I told myself, after the Chicago Marathon, that I was going to take a break from fall marathons.
The training cycle falls right in the heat of the summer and, if you have ever experienced an Arkansas summer, that requires a helluva lot of energy.
I’ll be honest: Arkansas summers suck all the fun out of training for a full marathon.
I was quite happy running a December marathon again this year.
At least until the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) opened up an opportunities to run for NDSS during the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.
I was supposed to start my training cycle on the 4th of July, but I was side-lined for a foot injury for most of May and June. By the time July rolled around, I had no base to start training on top of.
So I’ve spent the last 4 weeks building up something of a base. I decided to take it easy and run 4 days a week. My “compressed” base-building looked like this:
- Wednesday: Tempo Run
- Thursday: 250m Hill Repeats
- Friday: Long Run
- Saturday: 20-25 mile bike ride
- Sunday: Recovery run
I really liked this schedule, and I’m going to build my training plan to resemble it.
My Goals for the Marine Corps Marathon.
So I learned a lesson at the 2017 Chicago Marathon.
That lesson was to set 3 goals. I call them a “push goal,” a “primary goal,” and a “settle for” goal.
The primary goal is the one I will focus hardest on. The “push goal” is what I will push for if things go extremely well. And the “settle for” goal is what I can live with if things go extremely bad.
So here’s what I’ve come up with for the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon.
Not too far back, I checked out the “Race Predictor” feature on my Garmin 735XT. Here’s what it said I could run various races at:
All of those times are, with some pretty consistent training, within striking distance. Except one. I just don’t see myself running a 3:41 marathon.
My best time was Chicago, with a 4:59:40. New York was 5:42 and 3 Bridges in Little Rock was, well, rough.
But since all of these other times are in striking distance, breaking below a 4:00 for a marathon should, in theory, be achievable.
So that is my primary goal: break below the 4:00 mark for a marathon.
My Push Goal
My push goal actually has nothing to do with running. It’s my fundraising goal.
I’m running as an Athlete Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS).
Back in 2018, the group of folks who follow this blog were able to raise over $6,000 for NDSS on the 250 mile “Run for 321” from DC to NYC.
I want to break that record. So I’m setting a push goal of raising $7,500 for the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon.
My “Settle For” Goal.
I’d be happy setting a new PR at this marathon.
My previous best was Chicago, where I ran a 4:59:40.
I have more in my legs than that. But if I get to the day of the marathon and can’t break the 4 hour mark, then I’m going to be happy if I can drop 30 minutes off my previous PR.
I’m training for the Primary Goal, which hopefully means I should be able to hit my “Settle For” goal if things go south on the day of the run.
I’m using the Todoist App to schedule my runs. In years past, I’ve scheduled them on a paper calendar, and it looks pretty daunting to get through a training cycle.
Using Todoist, I need only see what is on the plan for today, or throughout the coming week. Here’s the schedule.
For the first few weeks, my Tempo Run will target the opening 2.5 miles of the Marine Corps Marathon.
I’ll run 2.5 miles on a steady uphill with a gain of 266ft in elevation that appears to stack up pretty well against the opening of the MCM.
I’m not a fan of hills: they seem to exist to derail PRs.
The only way I know to beat one is to train for it, and know what it feels like before I do it.
I’ll let you know in 3 months if that strategy worked.
Wish me luck, and ….