Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Saturday's 18 Miler

I found another way to share some data with you, courtesy of Garmin Connect and fellow runner
Greg. You can check out his blog here:

Here's my run from last Saturday, completed with a couple of running buds, Waletr and Nick:
18 Miler 5/23/2009
Feel free to click on splits or the player to get some more in-depth analysis like pace, heart rate and calories burned.

I may share some more of these with you if there's anything notable as training gets under way.

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.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Holy Grail

Depending on what you're into, the holy grail could be a number of things. In marathon running, it really only means one thing - Boston. For those of you who aren't marathoners, I am speaking of the Boston Marathon. Runners have a tendency to refer to marathons (especially the larger ones) simply as Boston or Chicago or New York.

Anyway, many runners have the goal of running the Boston Marathon. The thing that separates Boston from virtually every other marathon is that you have to qualify. The younger you are, the faster you need to run to BQ (Boston Qualify). It has always been a long term goal of mine as I seemingly shaved off 6-8 minutes most every year of my marathoning. The reason why it was always a long term goal is that I'd need to run a 3:10:59 or better while I am still under the age of 34.

Things have gone kind of stagnant for me in terms of improving my marathoning times for the last couple of years. I ran an 3:30 in Chicago in 2006. 2007 was a lost year due to a poor training session and the 90+ degree heat in Chicago that day. Last year, I was able to put up a 3:29 in 80+ degree heat while working through a strained calf muscle. I think I was in better shape than a 3:29 and could have put up a time in the low 3:20s. I realize I didn't, but I know what I know.

So how does one go from a PR of 3:29 and get down to 3:10 in 12 months? Here's the plan:

1) Train my ass off. Run 6 days per week (up from 4) and peak at 70 miles in a week (up from 54 last year).

2) I have been running consistently in a non-training season for the first time ever. My past training sessions have included about 2 weeks of 20-25 miles before training starts. I'd basically run myself into shape the first 8-10 weeks and be fried by the time I'd hit week 12. I ran about 150 miles in each of the last two months and should go over 200 in May.

3) Get down to about 165 pounds. I think I was in the low 170s last year when the marathon rolled around. This can only help. I'll start doing some core work, strengthening exercies and will possibly bike to work once or twice a week.

3) I have mentioned it before, but actually follow a training plan that has me running 6 days per week instead of the four I have done in the past. I am "practicing" running six days per week as often as possible right now.

4) Run more races. I have already done an 8K and 5K this year. I ran the Ravenswood 5K Run in 19:09 about two weeks ago. I'd like to go sub 19 for the 5K, sub 40 for the 10K and then:

5) Run a half marathon 3-4 weeks away from the marathon to see where training my ass of gets me. If I can put up a time around 1:30, it's on. If I end up with a time closer to 1:35, I won't delude myself into thinking that will translate into a 3:10 across 26.2 miles. Strategy-wise, I'll have to be able to put up something like a 1:34/1:36 or 1:33/1:37 split to hit 3:10. Jesus, that's fast.

McMillan says you need to run a 1:30:05 half to hit a 3:10 on the dot. Running guru Jim2 says averaging 60mpw (which is where I'll be around in training) and running a 40 minute 10K will net you somewhere between a 3:10 and a 3:14.

So, consider this the gauntlet. I am going for it. I'll need to have a great training cycle, cooperative weather and good health if this pipe dream is to become reality. Wish me luck.

Here are a few pics from the race a couple weekends ago. They were probably taken in the last tenth of a mile. It was my first 5K and was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the distance and liked not having to worry about the 5th, 10th, 20th or 26th mile. My time was 1 19:09, a 6:10 pace.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Way Overdue

Sorry, it's been a while. I'll get something up here soon. Here's the nuts and bolts. Aside from an abbreviated week last week due to jury duty for two days(with Mr. T) and a two day trip to Massachusetts, the miles have been inching up and I am hoping to crack 200 for May. I also ran my first 5K two weekends ago and put up a 19:09, a 6:10 pace. More on that later.