Sunday, March 13, 2011

Training Week 3/7-3/13 / There's No Shape like Marathon Shape!

I believe there's no shape like marathon shape. When you're doing what you need to do to be ready for a PR effort at a marathon, it's hard to be in better shape. In this light, marathon training is both fulfilling and satisfying. Of course, you can almost always do more! And things can go wrong at the big event--all part of the process.

When I reflect on my 7 years of running long distance, a few races come to mind when I think of the times I perceived myself to be in really good shape:
  • 2008 Cleveland Marathon - 2:58, PR
  • 2008 Mohican 100 - 4th overall (despite a blown-up knee)
  • 2009 Columbus Marathon - 2:59 (despite a hamstring problem)
  • 2009 Mohican 100 - 1st overall
Honestly, the last time I felt in really good shape was going into Mohican in 2009. I had just run a 2:59 at a very windy Cleveland Marathon, and also had two top-5 finishes at 50Ks in March and April, and had devoted myself to intervals, tempo running and, most of all, hill repeats.

Nothing puts me in better shape than a marathon training program. The cornerstones of my marathon training are:
  • The long run
  • Intervals/repeats
  • The tempo run
  • The marathon-pace run 
But no matter how much training you do, one thing is for certain: going hard for 26.2 miles is going to be tough and it's going to hurt. The distance itself doesn't worry me; it's knowing I'm going to need to hold a certain pace the whole way that's going to be challenging. I've never really nailed it in the marathon. That 2:58 PR I set at Cleveland was kind of by accident--I was really focused on the Mohican 100 a month from then. The last time I was really marathon-focused was the fall of 2008, when I nailed a 2:59 in Columbus on a bad hamstring.

To nail it in the marathon, you have to run at just the right pace, be strong in the last 10K and leave nothing on the course. The ultra, while deploying some measure of precision especially at the 50K, 50-mile and 100K distances, isn't as precise as the marathon--which, in my mind, makes the marathon, in some respects, harder.


I have zero repect for this guy. Does he even understand what an awful message he's sending?


I had another solid training week with pretty good results in my intervals, tempo run and long run. I nailed 80.5 miles--my first time over 80 miles since August when I was tapering for the Leadville 100.

It's hard to really know what my marathon pace truly is when I'm training at 5,000 feet above where the Eisenhower Marathon will be run. My best guess is that my marathon pace is around 6:40-6:45. My goal for Eisenhower is 2:54 and my "stretch" goal is 2:49. A 2:54 makes me a lock for getting into the 2012 Boston Marathon since it would allow me to register on day one.

Here's how the week turned out.

Monday - EASY
AM: 6.5 miles/49:33 on the treadmill. Just an easy Monday morning run to shake out the legs.

AM: 9.5 miles/1:09:50 on the HOA treadmills. I am getting sick of running my intervals on the treadmill! Unfortunately, it's too dark for the track. Soon enough! I did 3x1 mile at 6:00 pace, maxing out the treadmill. Legs turned over nicely but, no question about it, I was working hard.

Wednesday - EASY
AM: 10.01 miles/1:15:08 on the Tomahawk loop. I felt better with every mile, but probably went too fast for an easy day.

Thursday - TEMPO RUN
AM: 10.4 miles/1:14:33 to "downtown" Parker and back. After last week's disappointing tempo run in which I went out too fast and fizzled after 5 miles, this week I wanted to nail it. I was really happy with this run. I held tempo pace for 6.5 miles. After a 1-mile warm-up, my splits were: 6:34, 6:26, 6:42 (going uphill), 6:26, 6:34, 6:38, and 3:20 for mile 6.5. The remaining miles were at cool-down pace--about 7:55-8:05 pace. While I don't like how I lost pace toward the end, this was still a solid effort at over 6,000 feet.

Friday - EASY
AM: 10 miles/1:15:35 (7:34 pace) on the Tomahawk loop. Gorgeous morning. Legs got tired after 8 miles.

AM: 20.1 miles/2:35:18 (7:43 pace) in the Parker hills. This was the second of 3 planned 20-milers in preparation for the Eisenhower Marathon. All in all, I felt pretty good, and it was a beautifully sunny day on the Front Range though the wind from the south kind of sucked. I eeked out a 6:56 for mile 19. Low point 6,103 feet, high point 6,413 feet.

AM: 14.01 miles/1:46:51 (7:38 pace) on the Tomahawk loop, running the dirt-road loop twice. It was a rare cloudy and moist day on the Front Range, but fortunately the temperature was comfortably in the mid-30s. My legs were quite tired for the first 5 miles, likely as a result of the previous day's 20-miler, but I got a bit stronger and was handling the hills well. Toward the end, my legs started feeling it again, but I still managed a rather unimpressive but mildly satisfying mile-13 split of 6:51. Low point 6,104 feet, high point 6,307 feet.

Totals for the week:
  • 80.52 miles running
  • 10 hours, 5 minutes, 16 seconds
  • 7 total runs
  • Stretching, yoga exercises, core strengthening and push-ups.
For the year: 651.08 miles

My goals for this week are:
  • 75-80 miles
  • Quality intervals--hopefully at the track and not the treadmill
  • 7 miles at tempo pace

Who couldn't use some of Yoda's wisdom when it comes to going long?

1 comment:

  1. Slightly jealous of your build up at this point. I totally agree that marathon shape brings a certain clarity with it. I don't have that right now and sort of miss it. Good luck with the PR. Should be smooth sailing.