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Condensed Training and my Marathon Goal

Like I’ve mentioned in many of my other posts, I self coach. I don’t follow a training plan, I go off of training plan guidelines and do what I think needs to be done to prepare. Sometimes prepare means “just finish”, sometimes it means “run your ass off”. For this time, it means “dammit, nab that 4:17 finish in a marathon that you’ve been trying to get for so many years!”

The story behind 4:17 is simple. My first marathon was in 2010, my finish time was 5:17. I just want to finish an hour faster than my first marathon, six years ago. And 4:17 isn’t a crazy, hard goal. It’s completely attainable, and I’m so capable of it.

My capability of it this time around is questionable since I’ve only been training for a couple of weeks. I had one month to prepare. (To anyone reading this who is a new runner, has never run a marathon, I don’t recommend one month prep. I’m coming off of Ironman Wisconsin on September 11th, I’ve got some endurance carryover.)

Here’s what my long run training looked like:

Saturday October 1st  – 9 mile trail run
Sunday October 9th  – 11 mile trail run
Saturday October 15th  – 12.7 trail run
Saturday October 22nd  –  18 mile road run, hilly route.

During the weekdays I did two structured runs, either hill repeats or speed work. Cross-training was one swim, boot camp/strength training, and yoga. I’m curious to see where this method of condensed training puts me. I can’t expect a speedy marathon, but do feel like that 4:17 is possible. Maybe.

Maybe because my pace on my 18 mile run was 10 minute miles exactly. For 4:17 I need my pace to be 9:48, but I probably want to shoot for 9:40s to be safe. What if the course is long? What if it’s short? All the what ifs.

And “maybe” because my 18 miler felt so strong! I thought I would finish it with negative splits, but didn’t. I don’t obsess with my Garmin while running because it messes with my head. I just let it do its job while I run. I looked at it at mile 15 and realized my  pace. I pushed on, seriously feeling strong at mile 15. My last mile was fastest, at a whopping 9:43.

The positives that I’m focusing on is how strong I felt. I felt like I could run all day. I fueled well. This was a hilly route, and I didn’t struggle on the hills. I had such good focus. If I can run this focused and strong on race day there’s a good chance I can do it.

So, let the taper begin?

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