The Connection Runners + [training]

The day before

TOMORROW is the Maine Marathon in Portland and I am ready. I followed Hal Higdon's Intermediate II plan, though I did make some modifications along the way (such as running 51.6 miles in 11 hours back during Week 9 when the schedule called for a long run of 12 miles) and taking the entire week off prior to running the Niantic Bay 1/2 Marathon to rest and recover after Saturday's 20 miler.

I am using my Sugarloaf experience as a benchmark and as I mentioned on Thursday am looking to improve on my 3:39:19 finish time. Pacing has been something I've been working on - I'm like a blender. I mean how much difference is there between pulse, puree and liquify? I basically have two speeds - on and off. To address this, I finally purchased a Garmin Forerunner 310xt and I expect it will help me quite a bit during training and raceday.

I've also been contemplating raceday strategy. I read a good raceday strategy article and they recommend maintaining your average pace for the balance of the race, as your running economy tends to decrease as the race progresses, but my 'two races' approach I used at Sugarloaf actually worked for me so I'm considering using a similar strategy tomorrow.

Back in May I ran the first half a bit on the conservative side, especially considering the majority of hills were between miles 5-12. I averaged an 8:40 pace the first 13 miles, and did it completely by feel - I just ran the way I run a typical training run, loose and relaxed, because I knew once I hit the midpoint I would kick into my fastest gear. I approached the back half like a brand new race, imagined the gun going off and went full throttle the rest of the way - in essence a 13 mile negative split of 8:00 miles - to finish up with an 8:22 average pace.

I intend on running an 8:00 pace the first half of the race - hitting the midway point at 1:45 - then once again going as fast as I can the second half. If I can maintain the 8:00 pace, that puts me at a 3:29 finish. Possible? I don't know. Can I actually run another negative split back half? I don't know that either. I do believe, however, that an 8:12 average time is within me, and that puts me at a 3:35 finish.

I enjoy the aspect of uncertainty - can I do it? How fast can I actually go?

We shall see.