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Richmond Marathon Training: Week 16 – Race Goals

Posted Oct 31 2013 2:32pm

Hello from the middle of peak week! I’ll discuss this week in detail in next week’s blog post, and I have lots to say about it.

Today’s blog is about two things.

(1) Last week’s workouts
(2) My Richmond Marathon goals

It is not about my sweet caterpillar pup on the left, as much as I would love to write a post all about how smushy and sweet he is. It would probably bore you just like hearing how smushy and sweet your dog is would bore me.

Let’s get started.

(1) Last week’s workouts

Week 16: October 21 – October 27

  • Monday – 15 min w.u. 6 mile tempo, 3 mins rest 8 x 30 secs on, 1 min off 10 min c.d. (9.4 mi)
  • Tuesday – 50 mins easy + 4x100m strides (5.08 mi)
  • Wednesday - 49:09 mins easy + 4x100m strides (5.01 mi)
  • ThursdayRefine Method
  • Friday – 40:55 mins easy (4.11 mi)
  • Saturday – 16 miles with last 15 minutes at marathon pace effort (2:43)
  • Sunday – OFF

Total: 39.6 miles

I conquered Monday’s tempo miles, which is really the greatest feeling. Every week my hard weekly workouts (tempo, interval) scare me, especially as they increase in length and/or intensity. This was my second longest tempo of my training. My goal was to keep my pace and effort somewhere between half marathon and marathon pace — and I did just that, with my six miles averaging a 9:02 pace.

The short intervals after felt tough since my legs were tired but I’m proud of my work on these more challenging days. My 16 mile long run went well too, especially my last 15 minutes at marathon pace effort, which ended up being a bit faster than what I expect my marathon pace will be.

(2) My Richmond Marathon Goals

Speaking of marathon pace, I had “the goal talk” with my coach Steph last night.

I’ve been waiting for this day for 16 weeks. While I had an idea of what my goal would be, I didn’t know if I was completely off base. I didn’t know if I was overestimating or underestimating my own ability. I ran my “marathon pace effort” runs with an idea of where I wanted to be, even though effort is different than pace.

Steph waits until a few weeks before race day to have the talk so she can review my training up until this point and help me make an informed decision on a goal. She asked me what marathon time I had in mind first, and when I told her 4:10 she said she was glad I said that because it shows we are on the same page as far as my ability.

All good stuff. So, what is my actual goal?

Once I say it on the internet it can’t be taken back. I am accountable, whether or not I succeed. And what fun would a goal race be without a goal?

OK, here I go.

My Richmond Marathon time goal is . . . 4:05 – 4:10!

And I feel really good about this! I thought 4:10 would be my reach, but Steph said that based on my training and past race times (this year I ran a 24:19 5K and 1:53:38 half marathon, along with a marathon training run at 4:23:12 ), she thinks I should start the race at a pace that would have me finish in 4:10.

If, when there are 8 miles to go and I still feel strong, I can speed up and go for the 4:05.

Dori looking strong at 5K race

If I feel as badass as I look here, I am ALL IN for 4:05.

Basically this will mean I keep around a 9:32 pace for the first 18 miles and then increase my speed after that. Knowing me, if I’m feeling awesome the speed will creep up sooner.

Almost all my training runs had a range (ie, 40-50 mins, 5-6 tempo miles, 14-16 mile long run) to account for the unknown. I like this method and I really like that my coach thinks I have a time in me faster than I thought I could do on my own.

Because now I have more confidence.

I had originally signed up for the 4:15 pace group, but I’m no longer planning to start with them. I wish there was a 4:10 but there isn’t, so I will be on my own trying to maintain an even pace. I actually need to change corrals at the expo because when I  signed up for this race last year, I must have put an estimated time slower than 4:15.

I’ve actually been unhappy with my speedwork paces. I’m running 30 second and 60 second intervals at slower paces than I run a full mile in a 5K race! But Steph reviewed my paces and said they are right in line for this goal. And, I tend to thrive on race days and can never replicate race paces in any training runs. It helps to remind myself of this.

Dori finishing Richmond Marathon 2011

Crossing the finish line at the 2011 Richmond Marathon

Aside from the whole “anything can happen on race day” issues (which caused me to DNF my first marathon ), the only major problem I might encounter is my knee. It hasn’t felt right since the Portland Marathon — a risk I was willing to take by using a marathon as a training run — and I’m hoping the taper period, foam rolling and lots of ice will resolve it by Richmond. TWT (time will tell).

And really, I can’t believe I am writing a post all about a marathon I WILL RUN that includes the words FOUR-OH-FIVE.

How is this possible? Two years ago my goal was to finish under 5 hours — mostly because I had no clue what my potential actually was — and ended up running a fun, easy race in 4:33:29 . Then I ran PDX as a training run, kept it easy and finished in 4:23.

This will be my first time racing a marathon and I am nervous and excited. The Richmond Marathon will be a challenge, and one I am looking forward to taking.

Basic math says I can run this time.  We’ll just have to see what happens on November 16!

What was it like the first time you raced (not just ran) a marathon?

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