[This is a little bit scary to be declaring publicly, but it’s time to say it.]
And now, I’m going to add some caveats take you through my thought process – how I came up with this time, and how I’m going to use it on race day. Because honestly, determining a goal finishing time caused no small amount of angst in this Coach’s household for a few weeks. Here are some of the factors I weighed when coming up with a time:
1. It’s been a long time since I trained for and ran a marathon (like, 3 years). And the last time I trained, I was in great running shape – I spent most of my training time running, I was running 50 mpw, I trained hard with Jack Daniels, and was gunning for a 3:20 finish. Was, that is, until I busted my ankle and broke some metatarsals, about six weeks before the race. Needless to say, three years, a few pesky injuries, a lot more cross-training and a lot less running later – and my training paces/finishing times from that point in my life are no longer relevant.
2. I didn’t really have any current race times to use as a gauge. I ran a few races in Singapore between January and May, but most were for fun. KMN and I ran the 2XU Half-Marathon, just as I was coming off a month of plantar fasciitis issues – so we took things slowly and ran for fun. The closest I had to a hard race effort was the Venus Run 5K. I referenced Daniels’ handy charts, which predicted that someone who ran the 5K time I did (~22:00; I adjusted for a 3.1 miles – the course was ~0.25 miles long) could, with proper training, run a ~3:30 marathon. But I’ll admit – I’m a little uncomfortable using a 5K time to bet on a marathon time. I looked for a half-marathon in June/July that could serve as a benchmark, but nothing fit into my travel and training schedule. (And there still would have been a weather-disconnect.)
3. I didn’t have the base to do a full cycle of Jack Daniels marathon training. I was coming off IT band issues from late 2012, and a brief and totally unprecedented bout of PF in early 2013. I knew that my body had neither the distance base nor the intensity base to safely jump into his training plan.
Thus, I generated my own plan, influenced by JD. I built my mileage, increased the distance of my long runs, and used (approximately) his shorter tempo workouts. However, I didn’t do as much faster running during long runs as he prescribes, and I only did one workout with tempo-paced running each week (he often has 2).
How did I choose my paces? I used the JD formula, and my 5K finish time, to choose my tempo pace. JD prescribes tempo workouts for runners training for all race distances based on a recent time from any distance race, so my 5K time still felt applicable. I ran my long runs by feel and perceived exertion – in Singapore, this was usually averaged out to slightly below 10 min/mi. Shorter workouts were closer to 9-9:15 min/mi. Any training I did on trails was a bit slower.
I knew that I should expect to race a bit faster than I’d trained. This would be especially true in Perth, where the favorable weather conditions of Perth would give me an extra boost. My long runs in New Jersey and London (slightly over, and spot on, 9 min/mi, respectively) supported this hypothesis. I also knew that I had to be careful – my aerobic system would love the cooler weather, but if I aimed too fast, my legs, unaccustomed to the pace, would give out.
Finally, I knew I didn’t want to run myself to the ground in the marathon. The marathon is a motivation for me to get back in solid running shape, and could be considered a slightly hard training run for my 50K on October 5. But I know if I push too hard, go too fast, trash my legs too much – I’ll be screwed for the 50K. I can run a hard race, but not so hard that I need a month to recover. I’d like to take about 2 weeks, 3 weeks at the max, for marathon recovery – so I can still get in a bit of training before it’s 50K taper time.
After stewing over all these issues for awhile, I decided that running a sub-4 hour marathon seemed like a reasonable goal. This is an average pace of 8:58 min/mi. Anticipating that I may need a bathroom stop, and will need to pause to refill my water bottles, my moving pace will have to be slightly faster than this. If I’m feeling good as the race goes on, I can always pick up the pace. I’m willing to hurt a bit, but if I feel that I’m pushing too hard, and putting my 50K training in jeopardy, then I’ll back off. The biggest trick will be making this decision in the middle of the race, and for the right reasons.
So that’s the story. If you want the more touchy-feely “how are you feeling about the race” post, you’ll just have to come back tomorrow. We’re gonna be all-Perth, all-the-time around here for the next few days.
Questions/Comments/Thoughts about my rationale?
Fellow bloggers: How do you feel about sharing race goals/times with the entire world wide web? Does it make you nervous?
Soliciting any final To-Do suggestions for Perth; today, GCA and I hung out in Fremantle. We’re going to be taking it easy tomorrow, recovering on Sunday, and doing some more intense sight-seeing on Monday. Anything we can’t miss?