Wednesday, October 27, 2010

marathon training plan update

"I think I get used to, even addicted to, the feelings associated with the end of a long training run. I love feeling empty, clean, worn out, starving, and sweat-purged. I love the good ache of muscles that have done me proud. I love the way a cold beer tastes later that afternoon. I love the way my body feels light and sinewy." -Kristin Armstrong, author and runner. (And thanks to my friend Chip, who posts daily inspiration quotes about running to Facebook!)
The Houston Marathon is just over three months away. That seems like a long time, but it's not - not really. Despite claims that I've renewed my dedication to my training and am going to kick the marathon's ass, I haven't really been living up to my bravado. My long runs have been hit or miss. My pacing is off (which can be partly blamed on the fact that we're still having summer weather, even in late October). And besides yoga, my cross training has been nil.

What to do? After tossing around a few ideas, I decided to re-configure my training plan - setting it up as a 13 week plan using Smartcoach, based on my most recent half-marathon time (2:04 in Tyler) instead of my PR (1:58 in Groveton) and starting over on Monday, November 1st.  I think this is a good plan for the following reasons:

1. I'm not a very fast runner and my previous plan had been shooting for a 4:05 marathon. While I can run a fairly speedy half (if conditions are perfect and the course is flat) I tend to slow down considerably when I run anything over 15. Pacing is not my strong suit and trying to hit the paces of my current plan has been hard, discouraging, and unsuccessful. The new plan has me training for a 4:15 marathon, which I think is actually possible.

2. Even though I'm "starting over," I'm really just adjusting my current plan. "Starting over" doesn't erase the miles I've put in over the last month (62 miles in August, 61 in September, and 75 and counting for October, not to mention a pretty successful half in Tyler!).

3. While we're supposed to get some fall-like weather in the coming weeks, it would be nice to actually meet the pace goals in my training plan. Even though the runs are a bit slower, I can still possibly run a 4:15 marathon, and that would thrill me! This is my second marathon, and trying to break 4 hours this year is setting myself up for failure, disappointment, and most important - injury!

4. I have more confidence in this plan, and in my ability to complete it. That, more than anything, is a good reason to readjust my goals. Running is a challenge, and I enjoy pushing myself, but there has to be some element of pleasure in the process.

And so, without further ado: THE PLAN. (click to enlarge!)

PS: Don't forget to vote today! I'm currently lucky 13!