Monday, June 21, 2010

Marathon Monday (16 week out edition)

Just in case you haven't noticed (new banner, training schedule link above blog, constant references) I've been gearing up for the Chicago Marathon for quite some time... now with 16 weeks left I'm ready to get super-duper-uber-serious by starting a weekly segment called marathon Monday where I can post training updates and put down general thoughts on my upcoming marathon.

Unveiling my marathon goal!!!

I should probably plead the fifth here but... I'm just going to be straight up honest instead.

In my heart of hearts I really want to qualify for Boston!!!... now sure, lots of people want to qualify for Boston and that doesn't mean it's going to happen but... in my heart of hearts I feel that I might actually have an outside shot of doing it and here's why:

My Mcmillan 5k PR (currently 19:29) predicts me at a 3:09:56... My Mcmillan'd 8k PR (currently 32:19) predicts me at a 3:11:09 (ok, not quite a BQ but close enough for my heart of hearts)... I still have 750+ miles of training planned before the race and I've only been running for a little over a year so I'm still improving very quickly...

However, my brain of brains has a different opinion... here's what it thinks:

Sure you're 5k time predicts a BQ but basing your marathon pace off 5k time just about absolute nonsense!  Now a half-marathon, that would be a decent predictor... and your half-marathon time of 1:34:37 predicts that you're going to run a 3:19:33 which is nowhere near a BQ and even with an additional 5 months of training that's a lot of time to trim... not only that but your marathon PR is 3:39:34 so you're talking about trimming 30 minutes off your time and more than a minute off your pace... not nessessarily realistic goal setting if you put it that way...

Now if I was truely being realistic I'd say that 3:15 would probably be a tough but attainable goal time for me... however, if I show up on marathon day, run with the 3:15 pace group, feel great, and finish strong with a 3:13:xxish time I would really regret not going for the 3:10...

I guess ultimately I'm going to cop out on this whole goal setting thing and say that I'm going to wait to see how my training goes before picking a goal.

and... my first marathon training update

Week 1
Now technically my self-authored training grid started 2 weeks ago but since the Madison to Chicago 200 Relay fell during my first week of training it kind of mucked things up... my mileage suffered that week... on the bright side all the miles I did wind up running were of quality.  During that week I ran a sub 6 minute mile anniversary time trial, some hills, 2-a-day tempo runs, and ended it with a sub 8 minute 12+ miler on tired legs!!!

Week 2
This relay induced intensity launched me into training week 2 sore and tired.  I took Sunday and Monday off to help aid my recovery and followed up with a recovery paced 4 miler on the treadmill on Tuesday.  By Wednesday my legs (especially my quads) still felt pretty trashed but I decided I had to get some mileage in regardless so I went ahead and set out for a easy 7 miler... the first couple miles started out rough, but then suddenly my legs loosened up and I miraculously felt 1000% better.  About 5 miles into this run I had to tackle one of the tougher hills in the area (one that I normally fear) and climbed up it smoothly with no problems!!! Thursday I had a 5 mile fartlek scheduled... my legs still didn't feel completely recovered but I figured I'd at least squeeze in four or five pick-ups during the run... I took off from my house and even though my legs felt stiff and sorish I felt like my turnover was faster than normal and spontaneously I inadvertently found myself smack in the middle of a tempo run!  I hit the first mile at 7:20 pace and after loosening up I finished out the last four miles of the run at a 6:55 pace and wound up running 7:00 pace flat... this left me tired for Friday and Saturday and I wound up running 2 miles and 5+ miles respectively on those days at recovery pace... I finished up my week Sunday with some good ol' fashioned LSD (long slow distance)... 15 miles at 8:40 pace with the first mile ran at 8:42 and the last mile ran at 8:38 (significant because I was able to exhibit the control and consistency that is normally lacking from my long runs)...

Chicago 2009 training comparison flashback

Week 1 stats  (2010)                                   Week 1 stats (2009)
28.45 miles                                                24.17 miles
7:34 average pace                                      8:24 average pace
long run - 12.23 miles                                 long run - 8 miles

Week 2 stats (2010)                                     Week 2 stats (2009)
38.73 miles                                                25.47 miles
8:18 average pace                                      8:43 average pace
long run - 15.02 miles                                 long run - 9.4 miles

Look into my crystal ball

Going into week 3 I feel like the relay is pretty much behind me and I can really focus on following my plan... except for the fact that I have a work-related 5k thrust onto my calendar for Saturday (there's always something, isn't there?!?).  Other than that a pretty cut and dry training week, just over 40 miles with a hill session and a 16 mile long run...


  1. That's intense Ethan!! You have the determination and the strength though to do really well :D. I'm not sure how those predictor #'s are used but if McMillan says you have an outside chance... go for it? my 5k time in McMillan says I can run a 4:15 marathon.. my half marathon time says 5:00 lol! I'm aiming for the 5:00 one but I'm also a first timer. I think since you have a marathon under your belt you can be a bit more agressive :D.

  2. Dude, drop your Bulldog Dash 2K time into McMillan and you'll BQ without a doubt.

    Looks to me like you'll be cool, but you have a good test coming up. Work-related 5K versus training plan?

    Skip the 5K in favor of your planned run and you are on the road to success.

  3. so exciting! looking forward to following your training

  4. I finished up my Sunday with some good ol' fashioned LSD too, but I wasn't running.

  5. Good call on holding out a bit on the marathon goal. I'd let the marathon time come to you vs the other way around. Every time I push towards a goal like that I get hurt.

    BUT, I'm never one to shy away from awesome goals - so if you think you're there, rock it!

  6. Looks like marathon training is coming along well. I am in the same boat as you, I want a BQ and I will train towards one but I'm also allowing myself the option of opting for just a PR if the training gets to be too much. Good Luck!!!

  7. sounds like you have a good plan, looking forward to reading about it!

  8. If McMillan says you can and you think you can, YOU CAN. I don't have to tell you that if weather cooperates, Chicago is the place to do it. Guess I'd better put the pita chips down and get cracking on the training too. Good luck!

  9. You just never know with the many factors. But I'd guess McMillan probably isn't so far off if everything falls into place.

  10. I like the 2009---2010 side by side comparison. I did that when I trained for my second marathon.

    I plan to set up all three when I go for St. Jude Marathon in December.

    Best of Luck!!

  11. Never anything wrong with pushing yourself to BQ. Train at yor current fitness and see where you are in Augaust and re-evaluate. Too early to give up on the dream

  12. You CAN absolutely qualify for Boston!!!!! No ifs or buts about it! You are going to Boston!!! Your training is going great! I am super excited for you!

  13. well of course a BQ bar is set! i mean hello. i set one for like 3 years and kept nailing those 4-ish hour marathons. (go me) i tend to set up a,b,c goals... A would be to BQ, B would be something in the middle, and C would be to get a PR. course then i think about how i'm making a PR just "average" by making it a C-level goal, when a PR should be welcomed and celebrated every time.

  14. PS - I hope you meet your goal of qualifying for Boston! I am WAY too slow to even have that on my horizon. Good luck!