First things first: I found this as I was mindlessly surfing blogs the other day, and I got really excited [again] about Boston even though it's months away...gotta start with some inspiration!
I mention this because today I got my special postcard that says "Yay, you're officially running Boston!" [or...you know...something to that effect :)] Getting mail is exciting enough by itself these days, since the mailbox is usually empty or maybe if I'm lucky includes a Brookstone or IKEA catalog addressed to the previous resident, so when I opened the box and saw a letter with the return address of "The Starting Line, Hopkinton, MA" [yes, that's really what it says, which is AWESOME in my opinion] I was just like...eek! Yay!
Anyway. So even though I have a month and a half before I have to get back into hardcore marathon training mode, I've been starting to look at my Baystate training cycle and try to figure out what I liked, what I didn't like, what I think worked, what I don't think worked...etc. I put all my workouts and paces into a nifty little Excel file and have been kind of looking at how it all lays out. Here are some of the most basic stats I came up with:
# of weeks: 16 [technically, my spreadsheet is 22 weeks, but it's pretty obvious when you look at it the first 6 I wasn't really in training...well, I was in training, but I was in training for a TRIATHLON. Not a whole lot of hard running going on there.]
Average weekly mileage: 46.8 miles [when I take the week when I went up north and only ran 19 miles out, the average goes up to 48.2 which is probably a more accurate representation]
Highest mileage: 66.8
Easy run pace range: 7:16-8:22 [hmm...yeah, we'll talk more about this later :)]
Long run pace range: 8:01-8:45
Average workouts/week: 1
Long run progression: 11, 14, 16, 16, 18, none, 13.1, none 21, 22, 18, 22, 13
So, what things do I like about this? Well, I think the 16 week plan was just about perfect. If I start on January 1 for Boston, that gives me 15 weeks, which I think is fine since if you take my 19 mile week into account, I really only had 15 weeks of official training anyway. I think keeping my mileage between about 50 and 60 is pretty solid, although I wouldn't mind upping the miles even a little more this cycle. I could see myself topping out maybe at 70 this time around, although we'll see about that.
I consistently took 1 day off a week, and while it sure is easier to get 70 miles into 7 days than it is into 6, I'm keeping my day off, and I think I'll continue to do so in future training cycles for any running-only event. Having a day when I don't have to run at ALL really kept me sane, especially when the mileage got pretty big and I was doing a 20 mile long run, an interval workout, and another 10 or 11 mile quality day in the same week.
As far as long runs, I think I could do a little better in that area. Mostly I don't want to have essentially 3 weeks with my longest run being 13 miles. I liked the 3 20+ mile runs, and I think I'll keep that pretty much the way it was - the timing of them seemed pretty good too, with the last one close enough to the race that it was just a huge confidence boost. Basically my plan is to be up to 10 or 11 miles before I actually get into "training" and then after that my long runs look like this: 12, 14, 15, 16, 16, 18, 16, 18, 15, 21, 22, 18, 22, 13 [notice a similarity in the last 5 weeks from this past cycle? Yeah, yeah, I'm a little superstitious, and now that I didn't do an exactly 20 mile run in this cycle, I'll always do more than 20, never exactly :)]
OK, well I'm sure anyone reading this is probably terribly bored by now, so I'll unveil the other parts of the plan later [paces and plans for workouts, hehe] One thing I will say is that I plan on trying to work on running at "marathon goal pace"...so obviously that meant I actually had to PICK a goal pace. So as of right now, I am setting my goal at 3:35, which is an 8:12 pace. 10 seconds per mile to take off is a lot, but who knows. So that's the idea for right now...
In other news, my knee finally seems to be getting back to it's old self! My hamstrings and glutes are still pretty tight, but stretching a lot combined with running more actually seems to be helping rather than hurting. Yesterday I was thrilled to actually be able to run 6 miles with no problem...WOO HOO!! I think I'll just be hanging out in the 30-40 mpw range for awhile, but I'm just happy at the moment to actually be able to run for 45 minutes without my knee exploding. The only thing that's still a little weird is having to kind of conciously think about it while I'm running - I guess in a way it's good to be more in tune with my body when I'm running because half the time I'm totally in my head and just kind of cruising along. But since my knee problem, I have really actively been thinking about things feeling tight, aches, pains, and sensations as I'm running and just being a lot more aware of what's going on.
Today's run was just another example of why I LOVE fall in New England! It was a crispy 50 degrees and pretty windy, which was a little irritating to fight but I hardly noticed after awhile. The leaves are such gorgeous colors right now, and I was very happy listening to them crunch on the sidewalk as I ran through. I went to my other "go-to" reservoir, the 1 mile loop at Brookline, and saw some ducks, geese, and a fun new duck-like bird I had never seen before called a hooded merganser...if you check out the picture, I was able to ID it because of the huge white spot on their heads. :) I don't go "bird-watching", but I do have a field guide and it's kind of fun to look it up when I see a bird I've never seen before...there are plenty out here that I hadn't seen in Wisconsin!
OK, so I decided that I want to start doing Take It And Run Thursday because I like the idea and so many of my fellow bloggers do it...plus it's always nice to have guaranteed something to write about! BUT I am going to do it in a separate post, because this one is looong. So you can read them separately if you want, yay :)