No marathon training cycle is complete without a comprehensive, well though-out, slightly neurotic race-day plan.
I am a pro at race day planning. I plan everything. From each minute between when I wake up and cross the start line, to exactly what pace I would like to run every mile, having taken into consideration the elevation delta of each one. It's all part of the preparation and focus leading up to the event. Make no mistake, I do have every intention of executing the plan, but I enjoy the planning as a mental exercise foremost.
The last race I ran I did NOT make a race day plan or a list of things I wanted to take with me and I didn't prepare mentally for the paces I wanted to hit. I still made a goal and I laid out my clothes the night before. But I failed to research the weather so I was freezing at the start. I forgot my hat so I had to wear sunglasses (which I never do when I run). Neither of these were a big deal, but this wasn't a goal race either.
The last trail race I did in Los Angeles I planned meticulously the goal pace of each mile. I did this by taking someone else's Strava results (from the same race course) and adding (i think) 1 minute to each mile. I basically used her results to judge the difficulty of each mile and then just adjusted to what I thought would work for me. It was brilliant. And I ended up doing even better than I thought I would and having superb confidence throughout.
So for the Sedona marathon, I'm going to try it again! This time, the only Strava results I could find for the full marathon the guy's average pace was 6:25 for a finish time of 2:48. CLEARLY that's a few minutes faster than I can move, but the concept is the same. I added 2:55 to each mile, and an extra 12 seconds to the first mile (so I can warm up more slowly). My plan has me finishing in 4:06 and I have a little pace chart ready to go.
I did a "dress rehearsal" this afternoon to solidify my outfit/shoes/insoles/socks/gear choices and had a super confidence-boosting six miles. Woot.
The next part of planning is a morning-of itinerary and a list of race day essentials!
The countdown continues. (Obviously. Because time stops for no one.) We are precisely 9 days out from the Sedona marathon, which will be my third 26.2.
What have I been doing?
Drinking and Being Sick (unrelated, mind you)
I drank a lot of booze in Vegas (three nights in Vegas is just one too many if you wanna know my opinion). I ran 3.4 miles last week because I got really sick the weekend we got back from Vegas, so I was bed ridden on a Sunday from puking the entire night before. I know a restful week isn't such a bad thing (especially in this taper phase), and I'm trusting in the work I have done over the past few months.
In my two previous marathons I did not do two 20+ milers and I also did not do a 20-miler three weeks out (always 4 weeks out), so I know I am definitely in better endurance condition that previously. I also did more speed work, more hills, hit a mile PR (6:45) and a half marathon PR (1:53 in the middle of my 20-mile training run). I should be feeling really good about this training.
I nailed that final long run I was planning in my last blog post. And in my second week out, so far I've done two short runs (8 miles total) and I have plans for a marathon-paced 6-miler tonight, followed by a very relaxed 8-10 miles this weekend with a fast finish for confidence.
The plan for next week is REST, CARBS, and a couple of easy 3-milers throughout the week.
My "Swiss ball" aka "body ball" aka "exercise ball" has been my new companion. Last week I was doing crunches on it at work and hopefully no one saw me. This week I brought it home and challenged myself to some new moves. So many good core moves on the ball, that also work your arms/back/shoulders. Last night I added in some "hamstring curls" and "hip bridges" but due to my propensity to injure myself beyond what's reasonable, I am going to save those for after my race. ;)
I haven't done any of the heavier weight training I was doing before - taking a break from that until after the race.
I never stick to plans. Like, never. But I still LOVE to plan. I think that it's the planning that is the exercise, not actually following it. By planning something out, you think about it from all angles, develop goals, and in the back of your mind know what it is you are setting out to accomplish. The planning is the thing. I will share my Sedona marathon race day plan in my next post!
Even in two weeks I can tell I am improving already!!
3) Eating. I have gained ten pounds since the end of October, from a low of 110.6 to now 120.8. Most of it is muscle... I think. I eat meat every day now, but still not very much dairy. Other staples include rice, Clif bars, and almond butter sandwiches, along with eggs, kale, salmon and beans. I do eat beef and pork every week as well.
4) Drinking. I can't remember the last day that went by where I didn't consume one or more alcoholic beverages. I'm ok with that. Also, box wine.
5) Planning. Planning a race is my favorite. From picking out a race, to analyzing the course, to stalking people in the list of last years' race results. I originally set a goal for Sedona to finish in under 4 hours. My past marathon performances were 4:03 in LA and 4:09 in Lincoln. However, Lincoln was a MUCH better performance. Sedona is hilly...
So I still have some hill work to do. But I think my sub 4-hour goal is still achievable, since I'm running better than ever.
This weekend - last long run. Twenty miles and needs to include hills for sure. I also have to keep up with foam-rolling and stretching to keep my foot and hip from going to shit.
As a follow up exercise, we go back to the list at the end of the year and see what we accomplished. You can't accomplish as much as you think you can in one year, but you can accomplish way more than you think you can in 10 years. Anyway, to the list.
(1) Do a 30-day run streak - I didn't do this
(2) Run a 50-minute 10k - Didn't quite get there. But I didn't race a 10k.
(3) Run a 24-minute 5k - Not sure what I was thinking... I did this in 2015.
(4) Run a 6 minute mile - Nope again, but I set a mile PR of 6:45.
(5) Run a sub 4:00 marathon - Ummm, no again. 4:09 was my 2016 marathon.
(6) Run a 50 mile race - Jesus... no, I didn't run a 50 mile race.
(7) Start swimming for exercise - HAHAHA no again
(8) Read 20 novels, including the 8 that I own and haven’t read - I think I read 7.
There's a point to all this. I literally didn't meet ANY of my goals. But knowing they were there pushed me to try harder in all areas. I could have set one goal and focused all my energy towards it, but that's completely not enjoyable for me. I like to spread my energy around and do lots of different things. That's probably why I'm not great at anything, but decent at a lot of things.
Things I accomplished that weren't goals.
I literally mastered Sudoku. (Like, there's no Sudoku I can't solve.)
I ran a marathon with my sister.
I finally moved out of Los Angeles.
I mustered to courage to leave my fucked up marriage.
I shot a handful of pistol matches.
I also ran a trail half marathon and a trail 25k.
Hey, those are all pretty cool! Go me. ;)
I don't even know what's going on anymore! Or is it "any more?" Grammar police, please advise.
I had registered to run Ray Miller 50M in November 2016 (Malibu, CA). Then I moved to Arizona and started a new life so I deferred to Sean O'Brien 50M in February 2017.
Then I had to drive to California like a million times and I don't really want to do it again.
And Arizona is the shit, so why would I want to go anywhere else?
So I'm not! Enter the Sedona Marathon.
All I had been thinking about for the past few weeks is how much I wanted to run a marathon. It's strange, really. I absolutely love trail running - WAY more than road running... but for some reason I was dying to run a road marathon. I'm drawn to the officialness.
The Sedona Marathon, while a USATF certified course isn't a Boston qualifier, which makes no sense to me, but whatever. I'm not going to BQ anyway, and I'm certainly not going to BQ on a hilly course.
All I want is to finish in under 4 hours. I don't even know if this is possible. I ran hills yesterday and WHY does it never get easier??
As for training, I'm really bad at training... I can't follow plans very well, but I am getting in the miles for sure.
Last few weeks' miles:
T - 8 weeks: 20.5 miles (15 mile long run)
T - 7 weeks: 33.9 miles (20 mile long run)
T - 6 weeks: 35.9 miles (19.3 mile long run)
T - 5 weeks: 18.6 miles (13 mile long run)
I was just so tired this week. I wanted another 20-miler, it just didn't happen.
I have 5 weeks left and three weekends to run. This weekend is a trip to Nebraska to visit family and then I will get in another 20-miler the weekend after, with three weeks to go!
Week of Jan 2 M 7 miles w/ hills T 7 miles fast W 8 miles easy R pistol match F/S/Su off but strength train - 22
Week of Jan 9 M warm up 2/fast 3/cool down 2 T 7 miles w/ hills W 8 miles easy R pistol match F/S off Su 20 miles easy - 42
Week of Jan 16 M board meeting pm T 7 miles w/ hills W/R/F/vegas(roll/stretch) S 12 miles w/ hills Su off 3gun match roll/stretch - 19
Week of Jan 23 M off T 2 miles W 3 miles R roll/stretch F 7 miles w/ hills S 7 miles w/ hills Su off - 19
Week of Jan 30 M 3 miles T off W 3 miles R roll/stretch F carbs/roll/stretch S race day! Su rest :) - 6 + 26.2 = 32.2
It's defintiely going to be a busy month, but if I can get in all 108 miles and keep up with stretching then I am going to kill this marathon.
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