I ran for the third straight day today, which is not something I have done much of. It was a good choice this time with my legs feeling really fresh and ready to go.
Since it was the third time out I elected to run a shorter distance with a bit more speed, thinking I would ease off the pace over time and just hang on the distance until I had enough. It didn't quite work out that way. I started with my usual quarter mile 8:00 pace warmup, got a drink of water, and re-started the treadmill for the workout. Six miles later in 6:59 a mile I was done. Really pleasing run. In fact, it has me thinking what my capabilities are as I prepare for the actual marathon training.
The reason this decision is important is that I want to pick a target finish time prior to my focused training and use that target throughout. Last year I changed my focus from one time to one ten minutes faster based on some late runs. Things went great in the marathon until severe cramping around mile 21 on in, and while I had a good finishing time, I didn't really have a good time. In effect, I think I outran my training.
So I'd rather that not happen this year. I need to pick a good target time and train directly for that time throughout. And that presents the problem...what should that time be? The last month's faster times have me wondering.