Having completed our longest training run, the focus this week is on maintaining our momentum in building strength and endurance. The second half of the week is a mini-taper as we prepare for our second 'marathon pace run,' which we will use to guage our progress through the program to date.
Monday July 25 - day off running.
Tuesday July 26 - strength endurance session, 7 km (4 miles), incorporating 1.6 km (1 mile) at your 2-mile race pace, then immediately into 4 x 1-minute hill repeats. You've got to love and respect these demanding sessions to get the most out of them.
Wednesday July 27 - light recovery run, 3 km (2 miles), and swimming session to ease the muscles.
Thursday July 28 - medium intensity run, 7 km (4 miles) including 4 x 100 m downhill 'strides.' Treasure each run as a gift from Above.
Friday July 29 - focus your activities on something other than running today. Enjoy some alternate exercise.
Saturday July 30 - light recovery run, 3 km (2 miles), and swimming sessions. Prepare for tomorrow's run as though for the real thing.
Sunday July 31 - 2nd 'marathon pace run,' 24 km (14 miles) at precise marathon target pace. By now we have an idea what we would like the clock to show as we cross the finish line of the Big Race. This session helps us determine whether we might be on target to reach that goal. Calculate the average per-mile or per-kilometre pace you'll need to run to reach your target goal in the marathon, and aim to run as close as possible to exactly that pace for 24 km (14 miles). It will be easier in the beginning and become progressively more challenging to maintain that pace. If your goal is a realistic one, you should complete this session with the feeling there's still some gas left in the tank.