Thursday, September 11, 2008

Here we go again

It's coming. THEY're coming, I should say. I've started to obsess on the paces I should run my upcoming half and full marathon races. Of course, I've been training with very specific paces. I should be running my half at a 4:45 min/km (7:40/mile) with a finish time of around 1:40. I should be running the marathon a 5:00/km (8:03/mile) for a 3:30 finish. 

Can I do this?

I should. I've done every single workout in my program. I've hit the paces. I've done the mileage. I've been doing bike and swim on top of it. Why do I doubt myself? The problem is that I remember the voice. It starts about halfway through, but you really notice it in the last 3rd of the race. It wants to know why you're doing this. It whispers in your ear that, really, you should slow down. You're not going to the Olympics or anything. And you're SO FUCKING TIRED. Just slow down already.

I'm kind of excited about the half. That's a distance I should be able to handle. I've raced longer than this in the past and this time the course is flat as a pancake. I will run the first few km at 4:50 and then try to cruise the rest at 4:45. As long as my right knee doesn't act up, I should be ok.

As for the marathon, there's so much more to worry about. Nutrition is a bit of a mystery. I'm going to stick to Gatorade (which is available at both races). I'll have a couple of salt pills and maybe cliff blocks in my pockets just in case.

Doubt #1: Did I train enough?

Even though I followed the program, it was only a 4 days/week program. I didn't really have a choice if I was going to swim and bike as well. In the same book, there's a 6 days/week program with the same finish time. Why? Can I run 3:30 on such a low volume? I'm not gift to running. Plenty of people run much more than I do and have yet to break 4 hours. Who the fuck do I think I am? 

Doubt #2: Am I mentally strong enough?

The voice is strong with me. In both my Olympic triathlons, the run has been exceedingly difficult. Not just physically but also mentally. I spent (wasted) a lot of energy listening to the voice. Hour 3 is so long. I have to master that longing for the finish. I have to be able to go into a place where I'm just running. Maybe I'll join a pace group so I don't have to worry about pace and just run. I'll might try the 1:40 pace group in the half and if I like it, I'll join the 3:30 or 3:40 group in the full.

As I mentioned, my training is going well. I'm running between 50 and 60 km per week. I think this week will go up over 70km. I'm feeling good. My right knee sometime bothers me a bit, especially at lower speed.

I decided to all but stop my cycling and swimming. Last week I was just so down, I sent an email to Matt Fitzerald, the guy who wrote the book that contains my training plan. He actually replied and mentioned that between marathon and triathlon training, I might be entering overtraining territory. I didn't think so but I decided to slow down on the swim+bike for a couple of weeks. I do feel more focused and energized before my workouts. 

It just takes so much mental focus to go out for a 6 or 7 miles tempo run at half-marathon pace. Between that and work, it's just exhausting. 

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