Monday, July 30, 2007

The plans are set...

Marathon training is approaching quickly. The decision has been made - it's going to be the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL. The plan - Pfitz 18/55. I am in the process of the reading Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Douglas now. Michele is in, I think Joe is in, and possibly a few others. Since this is an 18 week plan and the race is Dec 8, training will start Aug 5th.

Here's the deal - I want a sub 4 hour marathon. My first marathon, the Country Music Marathon in April 2006 was a 4:17:17. I used an intermediate plan I got from CoolRunning.com that involved running 6 days a week with intervals, hills, and long runs up to 26 miles. The week I was supposed to do the 26 mile long run I did not make it. I struggled about 16 miles into it and couldn't go another step. I had to stop at a friend's house and get a ride home. After resting up some, and then tapering as the plan said, though, I finished the marathon and felt fairly well until about mile 22.

My second marathon, the New Las Vegas Marathon in Dec 2006, I was serious about getting under 4 hours. I chose the FIRST plan from the Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training. It involved 3 key runs per week (1 interval, 1 tempo, and 1 long run) with cross training in between them. I loved the idea of this plan because I could continue my swimming and cycling while training for this marathon. The training went fairly well - it consisted of 5 20 milers. I can only remember a couple of tempo runs and 1 long run where I really felt too tired, and the paces of my long runs and tempo runs really indicated i was capable of a sub 4. Enter: 30 mph head winds between miles 10 and 15 in Vegas. By mile 18, I was hurting. By mile 20, I was falling off pace. By 26.2, I was just thankful to finish alive in 4:08:28.

You can't predict what the marathon might throw at you. And you can never underestimate the challenge. It's nothing like running a half marathon - it's a whole different ballgame. Barry Magee, the bronze medalist of the 1960 Olympic Marathon said:

"Anyone can run twenty miles, it's the next six that count."

In the past, those last 6 miles have punished me for running my first 6 miles too fast. They have hurt me severely for not taking in enough calories during the race. Or eating the proper pre-race meal. You can get away with a lot of things for 20 miles...but it all comes back home for the last 6. They have my utmost respect...

...but this time, they are mine.

I am serious about training the way Pfitzinger says to train. If he says "run fast", I will run fast. If he says "run slow", I'll be running slow - to hell with the ego. I realize that I am not going to get in as many good bike rides or swims or late season triathlons as I would like during this training. That's okay. I realize that I have to watch my diet closely - garbage in = garbage out. I realize that I have to practice nutrition during training like I intend to use it during the race, something I have not done so well in the past. All of this is easier said than done, but I'm going to give it my best shot. And last but absolutely not least, I realize that I have to pay close attention to keeping everything else in my life balanced so that I do not get overwhelmed. I have to stay on top of the laundry (ha!), I have to get enough sleep, I have to keep my priorities straight, and I have to stay healthy spiritually. I often find a deep spiritual value in running - the shear exhaustion sometimes strips me down and forces me to face things about myself I normally overlook. The being surrounded in the beauty of nature for 3 or 3.5 hours of running can render an awareness in myself that does not exist in the every day hustle and bustle of life. I'll be blogging almost every day - so you guys hold me accountable. Give me your feedback. Scream if you see me falling off track. We're bringing home a sub-4 this Dec...

"Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back." Philippians 3:13-14, The Message

14 comments:

Amanda said...

I've only found your blog recently, but I'm very excited to hear about your training. I've done the CM 1/2 and had a blast, which inspired my first marathon at a 4:17 pace as well... I've been doing halves since then, but want to commit to another full. So can't wait to see how yours goes, I know it will get me out the door!

Lance Notstrong said...

I like that quote and it's true. Not that the first 20 miles are easy, but they pale in comparision to those last six. The last six miles really show a person what they are made of.

You sound like a woman on a mission. Good luck, I'll be following along at home :-)

jkrunning said...

You will breat 4 hours this time. I am sure of it. Can't wait to follow along with your training.

TriSaraTops said...

Yay!!!

You'd better believe I'm following along! I have the exact same goals for Chicago '08. Kick some butt, girl. You are ready.

TriJack said...

inspiring post lana.

i'll be cheering for you!

david said...

You'll do great. And remember as you run in the heat of August, it was 17 degrees at the start of the race last December! I hope to join you at the starting line!

yumke said...

Good luck on Pfitz. I hear ya on hitting the wall despite following othe programs. This year, i'm doing Pfitz and hope to run the last 6.2 in DC as strong as the first 20.

Tri-Dummy said...

I have a feeling somebody's going SUB 4...

her name starts with an L and ends with an ANA. :)

Izzy said...

You will need to start practicing the statement "I ran my last marathon in 3 hours and ?? minutes! You will accomplish your time goal, the life balancing thing may be a bit more difficult. Good Luck!

Phil said...

In Pfitz we Trust. Should be written on our currency. If any plan is going to whip you into shape for a sub 4:00, the Pfitz 18/55 will. If I can run a sub 4:00 marathon, I KNOW you can. I need to get going on the same plan in 4 weeks, so it will be fun following along with you. Good luck.

Steve S. said...

It's hard to throw that ego out the window and go slow, but GOOD LUCK!!!

Kate said...

You are SO bringing sub-4 home, and then some! I'm looking forward to see how Pfitz goes- am thinking about higher mileage for the third time round (planning waaay ahead!)

Rae said...

You're going to be a Rocketship at Rocket City. So many people I know have set PRs at RC!

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