I'm a smooth runner. My form is smooth, my breathing is smooth, my stride is smooth. No wasted motion. Efficient. It's what enables me to be a decent runner. Smoothness translates into comfort. When I run, I'm comfortable. There is no haggard breathing, no wild swinging of the arms across the body, no anything that would cause me to be uncomfortable. I'm grown comfortable with my comfortable style of running and look what I've done. I've run 5 marathons. I've BQ'd. I've run Boston. It's all been very smooth, very easy. That's not to say that I haven't worked for it, but just that working for it has been easy. That's not the case right now.
Right now, comfortable running leaves at around 6:50 pace. That's a problem. My training calls for running at least once a week and sometimes twice a week distances between 8 and 12 miles at 6:20 pace. Right now, it's not happening. Whether it is the increased mileage, which has given me a mild case of dead legs, overall exhaustion of only getting 6 hours of sleep a night, or my legs just not wanting to turn over quickly enough (the secret to running fast is leg turnover, not increased stride. Your stride is your stride.), I am unable to ratchet up to a higher gear for longer periods of time. Again, this is a problem for someone who needs to run 6:50 miles for 26.2 miles. Training at 6:50 just won't cut it on race day.
I've now completed my first two out of twenty weeks of training. My legs feel like iron. I'm strengthening my core. I've stopped drinking soda completely. I'm weighing myself about six times a day (my ideal race weight is 147. Theoretically, you gain a second a mile for every ounce you lose. I have about 6 pounds to lose). I'm eating right (I'm only getting a bacon cheeseburger with fries and ranch instead of a double bacon cheeseburger with fries and ranch). I'm in the mode. The legs just won't go where they need to go comfortably.
To rectify this problem, I incorporated strides into my easy workouts starting today. Strides are 100m sprints that you do at the end of an easy 4 to 6 mile run. I'm also going to start doing light track workouts at the end of my other easy days. Gotta get those legs going. It won't be comfortable, but I'm hoping that by changing my training strategy at this point, that I will be able to slowly increase my comfortable pace speed.