It is official, I am now registered for the 2012 Woodlands Marathon on March 3rd! While I had previously hinted at a spring marathon, I finally registered for one.
I actually began training for this race back in November. I had revisited my goals for 2011 and realized I needed to ramp up my running if I wanted to hit my goal of 1500 miles for the year. As I ramped up my mileage to 40-45 miles a week, Jeff recommended Pete Pfitzinger’s book Advanced Marathoning. It was just what I needed. While I still recommend Hal Higdon’s Marathon book for the newbie marathoner, Pfitz’s Advanced Marathoning is geared toward taking your training and racing to the next level. I realized, that with some hard work and serious focus placed on running, I could make a run at a BQ marathon this spring.
I looked at some races in the Midwest (Glass City, Martian, Lansing, etc.) but all fell in April which would be a few months into IMMT training. So, I took Jeff up on his offer to race the Woodlands Marathon with him in March, just before IMMT training will start up. However, by the time I made that decision (early December), I was already a bit behind schedule. Advanced Marathoning offers 4 levels of training plans each in a 12-week and 18-week format. Ideally I would have like to have done the 18/70 format (18 weeks, maxing at 70 miles per week), but I only had 15 weeks until race day. So, with a bit of tweaking, I “warmed up” with some modified weeks from the 18/70 program before beginning the 12/70 program (12 weeks, maxing at 70 miles per week). If you are curious as to what the training program looks like, you can check it out here.
I now have 4 weeks of solid training under my belt and I can feel it working. At least I hope that feeling is “working” and not my legs ready to cry “Mercy!” It is the hardest (and most) I have ever run in my 14 years as a runner. Before reading Advanced Marathoning and starting this plan, I’d have thought it would be impossible to log 50, 60, or even 70 miles a week. However, the body somehow adapts to it. I’m not going to say it is easy or pain free by any means, but I don’t feel like I am training any harder than I have for previous marathons when I logged 30-40 miles per week.
The goal for Woodlands is to BQ which means sub-3:05 (yikes). However, I am shooting for a 3:02-3:03 in order to give myself a buffer to both BQ and not get locked out a the new registration process. That comes out to about a 7:00 mile which should be doable. Over the past month or so, I have gone back and forth in my head on whether or not this is a realistic goal. My fastest marathon was at Grand Rapids this past October in 3:20. Other than coming off Ironman training in September, I was horribly undertrained for it. My current training times point to the fact that I am right on track with my training, but mentally I still struggle with it. So I have decided it is time to
nut up or shut up ignore the brain and trust in the legs (and the plan).
That’s the plan. Woodlands Marathon in 8 weeks. I’ve got this.