Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Return to Marathon Training

7/9-7/15: 85 Miles/Week.

This was my first week of marathon training.  I hit 85 miles with one double but nothing longer than 15.  I have begun the 2nd half of my year.  The second half of 2012 will be higher mileage than the first.  Basically the first half I concentrated on staying right around/slightly below 75 average per week, and I worked very hard on VO2-Max and Threshold.  I think, if there is one thing I was dissapointed about for the first half of 2012 was the fact that my threshold intervals indicated a higher level of fitness than what my half marathon race time was.  I was hoping to hit faster than 1:08 for the spring and I had to settle for 1:09.  At the same time, I also improved my VO2-Max significantly which gives more room for improvement.  Having a higher VO2-Max now (in Daniels Running Formula I have achieved a VO2-Max of 70) I was able to break new barriers in anything shorter than 13.1 pretty much.  But, the threshold workouts I did(8xmile, 3-2-1 mile, 2400m repeats) stand out to me as some of the more impressive, even though I think VO2-Max workouts are some of the most intense workouts a runner can do.  Basically, the VO2-Max workouts I was able to punch out in races, and my threshold stuff from this past spring has yet to show its true potential in races.  The only race where some of it showed was the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.

This is where mileage comes in.  I am not suggesting that I should have run more miles in the spring.  That perhaps would have interfered with the quality vo-2 intervals I did or lead to injury/burnout.  BUT, I do think that having a larger base volume while training for a marathon will give a really good shot at crushing a half marathon PR too.  Last year, it certainly worked.  I ran 90-100+ miles/week over the summer, and when it finally came down to race in September, I ran a near 2 minute PR for the 13.1 distance at the Philadelphia RocknRoll Half.  I would say that is my best "long distance" race I have ever run.  In fact, what's interesting is that time is exactly on par to equivalent race times I did this spring.  I don't want to get too analytical here, but I just enjoy this shit because I'm a math guy.  Daniels chart below(in red are my times):


mile: 4:19 (4:26)
5000m: 14:55 (14:58)
10K: 31:00 (30:56)
13.1 Miles: 1:08:21 (1:08:39)
26.2 Miles: 2:23:10 (2:37:22)

Well no shit I have some work to do in the marathon.  My mile's a little off but who cares-its the mile and I am not a miler.  But for the marathon, Daniels gives a VDOT value of 63 for my PR.  Pathetic.  Honestly.  But I'm not going to beat myself up.  I'm hungry now.  Everyone has a race they need to work on.  I don't care how good you are.  Look at Dathan Ritzenhein-sure his marathon is solid(I'd take it!), but he's admitted he feels he hasn't "had THE race" in it yet.  This is what makes consistency and perserverance worth pursuing.  Dathan is one of and has always been one of my favorite runners.  He has had lots of injuries, but he just sticks with it and doesn't give up.  After placing a heartbreaking 4th at the Olympic Marathon trials in January, the guy came back to make the Olympic Team in the 10,000 meters.  He was 15 seconds off pace in a deluge, and came back to hang on with Rupp...who yes helped him but Dathan made the DECISION to go with him.  This kind of stuff is uncoachable.  It is just pure will of iron.  Tough as nails.  It's certainly admirable.  I wish him well for the Olympics.

But no matter what, high volume training and mileage building will help me become better in not only the marathon, but at other distances as well.  And this is where I think many people lose perspective.  There are so many marathoners out there who train for the race and don't run the way they expected to, and feel it was all a waste.  It wasn't a waste!  A marathon training cycles(when done without injury) gives unbelievable amount of fitness gains.  In 2010, I had a terrible experience at the Chicago Marathon, but the following spring was the start of a maginificent 2011.  I believe that year went as well as it did because of all the work I did over the summer and fall in 2010.  Runners must remember the simplicity of what you put in eventually you will get out.

The key is to just have a little faith in yourself.  Like Ritzenhein.


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