Thursday, May 12, 2016

Taper Time for Tobago

Two months ago I wrote a blog about how it was time for me to taper before the French Guiana Marathon. I was excited to see how my increased weekly mileage would treat me during the race. Unfortunately, something didn’t click and I had an awful race(see Devil of a Marathon). Two months before I was preparing for the Trinidad Marathon where I had a solid 22 miles and then a keep from going to the bathroom in my shorts 4 mile jog. Two months before that I was preparing for the running the Guyana trail marathon and getting lost(See Guyana it's more than just Koolaid). The very next week, I walked myself to a 4th place finish at the Suriname Marathon-with a time equating to one of my worst marathon performances ever.
Hopefully I will have a better day than this sufferfest.
So my marathon results in the Caribbean/South America have been less than illustrious. And now it’s that time again. In 10 days I will be running the inaugural Sea to Sea Tobago Marathon. This is most likely my last marathon while I’m down in Guyana and I am hoping for a good one. I think that has been part of my problem in the past though. Lots of hope while ignoring the signs of under-training.

Luckily(or unluckily) for me, I can no longer do that. Kenny was nice enough to buy me a GPS running watch after my regular watch suffered a slow water logged death from the Caribbean seas. It was very nice of her but also cruel. For now I know exactly how fast(or slow to be precise), I have been running. Prior to this watch, I was estimating my distances assuming a (what I thought to be) conservation 8 minute/mile pace. Meaning if I ran for 64 minutes, I counted it as 8 miles. I figured some days I would be faster and others slower so a good average. I then had a rough estimate of distances-or so I thought. But the first time I ran my 10 mile loop came back with a ready of 9.25, I realized I was in the world of the Merrimack River Trail race mileage. I.e. I had been making myself feel good but not doing myself any favors.

Having the GPS watch has been great, however, to keep me honest and also has motivated me to go out for a run even if I don’t want to. That’s because I joined Strava. Strava allows me to waste time,errr I mean upload all my workouts. It also is like a free coach because it, at least while it’s still novel, holds me accountable and makes me want to go out for that run I was thinking about skipping. Obviously not as good as a real coach like Amber but far better than me running with no plan whenever I wanted for as far(or short) as I wanted. 

So much so that this past week I ran 101 miles. That’s the most I’ve ever run(unless you count Leadville and there was A LOT of walking then). And unlike last time where I had had that one big mileage week but then nothing much above 50, I have had four weeks in a row with weeks above 60 miles. By the end of this week I should be reaching 1,000 miles for the year. That didn't happen until October last year!

So while in the past, I had been relying primarily on hope with a smidgen of training, this marathon I am relying still on hope but with a bit better training and also more realistic expectations. My tempo runs have been in the low 7's so there's no reason for me to think I should be able to run high 6s for the marathon. Setting a more reasonable goal may keep me from getting discouraged as I see the miles click off a bit slower than I had wished. It's all about management of expectations:) And I expect I will just be happy being in Tobago.

Until Next Time,


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