Sweet 16

Today I ran my 16-miler.

Disclaimer: I am aware that coaching strategies differ from person to person, and from coach to coach, and from race to race, and from year to year.  I know that some plans advocate never going more than 18 miles for a long run, while some have you all the way up into the low 30's.

I am the one on the left
That being said, my strategy, which comes from people who know a shitload more about this stuff than lil' ol' me, has been to never run more than 4 hours in training, or sometimes even 3-3.5.  Because of my pace and training plans,  this means that my long run for marathon training has never exceeded 18 miles, 3-4 hours, or whatever came first.

In 2007, when training for Philly, I made it 18.  In 2008, when training for Melbourne, I don't even remember how long/short it was, but it was not very long (no shock that I ended that race at about mile 14 with ITB issues and disappointment that it was a 5-hour cutoff).  In 2009, when training for Disney, it ended up being 18 because my Polar footpod was not calibrated correctly and told me it was 20 :)  And then, last year, when training for  Rock'n'Roll Mardi Gras, it was 18 again.

Guess what it is again this year?

This week was my 16-miler.  Then next week, the 18.  Then, I officially "taper."  (Although I don't know that you could call what I do "tapering," considering that I always blend triathlon and marathon.)  The great Hal Higdon himself told me once that I was "serving two masters."  And, although he is 100% right, I have never had more fun (and cycling has definitely made me a stronger runner!)

When is this b*^ch gonna get to the point?!?

You know I never tell the Reader's Digest version of any story!

In any case . . . 

Today was the best 16-mile run I have EVER had.  This is not hyperbole.  It was the best 16-mile run of. my. life.  I ran 16 miles in under 3 hours and 30 minutes, I feel like I only ran 13, and I managed to squeak out an 8-10 minute/mile for the last mile.  The overall pace was 13 and change, which is the pace I want to maintain or exceed for the marathon.

I can already tell that this is going to be a marathon like no other.  When I say that, I'm not being specific.  It could be less painful, it could be more fun, it could be faster; I don't know.  I have no right to expect a PR in the midst of my other shenanigans *and* considering this is the 2nd mary of this year.  But, I do know that I have trained more consistently and at greater volume for the last year than I ever have before, and I know that my long runs feel better than ever before.  So, if that's any indication, it's gonna be BAD F*&#iNG ASS.

And it's not just 'cuz I supposedly get this SUPER SWEET additional medal for doing 2 RnR Marys in one year.  Hopefully, cause it's ultra-cool.

Goal vs Actual
I don't always hit my goal every week, but I love that
my training cycle mimics the plan and has some
Finally, I pulled my goal vs. actual training for the past year and I noticed that, while I haven't always hit my goal, I have these things going for me:

  1. Consistency.  The only weeks I've missed training were for mild injuries, illness and race recovery.
  2. Speaking of recovery, I follow my plan(s).  I do a pretty good job for a not-too-educated amateur of periodization.  You can see by the peaks and valleys that I follow periods of build, taper, build, taper, (and even do much less overall) during the year.
  3. Progress.  I have increased my training volume safely.
I hope that I am even closer to my goal and follow an even more predictable pattern next year.

Lots of great career stuff going on . . .  too much to mention!

In the meantime, IronMAJ is almost over.  Rock'n'Roll!

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