Now that the Bix is over, many people are turning their attention toward the Q-C Marathon. Being about seven weeks out, there is still time to sign up and run (or walk) one of their events. With a 5K, Half Marathon and Marathon taking place, there is something for everyone.
If you are coming off of your Bix training cycle and already eyeing the half or full, you more than likely positioned yourself in a great spot. A solid Bix finish for the half marathon participants is a great indicator of a possible finish time come race day. It was a great workout for everyone doing the full marathon as well, but as we know, adding another half marathon (13.1 miles) to the mix can create extra challenges.
For both of these events, everyone is close to hitting their peak mileage weeks. Long runs have gotten longer and they are probably taking a little extra out of you. If you have a little extra fatigue four to seven weeks out, it shows that you are stressing the body, which is what you are looking for. Now if you are feeling completely drained, you should ease off the gas a bit and let your body get some rest before taking your training back up a notch.
Two items I see happen often during peak weeks that should be avoided at all costs are: trying to intentionally lose weight and not getting enough sleep.
Fueling your body with the needed calories to help you recover from a workout and be ready for the next are extremely important at this stage. If you didn’t eat well/enough the day before, you will probably notice it during a workout. The better you eat, the better you perform.
Speaking of fueling, you should be practicing your nutrition and hydration strategy during long runs. It appears Gatorade and CarbBoom gels will be served on course this year (besides water). Integrating them now will give you an idea of how they work for you and hopefully will help alleviate any unwanted surprises on race day.
With your increased mileage, comes the need for more sleep. While you are sleeping, your body is rebuilding and recovering. This is one area of training that can easily get neglected. Seven to eight hours is ideal, but trying to balance that with family responsibilities, work and your training load can prove to be a challenge. While a great night's sleep isn’t realistic every night, trying to have a few good nights throughout the week should be mandatory. Adding a nap on a day off/over the weekend is another way to bridge any gaps, as well.