One of the things I never get used to about marathons is the need to plan. I'm not a planner by nature. That's probably why my training tends to be unfocused. While I enjoy the competitive side of running, I most like that it doesn't need to be overthought: you put on shoes and get after it.
But maybe that's not really the case. I know to perform well requires not only running hard and lots, but doing quality runs. A big part of that is figuring out races. The past few years, I haven't been great about races. I only did a handful last year and a few the previous year. In fact, I ran a 3:01 without doing any races in the entire year leading up to the marathon. That's probably not the best approach.
After skipping the New York Half Marathon this weekend, I started thinking about my strategy leading up to the marathon. I went to the NYRR to register for some races and long-training runs, which aren't actually races of course. Here's what I'm looking at:
Aug. 2: Long-Training Run: 20 miles at 8:00/mile pace
Aug. 16: Team Championships: 5 miles. I want to see what kind of speed I have, as well as represent Downtown New York.
Aug. 31: Cross-Country Classic: 4 miles. Another speed test. I'm also interested in trying the Van Cortland trails. Not positive I'm doing this one. The 5-miler might be enough.
Sept. 13/14: Long-Training Run: 20 miles or Queens Half Marathon. I'm debating which is better for my training -- 20 LSD or 13.1 hard.
Sept. 28: Marathon Tune-Up: 18 miles. This race should tell me exactly how close I am to 2:59. Maybe it's better to skip Queens -- the bus leaves at 5am -- and concentrate on building up to this as a test.
Oct. 11: Harry Murphy 5k. This is in Van Cortland, a good chance to get out on the trails.
What's missing? A half marathon several weeks before Philly on Nov. 23. I'll have to travel somewhere to get one in.
7 miles, 54 minutes (20 minutes tempo)