Week 11, 2013: LA marathon!

Rather unusually I'm publishing my weekly report before the week is over. That is because this is the week of the LA marathon! So I know I won't be doing any more trainings until then and the marathon itself, as usual, deserves a separate race report :). And I will use this post to talk a bit about my goals for the race.

On Tuesday I went for my usual fast run. I was debating whether I shouldn't be doing it on a hard surface instead. The truth is that during the last half a year I run almost exclusively on trails. And I love that but I wonder whether it won't be a shock to my legs and knees to now, all of a sudden, do 42.2km on the road. But in the end my urge to face my PB on the Baylands Shore Loop prevailed :). And for most of the run I thought I had a new PB in my pocket. I was going strong and couldn't imagine loosing it in the second half of the run, when the wind was helping me. But I did, missing my PB by 20 seconds (but still clocking my 2nd fastest time on this route). Btw. if you need motivation to go faster on your fast runs: I strongly recommend Strava segments; for me that works beautifully.

By the way by now I did 11 fast runs on that segment so I decided to take a closer look at how I am doing. As you can see on the chart below, the progression of my results is anything but monotonic, but the general trend seems be visible and it's a good one.

At some point I was also wondering whether my slowly improving times are because my form is improving or because I'm just trying harder and harder ;). So along with the times I also plotted my average HR from those segments. The results are very puzzling: there seems to be a strong positive correlation. That means that the harder I'm pushing... the slower I'm going? That doesn't make any sense... I'm not sure how to explain this data. The only thing that comes to my mind is that what those charts don't show is my "tiredness" on any given day. If I'm fresh then I go fast and my heart rate stays relatively low. And when I'm tired my heart rate goes up but I still go slower. In any case it seems my theory of just trying harder seems to be refuted, so hopefully I am making some real progress ;).

In any case, I decided that I should do at least some road running, so I did slow 15K on Wednesday and slow 9K with some strides on Friday. Saturday will be off and the race is on Sunday.

I'm a bit worried about logistics. It's my first race that is point-to-point: it goes from Los Angeles to Santa Monica. I'm carpooling to LA with two fellow Googlers and we are sleeping at Santa Monica, because the organizers provide buses to the start (but not back). The problem is: we were put on the 4am bus (!!!). Four-bloody-am. This on its own maybe isn't a tragedy, as usually I sleep real bad on the day before the race anyway. But the thing is that usually I try to compensate by sleeping a lot the week before. This week it didn't work though, as, for some reason, I slept real bad the whole week. And tomorrow I have to get up at 6:00, as we're leaving at 7:00. And on Sunday I will need to get up at 3:00. Duh. Tough life. My first DNF because of oversleeping? ;)

Now, concerning my goals. This is my first race where I specifically plan not to try to improve my PB. I just know it's not realistic. I didn't do any road running. I did almost no speed training. I didn't train specifically for a marathon at all. So I can't expect miracles. The plan is to take it easy, treat it more like a training (towards this year's goal: 100 miles ultra!) and hopefully finish in something like 3:20-3:25.

Now, that's the plan. I know from experience that it will be very hard for me to stick to it. I'm just not cut to "take it easy" in races. If I race, I race and I give it all I have. We'll see.

As for my goals for the day I have a rather unusual one: I'd like to run a flat race. Whatever my time at the end, for once I'd like not to loose too much in the second half. And if I can run a negative split? -- so much the better!

Ok, now it's out there in writing. If I blow the race by going too fast in the first half you can call me a looser :).

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