Archive for October 8, 2012

After last week’s “recovery week” from the Kerrville Half-Ironman the calendar flipped to October 8th and the Chevron Houston Marathon is now front and center.

We didn’t do a ton of work last week, just runs of 6.2, 8.6, 10 and 12 miles with a 20-mile easy bike ride thrown in on Friday afternoon to work out the last bit of soreness in our quadricept muscles.  Amazingly as early in the week as Thursday I felt like I had not even raced the weekend before.  Some of that is due to the fact that we might have “over-prepared” slightly for the race.  By that meaning that most HIM training plans have a little bit less volume, especially from a run perspective.

The other piece is that swimming and cycling, no matter the speed and intensity are just simply easier to recover from than high-mileage racing in run only events.  The pounding on the muscles and the residual soreness just isn’t the same when you are in the water or in the saddle compared to hammering away over asphalt and concrete in 7-9 oz. racing flats.

But that is what we are preparing for now as the Houston Marathon becomes front and center.  Our next “A” race, and more than likely our only “A” race in all of 2013, falling in just the second weekend of the new year.

2013 is going to be a year of re-evaluation for me as it pertains to training and racing.

My thought right now is to spend the year focusing on shorter distance events, 5K/10K and potentially a late fall half-marathon to try to take down our PR’s in each of those distances.

18:12, 37:30, 1:23:46.

All very solid Personal Records for a 45+ year old runner.  But in each of those races, the NOCC Balance 5K the day before I became a Dad, the 2011 IBM Uptown Classic and last spring’s Shamrock Half-Marathon in Virginia Beach I know there was the potential to run faster if I had executed a slightly different race plan.

The other factor I know will make a difference in my shorter distance race times is true speed work.  To this point I have focused my “speed” work with an eye toward longer distance events like the marathon.  I run up-tempo hill work and repeats, but my repeats are 1-mile in length.  I do not do track work out of fear of injury, and do not do shorter intervals such as 400’s and 800’s that will provide a huge training boost in my ability to race short distances at a faster leg turnover and pace.

The other factor is Landry is fun.

Every day she is getting into something new, whether that is swimming lessons, tumbling class at school or just her wanting to play outside, feed the ducks, go to the zoo or hang with Mom and Dad.

Reducing my training volume will of course free up more time – but being an early morning runner, that will not make a huge impact on the amount of time I have to spend with Dawn and Landry.  The fact is, most of my miles are logged while they are still asleep.

But the recovery from those longer training runs is a different story.  After a 20 or 22 mile training run, I’m just not up for a whole lot the rest of the day on Sunday.  I spend time relaxing and recovering instead of chasing my 2-year-old around the house.

Shortening those “long workouts” will allow me to be much more “active” on the weekends and in turn, have a lot more energy to chase Landry from activity to activity.  The speed work will also help me catch her sometimes …

But we’re not hanging up the marathon flats just yet.  Houston in 14 weeks demands a focused and well executed training cycle and that is exactly what it is going to receive.

The formula will be very similar to what we did to prepare for New York last year and Boston this past spring.

Doubles on Tuesdays – 8.3 miles in the morning another 8.3 with 6 miles at tempo pace in the afternoon.

Mid-Week Long run on Wednesdays.

Thursday Hill Repeats.

Cross Training on Fridays.

Marathon Pace Run on Saturdays.

Long run on Sundays.

One change in this year’s marathon training is I won’t have the luxury of running a tune-up half-marathon 4 weeks before the event.  This has helped me get that “racing mindset” locked in just before the taper, which is helpful as running long on Sundays has a way of lulling you into a slower training pace typically :40 or so slower than marathon goal pace for me.

I really liked the tune-up half-marathon that would allow me to run 13.1 miles at :30-:35 per mile faster than marathon pace.  It served as a great confidence booster as well as a tough workout to more or less “finish off” the training cycle.

With 14 weeks to go to race day instead of the typical 18 I am used to, I just can’t make that work this time.  Instead we are going to run more marathon pace miles on our Saturday workouts to mimic the demands of race day over far more miles than we have done in the past.  It is a subtle change in preparation, but one that I believe may very well make all the difference come race morning on January 13, 2013.

The fact of the matter is we are within a whisker of hitting our goal for the marathon.  We do not need major fitness gains or endurance improvements.  Our VO2 max is where it needs to be.  Our lactate threshold is in the correct range.  Our previous race performances indicate a marathon potential of 2:55-2:58.  Our endurance right now is better than it has ever been coming off of last weekend’s Half-Ironman.  We are beyond healthy at this point knock on wood.  Right now we have absolutely not the faintest niggles, sore muscle or nick.  We are perfect heading into Houston Training.

It’s just a matter of sharpening the sword and getting our mental game ready to run the smartest 20-miles we have ever run on race day, followed by the 10K of our life.

If we are able to execute that plan and the fickle Texas weather gods cooperate I believe we are going to be ready for our breakthrough performance in the marathon.

Houston, on January 13 you most definitely have a problem.