Thursday, April 17, 2008


The calm before the storm......

Fly out to Boston tomorrow to join the party - thought I'd just capture a few pre-race thoughts and look-backs over this last training cycle.

- I'm feeling a calm excitement - a little bit of nervousness mostly because I've got some really high expectations and have told so many that now I actually have to go deliver them or look the fool - but that is quenched a bit as my mind stays busy with all the final trip preparations I have to do today.

Training - all went as planned - no injury missed workouts - ran my fastest and highest mileage month in March. Have run 6 tune-up races setting 4 new PRs since Houston including a full marathon, half, 10k, 8k and 2 5k's. Racking up a bunch of Age Grade awards at races getting one in every race I've run this year (7) compared to 1 total last year out of 13 races (turkey trot) - I don't expect to get top 10 masters at Boston so that streak of awards is about to be broken. Put a little focus on speed last few weeks running a couple VO2max workouts, a 5k race and a 8k race - but otherwise most of the training focus has been on Tempo, Marathon Pace or Long Run type running. Only managed one hill workout - 14 miles up by Lake Conroe rolling hills - otherwise all my running was flat - I don't think that will cause me much problem on the hilly Boston course - I saw the hills last year and they weren't that big a deal.

Taper Strategy:
- 2 weeks and 1 day (because Boston Marathon is on a Monday).
- Cut weekly mileage by thirds - from ~70ish to 45-50ish to 25-30ish than race.
- increase intensity and run mostly MP mileage last week.
- Deplete Carbs for 12 of the days, Carb load for the last 3.

I don't really know if the depleting was necessary - I'm not really positively sure the long depleting didn't give me the extra boost at Houston - I think it was the heat thing - but just in case it was this deplete/load thing - I want to do everything EXACTLY the same as I did it for Houston - just in case - I don't see a downside so - why not.....and a couple pounds lost couldn't hurt either..

- Run in Sweats for days -5 thru -2 (started yesterday).

In trying to figure out why I ran so fast in Houston (faster by 5+ minutes than any shorter race would predict before although I've closed the gap to a couple minutes sinse that race) I experimented with a bunch of factors that were there at Houston to see if I could figure out what happen - I tried to repeat the deplete/load (shorter 4 days deplete/3load) and found I didn't run any faster. I stumbled by accident on running cold-hot-cold - in Houston the weather is quite variable as the seasons change so there happened to be cool weather followed by a warm/humid few days followed by a cold spell - and I found I ran same workout before and after the warm spell faster after the warm spell (15-20 seconds/mile faster) for the same heartrate. As it happens the weekend before Houston Marathon had one of these warms spells too. I experimented running in sweats for a few days before a training marathon run I did about a month ago and I was again able to create this extra speed boost for the same heartrate. So I'm trying it again for Boston ... if it works I should be sub2:40, maybe even sub6mpm - if not the race predictors don't give me better than 2:42 and change....but I think it's going to work.

Physically - I feel exactly as I would expect to feel. I've been depleting Carbs now for 12 days - tomorrow I switch to Carb loading - a little weakness is to be expected. No injuries but the expected minor typical taper twinges (phantom injuries that people freak out about during taper). Feeling physically in best condition ever. I think I'm maybe 4-5 minutes faster than I was in Houston.

Race Plan - I've got my paces planned for the first couple miles based on equal effort race to make 2:40 (5:15 pace down the first 0.6 mile 5% downhill grade, 6:30 pace up the little hill to 0.75 than a 5:50 pace down the gentle decline until mile 2) - after this I run by whatever my heartrate says I can hold - target 163 bpm with alarms at 161 and 165. My biggest challenge for any marathon comes between 16 and 20 miles on a marathon - a place I've consistantly suffered a mental lull of sorts that I back-off a bit - as it would happen for Boston - this lines right up with the Newton Hills to further tempt me to slow. That is where the race starts and the rubber meets the road. I plan to run the hills the opposite of last year. Last year I charged up the hills and lost time between them kinda recovering - this year I plan to go by constant heartrate which will slow me substantially going up the hills but leave me the energy to push the longer stretches between the hills. Once the hills are done - it's pour it on to the finish which whatever I've got left.

This is going to be a great race!