I don't remember the last time I ran double-digit miles in a single run during the week. Something about hitting 10 or more miles in one shot just seems like a self-imposed barrier. And it feels great to break it.
I put in 16.1 slow miles this evening in time-on-my-feet style. I carried a water bottle, ate a gel, and took it easy. I even considered walking a hill or two. But I didn't, and slowly slogged in the rainy mist known as this winter.
Normally, I wouldn't run such a distance mid-week. Those are saved for weekends when time has more freedom and there are less pressing obligations. But I did anyway, partially to put a punch on February.
February was a good month, by feel and numbers. Hills have felt particularly well, both the ups and down. I have routinely been able to the pace on ascents and descents in group and inadvertently pulled away from the group. I've also taken care to take my easy runs slowly so as to permit myself to recover from longer or harder workouts.
Days run: 22 (~75 percent)
Time/Run: ~77 minutes
Miles, YTD: 349.0
Time, YTD: 46:26:54
2012 season base: 576.6 miles (227.6 miles carried over from November and December 2011).
So what does this all mean? Lots of things. Most notably, it means that by the time I toe the line at Zumbro, I will have something between 800 and 850 miles of mileage on me, of which 650 or so is injury-preventing base. I'll more prepared than I have for any other early-season race I've ever done. As I noted last week, I rarely have hit 200 miles in a month, with my monthly max somewhere in the 235 range. As the numbers indicate, it will be more than easy to hit and exceed that going forward.
Going forward I still need to work on taking less inadvertent days of. I took a week off of running in February. Had I run those days, I would have likely gotten another 35 to 50 miles and four to seven hour in for the month and those numbers would look even better. It will be harder and harder to hit increasing mileages if I take take too many days off.
And like I do every Monday, tomorrow I will recommit myself to my upcoming training plan for March, which includes - gasp! - the beginning of speed work. There is one week of 50 miles (this week), a rest week of 35, then three weeks of 60 miles. Speed work begins (lightly) the first of these weeks. Long runs start to get dedicated distances (25 percent of weekly mileage e.g., although I will always feel pressured to run more than that, regardless of the percentage).