Training for the Green Bay Marathon – update

3 05 2010

It’s taper time! So how did I do in my training for the Green Bay Marathon?

Things I’m happy about

– I basically hit my long-run schedule perfectly, save for a couple weeks of intense work/travel/weather in Feb/early March. (I’d really like to have the last week of January, the first 2 weeks of February, and the first week of March back. Alas.)
To wit, my long runs in this cycle:
22.46, 20, 20, 18, 17, 17, 15.6, 14.4, 14.1, 13.2, 13.1. That’s 11 runs of half-marathon distance or further, easily a best for marathon training for me. Throw in five runs of 10-12 miles, plus more runs of 7-10 miles than ever before, and that’s a good training cycle.
– I hit a 50-mile week for the first time ever. Heck, I hit a 40-mile week for the first time ever.
– I ran PRs in two races when my legs were fried. My Scotland Run 10K PR was after 41 miles the previous 6 days. The Penn Relays Distance Classic 20K PR was run after a hard 10 the afternoon before and 4 miles run immediately before the race, and yet I still maintained an 8:17 average pace over 20K. I’m very proud of these race times in anti-taper mode.
– I ran 156 miles in April, a personal best.
– I was mostly injury-free, which is really a big difference from last year’s marathons (where my training had fewer miles!). I had some minor issues in my left hip and right shin that caused me to lose some miles and take several unplanned days off over the last 3 weeks, so I’m a little bitter I didn’t hit 200 miles in April, but in the big picture I am in way better position injury-wise than I have ever been in marathon training. I definitely took the better-safe-than-sorry approach the last 3 weeks, making sure I hit my long runs. For example, I only ran twice April 14-22, but ran 27 miles those 2 days. Not ideal, but I’d rather arrive at the start line healthy and have confidence that I can run a great race.

Things to work on for future marathons

– I did very little speed work, and did fewer tempo runs than would be ideal. This was really a planned anti-injury measure, as I was reaching weekly and monthly totals I had never run before. I made the conscious decision to reduce injury risk by not jumping way up in miles and at the same time throwing in heavy speed. I also ran a fair number of runs at recovery pace, again mostly as an up-the-miles-without-injury strategy. As much as anything, I wanted to put in a significant number of long runs in this cycle to get my body much better prepared for the distance. Of course, I think this base sets me up very well for future training. For future marathons, I will relish being able to mix the speed work in and include more tempo, now that I’ve given my body the base to handle the miles. The good news: I can see that my speed is not at the levels it was last summer/fall, so I have real room to improve in the future.
– Start training earlier. After the NYCM last November, I basically didn’t run until the last week of December. January was also a light training month other than the Manhattan Half-Marathon, which at least gave me a jump in my distance base. But I really didn’t begin training in earnest until February 13.
– My weight is higher than I’d like. I don’t really lose weight while in full marathon-training mode, partly because I do a lot less cross-training/weights when I am in intense running mode. With winter the high point of the year weight-wise, and jumping right into marathon training, this wasn’t going to be ideal (January-February as the high point of the year work-wise didn’t help, either). Also, over the last several weeks of marathon training I get antsy about giving my body any excuse to move muscle protein from my legs to anywhere else. Summer, with no marathon training until August, on the other hand is great weight-loss time for me. I expect to run the NYCM at least 10 pounds lighter than I will run Green Bay, which certainly should translate to minutes off my race time.

Conclusions

I basically did what I wanted to accomplish this training cycle: run far more training miles than I have before, and do it with a larger number of long runs than I did before. My only real deviations from plan were the lost training time in Jan/Feb and the lost runs the last 3 weeks because I was being proactive about preventing injury. Given that I will reach the starting line with my legs healthy (barring something highly unfortunate in the next 13 days), I’m OK with that. I’m well-prepared and ready for a serious PR in Green Bay. Now I just need to survive the taper.

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3 responses

3 05 2010
SCL

That’s some serious long runs there. I think it is the miles that mean the most in preparation. Sounds like you are very prepared for Green Bay!

4 05 2010
Chanthana

Amazing that you were able to achieve two race PRs after running so many miles. Green Bay is going to be a great race!

5 05 2010
jeri

you are seriously going to rock green bay. your training has been spot on, and it seems like your legs, mind, and heart are all in the same spot going in to this marathon. so excited to see how you do!!! :)

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