Lots of Races and a Coach!

In July, I've committed to working with elite marathoner and 61-time marathon winner Justin Gillette for 4-6 months.   I feel like I've plateaued in terms of speed, and I want a fresh perspective.  It helps that he seems like a really nice and funny guy.   He's going to help me lower my half marathon and marathon times.  Without Justin, I think I could break 2:05 in a half finally, but not 2 hours.  With Justin, breaking two hours seems a little more possible.  Without Justin, I think I could break 4:35 in a marathon (PR is 4:36), but with Justin, maybe I could break 4:25 or even 4:20.    (You can hire him, too!  Go to www.gilletterunning.blogspot.com )

Between now and July 1, I want to have as much fun as possible running!!  I want to try some new things.  I want to do what I want to do, run as fast as I want to run, and run as far as I want to run.   Then it will be Justin's turn to tell me what to do.  And I'll do it. 

I have a half marathon in two weeks as sort of a fitness test and then a trail marathon at the end of the April.  I won't be tapering for the half--there's no time!  I literally just decided to do this trail full and only have a month to train.  I'd been planning on doing one in 2013 and there's no time like the present!   LBL was supposed to be my first trail full marathon, but I just didn't get the chance to train for it with my ankle sprain. 

I ran 17 miles today and it went EXTREMELY well (10:47 pace and last mile was 10:11--fastest of the day!).   My longest distance since November had been the 14 miler at LBL, and as you may know, I fell apart and hiked a bunch of that instead of running.   My longs have been 10, 14, 12, 12.5, and 17.   I was surprised that 17 went as well as it did.  I hit 13.1 at 2:20 and felt great.   I only walked a couple of the ridiculous hills at our Greenway, but never got so tired I felt like I even wanted to walk.  It was one of the best long runs I've ever had. 

I'm a believer in 3-hour training runs being sufficient for a marathon.  (Today's was 3:03.)   I've read many articles from Marathon Nation and the Hanson-Brooks project that espouse this plan.  Apparently, the training adaptations needed from the stimulus of a long run occur around the three-hour mark.  For slow runners like me, that is only 16-17 miles.  Putting my body through a longer run puts more stress and strain on it and takes too long to recover.  Sure, if your relaxed long-run pace is a 9:00 minute mile, you can run 20 miles in 3 hours.  Mine's certainly not!  In Europe, a longest run of 30K or 18.6 miles is the norm.  The U.S. is the main place where we worship at the altar of the 20-miler.   A couple of years ago, I declared that I was done with long, slow 20-milers that take me 3:45-4 hours and leave me sore and starving for days.   And since then, I've PR'd two marathons on no 20-milers!    For me, the key is getting in plenty of weekly mileage (several 30+ mile weeks), doing two or three 16's and maybe one 18 miler (I figure 3:10 or 15 isn't too harmful).    I also throw in a little back-to-back mileage running 3-6 on Friday before or Sunday after the long run.   It works for me (fairly well).  Ha--obviously not well enough.  It will be neat to see my coach's philosophy on 20-milers.

After the trail full, I'm scheduled to do a half marathon on some lovely country roads called the Viola Valley Half Marathon in mid-May.   It's just to get in one more long training run for the ultramarathon Run Under the Stars in June.   I've got to keep up with some long mileage.  I want to do well at RUTS.  I've set the goal of 60K.  I have 10 hours.   That's averaging a 16-minute mile (but that time includes all bathroom breaks, food, shoe/sock changes, etc.--stuff you don't have to worry about in a marathon).   My goal that night is to just OUTLAST.  I want to go until the clock runs out if my feet can possibly carry me that long.  

My RUTS training strategy is to do back-to-back long runs and keep my mileage up over 30-mpw.  I need to train both walking muscles and running muscles.   After the trail marathon, I will be alternating high mileage weeks with easy weeks.  I plan to taper for two weeks prior (and I'll be on vacation in Florida one of those weeks!).

After RUTS, I may do one or two last "crazy" events.  The Run It Fast Club is possibly planning on a series of marathons in late June.  I may try to do one or at least crew/volunteer.   Then the Loonies Midnight Marathon is in July.   It sounds like a lot of fun.  It falls after I've started training with Justin, but I'm sure we can work around it. 

Happy Running!!!