Hal Higdon's Making Me Stronger...

Though my overall mileage isn't much higher this time around than my last marathon, my 25:12 four miler has me feeling great about BQ-ing in May. Why is that? Thanks to Hal Higdon, my miles have been shuffled quite a bit.

Here's three ways I'm training differently:

1) Not being afraid of the long run. In the old days, I was scared enough of my long runs that I'd rest the day before and after them. Hal's got me running 8-10 miles the day before the 17-20's, and many of those mid-long runs are at marathon pace. While I don't like running both days on the weekend, there's no denying it's made a big difference. I will say, though, that Hal wants me to cross-train on Monday's, and I'm making a slight concession to my age there and resting, instead.

2) The mid-week, mid-long run. I've always felt this was lacking in my plan. For previous marathons, I rarely went beyond six miles during the week, but Hal has me going 8-10 every Wednesday. Though it makes for a longer lunch hour, I'm not running on Mon. and Fri. and only running 3-5 on T/Th. so I'm actually missing less work time than when I was six miles four to five of the work days.

3) Hammer Nutrition. I'm using HEED for all three of my quality runs and Recoverite after every run. The stuff is expensive but the stuff works. Being diabetic, I can easily evaluate the effect on my blood sugar and it's much smoother than other stuff. I'm a fan.

I'm still not in perfect shape. I'd like to add some more speedwork in, but my shin still isn't 100% so I don't want to risk going faster than 1/2 M pace. I'm also still about four pounds heavier than my marathon PR. But I've got eight weeks to get healthier, faster and lighter. True, they'll be eight of the highest mileage weeks I've done, with three 50's in there, but I'm giving myself better odds right now than I would've two months before my other marathons.

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