Earlier this year the Los Angeles Marathon put a dent in my confidence to run a marathon well. I had put 16 weeks of 80-90 miles to break the invisible sub-3 barrier and I thought I was fit enough to do it. After faltering early in the race, I struggled to finish and crossed the line in a disappointing 3:12. Faulty race day execution, a poorly thought out and executed training plan, and nagging injuries due to said training plan all contributed to that result. Sick, literally and figuratively, in the weeks after the race I looked back on what went wrong and things started to pop up immediately. I decided to use those lessons I learned and apply them to the next marathon I would run. Lessons such as:
-Limiting my weekly mileage. I didn´t need 80-90 mile weeks. I only ended up needing around 60/week with a well thought out plan.
-Having a very limited amount of hard runs during the week, but with each one having a precise purpose. In a training program, constantly running hard without purpose is detrimental to the overall picture in long distance events. For me, two high quality runs per week was enough.
-Running the weekend long run at aerobic capacity. Running with TCLA on Saturday is difficult because they tend to go out faster than my aerobic pace from the get go and most of the time I would end up running alone. At times I would get pissed off at my heart rate because I wanted to run with them but I wanted to give this plan a fair chance. Looking back, this was a downfall in the lead up to the LA Marathon. For the goal pace I wanted to run in the marathon this long run pace was simply too fast .
-Having a mix of road and trail runs.
-Limiting my long run to 2-3 hours total, maximum.
-Run a marathon negative split. If I couldn´t run the first half at marathon goal pace without pushing on the gas pedal then I had no business running that pace.
-Taper and carbohydrate load properly. 2 weeks worked for this training cycle. The first week was little running, the second week mostly not running with some walking. I was rewarded with light legs and plenty of energy.
|Surprised but happy to see Megan and Elissa at mile 13.1|
I still couldn´t feel my hands and was cold but was really satisfied. Thank you to Elissa, Chris, and her family for letting us stay over the night before. Thanks to all my TCLA and trail running friends. The above lessons worked for me through trial and error, prior failures, advise from other runners, and exercise physiology research. I´m really excited to head back to ultras for the time being until Fall 2014 where I hope to lower this current mark. Merry Christmas!