This is a truely weird feeling I have right now -- I'm four weeks until my next marathon and I'm not feeling the excitement I usually have. The best way to describe it is what I felt going into last year's Marine Corps Marathon, a month after finishing the Toronto Scotiabank Marathon.
In other words, I have a decent amount of basic training in me, but not to the point where I think I'm going to all-out race the distance. My winter has not been great for training than last year for Flying Pig. For one thing, I narrowed it down to a 12 week program, and if you do that, you have to be on the ball for the entire nine weeks leading to the taper. My big flu/cold three weeks back took me way off track and now I'm feeling great in health but nowhere near where I am capable of on a fitness and running level. Tomorrow's 17 miler and next week's 20 miler are coming up and I'm sure I can get through them but not at one of those, I'm feeling great, bring on the marathon type runs.
Long story short, I think the type of training I've done is sorta like what I did for my first marathon in Chicago. It was plenty of mid-level mileage but lacking in all the quality work (tempos, marathon pacers, trackwork). I ran that marathon in 3:35 even though I targetted a 3:20.
Yes, I've done four road races in the past month, including a 30K race that I ran at a 3:20 marathon pace (that's a confidence booster for sure) and a few speedy tempo like races (one 5K at 20 minute pace, and two LTs last Saturday).
So am I ready for an all-out race at Mississauga? I don't think so, and I even think if I went for a 3:20 I could end up hurting a whole lot. Yes, I do think I've gained a lot of experience in my five marathons I've run that would get me through a sub 3:30. And I do think that 3:25 would not be out of the question. But I've learned to respect this distance and I think I see Mississauga as a chance to be the springboard into a spring and summer of heavy training. If this sounds silly, this marathon is the warmup for fall season.
Anyhow, I'm thinking a 5 minute kilometre or a 3:30 is the realistic approach. It will have me comfortable through 30K and let experience get me through the final 6 miles. Even during my run today, I was thinking that maybe even a 3:45 would be great so I could just treat the race like a ultra long Sunday run, and maybe hook on to a pacer and enjoy the company of other runners.
I have ambitious goals for the fall, including running two marathons and making another real attempt at a BQ. I've already signed up for Marine Corps but I don't think it's the A-race.
But now, leading to the peak week of training, I'm gonna reconnect to simple running and leave all that wonky running jargon (farklets, tempos, track, pacers) for another day. Tomorrow, gonna just run, and that's good enough for me.