Monday, March 29, 2010

All Peak, No Valley

As my fingers work their way across the keyboard, the official start of the Boston Marathon is three weeks and one hour away.  There's still a dream-like quality to the fact that I'll be lining up in the 7th Corral in Wave 1 (Bib #7930), taking part in the world's most storied marathon.  The way I feel now contrasts sharply to how I've felt before any of my other marathons.  Principally, since I have no specific time goal (yet), I do not feel any performance-related pressure (yet - lol).  I know that my training has been excellent (for me) and that I cannot look back to anything I might have done differently since January 4, 2010.  I suppose that I would have liked to have run a faster tune-up race, but in light of the big picture, I'm not particularly concerned about that, either.

So, fresh from a week-long  vacation in Northern Florida, I ran a huge weekly mileage PR (for reasons to be detailed below).  The past two weeks ended up like this:

  • Monday - 8.2M in nasty, cold rain
  • Tuesday - AM: 5.1M easy; PM: 7.8, with 4x400m & 2x800m (first running club track workout of the season)
  • Wednesday - AM: 7.4M; PM: 6.7M
  • Thursday - 10.1M progression run
  • Friday - 11.1M, with 3M @ HMP, 0.5M recovery & 2M @ HMP
  • Saturday - 7.2M (travel day)
  • Sunday - 9.75M; had to scrap LR due to family schedule

  • Monday - 20+M into relentless headwind, with last 3M @ goal MP
  • Tuesday - AM: 6+M; PM: 4.7M
  • Wednesday - 12+M progression run
  • Thursday - 12M, with 6M @ HMP (between 6:40-6:45/mile)
  • Friday - AM: 7+M; PM: 5+M
  • Saturday - 6+M
  • Sunday - 22+M, with about 8M @ goal MP (or faster); 2000 feet elevation gain

Without putting too fine a point on it, I'll admit that last week was really the first time during this entire training cycle where some of the runs felt like a chore, especially since the wind in Florida was a constant nuisance.  That said, though, as befits the experienced, more Zen-like runner which I've become [ ;-) ], I did not let the need to move things around derail or unsettle me.  I've put in the miles.  I've done the quality work.  I'm injury-free (knock wood), save for a couple of nagging aches.  And all of that comes on the heels of a consistent year in 2009.  The average weekly mileage for my 13 weeks pre-taper should come out to 72.2 miles.  My peak week last year? 72 miles.

So, having hit an unexpected peak week, it's time to dial it down.  Plan is to do 70 miles this week, then start the official taper with weeks of 50 and 30 before toeing the line in Beantown.

At this point, the lingering unknown is what my Boston goal will be.  Some well-intentioned running friends are suggesting that I should go for sub-3:00 at Boston.  To quote George H.W. Bush, "Not. Gonna. Happen."  As I've said before, I'm not going to run too close to my limits in my first Boston.  I just don't want to repeat the "death march" finish of my first three marathons.

Of course, it'd be somewhat disingenuous of me to claim that I'm going to line up on April 19th, and "see what the day brings", but that's going to be at least part of the plan.  For those who simply must know, I figure that a realistic target would be somewhere between 3:05 and 3:10.  Weather conditions will play a huge role in determining what I try to do in Boston, but the best thing about being this close with no goal, is that I have nothing about which to be disappointed. Yet.

Yup, we'll all have to find out together. ;-)

Cheers, ESG/Ron


Unknown said...

Your training has been spectacular--can't wait to see how you do!

Chris Honaker said...

Ron, I seriously do not think I have seen a more perfectly executed training plan than what you have put together for the last couple of months. I have no doubt you are going to have a successful Boston. FWIW, I think 3:05 (or better) is the magic number.

Jules said...

Followed you here via LA Runner.

I am in complete awe of your mileage. And of your 2x/day running schedule.

I think I'll stick around a while...if you have a chance, I have a few words of my own to say about running - check it out! ;-)

Morrissey said...

i cant believe it is 2 weeks away! good luck in boston ron!