Well, I really meant to begin my training for Surf City three weeks ago to give me a full 16 week schedule. However, due to other circumstances, strep throat (how many times can I use this excuse in a post before it gets old?), BART strike, etc., I am now on a compressed 13 week schedule. And if my performance at the Diablo Trails Adventure half marathon is any indication, I have a bit of a uphill battle to be at peak performance.
This being my seventh road marathon, my primary goal is to PR my Napa Valley Marathon time of 4:42:29. I am pretty sure I can do this; however it will require me to really bring my speed down past my current 9:30 per mile road pace, really increase my running endurance, and improve my core fitness.
So this is my schedule:
I have a very supportive wife and my kids are great with my training. The challenge is that this is the first marathon after the first six that I will not actually be running with my wife. And while she will be there with me on most of my training runs, she will be riding my bike with the kids. Yes our kids love marathon training because of the amount of time they can spend on the bike. So I will not need to focus as much to her aches and pains and getting her through a training session as a diversion to my own aches and pains. Not to suggest that she in anyway would complain about her pains in training, we are both mentally tough people especially when it comes to training; however, my concern for her and getting her through a long run or a marathon allowed me to ignore my own challenges I was facing.
The second challenge will be that this will be the first marathon training schedule that I will not be pushing a double jogging stroller. I don’t know why I am psychologically fixating on this; however, while the training with the jogger was a bit of a hassle pushing it for the full 22 miles, it was also nice to know that I could pretty much carry as much water and food as I needed. I know also that pushing the stroller contributed to my running mechanics which will be different this time. But training on long runs, not holding onto a handle bar for 4 or 5 hours is going to be fun.
My third challenge has more to do with my commute. When we did 5 out of six of the last marathons, I was riding my bike between 30 to 50 miles a week. I am now riding between 48 to 83 miles a week. While this will be awesome cross training, I am not sure how the overall mileage is going to affect my training. I have read that 3 miles of cycling is roughly the equivalent of 1 mile of running. There are a lot of other factors (hills, weather, traffic, gearing) that go into the actual ratio so it far from perfect. However, to ignore this aspect is looking for another injury.
What I do not want to do with my training is to stick to the roads. I need some input here. Basically, my training during the week will be on the road here in San Francisco. And it has been suggested that my long run should also be on the road to match the event. My schedule does not take into consideration any trail runs which also throw in some hill would work to break up the monotony. I sorely desire this. I even was considering dropping my long run for a more time based run (5 hours no distance limitation on Mount Diablo for example) I know that is how quite a few ultra-runners train for most of their distances, timed over mileage, however they do cover greater distances because their pace is much more efficient than mine. The problem is that I know I will finish the race, if it means walking however many miles, which is how I know how to pull out an event. This is different though, I need to be able to run the entire event as I have for the other 5 out of 6 (our last Napa Marathon was a fun challenge with walk/running on the last 5 miles).
So I am ready to go, have my shoes laced up, and a sound training schedule. The challenges are less about obstacles and more about adjustments to how I have trained in the past. But I am really looking forward to a nice run, Beach Boy, Jan and Dean, and the Ventures music blaring and a great trip to Surf City U.S.A!