Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The running base
I've entered the marathon taper for yet another marathon cycle and like in previous years, the big question is always, am I ready?
The graph above shows my first six marathons, one in 2007, one in 2008, three last year, and one so far this year (I'm running two this month!). Last year is the benchmark to which I can compare my latest training cycle. You can see in the graph that I put monster mileage in last summer, hitting in one crazy month 300 miles. My result in 2008's BQ attempt is pretty straightforward -- I didn't hit up to the potential that I had built up to.
This year, I ran a strong spring marathon off a relatively light training program. The key mark for endurance for me is reaching 200 miles a month. That tells me I'm putting in the long runs in the weekends plus plenty of mid-week mileage.
So while this year I haven't put in the mega mileage, I have four straight months of putting in 200 miles or more. Aside from my little leg injury that put me out for a week, I'm happy that I've got enough quality runs in.
As they say, it's in the bag now with the taper beginning. I have about 55 miles this week and it's all downhill from there. My job the next while is to get plenty of sleep, keep my fitness from slipping too much, stretching as much as I can, and fitting in my last few longish runs (a 17 miler, 13 miler). I'm looking for a race this weekend in Washington, but that's about it.
I ran 15K today, half of it with my friend Lee, who's running Chicago in a few weeks. I had lots of questions about fuelling, about tapering and stretching. We trade a lot of shop talk. We're both in the middle of our tapers so the type of conversation that we had a month or so had shifted from speed workouts and long runs to how to race a marathon or how to survive those last miles.
I will run my seventh and eight marathon in the next month. Lee will run his 12th. He's run Boston a few times and I'm aiming at my BQ. Between us, we've logged thousands of miles (I've run 7100 miles since I started logging my daily miles in 2006 -- yikes) but yet we feel like we've a lot to learn.
Taper time, it gets to you.