and 2) because it might be easier to hold a faster pace than on sandy, rocky trail.
The run was great. Our first two miles were at a decent, downhill clip of 7:15 and 7:18. A little fast, but it was mostly downhill. We stayed under 7:30 for miles 3 and 4, but mile 5 (which was mostly climbing) was a painful 7:43. Miles 6 and 7 were a bit faster at 7:15s, and the last one rang in at 7:24. Not too shabby. I felt tired, winded, but was excited to roll down Denton Road to US41 after we hit the 8th mile mark and pop onto the Portage snowmobile path. It was a nice, steady, easy pace back to town, but the 16mile goal was extrapolated to 21. Oops. Good thing tomorrow is a rest day!
You can check out the run route here: 21mile loop from downtown Houghton