I completed week 15 of Hal Higdon's Novice 1 marathon training program. This is the peak week of the 18 week training schedule with a total of 40 miles. I ran 20 miles this morning.
The 20 mile run is the longest run in the whole training program. While it's only a couple more miles than the 18 miler I did a couple of weeks ago, it seemed much more difficult. I felt pretty comfortable doing the 18 mile run during week 13 but I was already feeling tired today at the 15 mile mark and had to gut out the last 5 miles. I'm hoping it was just an off day today. Perhaps I went too hard earlier in the week when I ran a couple of fast (for me) 5 milers.
I can understand how they say that the 20 mile mark is like the half way point of the marathon and that it becomes as much a mental challenge as it is physical. I think that I will carry my iPod during my marathon just in case I really need a boost late in the race.
I was feeling a bit sore and stiff after the run so I took an ice bath (actually just a cold bath). We'll see how I feel tomorrow.
It's only three weeks to the marathon so it's time to taper. With fifteen weeks of increasing mileage under my belt, my fitness level has peaked and my body has become accustomed to the rigors of distance running. Now it's time to allow my body to rest to be primed to perform on race day. Next week's mileage will be only 29 miles and the long run will be an easy 12 miles.