Monday, November 2, 2009

A week of preparation

I’ve fallen into something of a pattern with my running.  A pattern that will likely be completely disrupted thanks to the phase shift from daylight savings time to standard time…  or standard to daylight savings time…  whichever.  We fell back and now it’s dark when I get home.


The old pattern was 3 or 4 runs a week.  Most of the runs were in the evening and I could usually sneak one in on a Wednesday morning if I didn’t stay up too late on Tuesday.  Going back to the middle of September I am working in long runs every couple of weekends.  I’ve stretched the definition of “long” from 6 miles to 13 miles, and will be hitting 15 this weekend (2 weeks after the not-so-good 13 miles).


On the weeks in between these long runs, it’s not that I don’t want to run.  In fact, Saturday I woke up with every intention of running, but couldn’t find socks, shoes, or shorts.  An hour after I intended to leave, I crawled back into bed and enjoyed the warm sheets.  The next morning, as I was opening the door to head out, I hear my son call from upstairs and decided that playing with him was FAR more important than the 13 I was about to run, so I chose to play with my kid—and will no doubt pay the price for that this weekend.


However, this weekend’s run shouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary.  Sure, it’s 15.5 miles.  That’s a long way to run.  But just 4 days ago I whipped off 6 miles at a 9:30 clip.  The fastest 6 miles I’ve run in probably forever.  If I can key it back to 10:30, I should be able to crank out 13 or 14 miles, and then gut out the last mile or two.  Even more importantly, I need to find out what my “forever pace” is.  Alberto Salazar, at the end of his marathon career, realized that he could no longer run 26.2 miles at 5:30/mile.  He realized, though, that he could run forever at 6:30, so he transformed himself into an ultramarathoner and started running 40 mile races instead of 26.2 mile races.  He was injured shortly thereafter and hung ‘em up for good, but THAT’s the pace that I’m looking for.  I don’t want to plod around at 15:00/mile.  I want to find that pace where I can just hit the cruise control button, crawl into the back seat, and nap all the way to the finish line.


So to speak.


To do that, though, I’ve got to put in some more miles and deepen the reserves of energy as well as add some strength to the old power plant.  So, in preparation for the next long run on Sunday, I’ll be running 6 miles this evening (and possibly 3 at lunch), 6 miles tomorrow evening, skipping Wednesday (unless I can sneak in a morning run), and adding another 6 or 8 on Thursday and Friday.  I’ll take the day off on Saturday (or only run 3), and then it’s off to the races on Sunday.


What about the taper, you ask?  I’m not looking at this as a race, I’m looking at it as just another training run.  Will I be at my peak performance?  Nope.  Will that matter in the grand scheme of things?  Nope.  I’m not trying to shave another minute off my time to beat out some Kenyan at the front of the pack.  I’m just trying to run 15.5 miles…  and get to church on time.


Ideal time for this run, between 2:35 and 3:00.  That’s between a 10:00 and 11:30 pace, which is around the pace I want to have for the marathon.


Can I do it?  Not sure.  Will I try?  Yup.  The half marathon was an 11:30 pace, and I’m feeling a lot stronger now than I was then.  I should be able to at least match that “performance”.

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