Friday, August 29, 2014

Another Fun Chicago Marathon Training Week

Just a quick update on what's happening on the running front.

Sunday Long Run:
On Sunday I went for my 16 miler with Annabelle and Declan:
Early on in our run (about mile 2.3)
We met at Lawrence and the Lakefront Trail and started our run there. We headed southbound on the trail and had quite a fun time chatting and laughing at our bad jokes. We eventually stumbled upon the madness of the triathlon taking place on the trail near Grant Park. It would have been sheer folly to continue running further south, so we turned around and headed north prematurely. When the temps started warming up on our return trip, Declan and Annabelle decided to go for a dip in the lake at about mile 11:
Annabelle and Declan ready to do a mid-run plunge!
I watched their belongings as well as dozens of people doing beach yoga classes. After their dip we finished off the last 5 miles and headed home. Good times were had by all and my long run seemed like a breeze with such fun company. Must make this a regular thing.

Marathon Corral News:
I got the word today that Chicago Marathon corral assignments were finally posted (about 4 weeks late)! After checking their website, I found that I squeaked into the "A" corral. So, now need to finish off my training like I deserve to be running with the big dogs!
From Chicago Marathon website
As far as my training goes, I really only have three more weeks in the 70 mpw range and then it will be taper time. The Chicago Half Marathon is next weekend (Sept. 7) and I would like to run sub-1:28. If I can do that, I know that from McMillan's calculator that I should at least be fit enough to attain a marathon PR (3:05:03). Here's hoping it is somewhat cool next Sunday so I can get the most accurate reading possible and get a realistic marathon pace.

How is your Chicago Marathon (or other) training going?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why are Cutback Weeks Harder than High Mileage Weeks?

So, last week I ran 70 miles. Those miles weren't much of a struggle at all, the only real issue was simply finding the time to squeeze them all in. Last week, I would set out on a casual run and glance down at my Garmin and be surprised to see that I was knocking out 7:00 minute miles relatively easily. It was my highest mileage week since September 2011, so for the sake of preventing myself from doing too much, too soon, I needed to cutback on mileage this week. However, this week has felt like anything but a cutback week. Every single mile has been kind of a struggle, my legs are tight and my lungs aren't responding as well as last week. Sometimes I'm fighting to maintain a 7:45/mile pace over short distances.

So what gives? Well I have a few theories:

1) High Mileage Hangover: I am feeling the effects of the easy-breazy miles from last week. I can't expect to hit a 3 year mileage high without any after effects. What goes up, must come down.
2) Rhythm: Running higher miles got my body/legs in a regular rhythm of constant running. Taking more time-off makes it harder to restart all systems when I want them to restart.
3) Heat/Humidity: It was about 10 degrees cooler last week, which despite the fact I'm trying to not complain about running in the heat this year, makes a big difference. 

Running on the Monon Trail in Indiana last Sunday
Starting this Sunday, I'm upping the mileage again, so we'll see if the miles will be easier next week than this week.

As for my marathon training, here is a graph of my progress so far (blue line is actual, red is forecasted):

Marathon training 2014
So, believe it or not I only have about four more weeks of high mileage before the taper begins! Time is just flying by. I need to focus on staying healthy and back off on my mileage goals if they prove to be too ambitious. I think I am in a good spot for a course PR (3:10:40) right now. I will be able to zero in on my marathon pace once I finish the Chicago Half Marathon in two weeks. I can then punch my half marathon time into the McMillan Calculator and see the corresponding marathon time. Then I can start getting a pacing plan together for October 12.

Yesterday at the track (for one whole lap)!
Also, has anyone else not gotten their corral assignment for the Chicago Marathon? They were supposed to be posted to the "Athlete Center" webpage on the marathon's website on August 1st and my corral is still blank. Mo and I are getting concerned!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 4, 2014

My DIY Marathon Training Plan

Over the last few weeks I have been reading the weekly training recaps of bloggers preparing for the Chicago Marathon. This made me realize that as race day drew ever-nearer I still did not have a solid plan - so I needed to get moving.

Previous Marathon Plans:
I was kinda waffling between using Hanson's Marathon plan and Daniel's Marathon plan. Both of which I have used before. I liked the pounding on my joints of the Hanson plan, but the scientific approach of Daniel's plan.

My Plan:
I decided to make my own DIY marathon training plan using the best of both worlds: I would use:
  • The rough outline of Daniel's plan including high/peak mileage and a three week taper
  • The 16 mile long runs and running on tired legs strategy of the Hanson plan
  • The rest of the plan would be self-regulated. That is, I will push the pace when I feel like pushing, slow down when necessary. I think I know my limits by now (I hope)!
VoilĂ ! My plan was born.

Charting My Miles:
Below is a chart of my mileage plan. Essentially I started running decent miles in March, so I'm including March, April and May as my marathon base mileage build-up. My real marathon training probably started in June as I started running 50 mpw on a regular basis. So, you could say, I've already been seriously training since June 1st as depicted in the blue line. The red dotted line depicts training mileage left to do before the marathon.

My 2014 Chicago Marathon Training Plan (keeping it simple by focusing on miles)

Building past the "Collapse Point": From here on out, I'm simply going to get some "Wall-busting" weekly miles under my belt. I mean "Wall busting" because the Marathon Collapse Point Theory postulates that a runner will hit "the wall" during a marathon at three times their average daily training miles. So, if I don't want to hit the wall at all during the marathon, all I need to do is average 9 miles a day, or 63 miles per week. That's why I'll be doing those crazy high 65 and 70 mile weeks in late August through mid-September - I want to hold pace even in miles 23 through 26.2 of the marathon (which is always a problem for me).

I'm shooting for a marathon PR this year, which should be doable. If this plan (or lack thereof) works well, and I can recover quickly enough in October, I can really focus on breaking the 3:00 marathon barrier in the spring. I know I have the speed to do it, I just need to get my legs used to running lots of miles so they can hold the 6:52/mile pace for 26.2 miles.