For all intents and purposes, my 2014 Chicago Marathon training is in the books. Less than a handful of easy runs stands between me and the starting line on Sunday. As I've mentioned before:
My preparation for this race is the most I've ever trained for a single race in my life.
|Taking it easy on my 11 miler yesterday|
Starting in February, when I came back to running following an injury, getting in shape for the 2014 Chicago Marathon has been my single goal. I ran and ran, gradually building a base from February to July until I was comfortable running 40 to 50 miles a week. Then I ramped up the mileage:
From July through September I got stronger via physical therapy and weight training, and I eventually was able to score back-to-back weekly PDRs in September of 82 and 83 miles. Finally, I started a three week taper to try and get some fresh legs back.
So how does all of this training compare to previous training for my previous marathons? Well, I updated this table that I used last year and as you can see, based on the metrics I used, it is the most miles I've every run to train for a marathon:
So, since this training cycle sits at the top of the heap, does it mean that my 2014 marathon finish time is guaranteed to be a PR? Hardly. There are many factors to consider other than training mileage, such as:
|Average Training Mileage Before Marathon|
vs. Actual Marathon Finish Time (ranked by finish time)
- Track work: I did absolutely no track work to prepare for this marathon. I was afraid of over-doing it. Previous marathon training programs I have done have all included some track work, usually weekly.
- How my legs feel: My legs are currently as stiff as they have been in the last few months and I am working at trying to get them to loosen out a bit. Most likely high mileage has put them in this condition. At least I have a few days remaining to get this taken care of (hello recumbent bike and yoga)!
- How I feel: If I'm not feeling it on marathon morning for whatever reason, I may have to pull back and modify my goal time. Also, if I don't hydrate or sugar load correctly during the race, it will have an adverse impact.
- Weather: As of now, the weather is looking fantastic for the marathon, but nothing is guaranteed. A strong headwind for the last few miles or a spike in the temperatures could turn this race into a death march.
- Pacing: Marathon pacing has always been a struggle for me. This chart says it all.
Well, the best I can say is that if any of the previous five things affect my finish time, at least I gave this training cycle my all. If something doesn't go right, it will be a learning experience for my next marathon. If all goes well then I will have a good training plan going into my spring marathon. Either way, it was a blast getting to this point, and on Sunday I will be running with a big smile on my face!