Monday, March 11, 2013

Marathon Race Day Plans...From Mind to Paper

Sitting here this evening looking over my Garmin Connect data & thinking about my race day marathon plan. So I thought what better way to think about it by putting it to paper. So here goes...

I signed up for the Rock-n-Roll USA Marathon in DC for a few reasons. First is because my step-daughter lives in Arlington, VA & its always good to go visit. Second, free room at her apartment. Third, something to keep me motivated during the cold winter months. Fourth, as I found out later, my step-daughter was signing up to do her 1st half marathon so my wife gets to be there for that also!!

Now I entered this race with 4 marathons under my belt, 2 of them during an Ironman, with a PR of 4:18:40. And a new goal of a PR of 3:45:00. So the Monday after Thanksgiving was the start of my 16 week training plan. After a couple of weeks & multiple speed workouts, I changed my goal down to 3:30. By the start of February, I started doubting the 3:30 goal. As the length of my runs grew, I doubted that I could hold an 8 minute mile every mile for 26.2 miles. My times for my longer speed runs were just a little off of that time. February was a month full of negative thoughts (I was extremely glad it was only 28 days long!) The last 2 weeks, my attitude has changed. I knew I had to get serious about my race day plan. So I started looking back at my data, checking pace & heart rate. Then I decided to changed my plan from a pace plan to a heart rate plan. I think this will be my best plan based on not knowing the course. From the elevation chart, the course looks to climb from mile 4 to mile 7. If I try to keep my pace correct for those 3 miles, I might just red line too early in the race.

Now for my plan - 3:45 is the goal, 3:30 is wishful thinking, & 3:59:59 is a must! To achieve this, I will keep my heart rate between 145 & 150 for the 1st 13.1 miles. Then for the next 10 miles, heart rate will be between 150 & 155. The last 5K is whatever it takes!

Based off my data, I should be able to keep around an 8:30 pace for the 1st half, then closer to 8:00 pace for the next 10 miles. The last 5K, the sky is the limit.

Now for the nutrition side of this, which is usually the forgotten element in endurance races. I have trained during my long runs with water & GU gels. Taking 2-4oz of water every mile & 1 gel every 4 miles for the 1st half & then 1 gel every 3 miles for the last half. That would be a gel at mile 4, 8, 12, 15, 18, 21, & 24 for a total of 700-800 calories. If I change that to 1 gel every 3 miles, it would add 1 more to the total for 800-900 calories. This seems to be a better plan as I've been told I needed about 1000 calories total for a marathon.

So there it is, my pacing, heart rate, & nutritional plan for the USA Marathon on March 16th. I'll be posting sometime after the race either here, or on Twitter (@gregreasoner), or on Facebook. All 3 sometime, but if you really want to know how I did, check my Twitter 1st. Don't wish my luck, as I've put in the work this winter. But instead, I need mental strength to get this done. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Opps....Been Awhile Since Last Post

Only did one post in February, just lazy I guess. It was a rough month. All this cold weather has really got to me metally. Missed some runs because of it, actually skipped 6 days running in a row, IN A ROW. Not really good training for a marathon. Wasn't that I was sitting around on my butt, still did my swimming (mainly because I am the one with the key to the door) & still was doing basketball. Just lost a little motivation to run. I never got cold while running, just using it as an excuse. I'm afraid it will show come race day.

Now on to race day. Been doing a lot of thinking (probably too much) about pacing & nutrition. When I signed up for this race, I was thinking about running a 3:45 (8:35 pace). As my training ramped up, I felt like I could up that pace to 8:00 which would be a 3:30. So I changed my runs to meet that new pace. But the last 6 weeks, that pace seems like it might be too much to ask. Now I'm thinking that I'm going to base the first 1/2 of the race off of heart rate, then the next 10 miles I will push that heart rate up a little more. Then the last 3.2 miles will be all out. All that being said, its back to 3:45 goal. Which still would be a big PR.

Nutrition is next. In training during my long runs, I drink every mile. But at the race, aid stations are about every 2 miles....what to do. I can't carry all that extra water. My Fuel Belt could carry enough water for about 6 of those miles. Can I just refill those bottles without losing much time?? Guess I'll find out.

Oh, almost forgot, first race of the season was on 2-16, ValenTimes 10K. I got a PR by more than 7 minutes. 44:19, 7:07 pace, 10th overall, 3rd age group.

Now for the totals
2-4/2-10 - Weekly total - 13.75 miles, 2:05:34, 9:07 pace
2-11/2-17 - Weekly total - 41.43 miles, 5:51:52, 8:29 pace
2-18/2-25 - Weekly total - 48;36 miles, 7:09:03, 8:52 pace
2-26/3-3 - Weekly total - 28.81 miles, 4:28:47, 9:19 pace

Marathon training total - 413.41 miles, 61:51:57, 8:58 pace