Hot-weather folks will be rolling their eyes, but it is nearly sixty degrees here again and quite rainy/humid - I overheat pretty easily when I run in that kind of weather!
My day got off to a very late start, and I realized that it was foolish to try for a long run at midday on an empty stomach/no caffeine; I had a late breakfast and coffee, waited for some digestion to happen and set out around 2.
At that point I really didn't have time to do the full twelve miles on the schedule (I need to head downtown around 4:30 for Speed Reading!); I thought I might do ten or so, but once I was actually setting out, I impulsively decided to have a pace-experimentation run instead, and just do 6 or so at or close to marathon pace.
- Pretty much every night this week, I've spent some time lying in bed and concentrating on what it will feel like to see the numbers "3:58:59" on my watch for my finish time!
- There's something new-agey about this sort of visualization exercise, but experience tells me that having a very concrete vision of what one would like to have happen is always more conducive to accomplishing it than having only a quite vague notion
- I believe that if things go well on race day, I am just about capable of a sub-4:00 marathon right now, but it is also plausible that I could have a great day out there, run as fast as is feasible and still only clock a time more in the 4:08-4:10 - I simply won't know until after I've done it!
- It happens that my ambitious goal times/paces are quite easy to count/track: 9:00 miles comes in at 3:56; a 4-hour marathon means 9:09/mile
- If I hit the sweet spot between 9:00 and 9:09 right away and can hold it, I meet my goal - and as I say, I think this is attainable (with proviso that I was ten pounds lighter when I ran my fastest race times a couple years ago, and I don't have recent half-marathon or even 10K times to tally - running is a merciless sport as far as weight goes, but on the other hand several years of additional experience in endurance sport is a serious benefit nonetheless, so I hope the two factors somewhat cancel each other out)
- Marathon pace is not nearly so intuitively easy to feel as half-marathon or 10K race pace
- Let's contemplate the McMillan numbers for a 3:58 marathon, which is what I will aim for (to give myself leeway for walking through aid stations and up a hill or two!): corresponding 10K time is 50:43 (8:09/mi.), half-marathon is 1:52:51 (8:37/mi.), marathon is (obviously) 3:58:00 (9:06/mi.)
- When I try and do a shorter workout at marathon pace, I am really gravitating to something a bit faster, close to half-marathon pace, and then have to slow myself down and check myself
- Marathon pace is faster than an easy long run pace, but it has to be really comfortable
- HR guidelines will serve me better on race day than trying to hold an over-ambitious pace in opening miles despite high HR - I think I must stay c. 158 for first 6 miles, stay at or under 160 till miles 12, hold low 160s till mile 20 and then just assess what I think I can manage for the final six based on feel and stop looking at the numbers!
(- Half-marathon race HR has traditionally averaged 165-66 - I am certain that my marathon HR, tallied up afterwards, should not exceed 162, and 160 would be a more conservative choice)
- The footpod is measuring a bit short - I should recalibrate it before the race, or else I am making too many mental allowances when I look at the numbers - that said, if I don't recalibrate and I try and hold very strictly between 9:00 and 9:10, I will be in reasonable shape, because the real numbers should be a bit faster than that
- How much is "a bit"? Well, the 12 miles I did on Mindy's course counted as 11.79 on the pod - I know that she measures her courses very carefully with one of those little wheelie devices, not just with an electronic one like a Garmin - so I could just use that to get the conversion factor for the Polar
- Today's run, by pod measurement: 5.60 miles, 52:04 (9:18 pace - if I adjust distance to 5.7, which I think is more accurate, I get 9:08 pace, which is pretty much exactly where I was trying to be); avg HR 152 (but in fact for the last 3-4 miles it was looking more like 155-158 - the opening miles are unduly low in a way that is not relevant for marathoning!)
- I had better stop musing on these matters, get in the shower and get dressed in more running clothes for this evening's activity!