Goodness, that was a delightful one. It is about 20 degrees F, semi-Antarctic conditions (but not windy and nothing underfoot, so not really!), and I had an absolutely lovely late-afternoon 6+ miles...
1. Frozen dreadlocked hair icicles at the back of the neck - must get hair cut shorter and/or wear ponytail when it's well below freezing!
2. These tights really are not warm enough on their own - I think I should get the thicker/warmest version of this same brand, they are very good otherwise...
I was pondering the constraints of this next round of marathon training as I ran. My hands really are tied on this one, as it were: I've really only got six more weeks to train; I have a book deadline on Feb. 2 whose importance supersedes all other things; school starts next week, and the first two weeks of the semester are really the busiest in the entire school year (we have eight job candidates coming in, which means meals as well as the actual talks, and I need to read nearly a hundred graduate admissions folders, aside from other sundries - this is all in the last bit of January).
That said, there are a couple principles I intend to follow.
First of all, as Brent says, I am training to finish rather than to race it with a time goal - I would like to finish strong, and training even just to finish a marathon is a serious business, but I am not worried about speed. It is also true that having a bit less training time than one likes is a good way of keeping mentally sharp - probably better to be wishing for more miles than slightly burned out on running....
I will try and run four times a week, even if one is just a short one.
(Obviously I will be swimming quite a bit also!)
I will try and fit in a 16-, an 18- and a 20-miler (with 12- or 14-milers in the alternate weeks, but I haven't left myself a lot of wiggle room on this, and it's possible I might need to curtail one of the longer ones if I have any concerns about injury).
I will also try and have at least a couple runs on the hilly trails at Van Cortlandt Park - if it snows, I will make getting up there an absolute priority, since I think it is my best approximation of racing conditions.
But the single best race-specific strategy I've come up with is that for the duration of this round of training, I am switching my 'default' 6-mile run from the flat and relaxing and really quite lovely Riverside run I have been doing very regularly (from 116th St. down to the sanitation pier at 59th St. and home again) for a hilly one in Central Park.
I tried it out today, and it was utterly divine, I will get it on autopilot and it will be great!
The upper loop in the park is much the hilliest, because it includes that great long Harlem Hill; if you just do that top bit and around through the 102nd St. transverse, it is 1.42 miles, according to Coach Mindy's strictly accurate pedometer-measured map.
So the new routine 6-miler involves running at an easy pace over to the park, doing 3 upper loops (i.e. ~4.3) and then running easy home (which also includes a hill up 110th St.). Comes in just over 6 miles; truly and gloriously strenuous!
Aptest (and fortunately only - I do not relish commentary, only I fear it is inevitable when one is a youngish female runner kitted out in full running garb on a cold day when not too many others are out there) observation by a passerby as I toiled up the hill for the third time: "Great workout! I can't believe you do what you do! The world is a great place!"