Thursday, May 21, 2009

Getting Closer to Showtime

Maybe not showtime, but we're getting close to the official start of training at least. After a little drop off last week, I have steamrolled ahead this week. If you look in the right margin, you can now see a running weekly total of my miles for week, month and year. I am sitting at 32.5 for the week with Friday a scheduled off day. On Saturday, I am supposed to meet up with a couple of my friends from Runner's World for a long run. I am planning a brief (5 miles or so) recovery run on Sunday and should be over 50 miles for a single week for the first time since I peaked with 54 miles last September for the '08 Chicago Marathon.

I am hoping to follow this week of 50+ with two more before training starts on June 8th. The more I think about publicly stating my desire to run a 3:10 in October, the more idiotic I think it sounds. It strange how one's running confidence can waver so frequently. It's pretty common for it to happen during training when you have a bad long run or bad week and your legs just don't feel strong. But I haven't even started yet and I am wondering if I'll be able to hold a 7:15-7:17 pace for 26.2 miles. As I said before, I will only go for the 3:10 if my training tells me I have a decent shot at it.

My friend Ron had a great point the other day. He said, "I have decided that the challenge of marathoning is not actually race-day performance. It's figuring out what our goal should be, not because of what we want, but in light of making a brutally honest (and well-informed) assessment of how the training cycle played out." Ron just ran a 3:17 in a marathon in Maine last weekend, beating his previous best of 3:40. Please feel free to check out his brilliantly crafted race report here:

I think he hits the nail on the head with that statement. How many marathons have I picked an arbitrary time that I'd like to run? Almost every one. As I put more time into running and training, it wouldn't hurt to be smart and have a well-thought out race plan that I execute. Of the six marathons I have run, I hit my "A" goal twice. And one of those (Vegas '05) wasn't really taking a leap, as I subtracted four minutes off of the time I had posted 8 weeks prior. I did run a nearly even split race in Vegas, running the first half just one second slower than the first half. In 2006, my goal for the Chicago Marathon was a 3:30. I hit that with about 2 seconds to spare. My point is that a 33% success rate isn't very good. But then again, I don't think my four day a week hack training was particularly good either. I would put money on me improving my time from last year, for sure. The question comes down to how much. I should have a pretty good idea of the goal after I run the Chicago Half Marathon in mid-September. Until then, the focus will be on executing the training plan and go where it takes me.

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