Saturday, September 9, 2006

Marathon Training - 5 month update

5 months ago I started on this running thing and I couldn't run for 3 miles without having to stop. This morning I ran 16 miles, with the first 13.1 (a half marathon) going by in 2 hours 1 minute (9:15/mile).

I decided to skip the group 16 mile run and try to see if I could run the first half of a 4 hour marathon. The good news is that I made it, the bad news is that the last 3 miles were pretty ugly (10-11 minute miles) and I certainly wouldn't have enjoyed the next 10 miles. But all in all, a good morning - my first race pace long run!Another first was an ice bath - absolutely zero fun.

Progress over the last 6 weeks has been steady - I feel I can actually run now. We've done 12, 14 and 16 mile long runs, I've done some fast (well, fast for me) shorter runs (1 mile in 6:55, 3 miles in 23:33 and 5 miles in 40:43) and I've done some longish hill runs (3 miles up, 3 miles down). In total I'm up to 362 miles running and 273 miles biking - my swimming seems to have plateau'd at 0.1 miles.

Health-wise things are good. I've been doing some physio for my knees the last 3 weeks and it's really helping. Basically, doing no exercise for 15 years, having no leg muscles and then just starting to run 20-30 miles a week is a bad idea. Doesn't matter who you are, you will get knee problems. And there I was, hoping to have been blessed with some unique physiology that exempted me from these rules. So lots of stretching and weights twice a week is the prescription.

The next 6 weeks should get interesting. We have 18, 20 and 23 mile long runs, plus I'm going to race the San Jose Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon on October 8th. My goal for that is 1 hour 52 (which is apparently the time a 4 hour marathoner should be able to achieve), so I need to pick up the pace by about 30s/mile over today's run. Another 4 weeks of training should get me close, and race day adrenaline will have to do the rest.I've now got a lot of data, charts and statistics on all my runs. I can definitely see the improvement and I've created a whole bunch of scientifically questionable efficiency formulae that prove just what a great job I'm doing. Although I must admit it reminds me a little of all the stock charts I had in 1999/2000 that comfortably predicted I'd be living on a beach in Hawaii by now.

I have found several more respected resources that have marathon prediction formulae based on times of shorter runs. According to them I should be able to do a 4 hour marathon. But that still doesn't deal with the humidity problem - which should cost me about 30-45seconds/mile. If I can do a 4 hour non-humid marathon, adding 45sec/mile for humidity puts me in at about 4 hours 19. So, according to the data I should be able to beat Oprah. I'm still waiting to see if I can do the San Jose half marathon in 1:52, if I can I'll be a little more confident.

On the fund raising front things have slowed down as much as my swimming. I am still waiting for Oracle to come through with some matching donations but even after those I'm probably still $2,000 short of my target. So, if you've been saying "Hey, I should sponsor Alan - he's running all those miles and it's for a good cause", but just haven't gotten to it, now is a good time! It's easy, online and secure etc.
Just follow this link...
And remember, if you work for Oracle, Company Match requests can be made here -
Organization = San Francisco Aids Foundation (ID = 0004936),
Purpose = Runner Alan Fletcher,
RunnerID = SF-4071.

thanks for your support, Alan