Monday, January 15, 2007

Houston Marathon - BQ!

Exerpts from some random posts collected about the race:

My running from a year ago - 1 year ago I was in the middle of a half hearted training program to run San Diego R&R marathon. That progressed into too hot training in Houston thru April/May than getting a stomach bug before the race and a DNF for the marathon - couldn't have beat ~9:30/mile pace likely even if I did finish.

Anyway - I've told this story before but it still gives me excitement so I'll tell it again. After - I bought a nice TM to run inside during Houston's hot months - read up on a couple of different training strategies. I was intrigued by some articles around running very very slow to build anarobic endurance so started doing that on the treadmill some July/August - nothing big but maybe 15-20 miles/week (it was VERY boring). Started seeing improvements and decided Sept 1 to go for the Houston Marathon again in Jan, 2006. Added in other workouts I had read about like Tempo, VO2 max, long runs, recovery runs to make a weekly workout plan from a book called HR running for idiots. After about a month at that I had dropped 20-25 lbs and also stumbled across Pfitz's Advanced Marathon book and picked the 55/12 workout plan - looked pretty close to what I was doing anyway but a bit more milage and variety - and stuck to the plan. Next couple months were downright exciting - with every long run week after week faster that the last - dropping 5, 10, 15 seconds off my mpm pace for the same heart rate. I picked out a set of tune-up races as the pfitz plan prescribed - ran my first 1/2 marathon in October at 1:40 - absolutely amazed by the performance. It occurred to me to look up the qualifying times for Boston (I don't really know many marathoners but one that I knew mentioned he was trying to qualify for Boston but didn't) and I discovered I was running fast enough to qualify - I needed only run the same pace for another 1/2 marathon and tell a little white lie about my age (turning 40 BEFORE Boston instead of 3 days after) on the application. So I set Boston as my Stretch goal and kept training.

Started getting some knee pains so backed off a little until I figured out the pain didn't slow me down or get worse with running so picked up the pace on running again. Ran a 30k in December at 7:00 pace to my total amazement - I used the exact same HR target in that race as I did 2 months earlier in the 1/2 marathon with a 7:38 pace. In hind sight I think it totally helped to have 45°F weather but I didn't know temperature was such a factor then. At that point I knew Boston was in the bag and it was just maintenance until running Houston at 7:15 pace to get my BQ. Since thru another 12 week training program to Boston I think I've knocked another 15-20 seconds/mile off - to be determined 4/16/07...........anyway - what a difference a year makes - appreciate the opportunity to reflect on it yet again. Now that I've entered the TAPER period for Boston - gives me a little more energy to really get excited - even got my Jacket (not yet worn except to try it on - I'm real eager to wear it everywhere).

My biometrics - I am 39 - have running for about 1.5 years (ran track/crosscountry in High School - but have little consistancy running since until I set my sites on the marathon):

MHR - 186 (191 is highest I've actually seen although I have not been able to repeat since I was real out of shape 6 months ago - highest I typically see now at max effort is ~185-6)RHR - 44 is lowest I've seen in morning.

Using the 80-85% HRR rule of thumb for marathon racing that would put me 158-165 -

Here was my data for my last race - the course was completely flat (Houston):

HR/mpm1-5: 157/7.4 162/7.3 162/7.3 162/7.3 162/7.4 average 161/7.3 (My HR was holding me back for first part of race - should I have gone out a bit quicker)
6-10: 161/7.1 162/7.2 160/7.1 160/7.1 161/6.9 average 161/7.1 (Speed started picking up for same HR - no drift higher with miles - actually the opposite)
11-15:160/7.0 160/7.0 160/7.0 161/6.8 160/7.1 average 160/7.0 (a little faster - even slower HR on average)
16-20: 160/7.1 159/7.1 158/7.3 157/7.2 157/7.3 average 158/7.2 (I think I gave in on the mental game here knew I had 3:15 in bag to get by BQ - didn't push).
20-26: 157/7.2 155/7.5 155/7.5 154/7.8 154/8.1 160/7.3 average 156/7.6 (more mental game weakness - also had some knee pain bugging)

Total Average 159/7.24 (7:14 - 3:10 marathon)

So any advise on race day strategy for next race (Boston) - some thoughts:
- For some reason I seem to have a slower pace vs HR for first several miles - I see this in my long runs sometimes too but not consistently so - should I be more pace focused vs HR focused for this first part of the race and let the HR go a little higher or is that trading seconds at the start for minutes at the end?
- I also wonder if I was slower due to all the carb-loading - I ate a bunch of food 4 hrs before race and felt very bloated to start (luckily never had to use the rr) - perhaps this excess was slowing me down until I sweat it out or something?
- Am I missing a ton of opportunity not getting to the higher end of the HRR range - my last half marathon (3 wks ago) I averaged 165 with a range of 162-168 at a 6:45 pace - I wouldn't say I was pushing it my hardest - I targeted to maintain 167 but dropped below much of the last half of the race - I guess maybe I could keep that up another 1/2 marathon (easy to say in hindsight). I'm wondering if there is more opportunity in the mental side of the race - body is able but I haven't been hard enough on it - maybe as much as 20-30 seconds/mile just from pushing myself harder.
- A side note/curriosity - On my VO2 runs I am never able to get to the suggested 93-100% range - I run repeats 600m or greater at 5k pace (6m/m) and rarely get over 175 - again - am I just not pushing hard enough - after my repeats I sure feel like I gave it my all but not sure why I cannot get into the recommended range.

Any thoughts/suggestions would be helpful - Thanks.