Sunday, November 17, 2013

The road to CIM

Only 3 weeks to go before I set my foot on the starting line of the California International Marathon, attempting my debut at the distance. Before I get into more details, though, there are some gaps I need to fill since my last update.

The last time I showed any signs of life was all the way back in January, when I was getting ready for the Cyprus national half marathon championships. I was unfortunately sidelined with injuries in both of my hamstrings, which ended up keeping me out of any serious training for almost 3 months. The rest of the season didn't have any highlights and I was really looking forward to being fully healthy again and getting ready for CIM.

I started to put in the miles in preparation for the marathon in mid July. I took a very cautious approach, though, and focused more on staying healthy instead of trying to pile on the miles. I was only running 5-6 days a week at first and included some biking to get some supplemental cardio work. I also started practicing yoga 1-2 times a week, which has helped my strength and flexibility. I did eventually get the mileage up to a decent number and had a few weeks in the 75-85 mile range.  I was on pace to hit 95 last week (I did reach a rolling week max of 94) but got sick and had to take a couple days off, thus falling a bit short.

In terms of quality my training has been pretty solid. On a typical week I would run a track workout on Tuesdays, a tempo on Thursdays and a long run on Saturdays, which would include a stretch of marathon pace in the middle. Here are my last workouts for reference:

Track workout: 3x3000m w/ 5' rest between intervals: 10:00, 9:54, 9:53
Tempo: 10K, 6' rest, 8K: 35:46, 28:30
Long run: 33K (~21 miles) with 14K at 3:43-3:44/Km (just under 6:00/M) between the 10th and 24th kilometer.

Overall I'm pretty happy with how my training has progressed. I would have liked it if the volume was a bit higher but considering where I was last spring I've managed to put in some decent mileage. My workouts have been really good, though. I've been consistently hitting or exceeding my goal times and still feeling like there's something left at the end of each workout.

With only 3 weeks left there's not much more I can add at this point. Only one more week with harder training and a couple of weeks of tapering. To some extend I'm not sure what to expect out of my race. The marathon distance is a complete unknown to me and a bit intimidating. My first goal would be to make it through the race without blowing up and hopefully feeling good at the finish. I will most likely start out at ~6:00/M pace and try to negative split the 2nd half, hopefully finishing in the 2:30-2:35 range. I keep reminding myself, though, that this is a just a new beginning. I'm more excited about the possibility of staying healthy over the next year or two and hoping that there's still some fast running left in my legs.