Marathon Training Update: Feeling the Heat

I’m about one month away from my rematch with the Vermont City Marathon, and the training has so far been going quite well. My long run max is now at 17 miles, and I’m planning two 20-milers before about a two week taper leading into marathon weekend. If all goes well, I hope to be able to shave at least a few minutes off of my 3:43 time from last year. I realize full-well that a Boston Qualifying time is not going to happen in this race, and hopefully that will allow me to sit back and enjoy the experience a bit more than last year (when I went out way too fast).

The one major challenge I’ve faced in the past week is that it’s been incredibly hot here in New Hampshire. Now, I’m used to the unpredictable Spring weather up here, but 90+ degrees in April – that’s ridiculous! Anyway, I forced myself out for 4 miles today in the heat with the hope that my body will acclimate a bit to the warmer weather before I run the marathon. Last year, marathon day in Vermont was one of the warmest days that I had run in to that point, and I think that contributed quite a bit to my crash in the last 10 miles of the race. Today, the first 2 miles went well, but the last 2 were brutal, and I was definitely feeling the heat. It’s easy to forget what running in 90 degree weather can do to your body, but I’m still glad that I did it.

One other major change from this time last year is that I have yet to run any local 5k races. My only 5k so far was the Royal Family 5k in Epcot Center in early March (~20:10), and I have no idea how far I’ve improved since then. Thus, I’m planning on doing my first local 5k this weekend so that I can gauge roughly where I’m at fitness-wise. I’m not sure quite what to expect, but I’ll be happy with anything under 20:00 at this point. My thinking is that by not tiring myself out by racing excessively like I did last Spring, I can put in more good-quality long runs – I’ll let you know if this pays off in about a month….

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a recovering academic who currently works as an exercise physiologist, running coach, and writer. He's also a father of three and a fanatical runner with a bit of a shoe obsession. In addition to writing and editing this site, he is co-author of the book Tread Lightly, and writes a personal blog called The Blogologist. Follow Pete on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and via email.

Comments

  1. I am a newbie to your blog. Terrific blog. I am going to subscribe this through bloglines. I have found you via DailyMile.com Like you, I am heading to VCM. Thanks for the report.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it! One more 20-mile training run to
      go and I should be ready for the VCM…I hope.

  2. Greg at Live Fit says:

    Heat here is terrible as well. The Nashville Music City Half Marathon took out a bunch of runners.

  3. Brian Borchers says:

    If you’re running 20 minute 5K’s now, the pace tables would suggest that you’re capable of doing much better than 3:45 for the marathon.

    • Pete Larson says:

      Brian,

      That’s what I thought as well going into my first marathon last May – I had
      run a few 5k’s under 20:00 and used the pace calculators to try to
      extrapolate that to a marathon pace. I unfortunately wound up hitting the
      wall around mile 15, and didn’t really recover. I think those pace
      calculators have value to a degree, but going from a 5k time to a marathon prediction is a fairly inexact science. There are a number of factors that I think explain my dropoff from the low 3:00 predicted time, with heat, training at the lower end of mileage recommendations for a marathon, running a 5k during the week beforehand, and my belief that my body might be better built for shorter races being among the most important. That being said, I did finish the Manchester City Half-Marathon in sub-1:30 last Fall, so that was a considerable improvement and may be a better predictor of performance
      this time around.

      I guess I’m trying to not get too hooked on the idea of BQ-ing this Spring,
      and plan to train harder through the summer when I have more time (I’m a teacher) and give it a solid effort in Hartford in the Fall.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Pete

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