The race is less than 1 week away. Training is over. All that I can do now is try to rest my body as much as I can to be in the best condition I can be for Sunday. Almost every other variable is out of my control now. As hard as it is I have to give in and accept that I can’t control everything. I’ve trained hard and endured a lot on the road and off the road. What I’ve endured this year is worse than what I’ll endure on Sunday. I have no doubt about that.
So now I rest and try not to worry about things I can’t control. I took some time to compare my training from my last marathon to my training for this marathon. At my last marathon I was too confident and inexperienced. I went out too fast and too hard and payed for it. I met my personal goal of breaking 3:30 (with a 3:29:44) but I felt I was capable of more. My training lacked raw distance and overall mileage.
In my preparations for this race I tried to avoid the mistakes of the past. I needed to make my body capable of truly running long distances. That meant running more than two to four 20 mile runs. My last training cycle included about 900 miles and I averaged about 40 miles per week. This time I’ve run more than 1400 miles averaging about 55 miles per week. I had hoped to average closer to 60 miles per week but I wasn’t able to do so.
I worked on my distance by starting at 13 mile long runs and running them every week until they were too easy. Then I bumped to 16. Then 18. Then 20. For my third marathon I ran 5 long runs of 18 or more miles. For this marathon I’ve logged 16. Out of those 16 long runs 11 have been 20 miles or more.
My race plan is to start the race at a 7:15-7:20 pace. I’d like to fairly quickly bring that down to a 7:10. I will not let myself run faster than 7:10s for the first half. If, at the halfway point, it’s been unbearably easy, then I will allow myself to increase the pace a little bit but no faster than 7:00 per mile! At 20 miles I’ll give everything I have. I’ll cross the finish somewhere between 3:05 and 3:10:59. …At least that’s the plan.