Thursday, November 12, 2009

Half-marathons: Love 'em or hate 'em? and Spring Marathon Plans

As I was finishing up last weekend's Half-marathon I was thinking about how this wasn't my best, but I would still technically PR since its been a year since my last one. Do halves of a full marathon count? I want a better half PR than 1:39, I know I can run 13.1 miles faster than that. As I passed Mile 9 I decided I should take a season off from marathons and train for a half. My half training history is made up of...

In 2007, I planned to run the National Marathon, but came down with Mono (huge damper on training). I didn't run for about three months (give or take a few exceptions), and then race weekend came up. The race was on a Saturday and my training consisted of:
  • Tuesday: 6 mile run
  • Wednesday: 8 mile run
  • Thursday: 10 mile run
  • Friday: rest day
  • Saturday: National Half-marathon.
 No, I'm not kidding. And I didn't do bad in comparison to my last marathon (2:05 half, 4:37 full, 6 months before).

The second half-marathon, I didn't really train for either. I had decided to take that season off, because I didn't want to train at home in Buffalo, NY (its all sidewalk training, which is basically torture) all summer long. I was still running, but mostly my favorite loops, one was 4.5 miles and the other around 6 miles. When my friend asked if I would run it with her, I did a 10-mile run the weekend before to make sure I could finish it, and then ran a quick 1:47.

So, I was wondering if I should should take a season off from fulls, after my planned ultra next fall, and do a half-marathon where I focus on speed workouts. Except, I hate speed workouts. I like long runs. I'd really rather start running ultras. And so, I tossed the idea within the next mile. I finally started a good runner's high at Mile 12, only to have the race end a mile later. I mean, where's the fun in that?

I was thinking of running the National Half again, as a BM training run, but it works out that its exactly a month before, and perfect timing for a nice long training run as opposed to 13 miles. I'm gonna run the full marathon, with half at 14-30 seconds below race pace, 10 miles at race pace, and then do a slow jog to the finish line. I know me, and this won't work. Maybe I could force the first half slower, but I will most likely give it all I can at the end. However, the race is a good month beforehand (as mentioned) and I will start tapering right after. The 4-week taper worked for MCM, so its in the plans for April.

On top of that, both races will probably start up ultra training. Then I'll do the 30, 50... uh 75 mile training runs on my own? I should really start researching how to train for a 100-mile trail race in the mountains. From what I've read so far, its the same as marathoning, but longer long runs and mid-week runs. And, I need more hills (I might move out to Rock Creek Park once my lease is out). But, a 75 mile long run sounds like an awesome Sunday activity, doesn't it?

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