Oct 19, 2009

Looking Back

First off, congrats to all racers over the weekend. Marathonguide.com said it was the weekend in 2009 with the most marathons scheduled.

With every marathon I do I like to look back at my training for other marathons to assess my fitness. This one is no different and if you are reading this, you get to come along for the ride. I'm comparing my training with the Myrtle Beach marathon because that one is the closest (did it in February) and has the most similar training schedule (3-4 runs per week with one long and 2 MP runs). The key difference in training was that for MB I spent a month building up my MP runs from 5-8 miles before hitting a month of long ones. For MCM I spent that month doing speedwork and then started the long MP runs. As you can see from the chart below, I ran more miles the two months prior to taper for MCM but at a slower pace. I think that was mostly due to the slow miles (warm up, recovery, warm down) associated with the speedwork. When you look at just one month prior to taper MB is definitely better with more miles and a faster pace. In looking at long runs though MCM has the advantage with 7 runs of 17 miles or better to only 4 for MB. Finally I did a workout today that was the same that I did for the MB taper. It was 5 miles with one warm up, one a little faster, two fast and then one a little slower. This data is also on the chart. All things are quite equal except the most telling stat, avg HR. I was working quite a bit harder this time around.

What does it all mean? It means that I think my training and preparation was pretty similar to what I did for MB where I ran 3:19:54 but the cold that I have now is holding me back and causing my HR to rise. It's like I've gone back 2-3 months in training. Anyway, that's what it looks like from my point of view. Later this week, I'll share my marathon plan and prediction.
Sorry about the format of the chart. Haven't figured out how to put a decent chart into this thing yet.
All in: 5 miles at 7:46.


Meg Runs said...

Thanks sharing your ride with us! My next race is months off so I need something to think about! Can't wait to hear your plan and predictions. I'm actually shooting for a 3:20 for my next marathon in January so this is interesting to me. So far, I haven't done much in the way of monitoring my HR...do you think this is necessary? How do you use the info. to help you for training? Sorry for asking so many questions!
By the way, when you say your cold has set you back fitness wise, do you imagine you'll improve as you heal up or do you think you're really that much farther behind than your last marathon?
Thanks! meg

AZ said...

Meg, thanks for the comment and your interest. Wow, there's a lot of questions there! I'll try to answer them.

I don't think a HRM is totally necessary even though I like to use one. It just helps me assess my fitness, for example I can see my HR average get lower and lower for the same workout over a few weeks. Also, if I see my HR at 170 for more than a mile or so I'll know that I'll need greater recovery time before my next workout.

I think if I got over this cold and was running like I was 2-3 weeks ago, I could challenge 3:20. However it seems like this cold is just a very small one that lingers for quite awhile instead of being a bad one that I would get over quickly. Have to wait and see I guess.

You are a fast runner, I think you can definitely go 3:20 or better. I'll be watching.

Jean said...

You keep some really good data on your training, AZ. Enjoy the last few days of your taper, and I hope you have an excellent race this weekend. I look forward to reading your report!

All the best!

Beth said...

I hope you recover quickly from your cold and that you have a great race. I'm rooting for you!

Glenn Jones said...

Very interesting how your training tracked consistently. I'm a huge data advocate, and really believe that the story can be told with the data.

I'm a big HRM advocate too. I think it tells me a lot about my fitness - as you point out. I see my self going further at a lower heart rate now than even a few months ago!

Sorry to hear about your cold. There was actually an article on Runner's World website that you might find interesting: Colds and Training

Stay warm and stay inside!