Sunday, May 3

Looking Back

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there” ~ Lesley P. Hartley

I’ve spent the last week or so slowly mulling over my preparation for Boston as well as reflecting on the race itself. On the recommendation of a friend, I’ve also spent some time analyzing three of my more recent marathon builds: Ottawa ’06, Sacramento ’06 and London ’07.

Why all the analysis?

As Rick pointed out last week, “it amazes me how erratic your marathon times are”. With me looking toward a fall marathon, I hope to learn from my experience and build upon past success.

Some raw data then from each respective 12-week build (total volume, LR volume, # of LR 2h+, # of workouts/races, total intensity and ME/P specific work):
Ottawa – 5,050’, 1,390’, 6, 23, 775’ and 166’
Sacramento – 4,935, 1,360, 5, 20, 721’ and 155’
London – 5,735, 1,385, 8, 21, 743 and 285’
Boston – 4,675, 1,320, 6, 20, 647’ and 210’

Quick Hits: (1) my average weekly volume has fluctuated between 6h30 & 8h00, and (2) the number of workouts/races is steady as is the volume of ME/P training, excluding London. All in all, I knowingly busted my ass training for London but otherwise the numbers didn’t reveal anything terribly telling.

[Note: while preparing for London, I had specifically asked my coach at the time to set up a schedule that would allow me a glimpse of what it would be like to train as elite]

After ruling out the easier quantitative analysis, I was left with three criteria: (1) nutrition, (2) recovery/energy level, and (3) the previous 12-weeks, i.e. 12-24 weeks out.

I can only assume my nutrition has been good, but my recovery, well that’s a different story. I think a factor that I hugely misjudged while training for Boston was the toll a sleepless night can play on recovery, let alone 10-months of interrupted sleep. I’m so thankful our little angel is now sleeping through the night.

Lastly, when I looked back at the 12-24 weeks prior to each race I found the following:
Ottawa – nothing, not much more than solid base work;
Sacramento – more of the same, moderate volume with minimal but consistent intensity;
London – Sacramento, i.e. a marathon followed with little recovery before squeezing in more volume than ever before; and
Boston – consistent running, but little recovery (not for want of trying).

What am I taking from all this then? (1) Proper recovery is paramount, and (2) I respond well to volume, but not necessarily copious amounts of it. These two areas, as well as race day nutrition will be my focus as the next six months unfold.

Tuesday: day off (scheduled)
Wednesday: day off (scheduled)
Thursday: day off (scheduled)
Friday: day off (scheduled)
Saturday: day off (scheduled)
Sunday: day off (scheduled)

Weekly mileage: 0h00’00”, +/- 0k or 0 miles


Thomas said...

Judging from your last week I'd say you're well on your way to incorporating plenty of recovery into your schedule.

I'm not entirely convinced that the sleepless nights were responsible for the Boston disaster. My own marathon performances haven't really picked up as the sleepless nights declined last year; on the other hand, if e.g. your job has been more stressful than usual, this could have more of an effect (not saying that it was, of course).

You've definitely got the talent to run pretty damn fast and the dedication to train hard. It might be hit-and-miss at the moment, but it's only a matter of time until you figure out what's working for you.

Cliff said...

Hi Mike,

I am equally impress how you are willing to give yourself a week of no running :). Most would just jump back on from fear of not able to run fast enough.

Michael said...

What, don't tell me that, I'm now crushed. Thomas, my only hope was that in getting more sleep my performance would improve:)

As for a week off, Cliff, it wasn't easy.

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