Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Racing Towards Pittsburgh: The Kara Goucher Example

I am running the Half at the Pittsburgh Marathon this weekend, and I am more than a little interested to see how it will go.  I ran the Half at the Tobacco Road Marathon on March 18Th., which was around seven weeks ago.  For each of my pervious Half Marathon's, I have used the same ten week training program that I got from Runner's world, Even with my math skills, I could see that seven weeks is not ten, so my schedule would need to change.  I thought about just shortening the training program, but I had registered for several races, prior to committing to Pittsburgh, that would make a shortened schedule difficult to manage.  After working out several variations of my original plan, each making less sense than the one that proceded it, I happened to remember reading an small blurb in Runner's World about  Kara Goucher Racing Her Way into Shape.  I found the article, and it basically talked about how Goucher had run a series of smaller races following her pregnancy in preparation for the Boston Marathon.  I am not a world class runner, nor did I have a baby, but when I looked at my race schedule the plan was obvious:

Tobacco Road Half Marathon  3/18 Cary, NC 

Second Empire 5K Classic 3/25 Raleigh, NC 

Cary Road Race 10k 4/14 Cary, NC 

Tar Heel 10 Miler 4/21 Chapel Hill, NC 

UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon, 5/6 Pittsburgh, PA

It really couldn't have worked out better had I planned it.  I built my training for Pittsburgh around these races, and cut down on the distance of some of my long runs as a way to compensate for these stress of racing.  I am fairly confident that I have enough of a base so reducing my longest run prior to the race from a twelve mile Long Slow Day to Ten Mile Race at Half Marathon goal speed seemed like an even trade to me.

Start of the 2011 Pittsburgh Marathon

The plan hit a couple of glitches.  I had a bout of sever Hay Fever the week before the first 5k, which combined with legs that were still rubbery from the Half Marathon the week before, led to a slow painful 5k.  The 10k course was incorrectly marked negating what would have been a massive PR.  Luckily, I was given a free entry into The Run Raleigh 5k on 4/15 where I equaled my 5k PR.  And, I was able to shatter my 10miler PR on a very hilly course just two weeks ago.  Unfortunately, following that result, my sinuses went crazy and are still not back to normal.  It hasn't stopped me from running but has left me in dire need of a hanky on my runs.  Despite these minor set backs, I think that this plan has me primed for a good race if the weather is cooperative.  I gained a lot of confidence from Racing My Way To Pittsburgh, and I just can't wait for these last few days to pass, so I can take my place at yet another starting line!

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