Saturday, February 19, 2011

GW Marathon 2011 Race Strategy

Tomorrow is the GW Birthday Marathon. I am registering tonight and will toe the line at 10:30 for my fourth marathon. I don't have much of an expectation. I have not really trained for this as an A race, but I think I could still PR as I have tapered a bit and feel like I never let my running fitness from this Fall drop too far.

The truth is I have not done any 20 milers since the marathon and I bailed in my 19 mile attempt at 17 miles. I am running this race as a long run in training for the SunTrust National Marathon. My only goal is to negative split, but I do hope to PR slightly as my PR is still fairly below my projected times from my results in shorter races.

So my changes to the race day strategy will be:
1. Eat a gel every 30 - 35 minutes, I ate one every 45 minutes in my other marathons and I felt pretty drained in the second half of the race.
2. Though I have never used them before I am going to try Enduralytes tomorrow. I have had bad muscle cramps in each marathon. I want to try to avoid this and learn for the SunTrust.
3. I will use my Garmin heart rate monitor. Last week's long tempo run of 12 miles was done at 8:40 pace. My average heart rate was 158. I am not sure that I will directly run to my heart rate, but I'll be paying attention to it to see if any adjustments can be made from watching it.
4. I will run a negative split! So this will mean I have to set a reasonable pace strategy. I have been wildly optimistic in my past marathons. I got 20 minutes in front of the 4 hour pace group in my first marathon (4:03:27), and I rashly said I may just BQ in my first marathon. I ran with the 3:40 pace group at Baltimore only to fall back at mile 18 and struggle in just under 4 hours. I lined up boldly in the 3:30 corral at the MCM, ran 1:44 at the halfway point and positive split by 30 minutes. Tomorrow I want to get to the halfway mark in 1:57, averaging 8:55/mi pace. After that, I like to increase the pace modestly running between 8:50 and 8:30 until the last 5K. Hopefully, I'll get in under 3:50.

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