Tuesday, October 30, 2007

training strategery

Well, I ran a marathon two days ago and my legs are still trashed. That didn't stop me from signing up for another in four weeks. What to do...

I did the same insanity last year, so let's look back at what I did for those four weeks

Week 1 - 0, 0, 6, 6, 8, 8, 18
Week 2 - 8, 8, 0, 9, 8 , 9, 20
Week 3 - 0, 9, 9 w/6@mp, 8, 9, 18, 0
Week 4 - 9, 7 w/ 2@mp, 5 w/strides, 5, 3, marathon, walk 3 miles

I blamed overtapering for the busted '06 MCM and went on an anti-taper with 18, 20, and 18 milers the 3 weeks between races.

Pfitz has a 4 weeks between marathon schedule that a 15 mile MLR 10 days out as the longest run in between and also has a VO2 max session 14 days out. Pfitz has the first run back as Wednesday (just like I did last year), but I don't think I'm going to run tomorrow.

I haven't quite devised my schedule, but I a few ideas. I'll probably do 60 minutes or so on Thursday (90 was too much on Thursday after my May marathon); an 18 or 20 miler 2 weeks out; and a 13.5 mile progression run to work 9 days out (my marathon is on a Saturday). I probably won't do anything fast until a week from Thursday (maybe a 13.5 miler).

Marine Corps Marathon

I ran the Marine Corps Marathon today. This was my third time at MCM and I've always fallen a little short of my expectations there for some reason. I'm not sure why. Maybe I build up expectations during the summer? Maybe I don't train effectively in the summer heat? Who knows. Anyway today was no different. My goal was to BQ (3:15:59, 7:28 min/mi), which I knew was a stretch based on my 1:33:27 half I ran 6 weeks ago. My marathon pace run (20 w/14 at MP) didn't really support it either, but I had some great long runs and interval sessions in the last few weeks that made me think I was in 3:15 shape.

The short story is that I held onto pace as long as I could even though my HRM and my senses told me it was going to cost me later. Then, I died on Hains Point like many a good man.

00:37:38 @ 5M, Pace 7:31, Predicted 03:17:04
-- hills early, I tried to be smart

01:37:57 @ Half, Pace 7:28, Predicted 03:15:45
-- at the half, I realized I had nothing in the bank, but I couldn't really go faster, so I just tried to run 7:27's as long as I could

01:52:05 @ 15M, Pace 7:28, Predicted 03:15:45

02:15:09 @ 18M, Pace 7:30, Predicted 03:16:38
-- 15 to 18 is hains point. Miles were 7:30, 7:31 (tailwind) and then 7:57 for mile 18 (headwind). A guy in a cow suit also passed me here, which was kind of demoralizing :-)

02:49:08 @ 22M, Pace 7:41, Predicted 03:21:26
-- I was bleeding fast and by 22 knew I had no chance, so I just wanted to finish and didn't really care about my time. Lots of thoughts in here like "Maybe I should race shorter distances for a while?"

03:27:34 @ Finish, Pace 7:54
-- I was done! One important note: I re-passed !#$#@% cow suit at mile 24. He had taken off his cow bell by then.

A little over 3 minutes slower than my PR in May. 29 minutes faster than last year's MCM, so that's something I suppose.

Despite the disappointing time, I had fun today. Mainly because I had my very own spectator! A childhood friend of mine (who's also a runner -- but *much* faster than me) was in town and came to see me. He couldn't have been a better spectator. He was at the start (didn't see him though), at Lincoln's left hand (Lincoln memorial) and then at his right hand -- saw him both times. Then (now this is a real friend), I unexpectedly saw him out on the 14th street bridge! (I thought he was going to be in Crystal City.)

A couple of notes on the new course: I don't like it. I felt like the stretch that replaced Rock Creek Parkway (under construction) was hillier, which delayed buying back time from Rosslyn hills. Also going past Iwo Jima and then having to double back sucks! Please, can I just make a left? You also go downhill on the out and have to go back up some ramp on the way back. You can look up at the runners ahead and know that you're going to have to get up there somehow. Geez.

I'm not sure what I'll do now. There's another marathon I like in four weeks that I did last year after MCM, but 1) I think I'm just not quite in shape to run a 3:15 right now; and 2) I feel like this race took more out of me than last year's. The early steep downhills did a number on my quads and both my calves cramped up in the last two miles (which was pretty uncomfortable!).

[Epilogue: I've signed up for the marathon in four weeks.]

week of 22 Oct

Here's my week that concluded with MCM.

Mo: 4.4 - grass
Tu: 4.4 - grass
We: 7.0 w/ 2 @ MP - 7:29/160 (net uphill), 7:23/167 (net downhill)
Th: 4.7 - road
Fr: 4.7 - road
Sa: Rest
Su: Marine Corps Marathon 3:27:34/172

51.9 miles, 7h9m, 8:16 avg pace, 156 bpm avg

Sunday, October 21, 2007

week of 15 Oct

  • Mo: 4.5 (9:06/133) - grass
  • Tu: 10.2 (8:47/146) - 6x0.5 w/ 0.5 rest: 3:17, 3:13, 3:11, 3:09, 3:11, and 3:11. Way, way faster than I've ever done them. Am I faster or is it just the weather (47 degrees)? I'm regretting that I didn't throw the Benji Durden switch earlier, but hopefully I'll peak for race day. I really felt like 3:15 shape. I still need to not get sick or injured and get lucky with the weather.
  • We: 4.7 (8:46/138) - nbrhd loops
  • Th: 13.4 (8:15/148) - Progression run to work. 6 @ 9:00/138bpm then 8:11/149, 7:49/152, 7:52/154, 7:34/157, 7:07/163 (downhill), 7:24/152 (downhill), 7:37/163 (big uphill).
  • Fr: 4.2 (9:26/133) - grass
  • Sa: 4.6 (8:56/138) - nbhrd loops
  • Su: 13.5 (8:48/145) - lake loops. Bad run. I did exactly the pace I wanted. I planned to run 3 laps just under 40 minutes. They went 39:54, 39:33, and 39:36. My hr was much too high at the end for the pace. Mile 13 was 8:45/155 compared to 8:21/154 last week when it was cooler and 8:31/155 two weeks ago when it was warmer and *much* more humid. This is a reminder that I not only need to have good weather, but I also need to have a good day.

Looked great this week until today. I think I ate too much junk yesterday. Perhaps that had something to do with it?

week: 55.0 miles, 8h1m, 8:45 avg pace, 143 avg hr

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I'm in shape for 3:15

A rare, mid-week post to say I believe I'm good for 3:15 on a good day. The weather was 47 degrees this morning and I did my 6x0.5 miles in 3:17, 3:13, 3:11, 3:09, 3:11, and 3:11 with ease. These were around 3:20 last week (although it was *much* warmer) and weeks ago, I felt like I couldn't go faster than 3:19 if I fell off a cliff. Despite the slowish HM (1:33), I was still almost ready to declare myself fit after my long run last week. In the spring I thought that if I could do <40 minute laps on my long run at a normal effort, I'd be a shoe in. Last week I averaged a little over 38 minutes per lap at an average heart rate of 150. The lack of speed in my intervals was still a concern though until today.

One more workout on Thursday (progression run to work) and then it's time to pray to the weather gods. They aren't being cooperative right now though projecting a high of 75 and sunny. Yesterday they said a high of 54 and raining though, so I'll hope for a better forecast tomorrow.

Friday, October 12, 2007

MCM pacing strategy

The world-famous PacerChris gave me this MCM strategy on coolrunning.com. I'm putting it here, before I can't find it there anymore.

Paced MCM last year - on a brutally windy day which ultimately caused me to miss my time (3:10:47 - still a BQ, but I wanted to be about a minute faster - had a BAD day!)

Because MCM is a very popular (read:BIG) course with lots of first timers, if you start with 3:20 you may find yourself pretty far back. I'd position yourself in between 3:10 and 3:20, erring on the side of being too close to the 3:10 group before the cannon goes off.

3:15 is ~7:27/mile - last year I was right where I wanted to be through the early miles. My goal time was 7:15 and my first 3 miles up the hills averaged around 7:30 - take it easy up those hills! The 4th mile you'll make up a lot of that time - we made up half of the 45 seconds deficit in that one mile with no effort at all, and the 5th mile is also downhill. Miles 5-8 are less steep but generally uphill - by this time we were warmed up and ran them right around 7:10-7:20.

From 8-10 is a nice gentle downhill so try to get back onto your overall goal time during these 2 miles - you should be fairly close. It's time to start banking a little bit of time - if you're a minute slow at mile 8, you're in decent shape - it should feel easy, you've relaxed up the hills and you can make up most of that time from 8-10. Use that momentum off those hills to keep rolling from 10-20...if you can bank no more than 5-10 seconds per mile from 10-20, you'll have a nice 60-90 second cushion - the bridge to Crystal City is tough, and there's a climb from 25-26, plus the last little bit is uphill as well. If you can get to 20 with that banked time, try to squeeze 1 more mile out at 7:27, and then 1 more, and then another. If you can maintain most of your banked time through 23, you can slow down up those hills the last 2 miles and still make 3:15.

Summary - take the first hills easy, roll down the hill from 3-5, relax from 5-8, pick up the pace from 8-10, try to bank between 10 and 20, hold on as best you can 20-24, and be prepared to give back your banked time from 24 on to the finish. Then go home and fill out your Boston application and have a beer!

Monday, October 08, 2007

week of 8 Oct

Mo: 4.45 (8:53/136) -- on grass field temp/dp 69/67 and foggy. Strange October weather.

Tu: 10.01 (9:00/150) -- 30 min wup/30 min cdn on grass field. 6 x 0.5 miles w/ 0.25 rest on 10 laps per mile track: 3:21, 3:19, 3:18, 3:20, 3:21, and 3:21.

We: 4.67 (9:09/136) -- neighborhood loop. Sped up on downhills to work on turnover.

Th: 13.41 (8:18/149) -- Long route to work. Felt great! It was finally October. 61 degrees, but felt colder: very dry (dp 37) and windy (18mph). Easy first 6 miles (9:09/138), then 8:06/148, 8:04/149, 7:53/151, 7:25/160, 7:08/165 (downhill), 7:17/164 (down), 7:33/171 (*big uphill*), and 7:09/174 (0.41 miles). I was very happy to see paces below 7:25 (goal MP) and heart rates below 172 (expected avg marathon heart rate).

Fr: 4.4? (9:26/136) -- On grass field. Left FR305 at work and used Suunto T6. The distance is a guess. HRM didn't work well for first 5-10 minutes as usual (read high).

Sa: 4.08 (9:10/135) -- Up at 5am on a Saturday and did the 4.1 neighbordhood loop. Had to get up early to volunteer for a race. I strung tags off the bibs of ~750 K-6 graders pulling them out of their grimy hands. It will be a miracle if I don't get sick.

Su: 18 (8:28/150) -- GREAT RUN! 4 laps at lake B. Weather was perfect. 16 secs/mile faster than last week although my avg hr through 18 last week was ~147 bpm compared to 150 today and the weather was much worse then. My poor son was diagnosed with strep today. Did I say it would be a miracle if I didn't get sick?

I am in way better shape than I was in the spring. I'm not sure I'm in 20 sec/mile better shape and I still have a bunch of landmines to negotiate a lot of landmines even if I am. We enter the 15-day forecast from accuweather -- Sunny with a high of 73. I don't like that. Hopefully it will change. The average high for the day is 62 I think.

Totals: 59 miles, 8h35m, avg pace 8:43, avg hr 145 bpm

Sunday, October 07, 2007

week of 1 Oct

The plan was to maximize my rest between workouts to help my foot and calf, so I went back to the Benji way of doing very easy easy days (jog ~40 minutes) and I did it on grass to help my legs.

Mo - 4.2 (9:40/131) on grass field
Tu - 11.1 (8:42/147)
31 min wup on grass field, 6x0.6 mile w/ .2 mile rest (10 laps per mile track). Intended to run 6:40 pace (4:00 per .6). Did 4:08, 4:00, 3:57, 3:59, 3:58, 3:59. First was done without looking at my watch (too dark). I felt like I found my form on the third one. Max HR was 181 and I seemed to recover better than normal. 31 min cdn.
We - 4.3 (8:59/134) on grass field
Th - 13.5 (8:30/146)
Ran to work. This is the route what I was calling 13.35 before I got the FR305. A progression run of sorts. 1st 6+ miles at 9:20, then following miles at 8:03 (147), 8:03 (153), 7:40 (158), 7:36 (163), 7:37 (163), 7:28 (158, -58ft), 7:56(169, +156ft). The plan was to do the last mile at tempo, which I did (or close to it), but it was up a big hill so it was slower. I hit 178 at the end.
Fr - 4.5 (8:57/134) on grass field
Sa - 4.2 (9:29/135)
Field was occupied so ran around the nbhrd. Discovered a new trail along the creek that went for about a mile. Trail was OK, but not all that runnable.
Su - 20.0 (8:42/149) (this is what garmin calls it. Used to call 20.3)
I was smart and got out early before it got too hot. It was still pretty warm though, especially for Oct. Run went just great. I start slow and progressively sped up. My best 20M run in the spring on this exact route was 3:05:23 @148bpm average heart rate. Today was 2:54:19 @ 149 which is 6.0% faster and only 1 bpm higher. Temps then were in the upper 30s compared to 60 warming to 76 degrees todays. 5M splits were: 45:41 (9:08), 43:59 (8:48), 43:00 (8:36), 41:50 (8:22). Calf hurt a good bit throughout. I could feel my foot as well.

Week: 62 miles, 9:06:29, avg pace 8:50, avg hr 143 bpm

Monday, October 01, 2007

week of 24 Sep

Mo - 10.5 easy (9:30 min/mi) - unplanned run to work b/c of car trouble
Tu - 9.7 - Intervals on a 10 laps per mile track. 45 min wup, 6 x 0.4 w/0.2 jog - 2:43, 2:40, 2:39, 2:40, 2:41, 2:39, 15 min cdn
We - Rest
Th - 4.9 easy (9:45 min/mi) -- evening run during daughter's soccer practice
Fr - 7.6 easy (9:21 min/mi) -- nbhrd roads
Sat - 4.5 (9:12 min/mi) -- grass field at elementary school
Su - 6 mile wup at 9:00, 14 miles at marathon pace
Total - 57 miles

Because of traveling for work and a desire to take it a little easier with my aching foot an calf, I ended up coming into the Sunday 20-miler with a semi-taper.

The Sunday run was run in a 20 mile race. I was hoping to see 7:27 per mile (BQ pace) at my normal marathon heart rates (~170-172 until ~15 miles in). Here are the splits of the MP: 7:26 (163), 7:25 (168), 7:14 (170), 7:32( 168), 7:19 (170), 7:14(170), 7:19(171), 7:27 (172), 7:27 (172), 40 (171), 8:00 (172), 7:47 (172), 8:03 (173), 7:31 (177). You have to add 5 secs to each of these. I had a consistent, accumulating error at each mile marker and ended up with an extra 95 seconds. When I ran the 7:14 (really 7:19) at 170 on a flat section, I thought I might just have a chance to qualify. Then it fell apart in the end. The first 8:00 came climbing up a big hill that I had run down with the second 7:14 (170). Not even hitting BQ pace on a flat section at the end despite a heart rate near 180 was somewhat demoralizing.

Looking back to my MP run in the spring though, I think this was better, but it's hard to tell since the pace was so different. Sunday was 7:36 pace @ 171 avg. The spring was 7:26@177 avg. I guess 6 bpm is worth more than 10 sec/mile, so I'd have to say it was an improvement. Conditions were very similar and this was definitely a harder course.