Road to the New Jersey Marathon.

Last week...

This is the last week before the marathon. On Monday I did last serious training: 10x 1K intervals with 1K of jogging in-between. My pace is muuuch slower than it should be (4:19 min/km). I cannot even blame it on Ithaca's hills as I chose the route in such a way that I do the intervals mostly downhill (and make up for it going uphill in the jogging breaks). Oh well.

I take Tuesday off. On Wednesday I catch a cold. Wonderful timing. I wonder whether to cancel remaining trainings of the week. If I knew it would help me with recovery I would do it right away, but it's not that simple with a cold -- sometimes sweating it out actually helps. I go for an easy run. It goes terribly. I go again on Thursday. Bit better. But not much. At least the weather is wonderful...

Big picture

I started preparing for this marathon at the beginning of the year. That means I had 17 weeks of preparation. Not too much. But this time I put my bet on regularity. My best weekly mileage was 82km -- not very impressive; I did 90-something in the past and occasionally even around 100km. But it was the first time when I was so regular, each and every week I did 4 or 5 trainings. No exceptions. In those 17 weeks I averaged 63km per week. I did a total of 1070km since the beginning of the year; not bad at all given that one of my new year resolutions was to do 2000+ km this year; a feat that I achieved only once so far (in 2004) and only barely. The graph below summarizes my 17 weeks of preparations and I have to say it feels good to see that they are kind of consistent.

Goals?

So, the big question: what am I going to aim at? Well, the obvious one is to try to improve my personal best, which currently is at 3:15:17 (Rome, 2005). Even better would be to do a time that would qualify me for Boston next year -- I believe 3:11:59 would be the limit for that, but probably that's beyond my reach now.

McMillan's calculator seem to be a pretty good tool to get an idea of one's possible finish time. After the Warsaw half-marathon it predicted I would run 10K in Grootebroek in 41:50 and I did it in... 41:50. Now the prediction for the full marathon is 3:16:19; just one minute short of personal best. Since I still had almost a month of training after 10K, I was hoping that maybe I could improve my form a bit in that time... but now with the cold and everything I'm not so sure.

Good thing that I'm rested as I got plenty of sleep lately. Probably a smart thing would be to run for ~3:15 and then adjust according to my shape; possibly speeding up in the second half. But I've never ever run a marathon with a second half not being visibly slower than the first one, so I guess that will not be a first and I'll probably pace myself closer to 3:12 than 3:15. Anyhow. I'll do my best. Keep your fingers crossed. It's 8:00 in the morning on Sunday EDT time...

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