Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Talking Myself Down Off the Ledge

After I completed Barb's Race I found myself in a bit of a funk because I no longer had a training goal. During my despair, I signed up for the California International Marathon (CIM). Once again I had a training goal.

Last year I ran a marathon on my birthday...33 laps around McKinley Park in Sacramento (that is a whole other story)...so this isn't my first marathon rodeo. However, this year I had about 4 months to train instead of about 6 weeks.
Me and my cheering squad after my b-day marathon

Last Sunday was my last "long" run before CIM on December 8th. Yesterday I decided to compare this year's 20 mile run against last year's 20 mile run. I expected to see a BIG improvement. I was certain I dropped about 15 minutes. To my shock and horror, there was only a six minute difference!!! OMG! I was feeling so good about my run on Sunday. How can it only be six minutes faster?

Tale of the Tape
This year, 20 miles took me 2:57. Last year, 3:02:51. It doesn't seem plausible or fair that after all the training I've done, that I've only been able to drop six minutes. Why am I killing myself? 

I talked myself down off the ledge and took a closer look at the data (this is why I love my Garmin and Garmin Connect).

Observations

Elapsed Time: This year 3:00:24 / last year 3:08:56 (lots more resting in 2013) Eight minutes of resting plus 6 minute time difference = 14 minute overall difference

Pace: This year 8:50 minutes per mile / last year 9:04 minutes per mile. Also, last year I started off fast and slowly died. This year, it was a nice easy progression from slow to fast...and I think I could have kept going.

Workout Intensity: Here is something that is not readily apparent in the comparison above. I've been training much harder than I did last year at this same time. My legs are definitely not rested and should feel much better on race day.

Look at the two weeks below. 2013 vs. 2012. In 2012, I did not have a single workout recorded in the week before my 20 mile run. This year however, I had quite a full week of workouts.

2013

2012
Seeing all this makes me feel much better about hitting my goal at CIM. I also feel better about all the time and effort I have put into training.