Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Countdown: 12

Since Sunday’s race was only a 5k in preparation of my real race I won’t spend too much time thinking about it. I had a nagging feeling in my head that I should have run faster, after all I missed my PR by half a minute (an age in a 5k), and I’m sure with a better mindset I could at least have tried to pass the runner in front of me more than twice. Then I remember my HR data and think that no, I was really redlining from start to finish. I guess a faster finishing kick would have been possible, but that would have had a miniscule impact on my time. Time to move on.

As a side note, I definitely won’t be defending my O35 title next year because I’ll be in the next, and vastly more competitive age group by then. As it is I’m mildly embarrassed having won an age group award with my modest time. I’m pretty sure the winners of the 40, 45 and 50 age groups were all way ahead of me.

Enough of that. Since this is my taper I changed my plans and took it easy for two days after the race. I only managed 6 miles on Monday because I reset the alarm when it rang the first time, and then decided to treat myself to an additional recovery day with 8 slow miles on Tuesday. I was surprised to find no soreness at all on Monday and maybe I trifle of fatigue on Tuesday, no more than that. In light of that I’m not worried about fully recovering from the effort come marathon day.

In preceding weeks I had done two 15-milers consisting of 3 segments, the last ones at marathon effort. The schedule had called for a third of those workouts last Friday, but I moved it to this Tuesday in order to be somewhat rested for Sunday’s race. Because of the additional recovery day I pushed it out again to today, and then I felt that with only 12 days to go I should err on the side of caution and cut it down to 12 miles. On the other hand, I didn’t want to sacrifice any time spent at marathon pace, so I decided to warm-up for two miles and run the remaining 10 at ME.

It was a rather blustery day, and the Cromane loop is rather exposed to the wind coming from the Atlantic. Because the road drops by about 90 feet over the warm-up miles, the 10 faster miles had to climb the same elevation up again. Maybe that’s why the effort felt tougher than it should have. Maybe (or, in fact, more likely) the race was having an effect. Maybe the wind wasn’t in my favour. Whatever the reason, I did manage the required pace, but I don’t think I would have been able to keep the effort going for 26 miles. A runner’s confidence is fickle. Run a good workout, like I did on my last aforementioned 15 miler, and I’m sure I can run sub-3. Then have a day like today and I’m back to expecting 3:03 at best.

Even so, I’ll try and go for 2:59:59 in Boston. If I blow up on the Newton hills, so be it. I tried the same tactic in Dublin and paid for it over the last 7 miles, but I have no regrets. I mean, who is going to aim for a 3:02 or 3:03 marathon? That’s too close to the 3 hours mark, and I would forever be left wondering what might have been. I’ll try for the same target again.
6 Apr
6 miles, 48:49, 8:08 pace, HR 139
7 Apr
8 miles, 1:06:04, 8:15 pace, HR 139
8 Apr
12 miles, 1:23:35, 6:58 pace, HR 161
incl. 10 miles @ 6:49 pace


  1. Don't let that workout ruin the confidence you've been was indeed just a few days after a redline 5K race, the elements were tough (wind, incline) and you are in taper mentality, not warrior mentality. Come race day, after the taper has taken full effect, the life has come back into the legs, and the mind realizes all the work that's been done to get you to this point across the Atlantic, you will feel like you are gliding effortlessly up the puny Newton hills, at 6:50 pace. The time for worry is over, there is time for everything under heaven, and the time now is for strength, power and gliding. Remember, Boston has a net drop over its 26 miles, so don't worry about heartbreak hill (only rises 88 feet) and just enjoy and seize the day.

  2. With the wind and hills, you are doing just fine. I fully expect to read about your sub 3 hour run in Boston in two weeks!

  3. ... like the previous two people have already said, that is a solid workout on the heels of the 5k race. Well done, now, it's time to absorb, rest and mentally prepare for Boston. More than anyone I know, you’ve definitely prepared well for this race, trust in that.

  4. You'll be fine. Just don't hammer the quads too much before the uphills.

    Yes, once you're within range of 3 hours that should always be the target.

  5. You are bang on where you need to be at this point for a 3 hour marathon. The priority at this point must be a good taper. I suspect that you might not have been as rested as you should have been going into Dublin.

    Any thoughts on race tactics? Are you going to try and find a 3 hour pace group and stick with them or try and run your own race? There are pro/cons either way

  6. Thomas,

    How are you? U must be pretty excited for Boston.

    Re: your comment, my stomach can handle one cup of coffee. In most races, I take a gel w/ caffeine instead.

    My stomach cannot handle black coffee so that's what I would avoid as well.

    As always, try it before race day....

    thanks for your comment and I will update this on my blog.


  7. No doubt about aiming for the sub-3. You're a hard worker and smart racer. Persistence and training will pay off in 10ish days. I can't believe it's right around the corner.

  8. Concentrate on all the good workouts you have done so far!
    savour the feelings of running powerfully, replay it in your mind, confidence is everything in a marathon, 3 hours is just a number,
    believe you can do it, will it and it will happen, you are ready, dismiss all negative thoughts!
    Imagine you are a machine designed to run at sub 3 pace, nothing can get in your way, nothing can stop you!!!

  9. Thomas the machine sort of has a nice ring doesn't it? You've been warned and will get it many times again before race day. Taper well and look forward to seeing you in Boston!

  10. Safe travels to Boston, look forward to following your attempt at a sub 3 hr race.