Thursday, April 19, 2012

Marathon Training Update

I've reached the magical part of marathon training known as the "taper".  That's the last two weeks before the race where you scale back your mileage and rest your legs for the big day.  I thought it would be an appropriate time to share how my training has been going.

A Different Approach

Last year, I trained for the Boston Marathon.  I felt like I got into excellent shape, but I ended up injured about two weeks out from the race.  I still did the marathon, but slowly and with a lot of pain.  So the objective this year was to get to the same fitness level, but stay healthy.  My coach adjusted my schedule, and I've tried to get the most out of every run.  Here's what changed:
  • Less mileage: Last year, I topped out at 70 miles/week.  This year, only 60.
  • A rest day every week: Last year, I ran 7 days a week.  This year, only 6.
  • Focus on quality: I've tried to avoid "garbage miles".  Last year, I was often just trying to get the miles in.  This year, I've tried to keep them productive.  I've done most of my runs at 8:00/mile or faster.
  • I'm sticking to my schedule as precisely as possible.  With my unusual work and travel schedule, this can get tricky.  I always have to make adjustments but this year, I've stayed as true as possible to what my coach planned.  This ended up leading to one of my most enjoyable runs ever.

Fitness Level Indicators

Based on the work of Jack Daniels, you can use a race performance to estimate the equivalent performance at a different distance.  Here are some recent races and the marathon equivalent:
  • 11 Febrary: Valentine 4 Mile - 26:08 - VDOT: 49.7, marathon equivalent: 3:11:34
  • 11 March: Shamrock'n Half Marathon - 1:29:46 - VDOT: 51.1, marathon equivalent: 3:07:13
  • 1 April: Sactown 10 Mile - 1:06:44 - VDOT 51.5, marathon equivalent: 3:05:47
I think the predicted marathon times are a little optimistic for me personally, but I figure I'm in about 3:07 shape which should make my goal of sub-3:10 realistic, assuming everything goes right and the weather cooperates.

Race Date: April 28

I'll be running the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in Louisville, KY.  I'll have a day to recover before I start setting up for the horse race for NBC on Monday the 30th.

I'm feeling good at this point in my training, and I'm starting to get excited for race day!

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