Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Derry / Boston Prep 16 Miler

It's been quite a while since I posted here, but I've not been idle. Since the Grindstone 100 got cancelled last October as a result of the federal government shutdown (thanks, John Boehner!), I've shifted my focus towards road marathon training. For the last four months I've been putting my trust in the Jack Daniels' Marathon A program in the hopes that I'd learn something about structured training and finally run a marathon PR that I'm satisfied with. With my goal race at the Hyannis Marathon only four weeks away, I have to say that I'm very pleased, and for good reason.

This Sunday was ran my last shakedown race, the Boston Prep 16 Miler in Derry, NH and it's nice to see that all the tempo-pace work I've put in has been paying off. I ran this race last year in preparation for Hyannis and both races went poorly, rather predictable given my lackluster training in early 2013. Weather conditions in Derry on Sunday were similar to last year, about 12 degrees with a stiff wind, but the experience could not have been more different. Here's a quick comparison of my mile splits:

     Mile   2013 / 2014   Difference
  1.     6:40 / 6:29    -11s
  2.     6:18 / 6:14    -4s
  3.     6:03 / 6:00    -3s
  4.     6:18 / 6:09    -9s
  5.     7:01 / 6:47    -14s
  6.     6:25 / 6:05    -20s
  7.     6:41 / 6:08    -33s
  8.     6:32 / 6:05    -27s
  9.     6:45 / 6:12    -33s
  10.     7:44 / 6:45    -59s
  11.     7:45 / 6:58    -47s
  12.     7:47 / 6:58    -59s
  13.     6:50 / 6:18    -32s
  14.     7:02 / 6:14    -48s
  15.     6:44 / 6:05    -39s
  16.     6:32 / 6:04    -28s
Finish: 1:48:13 / 1:40:37
Pace:      6:46 / 6:18
Place:     30th / 5th

While it's a very simple analysis, this gives some interesting insights. First, you can see where the biggest hills on this very hilly course are (miles 10-12). Second, I ran every single mile split faster in 2014, especially late in the race where I stayed strong on the hills without blowing up. Third, I cut off over 8 minutes, averaged 30s per mile faster, and moved up 25 finishing slots. I also won my age group and took home some maple syrup.

The bottom line being; my training is working and I have every reason to be optimistic about next month's marathon. From the start of this training cycle I knew that I needed to do something different in order to grow. My current marathon PR of 3:06 was set in October of 2010 and has stood since then, despite several attempts. This has been the first time I've really been able to buy into and stick with a formal training plan, largely because the methods outlined in the Daniels Running Formula book just kind of clicked with me. I've got no financial interest in the book, it just seemed to work for others I know, and I'm starting to think this plan is the best thing I could be doing short of hiring a personal coach. I'm hopeful that I've found the key push on to the next level for 2014.