Training, January 30 - February 5 and Tallahassee Marathon Race Report

Monday: 7 PM - 6 miles easy.

Tuesday: 6 PM - 1 mile warmup, 12 miles in 1:07:53 (5:39 pace, pushing 95% MP) straight into 3 miles in 15:53 (5:17 pace, MP), 1 mile cooldown (17 miles total).
Really rather surprised I was able to pull this off barely 48 hours removed from a fairly hard 30 miler.  Wasn't sure what the workout had in store exactly, but my legs had some pop (though I could definitely feel those 30 miles a bit) and the weather was great, so I just started rolling in the 90-95% MP range and figured I would decide what I was doing on the fly (I did have some sort of sub-MP/MP combo workout in mind though).  The last three miles at MP were 5:21, 5:22, 5:09.  Was hurting pretty good by the last mile, worried about my ability to maintain the pace, so I just threw what I had left at it and was very happy to be able to drop a 5:09.  Another solid marathon workout in the books with less than 5 weeks to Albany. 

Wednesday: 7 AM - 5 miles easy.
7 PM - 8 miles easy; GS.

Thursday: 6 PM - 3 mile warmup, light drills/strides, 2 mile tempo in 10:13 (5:09, 5:04), 1 mile easy, 2 miles of alternating 30s hard / 30s moderate, hitting 10:14 (5:08, 5:06), 2 mile cooldown (10 miles total).
Tired legs!  I had scaled this workout back a touch to just run a 2 mile tempo at the beginning, but I was hoping to run a bit quicker, like 9:40-9:50.  No such luck, 10:13 felt nearly all out; must be pretty tired still from the last two workouts.

Friday: 6 PM - 5 miles easy

Saturday: 4 PM - 4 miles easy around FSU campus with a cool sports med student I met at the expo.

Sunday: 7 AM - 2 mile warmup, Tallahassee Marathon - 2nd place, 2:28:59, 1 mile cooldown (29 miles total).
7 PM - 5 miles easy back in Chicago - too nice out not to go for a run.
Accomplished precisely what I set out to do.  Normally, 4 or 5 weeks out from a goal marathon (Albany in this case), I do a hard 24 miler at 95% MP.  It's a very hard session, and one of the most important I complete during a marathon Specific Phase.  On full mileage, with workouts performed earlier in the week, it simulates the marathon very well.  This time around, I decided to go down to Tallahassee for the "workout."  I figured I could win enough money to fund the trip and guarantee decent weather for a tough session (Chicago could have been under 3 ft. of snow at this point for all I knew).  2:28:59 is 5:41/mile, which, if 95% MP, would equate to an MP of 5:25/mile.  I've been treating MP as 5:20-5:25 pace, so I'm right in there.  With a 30 miler 7 days prior, and two workouts during the week, my legs were definitely quite far from fresh.  I felt aerobically smooth, but my legs felt a bit like cinder blocks, so 5:41s was just fine with me, particularly as it was fairly hot and humid down there.  I negative split by 11 seconds and managed to run my last mile in 5:32.  All good signs.  It was a fun little trip, and the race was quite well-run with a pleasant out-and-back course on a mostly-shaded bike path.  I would definitely recommend it as a nice low-key race. 

Summary: 89 miles, 1x GS

Pretty good week of training all around.  I'd still like to have a few more doubles, some more GS, etc., but with the realities of my current situation, I can't do everything all the time.  But the trajectory of the training is good.  If I can get a couple more good weeks in here (and drop a few extra holiday pounds I'm still carrying around!), a PR should be very doable at the Albany Marathon.  Also, I found out this week that I was accepted to PowerBar Team Elite.  It will be great to have support from a nutrition company with such a wide variety of quality products available. 

I read Charlie Spedding's autobiography this weekend, which I thought was great.  Guy's a stud; someone who kept at it for a long time with moderate success before really getting things figured out—particularly with regards to mental preparation and focus, the total commitment to a task—coming away with bronze in the '84 Olympic Marathon. 

There's a great little article on some core strengthening exercises available from Running Times, here.  I've already been doing some variety of all six of the exercises shown, but the article offers some unique variations, with a real focus on core stability.  Increasingly, I'm finding this to be the real benefit of core work (in addition to injury prevention, of course).  The more relaxed and stable you are in your core while running, the less wasted motion you have (rotationally, or otherwise) and the less your form breaks down when you get tired.

“It’s important to establish a philosophy for life and for running. There’s a proper balance between lifestyle, achievement, and the desire to achieve. Everyone has the desire to be successful. But success comes with a price: time and effort. Marathoners, especially, must constantly survey the time that they have and be truthful with themselves.”
     —Dr. Joe Vigil