I cheated today. Well, not REALLY, but I feel like I did.
I have been running like crazy this summer, prepping for my first big 26.2 on September 22nd. August has been brutal with three long runs of 15, 17 and 18 miles on three consecutive weekends. This weekend, I "only" had 10 miles on the agenda, and those 10 miles (almost) felt like nothing compared to the previous long runs.
Marathon training really can mess with your head, at least that is my experience with it. I am doing a fairly low-maintenance training schedule (running no more than 4 days each week) and I"m not killing myself with a lot of speed work. As I have said in previous posts, I am not super fast. I average an 8:30-8:45 pace on a good day, which is still pretty respectable given the fact that I am not blessed with many natural athletic abilities (I am tall, klutzy and have big feet that are very easy to trip over).
All of the experienced marathoners and training plans I researched have cautioned that your marathon pace will be slower than your shorter-distance pace. So far, I have been averaging a pretty consistent 10-minute pace on my long runs. I have run several half marathons/20K's, and my pace for those is usually between 9:00-9:30, so I seem to be on track with my pacing. Although, I'd much prefer to have my long runs be a little faster-paced, it is to my advantage to keep them where they are and not try to be a hero (or a show-off).
Great! It was a bit warm and humid, but there was a nice breeze. I ran the 10 miles in 1:36:23 (around a 9:30 pace), and ran it with a negative split (which is my goal in every run, no matter the distance). I have had so many runs recently with a 10-minute pace, it was reassuring that I still can pull off a 9:30 pace for a substantial distance.
I tried using moleskin for the first time today. I have heard it is good for blisters and/or callouses. I haven't had many issues with blisters, but I do have a callous on the ball of my right foot. It's been there forever, and never really gives me problems but it feels a little funky after a long run. Today, I put a piece of moleskin on that to give it some cushioning and protection, and I think it helped! I also wear wool socks for my long runs (anything over 5-6 miles). They wick the moisture away from the skin, which is probably why I don't have many problems with blisters.
My training is winding down, yippee!!!! I have a 20-miler next weekend, a half marathon the following week, and then tapering for the remaining two weeks leading up to my first-ever marathon. It's hard to believe it is almost here. Just a few months ago, I never would have imagined I'd be experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime event. I saw somewhere that less than 1% of the human population will ever do a marathon in their lifetime, and I will be part of that 1% in 29 days.