Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Less than 8 weeks till "M-Day"

My legs are kind of creaky and sore this morning, I guess I pushed it pretty good last night during my run. I have been feeling kind of sluggish in my running lately, so my tempo run last night was my way of “reminding” myself that I can run faster.

I have slowed down a few seconds per kilometer during my long runs, but I think this has more to do with winter conditions rather than a decrease in fitness. I also have been training steadily for the past 12 months, with the only real breaks being the week following each of the two marathons that I ran in 2005. That’s 50 weeks of training in the last 52 weeks – for this non-elite runner that’s a lot!

I have noted that my overall enthusiasm has been decreasing as the weeks go by. In two months is my marathon, after that I have promised this old body (and my wife) that I am going to slow down for a month or two.

A lot of bloggers have either just finished or are about to run their marathons. This has motivated me to start taking a closer look at my strategy for March 12.

Last night I was carefully analyzing my first two marathon reports and my training log for these events. During my current training I am running my long runs at about the same pace as for marathon II and about 30 seconds/kilometer faster than during marathon I training. So I am at least maintaining my tempo during this training cycle and that despite the winter weather.

One observation that is noteworthy is that for both marathons I ran the second half significantly slower than the first half, in both cases over 1 ½ minutes slower/mile. This is a good indication that I am starting out too fast and can’t hold the pace. For my second marathon this was definitely the case, I had sub-4 hour marathon in my mind and went out way too fast – and suffered the second half.

Thus my primary goal for the Bienwald Marathon on March 12 will be to try to maintain as even a pace as possible. The marathon route is a flat asphalt route, fairly well protected from windy conditions by the surrounding forest, so should fit well to this strategy. I really am not assigning any specific time limit. If I can maintain a relatively even pace throughout the marathon it should not be too difficult to beat my PR time of 4:34:14. I only have to stay under 6:30/K (10:27/M) :-)

During my long runs my emphasis has been even pace. I have been doing really well at holding my pace at about 6:00/K (9:39/M). I have three more long runs to practice this.

One lesson that I have learned in my last year of training is that you should be really careful about setting your race goals based on what other people achieve. We are all unique and have our strengths and weaknesses. It is better to base your race goals on your own training performance and experience. Perhaps this doesn't apply quite so much for elite runners (or younger runners), but for this middle-of-the-pack runner it seems to be about right.

Comments:
Good luck on March 12. Recently I bought a Polar heart rate monitor to help my training and to set new goals based on my body rather than what speed I thought I should run or what I wanted to run. I have only had it for a month but it really works.
 
Jack,

An evenly paced marathon, or a negative split marathon is usually the best way to go. I agree that it is a difficult thing to do however. The next six weeks should give you a good idea as to what pace you should be running during the first half. Good luck.
 
I agree, we have to base our race goals on our own experience changing the training if our body sends us a signal. In the big day it is also important to ask our body without pushing too much. I am sure you will establish your new PR. Good luck
 
Boy did I have to learn that lesson Jack. I have a feeling this one will be right on track for you.
 
Lessons learned are a good thing. I have keep repeating to myself "run your own race, run your own race...".
 
I can't believe your M is getting so close, and that you've trained SO hard for the past year! That's awesome, enjoy your rest time after M3! I think you're going to blow your PR out of the water!
 
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