This marathon season has been tough. I constructed and followed the most structured plan. I had a huge build period and a very intense sharpening phase. I also got hurt on my longest most intense run three weeks before the race. However, even before that discomfort there were signs that not everything was well. Let’s go through the season real quick.
In late October I ran the Jazz Half Marathon and achieved a PR by 8 seconds. Not only that but I achieved this PR on about 20 miles a week. The next day I went to Australia for a month. I ran a lot. I ran a lot for fun. Many times I ran multiple times. I also walked and saw the sights and sounds. Liking up with the Sydney Striders I ran a lot of distance and a lot of intensity. These are the reasons that I run. It was for the joy of it. I had a couple of 100k (62 mile) weeks.
When I got back home I ran the Baton Rouge Half Marathon. Another PR and this one was a big one – 1:27:39 – a PR by 1:41. A couple of weeks later I raced the Ole Man River Half. This is one of the flattest and fastest races around. On top of that it is always cold. The weather was perfect. I had been running high mileage since Baton Rouge. The week of the Ole Man River I had 50 miles in my legs. I ‘tapered’ for two days. My legs felt like they were on fire for the first few miles of the race. I was dying and slowing down. I caught my second wind when a pacer and he second or third place female caught me. I grabbed a shoulder and toughed it out. I PR’d at this race by 9 seconds – 1:27:30. I think that I raced Baton Rouge better but I’ll take the PR.
After a couple of 70 mile weeks and the two PR’s I shut down the volume. I switched over to the intensity phase of my training plan. My mileage dropped. All and I mean all of my miles except for races had been at my comfortable pass – right around 8 minutes per mile. Now all of my paces were faster – all paces were in the 6’s.
My next race was the Steam Whistle 12k. I ended up racing it at virtually the same pace as last year. Sure it was a PR but I wanted to beat my previous year’s time by more than a minute. This would be my last PR. The stretch would be broken.
Steam Whistle 12k
I then raced the First Light Half Marathon. I was 2 and a half minutes slower. I’m still not completely sure what happened (I need to go back and read my race reports). The race mailed me my award for placing in my age group. I have not opened the package. It is just sitting in my office.
Well, I continued on with the training plan and ‘most’ of the runs were successful. But they were border line. They paces were aggressive and I was achieving them but they were not solid. They were harder than they should have been. That last 20 mile run was the kicker. I was not able to hold the prescribed pace and I suffered and hurt myself. The pace for that run was 30 seconds slower than my projected marathon pace. I was smart and recovered the best that I could.
However, I should have reevaluated the goal at that time. I thought that I could will myself to achieve my goal. That was probably foolish.
I think that I when concerning distance I respond better to volume. I think that I respond better to volume with a lot racing. That is what I did last year. I raced a lot of hard races and I ran a lot of miles. That will be my plan for next time.