Thursday, April 09, 2009

The pre-race rundown

All righty, people, it's time. Marathon number 9. Number 9, number 9, number 9, numb--oh, sorry. Anyone get that reference?

The number 9 does seem to hold some significance. I mean, who needs the single measly charm that 3 brings, when you have 9? Ninth time is a triple charm! Boo-yah! And I'm going to need it. It's no secret that my major goal of the past several years has been to improve my marathon time enough to qualify for Boston. I muddled my way through several marathons before really buckling down to focus on what I needed to do in order to improve to 3:40. My "running renaissance," as I call it, began in December 2006. First, I set out to break the four-hour barrier. It took three tries (although the second one was Twin Cities 2007 [heat wave], which hardly counts!). But finally, at Sunburst 2008, I broke through the barrier with a 3:50. In fact, if my foot hadn't started hurting, I think I had a legitimate shot at 3:40 that day. I thought 3:40 was in the bag that fall. But a training plan that didn't work well for me (namely too much speedwork and running too fast in general), along with some overconfidence and going out too fast, led to my downfall despite good conditions and a fast course at the new Monumental Marathon in November 2008.

This time would be different. This time I would leave no doubt. I mapped out a new, harder plan, with much more mileage than I was used to. At the same time, I resolved to slow down. I can run a 5K that predicts a MUCH faster marathon than I'm capable of. I realized that there's nothing wrong with my speed, but my aerobic capacity kind of sucks! That's what I needed to work on. I even had some adversity thrown in. Well, pile it on, life! ::grits teeth and puts head down:: Somehow it all just made it more imperative that I suck it up and get moving. If I wanted this, I was going to have to bust my ass.

Here are the results:

Right, so, I ran a lot. To be exact, 1042.89 miles* this cycle. That's an average of 58.26 miles per week. Let's compare to last spring, my previous best training cycle to date, in which I ran 801.81 miles, averaging 44.8 miles per week:

And I even went back to look at my stats for my Spring 2007 marathon. Then, I ran 587.3 miles for an average of 32.6 miles. This yielded a 4:14. So:
  • 32.7 mpw = 4:14
  • 44.8 mpw = 3:50
  • 58.3 mpw = ?:??
So I'm feeling good about things. I'm feeling if I don't BQ, it will be because of stupendously bad racing or a combination of things I can't control. All I need to worry about is the one thing I can control: myself. Basically I just need to not be an idiot. :) Things have gone well enough that it's certainly crossed my mind to go for 3:35, or even 3:30. But 3:40 is the main objective. The plan is to go out and hold my miles splits between 8:15 and 8:30. I'll assess at the halfway mark and again at 17 (which is where my problems always seem to start). Who knows? Maybe I won't have a good day, or maybe it will be windy. I'll just have to go out there and roll with it.

*I'm projecting my planned miles for today and tomorrow.
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