Saturday, February 28, 2009

Breakdown of a horrible run

I always think I learn more from my mistakes than from the things I do right, so here is an analysis of what went wrong for my run today. Hopefully I'll take something away from this and use it in the future. Every training session seems to have at least one disasterous run, and hopefully this will be the one for this marathon.

To summarize the cumulative problems for this run I'll use the word "attitude". I just did not have the right attitude going into this run, and I suffered the results. My past two 18 mile runs have been incredibly successful, I have felt strong and have been able to incorporate some tempo miles during the run. Since the goal for the 20 miles today was just to finish at a good long run pace, I really was not taking it seriously. In retrospect my fueling last night was nowhere near what it should have been with protein and fats taking the lions share of the plate. Also, yesterday marked a pretty significant variation from my usual routine where I did a strength training session instead of an easy run. I didn't think that it would affect me that much, but I think it did as I didn't really have the "pep" that I usually have. Unfortunately without the proper preparation the attitude could not really get any better over the course of the run, especially with the intestinal issues I experienced. I have had several "uncomfortable" runs over the years, but I have fortunately never had to seek out a port-a-potty until today. Unpleasant to say the least.

Did anything go right today? Yes, I can say that it did. Once I realized that the run was going to be a disaster I completely shifted my goals for the workout. In the end I decided that despite all the setbacks I could still experience a good training run by merely seeking to finish the 20 miles regardless of how long it took. There is some benefit to being out running for 3 hours (approximately the time I hope to finish the marathon in) even if I am not running the whole time. In the end I finished the run with an average pace that was just a little slower than I was hoping for, so even though it was unpleasant I was still moving fairly quickly. My fueling on the run was pretty good as well as I took my gel early enough that I was not totally run down before it kicked in. I think I will try to be doing that more on future runs as well.

Now it's time to put this run behind me and look to the next run. A well deserved beer tonight will do the soul some good.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Inspirational Words

I was fortunate enough to read a blog post from David Goggins. David Goggins is a Navy SEAL who has taken to running ultra-marathon events in support of charities. He was one of the "Heroes of Running" for Runner's World last year. In his post he discusses an experience in which he sees the look of defeat in the eyes of another man. Goggins says, "everybody comes to a point in there [sic] life when they want to quit. But it's about what you do at that moment that determines who you are."

This quote rings true with so much of what I believe about life. Last year, when I registered for the Denver Marathon, the application form asked "Why do you run?" My response was that "I run because it is not easy." People will always try to sell you the old lie, that by doing something you will make your life easy. In fact this lie will rob you of life itself, for in moments of pain and in trials exists the true joy of life. Work is not easy. Friendships are not easy. Parenting is not easy. Love is not easy. Walking with Christ is not easy! Rejoice in trial, and who you really are will be brought to light!

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death -- Ps. 118:17,18

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Cooperative Weather

Well so far this year the weather has been extremely cooperative. We have had fronts move through every once in a while, but they have mostly been confined to the early parts of the week, allowing the snow to mostly melt by the weekend. As a result, marathon training is in full "gear-up" mode with a 14 miler last weekend and 16 miles this weekend. Since last year I have dropped my long run pace significantly, and my intervals/tempo paces have dropped too. I hope to keep these paces around where they are now as I ramp back up the mileage, but so far things are feeling pretty good with two 50 mile weeks down already. The big task now is to not gear up too quickly and peak too early, I'm trying to keep the mileage out of the 60s until I hit March. I am also considering a tune up race in April. I was looking for a half marathon 4 to 6 weeks out from the marathon that I could use as a hard race test. I found one today that looks interesting, so I have updated my links on the left.

I think I'm far enough down the road now that I will be able to finish the training necessary for a spring marathon. If the weather is crappy for the early long runs it starts to get to the point where you don't want to bother with it. But once you make the investment in a few 2+ hour runs, it's harder for the weather to throw you off your game. I have also come to embrace the treadmill this year, with my speedwork and tempo runs being done on it exclusively. Unlike the track, where my body can slow down as it gets tired, the treadmill does not care about my weakness. If I set it to a 6:05 pace, it will continue in that fashion until I finish my interval or I fall off. That can be a good motivational technique.