In Pete Pftizinger's training plan that I am following, fifty five miles per week is the most you will ever run in a week. However, this is my third time through the plan. I now feel my body can handle more miles. Sunday was my second scheduled twenty mile run. My first twenty miler some weeks back went well so I decided I should run 21 yesterday.
There are several schools of thought on running over twenty miles in marathon training. One is that you shouldn't run over three hours because it takes too long to recover. Another is that a twenty one or twenty two miler is beneficial (if run slow) for psychological reasons. The typical wall is at twenty and you've already pushed through that in training. Pfitz specifically mentions in his book Advanced Marathoning that he did runs over 24 miles and his races probably suffered from it.
It was 44 degrees at the start and about wind gusts out of the south. I was finally able to run in shorts, a long sleeve tech and my favorite running gloves. I've been running some quicker miles this past week since last week was a cutback week of 43 miles. So I kept telling myself to remain disciplined and run it slow. It felt great throughout. There was only one problem. I miscalculated my loop and ran 22 miles. I averaged exactly 9 minute miles which included two quick stops for Gu and Gatorade while the watch continued to run. So now I have a huge confidence boost. I even managed to put the hammer down on the last two miles and ran them sub 8:25. Training is going really well. Do I dare dream of a technical Boston qualifier in May? I say technical because of the change in qualifications the race may be filled before I'm allowed to register.