Thursday, September 27, 2012

"This workout is going to hurt, but it will make you faster."

Let the taper begin!

Today was my last S.O.S. (Something of Substance) workout. I ran it at the North Park University track. There was a high school track team practicing there at the same time. I heard the coach telling the boys team:

"This workout is going to hurt, but it will make you faster." 

He then shouted, "Go!", and without missing a beat, the boys team took off running fast around the track. I guess kids are not afraid of coming face-to-face with pain!

Anyway, it was fun being out there, because it made it easier to run fast when a bunch of fast runners were flying all around me.

At the track this morning
6 x 1 Mile Workout Summary:

  • 1.75 mile warmup
  • 3 miles @ 6:27/mile
  • .25 mile walk
  • 2 miles @ 6:28/mile
  • .25 mile walk
  • 1 mile @ 6:21/mile
  • 1.75 mile cool down
How this week compares to the week before my Marathon p.r.:
Today, my average pace per mile was 6:26 for the 6 x 1 miles. This is a whole nine seconds faster than the identical workout I did one week before my marathon p.r.. However, when I set my p.r. in 2011, I was averaging 57 miles/week. For the 2012 Chicago Marathon training cycle, I only managed to average 47 miles/week.  I may be slightly faster today than I was in 2011, but my legs are not as "battle hardened" and I likely have slightly less endurance. So, what should my marathon pace be?

A view this morning of the "L" looking southward from the Lawrence Ave. Bridge over the Chicago River
Determining My Marathon Pace:
I would like to set a new marathon p.r., which would mean averaging 7:02/mile. I trained for around a 7:00 pace, but, realistically, I did not put in a ton of miles this training cycle, so my confidence in finishing the marathon strong is not super high. In any case, all of my personal records in races were set when I ran negative splits, so I need to run negative splits for this one too. It would seem that my best bet is to shoot for a 7:10 pace and if I am feeling good at mile 13, I can drop down to a 7:00/mile until mile 20. If I am still feeling good at mile 20, I can drop my pace down to 6:55/mile. That would bring me to my marathon p.r. If I am not feeling good at any point, I can slow down a bit and still get a decent finishing time.

By the way, I do all of my marathon pace calculations based on a 26.3 mile course, since I don't always cut perfect tangents. In fact, my Garmin said I ran 26.5 for my marathon p.r. in 2011!

The Bottom Line: In order for me to break my p.r. I need to run negative splits. Also, it needs to be cool, say 45 degrees at the start and 55 degrees at the finish. A little drizzle would help if it is warmer. As a bonus, a nice little tailwind for the final few mile run up Michigan Avenue would be fantastic! If I start the race too fast, or the weather is disagreeable, then I can likely kiss a new p.r. goodbye.

The Bottom Bottom Line:
If the race day weather is warm or I start the race too fast, I'll be in the race purely for fun, so you marathon spectators should get ready for lots of high-fives and smiles from me!

Sunrise over Lawrence Ave.

Tapering Goals Next Week: Stay injury free, run 35 miles to stay sharp. Oh, did I mention that I am going to stay injury free?! :-)

Do you have any specific goals over the taper week?
Artistic rendering of Lawrence Ave.. Thanks Photoshop!


  1. I always feel guilty, hoping it will rain, because i know it screws over everyone else, but i run SO much better in the rain. Although i am running Chicago for fun anyway :)

    My main goal is to keep my eating in check! with all this free time, i keep snacking!

    1. Yeah, I like "racing in the rain" as well. Not a downpour, but a light to medium rain. I am wondering about how much weight I will gain over the next 9.5 days, now that my mileage will be minimal and my appetite the same. I guess they say you shouldn't worry too much about weight gain during a taper.

  2. Chicago for me is all about Michelle so my only goal is to NOT let her down. I really hope we get some stellar weather. 45? I would be thrilled!

    1. The temps look awesome so far, fingers crossed!

  3. My goal is just to cross the finish line in one piece with a smile on my face before the course time limits!

    In the meantime, I'm focused on trying to get as much sleep as possible, hydrating, stretching, and carb-loading. I'm still dealing with some lingering groin pain, too, so I'm doing everything I can to get it in check before the big day...

    1. That is a great goal. Every runner should end their race with a smile on their face. Good strategies on your pre-race prep. Hope the pain goes away soon!