Last Wednesday I decided to sit down and plan out the rest of my winter and the spring. I’ll start training for the Chicago Marathon in June which means I have about four months to do whatever I want.
I’ve decided what I want is to get back into the shape I was in this time last year. That means being able to run about 13.5 minute miles for long runs up to 13 miles.
Here are my splits from the Miami Half from last year compared to this year:
That’s pretty disheartening to look at, but also a good reminder that I can definitely run 13 minute miles now because I’ve done it before. I’ve basically been injury free for four months (minus tight hips, which are probably just a thing I’m going to deal with forever) so it’s time to refocus and recommit to my big running goals.
Over the next four months, if I can get my easy pace back down into the 13 minute range, then I can realistically dream about running the Chicago Marathon in 5:59 or 13:41/mi, which was my A-goal in the windy city last year.
The best long run I’ve had in recent weeks was eight miles on January 17th that averaged out to 14:14/mi.
Eight miles isn’t thirteen but in my training journal I wrote that I finished this run feeling like I had plenty left in the tank. It probably helped that it was in the 60s the whole run but putting weather aside for now, that run makes me feel like getting back into 13.5 minute miles in four months is definitely doable with the right plan.
Using the Runner’s World SmartCoach training planner I plopped in my fastest half marathon race time from this season, which was 3:16 or 14:53 per mile. That race I was on track to finish with an average pace of 14:15 – 14:20 until the morning warmed up to 80+ degrees around mile nine. After that I was toast.
Anyway, using the Runner’s World SmartCoach planner going from 3:16 to 3:00 for the half marathon distance over the course of four months came out what they call a moderate-level training plan.
I’ll be running 25-30 miles per week, which is what I used to run all the time. Most of my week day runs will be super easy paced, I’ll have one dedicated speedwork day and one long run day.
The only thing that concerns me is that this training plan has almost all of my long runs at 13-14 miles. When I was at the peak of my running abilities last year most of my long runs were only 10 – 12 miles.
I’m worried that a long run of 13-14 almost every week will burn me out by the time marathon training comes around in June. I’m considering modifying the plan so that my long runs are tiered between 10 – 13 miles followed by a down week. Hopefully that variety will keep me from burn out while still helping me work toward my goals.
I’m very excited to get back to where I was before. I know it’s not going to be easy… I remember it being hard before … but it’s worth it (I remember that too)!
The plan starts TODAY!
What are your goals for this spring?