I’ve had a combination of really good marathon experiences and really bad marathon experiences at this point.
The race day experience doesn’t bother me too much. The marathon is a challenging distance to run well, because little problems early on (and even 24 hours before) multiply over the 26 mile 385 yard distance:
- Blisters start before the halfway point.
- Lack of proper fueling or hydration shows up between miles 15 and 20.
- Unseasonably warm weather usually takes it’s toll for the 8-10 minute miler about the time you hit mile 20-23.
- Eating the wrong thing that morning becomes exponentially nasty with every mile you’re out on the course.
The problem is, I’ve had 3 bouts with injury, including one that occurred within 7 weeks of this year’s Chicago marathon. There’s an aggressive mileage target that I want to hit (80-100 miles per week) for the performance that I want out of my marathon. The mileage itself is not an issue: I’ve successfully run 80+ mile weeks before with only the expected fatigue. The problem is scheduling that mileage into my routine.
I end up injured because I stubbornly stick to my mileage target on weeks that I don’t have the time to follow-through. That means that I:
- Stack too many runs in a day [triples with well over 20 miles total]
- Run too fast [within 10 seconds per mile of my marathon PR for every run]
- Start building up 5 or more miles per week at a time.
I guess the whole “marathons disrupt a runner’s progress” line of thinking finally got to me. (See: The Marathon: A Race too Far?)
I’ve completed 7 marathons so far, and I’ve only had a consistent 16 week training period for 3 of them.
- My first one was a 4:34 PR in Outer Banks, NC [My first marathon, ever]
- The second one was a 3:39 PR at Flying Pig.
- The third one was a 3:32 PR at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.
The others? I came off of injury or ran 4-6 weeks after another marathon. Two of them were extremely hilly marathons:
- 4:42 at Hatfield-McCoy six weeks after a 3:39 PR at Flying Pig (I also vacationed the week before and had sore leg muscles when I start).
- 4:32 at Flying Monkey coming off of 6 weeks of injury.
- 3:49 in Memphis after a 3:32 in Indianapolis–the second marathon wasn’t hilly and I was still in good shape.
- 4:24:50 in Chicago after injury within 7 weeks of the race and 86′F high downtown.
So far, it appears that the recipe for the greatest chance of success is having at least 16 solid, consistent weeks of training. Also, after running the marathon, my running takes a huge step backward for at least a month. To get to where I want to be for marathon training, I think I need to back off the focus on the marathon.
So, instead, I’m going for some INSANELY lofty goals for my current ability–basically, race paces below 7 minutes for all races up to the half.
- A 19 minute 5k
- A sub-40 10k
- A sub-70 10 miler
- A sub-90 half
I can do 5k training plans in increments of 4 weeks, and even the half in 12 weeks. I can also race a 5k every weekend without really risking injury if I run easy the rest of the week.
Don’t think that I’m giving up on the marathon; I have a ticket that I need punched for the NYC marathon next year.
- Race Report: Monumental Marathon I've spent the past 6 months working up to this day. Twice in the past 16 months, I've been sidelined from running for more than 6 weeks. I began running everyday at the end of my last injury recovery, making it my goal to be able to run the......
- Insanity Plea I don't know if this is a legitimate goal for me at this point, it presumes a lot.Qualifying time is 3:20So... here it is: My long term goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon by the age of 40. Since the Boston qualifying time is stated time plus 59......
- 2400 miles later This has been the best disappointing year ever! 200 miles per month averaged, despite barely creeping near 200 miles a couple of times the last few months. A Running History In 2006, I started running. By virtue of every race being my first at that distance, I set 4 personal......
- Streak day 16 #twit2fit 3.9 miles in 38'47" (9'57"/mile). A little plantar fascia /arch pain in the left foot starting about 2.9 mile mark. I'm planning on converting my running plan to a 5% build-up to a 70 mile week for the week ending September 9, 2008. That will be 9 weeks from the......
- Week 7 of the streak and injury analysis #twit2fit Start of week 7 of the streak Given the usual madness of holiday weekends, I didn't think the streak would survive this onslaught, but I not only got a run in, I managed to hit my target distance of 6.4 miles. Challenge #2: I woke up with a stiff back. ......
- A new 5k personal record tonight #running #twit2fit I set a new 5k tonight at the Gaslight 5k in Jeffersontown, KY. Didn't feel much up to finishing, even at the start, feeling winded from jog to the start. It was roughly 79 degrees at the start, which is a little too warm for any distance race. I started......
- Preventing Injuries While Triathlon Training pt 2 Preventing Injuries when Running Running is actually the sport of...
- 5 Ways on How To Start a Fitness Plan and Keep It If you are ready to make that commitment towards getting...
- Homeless: Getting Rescued This is the fifth post in an 8 part series...
- Train for Your First Triathlon Determine What Your Goals Are Figure out how long you...
- My Financial Week in Review #7 Here's an update on my finances over the last week....
- How to Program a Car Remote [/caption]If you get a car remote for your vehicle, you...