Run marathons just for fun? Why not!
Having just run a 64.5 mile DNF at Lean Horse a few weeks ago, I'm not concerned about my endurance at all. However, my main question is how in the heck am I supposed to pace myself for a short race? It would be easy to just slog (slow-jog) it out at my 50 or 100 mile pace. But that would be completely wimping out.
My greatest challenge will be to not unconsciously fall back to my ultra-slow easy-slogging pace of 12 min/mile or slower after mile 18 or 20 as if I were running 50+ miles instead of 26.2. If you train and practice at a slow pace then you will race at that pace too. Although this marathon will be only for "fun," I'd like to push it a little faster than I might on one of my usual long extra-slow training runs.
Because I have never done a previous road marathon to use as comparison, last week I did a marathon time predictor work out: Yasso 800s. These were popularized a few years ago by a writer for Runner's World magazine. They have always been a difficult workout for me.
I must confess: I absolutely HATE intervals…. half mile…. one mile…it doesn't matter- I HATE 'em all! But l do understand their importance in maximizing cruising speed. Even after only two or three interval workouts, I already note an increased rate of leg turnover. They are effective but I still hate'em.
My average time for these 10 x 800 intervals was 4:17 minutes and I actually sped up on each of the the last three intervals to 3:44 minutes for the last one. Not fast for a speedy short distance runner but it was plenty fast for me. This average time predicts my potential marathon time as 4 hours and 17 minutes. Of course, Yasso 800s are only a predictor to give us a general ball park estimate of what we might be able to accomplish with proper training and good running conditions.
A prediction of possibly doing a marathon in under 4 and a half hours actually surprised me given the usual extremely-slow ultra-slogging pace that I run my 50+ mile races. Because I will be running this marathon for fun and have no interest in a PR, I think that trying to run it under 5 hours should be a very reasonable goal. However, it will be a PR for me no matter how long it takes, given that this will be the first official road marathon I have ever run.
Using other time predictor calculators, doing a 26.2 marathon in under 5 hours translates to a potential 100 mile finish around 28 hours- as long as I did all of the necessary other training, of course. With another ultra coming up in Mid-November, the last thing I want to do is be stupid and injure myself simply because I worried about too much my time and pushed myself too hard.
I got a massage Friday and feel great. There were a lot of tight spots and adhesions that I didn't even know about. Stretching is fine but sometimes manual terapy is just what is needed. This was the first time I tried this massage therapist; however she was absolutely wonderful and I will certainly be back. My ITBs were tighter and more tender than I realized but they are better now. I think that getting a massage at least once a month during the racing season would be a good goal.
She said that my legs were very interesting to work on because I have muscle development that she does not normally see, even in other runners. I wish that such muscle development also translated into faster finishing times for my ultramarathons but that's OK, I am completely fine with simply being able to finish.
I just learned this morning that on October 4th there will be a local marathon, the Crazy Horse Marathon run on some of the trails I frequently train on. There actually will be two marathons: Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore which start at either of the monuments but finish at the same park in Hill City. I wonder why I wasn't aware of this before? I suppose it must be because we ultramarathoners are in a different world than marathoners.
Hmmm… I think I will see how Boulder goes first. This marathon will be only two weeks later. As long as I don't do Boulder too hard, Crazy Horse could be another nice long training run for me.