2013 Training and Racing Plan

It’s totally reasonable to expect a training/racing plan post to go up in late December for early January (and perhaps I did one and forgot?). As we enter the seventh month of the year, I’ve still been slightly less than committed to my racing plans and training strategy. Mostly because I want to be smart, and successful, when I hit the fall racing season.

What that really means is I don’t want to be miserable for my fall marathon(s). For those of you who are not runners, I’m sure you’ve assumed this but let me be clear: 26.2 miles is an ETERNITY of MISERY if you are under-prepared, injured, or anything less than 100% committed on race day.

A sub 2:45 marathoner in Chicago told me over the winter “A PR race is always easier to manage and less painful than a bad race”. For example, in my own experience, my 3:17 performance at Boston this year, even though I had some discomfort that held me back at times, was by far more enjoyable and seemed to go by much faster than the Chicago Half Marathon when I ran it last year in 1:38. If you do the math you’ll realize that the latter race was half the distance but run at the same pace. And, I swear, it felt like I was out there for just as long.

Another example, if you were reading Fluency’s Folly last fall you might remember this:

Slightly injured, burnt-out (mentally), under-trained = looong and tantrum filled marathon.

Slightly injured, burnt-out (mentally), under-trained = looong and tantrum filled marathon.

I ran a 3:26 at Chicago 2012, but I swear, it felt like I was out there for 8 hours, just China Town felt like I was on a treadmill. Bad race experiences, of course, can happen even when you are completely prepared, there are dozens of variables that can individually effect a marathon performance. I think it’s this sort of gambling scenario that keeps runners coming back to chase their own definition of marathon mastery.

I’ve had some success doing 2 marathons within 2 months (last year, Boston then Midland). This fall I’m attempting 3 in 3 months, with the last one being a doozy:

I know, you've seen this screenshot like 17 times now. Sorry, nerves.

I know, you’ve seen this screenshot like 17 times now. Sorry, nerves.

Racing review of 2013 so far:

I’ve run 4 half marathons, one being a PR where I felt as good as I could ask for (read about it here). The first one (here) I wasn’t race fit but still race a controlled race and was satisfied, the last two, I was emotional, not fit for them, and overall not pleased with how they felt (go here for a recap of the First Midwest Half). I’ve also done a 10k where I hoped to break 40 minutes for the first time, but failed, and had to admit I was injured (read about that here), I ran a 5k, totally impromptu, and was shocked to break 20 minutes, but it wasn’t without discomfort. Finally, in June I ticked two items off my running bucket list: Ragnar (fun recap post here) where I felt awful when running, but could probably be convinced to sign up again, and the Mt. Washington Road Race (HERE!) which brought me full-circle with my post-Boston events emotional roller-coaster and confirmed that I do in fact, love to run, and do, in fact, want to keep working at it.

Training review of 2013 so far:

Boston training went great, I hit most of my targets every week, and after a lot of time spent staring at my training log, and thinking back to how key workouts felt, I think I’ve isolated where I crossed the line from having some tight back/core/hip muscles to have pulled/pissed off muscles. It was while doing 800 repeats in March, I remember hitting descending splits and being stoked about it. I remember having 3 to go, and tension growing in my right lower back. I remember it hurting, and I remember making the choice to push through and get my split. Then, I remember searing pain 3/4 of the way through the penultimate 800. And then limping slowly through the rest of the workout and the cool-down.

I survived the rest of training, and still hit a massive PR in Boston. I’ve run between 30 and 45 mi per week most weeks, I took the week between Ragnar and Mt. Washington completely off of all exercise, I didn’t even walk the poor dogs. I’ve been seeing a totally awesome chiropractor  (Ryan) for the past 6 weeks or so and I’m learning a lot, but mostly, I’m learning the value of doing the ancillary work that elite runners and coaches are always talking about.

I returned to a structure plan 2 weeks ago, which included some flirtations with speed and tempo work, after at 15mi long-run effort today, I’m ready to commit to saying that I am officially “in training” for the fall.

Here’s what I have planned for the next two weeks.

training block #2

Beyond these next two weeks I’ve only just plugged in the key workouts I think I should be doing, and will fill in everything else as I go, based on how I’m doing. I’ve been trying to research how to best handle the recovery and preparation for the serial marathons…it’s a little overwhelming to say the least, although I’m ok with not racing hard at the No Frills marathon, and at Catalina, I’d really rather not do any walking, or feel like I’m unprepared to race should a perfect day present itself.

Planned races:

Bastille Day 5/8k (5k): Chicago, IL. July 11, 2013

Waterfall Glenn Xtreme 10: Darien, IL. July 13, 2013

Burgers and Beer 5k: Chicago, IL. July 15, 2013

El Chupacabra De San Antonio (10k): San Antonio, Tx. July 26, 2013

Zooma Half Marathon: Chicago, IL. August 10, 2013 **

No Frills Minocqua Marathon: Minocqua, WI. September 1, 2013

Bucktown 5k: Chicago, IL. September 15, 2013 **

The Chicago Marathon: Chicago, IL. October 13, 2013 **

Carrera de Los Muertos (5k): Chicago, IL. November 2, 2013

Catalina Island Eco Marathon: Catalina Island, CA. November 9, 2013

** = Goal Race (PR effort)

So there you have it. I’m sure I’ll add a few 5 /10k’s this summer and fall, because I’m a sucker, and there are so many good races every weekend! I could also continue with more detail about how I’m thinking about my training and race selections…but I’ll save that for later, this post is long enough.

What are your goal races the rest of this year?

Do you go to a chiropractor and/or massage therapist as a part of your training?

Got any research on ART, Graston, foam rolling, and the like you’d be willing to share with me (email me?)? I’m coming up peanuts…(stuff procured from the Graston Technique website doesn’t count).

Tell me, tell me!!

*AB

2 responses to “2013 Training and Racing Plan

  1. Very interesting blog post. You are right about a PR ( we say PB) feeling better than a slower struggle. For me 2.51 felt a lot better than 3.20. But now I am making a comeback after a break of 23 years….so maybe even 3.20 is beyond me. 😉
    Good luck
    Jon

  2. Welcome back to the circus Jon! It’ll be intersting to see how your body adapts, stranger things have happned!

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