Monday, April 23, 2012

There’s No Formula But Race Day

When I put together my marathon training for Big Sur, I asked myself why should I do different to improve my running. Hard for this “do-not-take-me-out-of-my-comfort-zone” type of people that I am. After 5 years doing pretty much the same thing, I decided to give it a try. My answer was to radically change the plan. I was simply tired of the typical schedule: Tue speed, Thu tempo, Weekend long.

I created my own plan, based on the theory of David Holt. It was very creative. Training season was divided in 4 phases, where each phase had a key workout. This key workout was schedule to be done every 5-6 days. That made the plan “non-repetitive”. For example, if I had to do hills on Monday, I’d do them again on Friday, and again on Tuesday or Wednesday, and so on. I had a "menu" of these key workouts to pick from, so I was never doing the same key workout. This way I had a lot of variety in my week; and as I race every weekend once or twice, I accommodated the key workouts to be part of the race or to not collide with it.

I also added every week very good recovery miles. My initial weeks were in the 30 miles range, increased most of the season to mid 40’s, and peaked at 55 miles. I ran 7 times a week in 5 days, but because 4 of these runs were recovery, I never felt tired, fatigued, or got injured.

I watched my nutrition very closely and I lost 10 lbs. Those that know me would ask, how a skinny person could lose more weight and stay healthy? I don’t know the answer, but I did and I always felt energetic.

Then, the results started to show up during the very same training season, from the 2-miler, to the 10-Yassos, 10K, the Half Marathon, 30K, and 20-miler. The improvements were dramatic. The Half Marathon bettered every week 3 min at a time for a total of 11 minutes. And I have nothing to feel but that relief that my training and its acolytes (nutrition, and rest) have been all good! And these results came attached to gazillion of formulas with marathon predictor times… and these formulas were playing games with me…but I know better.

Big Sur is difficult. As somebody wrote: Some marathons aren’t designed to be fast. "Hard," "grueling," "mountainous," "windy," "spectacular," and "unforgiving" are but a few of the words that the Big Sur International Marathon uses to describe itself. Needless to say, it’s hilly… Combined, the bounces and the net descent make for about 950 feet of climbing and 1,225 feet of descent. It sounds horrific…a hill tactician’s dream.”

Being that said, I not only need all I have done to run a great race. I need my brain. I need to run this race smart. I need to pace myself the first half at a low effort as I have already practiced. I have to run the hill between miles 10 and 12 as I have already practiced. I need not to deviate of what I already know.

I am super ready, and though the formulas predict me a heck of a race There's No Formula But Race Day. 

Earth Day Half Marathon - Magnuson Series - Apr 21, 2012 - Taking an ice bath. Water was cold, but the day was warm (54F)
Earth Day Half Marathon - Magnuson Series - Apr 21, 2012
1- 9:38 - 133 - 73%
2- 9:36 - 143 - 80%
3- 9:36 - 143 - 80%
4- 9:39 - 154 - 84%
5- 9:30 - 154 - 84%
6- 9:30 - 156 - 85%
7- 9:28 - 158 - 86%
8- 9;02 - 159 - 87%
9- 9:02 - 159 - 87%
10-9:17 - 164 - 90%
11- 9:08 - 167 - 91%
12- 8:41 0 167 - 91%
13- 8:40 - 167 - 91%
13.1-0.7 - 167 - 91%


Petraruns said...

I am so impressed by your dedication and your hard work and your results! Tell me more about your nutrition - what did you change?

Angie Brionez said...

Great post... whenever I get back to working on speed (after I get pregnant, have a baby and get back in shape), I just might have to pick your brain.

Irish Blue said...

Lizzie, have not been here in a long time but I'm looking for some motivation to lose weight and run faster and your progress is just amazing to me. I think, "Damn, Lizzie use to be my speed. If she can do this, could I?"

Please keep amazing us!

Melisa (Irish Blue)

Irish Blue said...

I am just amazed by your progress. Thanks for the information and advice.