Saturday, September 09, 2006

Ho Hum

Another 100 mile week finished. This makes 4 in a row and it is new territory for me. I’m feeling very good and have experienced rapid “re-improvement”. (Meaning I feel like I’ve gotten back what I lost since my injury last April followed by the horrible self-induced stupid ITB injury I got immediately following the May marathon.) What an idiot I was to try to run out my disappointment. Lesson learned.

I was going to celebrate finishing 4 weeks in a row, but after reading Mike’s recent post and his linking to Greg in Chicago and Eric in North Dakota, I realized that 4 weeks is absolutely nothing in the whole scheme of things. It is merely a quarter of what needs to be done to adequately train to race a marathon. So the truth is, the 5 weeks of good training toward Wineglass should be just enough to let me run the entire distance smoothly and at a pretty good pace. But no breakthrough – no matter what my imagination and fantasy may tell me.

I knew this anyway; but sometimes when you’re feeling fast on a training run you start to deceive yourself about your marathon ability. This is when it is good to read the blogs of people that really run the high miles week after week. Look at their marathon times. They train 18 weeks of steady, hard, long miles to get there. Not some foolish 5 week miracle regimen.

The good news is: look at their marathon times. If you train, it will come. Looking at my recent marathon times 3:03 – 3:14, it apparent I have fallen into the “sit around until the last minute then train like mad” routine. By doing high miles a few weeks prior to the race, I’m able to fake some respectability at the finish line – but barely. I should be doing better and again I resolve to get it done. (It’s too bad that my resolutions need to be reaffirmed).

Now, that might be a little harsh. I’m a learn-by-failing sort of guy, so this “plateau” just above the 3 hour mark is full of learning opportunities that I’d be without if it didn’t happen. A brief look at lessons learned from the past 5 marathons in no particular order:

• Steady pacing will achieve your goal (’04 MDI 3:05)
• Running too fast in the first half will chew you up into dog meat (’05 Boston DNF, ’05 Holyoke 3:03 PR –was on pace for 2:56-, ’06 Holyoke 3:09 –running beyond myself)
• A conservative 1st half can lead to awesome negative splits (’05 Cape Cod 3:14)
• Flitting the summer away and training for only 3 weeks will net what you deserve (’05 Cape Cod 3:14 – just grateful I’d didn’t try anything foolish)

So, with one week of good training left before the 2 week taper, I am grateful for the opportunity of being able to run the high mileage. I have definitely gained back my endurance and speed (through not tiring). Thank goodness. It has not been easy, but routine and perseverance has pulled this one through. However, my racing strategy needs to be in line with what is possible given my training. It is good but not great. I’m in a delicate spot of knowing too much about disaster but standing here with a 3 hour ticket in my hand.

At times like these, it is easier to just think about the super superb training I am going to do throughout the winter. I won’t be causing hullabaloo about 4 weeks of 100 miles. No, I’ll be logging and logging and logging until my excel sheet bursts. But if this really happens, I may get my wish to run with the fast guys. Heh.

Today's run in 2 sections back to back. 3 miles with the High School XC team and 7 by myself. Both extremely easy (I have a 5k race tomorrow).

10.45 miles 1:31:42


The last four weeks I have run the same workout on the same day of the week. This has helped keep the mileage up. As reported, the HR has been steadily dropping. My Parrott predictor dropped to 3:00 this week as well. My average pace is interestingly high.

Week 1 105.4 miles average pace = 8:10
Week 2 104.6 miles average pace = 8:18
Week 3 103.2 miles average pace = 8:09
Week 4 103.6 miles average pace = 8:01

This week will be a little different. Tomorrow is a 5k race so that'll delete the long run. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday I'll be out of town on business. That'll do some damage as well. Looks like a drop week in the making.


Blogger Mike said...

Don't be afraid to give yourself some credit Andrew, 4 weeks over 100MPW is still nothing to sneeze at. The important things are that you're healthy, you're improving, and you're hungry for more.

That being said, the truth is certainly out there in spades, and this training is about years, not weeks or sadly even months. Every run counts though and you've been making fantastic progress in this regard.

I think it will pay to remember those lessons you listed. I hope you start conservatively but not too much so. The brain can switch to the negative once it starts running low on fuel during the race, so don't leave enough seconds to run down in the second half to turn it into a "mission impossible" upstairs. That being said, it did work before.

Good luck at the 5K. In my experience running short races during the base phase I've learned that I have no sprint (and it hurts like hell and means more recovery time if I try), so run the first 3 hard enough not to need it!

9/10/2006 8:20 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I'm a little late in commenting on this post, but let me first off congratulate you. Four weeks over 100 miles is definitely something to be proud of. I'm sure you'll see some real improvements right away and, most importantly, it will help you build the base to continue to improve well into the future.

Great job, and keep up the good work!

9/12/2006 10:39 AM  

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