3 Weeks to Go!

Sunday, March 29th

For those of you not familiar with Marathon training, most programs call for regularly increasing weekly mileage peaking about 3 weeks before the race and then what is known as race tapering. One variation of conventional wisdom suggests the peak training run of 20 miles.  We are now about  3-weeks before race day and today was the traditional MGH marathon team’s 20-miler. We were all invited to Howard’s (Dr. Weinstein) house which is about a block off of Commonwealth Ave in Newton near to mile 20. We all hop on a bus and motor out to Hopkinton and then run back to Howard’s house, right at the foot of Heartbreak Hump, how convenient! This is also when we pick up our t-shirts and racing singlet.

Speaking of racing singlet, here is my collection. Guess what they have in common? Guess correctly and I will send you a MMT wristband.  If you guess wrong, I will still send you a MMT wristband.

Back to the training run. I had an awful time with it and ended up walking a fair bit of the last four or five miles, everything hurt. Two years ago, I had actually trained out to a 30 mile run on this day; last year I did about 24 miles. One additional complication is that my stride sensor needs recalibration because I think it is not reporting distance very accurately. That 14 mile run the other day was probably just a 13 miler.  With just 3 weeks left I really don’t have much chance to train for additional endurance; I will try to put in a 10-miler tomorrow or Tuesday before fully recovering from today but after that, it is time to start consolidation and rest.

I need a strategy (that does not involve the Green Line) to ensure I can cross the finish line before the BAA closes down the course. At this point, I am not at all optimistic about time or pace. I plan to run a very conservative race, probably keeping my pace well into the 10 minute per mile zone for the first half, maybe even through heartbreak hill. Before my knee problems, I hoped to be breaking into the threes this time, as in 3:59:50, which calls for a 9:20ish pace. One common mistakes for Boston runners is an over fast start, the first 5 miles is a comfortable downhill that leads runner to assume that they are faster than they thought. Many coaches suggest running a reverse split where the last half of the race is faster than the first. I tend to run a flat race staying fairly consistent throughout the course. I am reminded of the Greater New Orleans Runners Association. Back about 1984, while still living in the Crescent City, I was attracted to join this running club by their motto “Start slow then ease off”. I wonder what happened to that racing singlet.

-Mark

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