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Saturday, January 14, 2017


Tomorrow morning I run my second Louisiana Marathon. The first time I ran it I ran a 3:09, which crossed the big 3:10 barrier, and...I'll just say it...I think I can do that again! 
Yeah, conditions won't be ideal (humidity high 90's, one source saying 99%, and as of the time I'm writing this post, temps in the 60's to mid 70's). And my training was far from ideal, since I just wedged a few long runs in in the past few weeks. But my attempts to run "long run moderate" and "marathon pace tempo" have had really good paces (for me) lately, so I'm holding onto my hope to be under 3:10 tomorrow. After all, I ran 3:12 in the fall on a harder course (but perfect weather, so maybe that's not so predictive!). Regardless, I'm going to try to go for a 3:09, and if I blow up, oh well.
My training for the last few weeks

This was a really unusual training block for me, very last minute, very little planning. I tried to follow an abbreviated version of Hanson's, and it looked like this:
Week of 12/18:Training kicked off with a "long run" consisting of one of the worst races I've ever endured followed by a few bonus miles to make about 16. Despite this terrible run, the rest of my "first week" was just fine: I did a track workout on Tuesday (written by a friend, not Hanson's), and surprised myself with a nine-mile tempo at 7:06 pace that felt pretty good. I wrapped up the week with a 10 mile "long run" (shorter than my tempo with warm-up and cool down!).
Week of 12/25: My key workouts were 3x2 miles from the Hanson's plan (13:54, 13:31, 13:49), a Thursday tempo, and a Saturday long run. My tempo was less awesome this week: it was in 100% humidity, and I struggled, but still managed a 7:05 pace for nine miles. My long run was in gross, rainy weather: 16 miles at 7:37 pace. That's low-end of appropriate long run pace, but you know how I feel about long runs: I almost always finish significantly faster than I start, and I save easy pace (eight and nine minute miles) for my easy days. I don't look at my Garmin much while I run at all, and really never look at pace during long runs, but lately I've almost naturally developed a tendency to finish fast. My first several miles will usually be in the range of 7:55 to 8:10, and it drops from there.
Week of 1/1: Still sticking with workouts from Hanson's: 2x3 miles at 20:46 (6:55) and 20:24 (6:49). Then my BIG TEMPO, the ten miler: this was in cold weather, and I killed it! 7:03 pace, felt great. My long run was in much colder weather, 28 degrees, wind chill of 16 degrees. I took my poorly-clad self off to run this and it was miserable. I'm not sure of my pace, because I fumbled with my gloves adjusting my Garmin and accidentally stopped and saved it around mile five. So I have two separate records for the run, but I'm eyeballing it around 7:30.
This week: Sort of tapered: around 30 miles. All easy except 3x2 miles at 13:57, 13:52, 13:45 on Tuesday.

I'm not sick, so yay! And I hope to stay injury-free for this race. But you know how little niggles pop up the week of the race? Well, I have some. Under my right knee is a little inflamed again, and both hamstrings have been a little iffy lately (so strange that my hamstring tightness developed after my hip surgeries: my very flexible "hamstrings" was really hyperflexibility of a damaged joint! Now that my joint mobility is appropriate, my hamstrings move differently and tend to tighten). In fact, the slightly slower pace on my Tuesday intervals was due to complaining hamstrings. Luckily, running at or under 7-min pace kept them happy, and obviously I won't be running sub-7's tomorrow (ha, I wish).

Race plan: To be modified based on weather changes, but for now, I plan to go out at 3:09 pace, which is about 7:11, allowing variability of +5 seconds for the first few miles. I always calculate pace based on the 26.3 miles I'll probably actually run (if not more, depending on Garmin variability), which is why that is a tad fast. I'll try to hold on to this pace throughout the race, staying very close to proposed race pace, and if Hanson's works miracles, speed up for the last few miles. If the weather is super humid and I feel like I'm struggling, I'll drop down to the 7:15/7:20 range and just hope for a better race next time.
If the weather was better, I would go out faster. My tempo paces have me excited about my fitness - I think I'm actually in shape to run faster than 3:09, maybe even PR soon (my PR is 3:06)! But to do that, I need more time and perfect weather. So for tomorrow, I will cry tears of joy for a 3:09.


  1. I say go for it! What do you have to lose?

  2. I just checked to see how you did - 3:12 is impressive considering the weather and your abbreviated training plan. I bet you could have ran a 3:09 or lower if the weather had been cooler as it's so tough to run in warm, super humid weather! Nice work, Grace!!