Friday, December 16, 2011

2012 Goals and Strategy Planning

I'm feeling like I'm slowly getting over this head-cold. I've been able to put in some good runs, including a tempo run yesterday. It went ok, I still am recovering from CIM, but feel like I'm recovering a lot faster than I have from marathons in the past. Cool.

btw - Getting tempo runs 'right' have always been a struggle for me. Ideally, you warm up, then start *slowly* speeding up to just under or just over LT (Lactate Threshold - about 10K pace). Stay there for a while, and then slowly ramp back down again - with a little extra bump / kick before you totally hit your cool down. I never feel like my transitions are smooth and care-free. I have to think too much and often hit paces too fast, too early. That's one resolution for this winter - get the 'tempo' run just right so they come naturally.

It will take a couple more weeks before I'm out of 'recovery' mode, but now is a great time to start thinking about 2012 races and goals. I spent some time this weekend reflecting on the past year (what worked, what didn't) and also what I want to try and accomplish next year. Then I backed that up into what my winter and spring training need to look like.

I thought I would share those with you guys because the structure might help as you think about what you each want to do next year. I'm a firm believer that if you don't have a plan, then your chance of improving or feeling good about the past year is left to chance. Even if all you want to do is 'run some more' - I think putting structure around that really helps getting you from 'as-is' to 'to-be'. I think this applies to any 'resolution' you might have for 2012. Most resolutions fall into the dust bin because good intentions aren't coupled with a realistic plan. So here goes:

Status on Goal for 2011:
  • Run a sub-3 marathon: Missed this one (3:10:51) - but I really felt like I'm getting a better handle on racing the whole distance. In previous years, the wheels would start to fall off at about mile 18 - this year that didn't happen until mile 23.
  • Run a sub-1:30 half: Did it twice! One of those was Denver, which is not a trivial course (hills and altitude).
  • Race a lot with different distances to become a better rounded runner: I raced 9 races this year, compared to previous years when I'd only race 2 or 3 races. The experience racing really helped a ton - especially learning about racing various distances.
Goals for 2012 (with some stretch goals in parenthesis):
  • Sub-3 Marathon (Chicago) (2:59:59 / 6:53) – current (3:10:51 / 7:17)
  • Sub-1:27 Half-Marathon (1:25:20 / 6:31) – current (1:29:26 / 6:50)
  • Sub-40min 10K (38:21 / 6:10) – current (41:52 / 6:44)
  • Sub 19min 5K (18:28 / 5:57) – current (NA) 

I realize some of these are a pretty good stretch. I really feel I figured a lot out about my training this year and think I'll be able to come pretty close to these and have a great season next year if I can stick through some solid training changes this winter and into the spring (see below). 

Strategy and Approach:
  • RACE OFTEN! (vary intensity / goal of each race as needed to maintain) – goal is to toe up often and practice different parts of the race. Throw in more ad-hoc  5Ks to stay sharp.
  • Bump overall mileage by 15% (peak at 70-ish mi instead of 58mi-60mi). Work over the winter to boost average weekly mileage.
  • Keep steady long run @16mi (Sundays) – w/additional long run during week during winter / spring
  • Run some ‘training marathons’ to really hone in on that last 10K. Run them slower 60s lower than MP with race pace in the last 10K. Treat them as ‘long runs’.
  • Consistent strength training (upper / lower / core) during the winter (2x / week)
  • Winter weekly quality workouts (Long Run, 2nd Long Run, Tempo/Hills/Track, Tempo/Fartlek) with 2/1 cycle (2 strong weeks / 1 recovery week)
  • Track in winter is mostly 400s / 800s (Yassos) – play around with some different workouts
  • Swimming – 1X / week  (maybe a tri in Summer?) 
  • Cycling as recovery but also as a way to push LT performance (hill climbs / time trial)
  • Maintain weight (168lbs) over most of winter. Gradually try to get down to 160lbs racing weight (better calorie timing) by mid-Spring and maintain.
2012 Races (subject to change :-)

Date        Race                     Notes
1/8/2012    10K/5K Trophy Series       
2/12/2012   7mi/5K Trophy Series
3/4/2012    3mi Trophy Series
4/7/2012    4mi Trophy Series
4/15/2012   Platte River ½ Marathon  Or RMRR Train Mara?
5/6/2012    5mi/5K Trophy Series
5/28/2012   10K Bolder Boulder       KEY RACE - Sub-40?
6/?/2012    Training Marathon        Last 10K @ MP?
7/?/2012    10K Loveland Classic     Another Sub-40?   
8/12/2012   Training Marathon        Last 10K @ MP?
9/5/2012    Boulder ½ Marathon       Or P2P 10mi?      
10/7/2012   Chicago Marathon         KEY RACE - Sub-3?

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Picked up a head cold that started Tuesday night. I think running the marathon, then getting on some plane flights is probably a recipe for that - but what are you gonna do?

Ran a few times this week, and actually my legs are recovering well. I had 10mi planned for today (Sunday), but decided to bag it when last night the head cold moved into my lungs a bit. Body just needs a couple days off - and it's ok this time of year :-)

Starting to formulate a plan for the winter and race schedule for next year. Will try to post some ideas as they formulate.

In the meantime; sleep, nutrition and take it very easy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Ok, different kind of calves.

Today was my first day running since the marathon last Sunday. That was pretty much on schedule to what I was planning for (taking M/T/W off).

We got back from Sacramento on Monday night. Then on Tuesday I was back to the airport early to fly to Alabama for work. Much delayed coming back yesterday (Delta+ATL=bad) - such that I got home around 1am or so.

Today I hit the treadmill over lunch. 6mi varying pace from 10:00 down to 8:30's - just easy to shake things out.

Overall I felt pretty good, but my calves are the most sore. I was able to run just fine, but they are definitely the muscle group taking the longest to come back.

Feeling a little of those post-race blues this week. Kind of lost. I need to figure out my racing calendar for next year. Pick the big races and then go from there. The biggest decision I have is whether to do NY next fall, or pick a marathon I can try to run fast again. Still have the sub-3 bug in my head.

From there the other races will fall into place pretty easily. One of my track-mates had a great suggestion to run one or two marathons as 'long runs' in training. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Other races I think will be on the calendar will be Bolder Boulder, Loveland 10K and then probably the Denver 1/2 (or maybe that's a training full?)

Anywhoo... not much to report other than just recovering and feeling a little spent and blue.

I'm sure going out this weekend and getting a Christmas tree will bolster my spirits :-)))

Monday, December 5, 2011

CIM Race Report

I ran the California International Marathon (CIM) this past Sunday.

My time was: 3:10:51 - which was slower than I was hoping (3:03 - 3:07), but still a PR of about 8 minutes over my 2010 Boston Marathon time - so I'll take it :-)

Everything also went absolutely perfectly leading up the race - with the exception of getting a bad bout of food poisoning on Monday night / Tuesday this past week. However - by race day, those after effects were long gone and I don't think it was a factor.

My taper went really well, no lingering injuries or tweaks. My nutrition was really good and on Friday morning I weighed in about 167 (had lost a couple pounds over the past few months).

Race day prep went flawlessly and the racing weather was perfect for me. Probably about 38-40 degrees at the start and stayed cool throughout the race. The only time I felt cold was when I shed my sweats at the check-in, but then I walked right into the corral and the warmth of other racers around. Once the gun went off, I felt perfect body temp the whole way.

They call this course the 'fastest course in the west' - due to it's overall elevation loss. But I was warned by everyone that had run it that it's deceptive and not necessarily a 'fast' course due to the rollers - especially in the first 15miles.

That's my assessment as well. It doesn't ever really feel 'overall downhill'. There are enough tough little climbs that it keeps you thinking about pace and form throughout. And those early hills came back to haunt me later in the race miles (in the way of having every muscle group in my lower body sore and spent).

I followed my coach's advice (and everyone else's) and stuck to my pacing early on - avoiding going out too fast. I really focused on running with good, smooth form to minimize any pounding or bad form soreness. I hydrated well and even ate well (although I can never take in enough calories - a marathon at my weight burns about 3,100 kCal. I'd hurl if I tried to even come close to that before or during. I may have hit about 1/2 that. I still had the usual blood sugar / stare off into space feeling at the end.

At mile 23 though, my pace started to degrade. I went from an average of 7:03 pace in the first 16 to losing a couple seconds overall by mile 20 - which is what I figured would happen. But then at mile 23 I was hanging on to a 7:50 pace, just trying to get in under 3:10 (or at least not see the clock tick over that).

After 6 marathons now I feel like I'm still working on being able to 'race' the distance. Today was the furthest I felt I was in 'race' mode - about 23 miles. If I can get that to 25, then I think I'll be able to finish stronger - next year's goal.

On another note - it's a very well run and beautiful course. There were a few times I got to glance out at the scenery. And the crowds were great - lots of fast racers. And finish line pancakes / strawberries and syrup - yeah!

Now it's time for recovery and the holidays. And just having some fun running with no structure for a few months.