Pre-Race Pace Planning:
* Pace calculators don't always work for me: Pace calculators seem to be spot on for me when the distance I'm converting to and from is somewhere between one mile to a half marathon. For some reason they fail me at the marathon distance. I ran the Chicago Half Marathon five weeks before the marathon and it predicted my fitness was at a 3:03:00. So, I thought a 3:05:00 marathon goal was actually conservative. The problem with those calculators is, I'm much faster at shorter distances. Maybe this Runner's World article could give some insight into why this is. The ideal height for a marathon runner is around 5' 6" and I'm over 6' 1". Taller people overheat faster. Also, maybe I'm just built slightly more for speed than distance.
* Planned pace: I planned to run the first half of the race in 1:33:00 and the second half in 1:32:00. Knowing the information above, I should instead have planned for a pace on the first half that would have allowed me extra time (say 30 seconds) to use the bathroom as I always make at least one pit stop in the 1st half. So a 1:33:30 and 1:31:30 would have been a better fit, even assuming I was in 3:05:00 shape.
* Not learning from my previous analysis: In this pre-marathon post, I graphed the average of my marathon paces and identified six phases that I go through in my marathons. "Yo-Yo Paces", "Already Slowing", "Surge", "Calm Before the Storm", "The Wall" and "Kick". It turns out this was an excellent predictor of how my next marathon would go. For fun, I overlayed my Chicago 2014 splits onto the graph to see how my paces fit in the same six phases. That is, I didn't move the colors, I just used my 2014 Chicago paces with the same color-coded background:
|My 2014 Chicago Marathon paces overlayed on top of my six typical marathon phases|
* Wind: Although the temps were perfect, the 9 mph wind messed with my paces (and my mind) from miles 8 through 23. I should have backed off my pace slightly over those miles to account for the headwind and saved my legs some pain. I could have "made back" a minute or two over the last 3 miles with fresher legs and a tailwind.
* Hydration/Nutrition: Maybe my leg cramps (which I experienced in the last four miles) were attributable to a combo of dehydration and nutrition. However, I never felt nauseous during or after the race unlike last year, which is a positive. I will have to do more research into this, although this never seems to be an exact science.
* The urge to "surge": My legs got tight right after my fast 6:29 mile at mile 13. I was able to fight my tightening legs until mile 20, but they were never the same after I sped up needlessly at mile 13.
* Too many "stops": I stopped at least three times in the first half of the race (hi-fives, bathroom, HRM readjustment). Each time, after I resumed running again, I tried to "catch up with my mile pace" after stops. This also contributed to leg fatigue. I need to readjust my pace to account for the stops or else I'll burn up too much energy.
* Did not do enough miles at a steady pace: One reason for my yo-yo paces is that yo-yo-ing is exactly the way I train. If I get too comfortable while training, I like to kick the speed up a notch to make things more interesting and push myself. This is a habit I need to break myself of for the next marathon cycle.
* Increased mileage too quickly, not enough adjustment time: I crammed in two 80+ mile weeks right before my taper. I never got used to the extra high mileage. Maybe if I had done two 70 mile weeks instead?
* Need more strength training, quads, calves: Once things got tough at about mile 21 and I started to cramp up - my quads and calves took over from my other running muscles which were fatigued. Then my quads and calves cramped - badly. I need to do more strengthening exercises focused on these areas in case I need them for when I dig deep next marathon.
Note: I did include my max long run of only 16 miles on this list. This is because I was able to run a 7:09 even during mile 22. If I had a noticeable collapse around 16, I might have correlated the collapse with only doing 16 mile long runs in training. But I didn't collapse until at least mile 22.
|2014 Chicago Marathon Finish|