Some people like to rest-up well the day before a long run. Long runs are, after all, the bread and butter of a marathon training plan so it makes sense to go into them with fresh legs. Right?
I guess. To some degree.
For me, though, I go in to my long runs with not-so-rested legs. My theory is that there will come a point in the marathon when I'll have to run on tired legs. Possibly very tired legs. I need to be prepared for that -- both physically and mentally. So, I've been fitting in a good run the evening before my long runs.
Like this weekend. I had 14 on the schedule for Saturday morning at 7:30. Friday afternoon at 3:30 I kicked things up with a speed workout. I warmed up, ran 6 x 400 at 7-7:05 pace, cooled down -- total of 6 miles. Later, I made sure to roll my legs. On Saturday, I met Melissa for the 14 miles and we rocked them! We chatted the entire run and floated along at what felt like a nice, comfortable pace for the entire run. Overall, our pace was 9:22, with our last mile at 8:57. Best of all is that it felt so very easy! (Helps having a good running partner!)
I've done similar routines before my other long runs, too. For example, for both of my 20-milers, I ran about 4.5 miles (with the last mile or so at marathon goal pace) the evening before.
For me, packing in tough-ish repeats the evening before a morning long run builds the strength and endurance to be able to push it during the late stages of the marathon. Knowing that I've run well on these back-to-back runs should give me a mental boost. I hope so, anyway!
Is running hard the evening before an important long run crazy? Or wise? I'm hoping it is the latter. In fact, this training cycle, I'm subscribing a little bit to this philosophy:
After running fast on Friday and running long on Saturday, I ran easy on Sunday. It was a great weekend of running!
I hope you all had a good weekend! Thanks for stopping by!