September 29, 2011

Coach Says: No Soup for You!

So it's no secret that a 10 miler and a marathon are two different animals, and I always figured scheduling them a few weeks apart would lead to an interesting challenge. My goal was always to set a new PR in the 10 mile distance (68 min), and to still run the marathon around a 7:15 pace.

The problem comes with how the long runs in my training plan set up (or don't) with the ultimate goal of a marathon. In the past months, I've completed a 20-, 21-, and 22-miler, each offset by an easier week in between. With my recovery weeks after the 22-miler (peak of training), a two-week taper for the Army Ten Miler, and a two-week taper for the Marine Corps would be six weeks between my final super-long run and the marathon, just too long for the body to retain a hundred percent of the benefits from all that build-up and base mileage. So I reached out to the experts for a little advice.

As part of racing the marathon with Team USO, they provided training plans and a coach, which I hadn't used to date. So I e-mailed the coach and asked for a suggested training schedule that would allow me to bridge the gap between the two races and still meet my goals. I did not hear the answer I wanted...seriously, direct quote "I know this is not what you want to hear." The best suggestion was to run 8-10 miles the day before the Army Ten Miler, and then run the race without shooting for a PR, instead running at marathon pace -- 7:15/mi would be faster than my 2010 ATM time but well over my 2011 Parkway Classic time. 

Sounds good and all, as my main goal this year was building to a good showing in the marathon, but it's not that easy in practice. I know myself...and I don't think it's possible to toe the line on October 9th and not give it my all. But I obviously can't risk nullifying months of training by overexerting on a distance I've conquered before. This is a dilemma that may not be answered in the next couple may not be answered when the cannon goes off to start the Army Ten Miler...but it better be answered by mile two or three.

No PR for you!
Come back to Army Ten Miler in one year!