I had a really good long run today! I ran 11 miles - I had originally planned on going 11.5 but my legs had had enough so I stopped at 11 and then walked another 1/4 mile.
I did a couple of other things that turned out to be good ideas. Normally, I run the entire distance around Delcastle (in a figure 8 style to increase the miles in 1 loop) so that I'm close to the bathrooms. It occurred to me today that if I run the loop until I use the bathroom I can then go out into the neighborhood and run a moderate length loop and finish back inside Delcastle just in case I need the bathrooms again. I can't believe it took me this long to figure it out! I tried it today and it worked great!! It was really nice to get out of the "normal" routine. The other change I made was that I forced (and yes I had to force myself) myself to run slower. My pace was right around 9:30m/m which is about a minute slower than I have been running my long runs. I think it is something I really need to focus on and try for a while. I'm starting to get nervous that my body is going to baulk at all the miles - I guess it is just my psyche getting the best of me.
The 2 changes also worked really well together for another reason. I found myself unintentionally picking up the pace so that my walking breaks were in a certain spot on my route. By changing the scenery and by changing the pace it got me out of the routine. I think it was good for my head.
My official 18 week marathon training schedule starts on Monday! I'm planning on contacting some friends about the program that I've chosen. I decided, quite some time ago, that I would use Hal Higdon's Intermediate II program. The Novice program just didn't look challenging enough. However, now that I've been doing some further reading and have been on Hal's message boards I'm starting to have second thoughts. Everything I've been reading states that you would be better off being undertrained at the start of the race instead of overtrained (within reason of course). The last thing I want is to put all this time and effort into the training and then have it all blow up in my face because I chose the wrong program. More on this topic later.