Thursday, October 8, 2009

Marathon #2 Training Complete

With this morning's 4 mile run, I am officially done with my training. Now I will save my legs and feet for Sunday morning. I can rest comfortably knowing that I put in a solid effort, built upon a significantly larger mileage base than my virginal endeavor, at a much faster clip, and without getting injured or sick.

Then why am I already getting butterflies in my stomach?

My primary goal is to run the Long Beach Marathon in under four hours. My Garmin data suggests that I should have no difficulty doing so. If I average only 9:00 per mile, I will achieve a 3:55:48. During my longest run of the year (22.7 miles), I easily averaged 8:54. Year-to-date, my average training pace has been significantly faster (8:35). I completed my last official race, a half marathon with significant elevation change, with an average of 8:04...all the way back in March. Since then, I ran 13.2 miles in under 8s.

I think my concern now is that I truly see 3:45:00 as an attainable secondary target. I would only need to maintain my year-to-date average to reach this goal. Long Beach is supposedly a fast flat course. In absence of elevation changes, my legs naturally want to run 8:00 per mile. Do I allow myself to start running at whatever pace feels good and see how long I can sustain it? Do I aim for negative splits at the risk of being unable to improve my pace as I approach the latter miles? Do I hold myself back to try and maintain a consistent 8:35 even though I have never tried to run longer than 17 miles at that pace?

What's more, if Sunday's weather forecast holds, I may be enjoying optimal conditions: sunny with temperatures between 58 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. With it being so cool at race time, I may be tempted to start even faster than I should. Not once should I allow myself to think I can go faster than 3:45:00.

I have to remind myself that, though I have finished a marathon, I have yet to actually run all 26.2 miles. Halfway into last year's Maui Marathon, I was still averaging 8:37 per mile before my pace started to drop...and that was BEFORE my knee went out!

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