Marathon Simulation

With 2 weeks to go until my first attempt at a full marathon, I really needed to get in one last long run. I had planned on doing a “Marathon Simulation” run with about 3 weeks to go, but the injury to my foot really messed up my training plan. I figured that I would go ahead and make this last long run a simulation. If all went well, I would get a boost of confidence and also know what I was capable of doing on my foot if it still hurts come race day.

So I did some research and came up with several “Marathon Simulation” workouts. I landed on one that seemed to be a good one for “advanced” runners – not that I’m advanced, but I like to push myself. It’s called a 30/50/20. So here’s the workout: Total distance is 18 miles. The first 30% of this distance (5.4 miles) is done at a pace that is 20 seconds slower than your goal pace. My goal pace for the race is 8:00 min/mile. So I did the first 5.4 miles of this run at a pace around 8:20. The second phase of the run has you run 50% of the distance (9 miles) at your race pace. The third and final segment (20% or 3.6 miles) is done at 20 seconds per mile faster than your goal pace, which for me is 7:40 min/mile.

I secured the tape on my foot and headed out this morning – fully expecting to have to stop at some point due to pain in my foot. First few miles went by really slow, but my foot felt good. Once I made it to that 5.4 mile point, I increased the pace…and still felt strong. Today was one of those days that I was really thankful that my wife got me the Garmin watch with GPS. I was able to look down and keep my pace where it needed to be for the entire run – something that I wouldn’t have been able to do two months ago!

I really had no problems keeping the 8 minute per mile pace for those 9 miles. But once I got to the third and final segment, it was really tough to increase the pace. This is the whole point of this run. Those last 3.6 miles of pushing it hard are meant to replicate the true demands of those last 6 or so miles of a marathon….I’m expecting lots of pain!!

Here’s my spilts from today’s run:

As you can see, I did pretty good at keeping my pace where it needed to be during the first two segments, but that last one was tough. In my defense, I had to slow down several times while crossing streets in order to let traffic go by. It’s really hard to get back up to speed once you slow down. My average heart rate for each was 154 bpm, 163 bpm, and 170 bpm. If I can hold a heart rate around 163 and run 8 minute miles, reaching my goal of a 3 hour, 30 minute marathon should be attainable.

I was ecstatic that I was able to not only complete the 18 miles with only minor foot pain, but that I was able to do it at the paces required by the workout. I now plan to take the next two weeks easy and only do some short runs with some longer bike sessions and swims mixed in. I plan on being fully rested and ready to rock come November 6th!!

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