Thursday, August 19, 2010

Running the numbers

A very quick post (since I am supposed to be packing up to move across the ocean) which will be almost entirely numbers (since I am a quantitative freak). The work-out I have done most often since coming back from pregnancy is 5-6 X 1600 m with one minute rest. I thought I would take a quick look at my progression on this work-out over the past year as a way of assessing (again) my fitness for the marathon:

Oct. 13 - averaged 6:21 (6 repeats)
Oct. 16 - averaged 6:14 ( only did 5)
Nov. 11 - averaged 6:10 (only did 5, last big work-out before running a 1:23:50 1/2 marathon)
Jan. 24 - averaged 6:07 (only did 4)
Jan. 28 - averaged 6:04 (only did 5, last big work-out before running another 1:23:50 1/2 marathon)
Mar. 27 - averaged 6:05 (only did 5, sick with head cold)
Apr. 21 - averaged 5:53 (hello! did 6. last big work-out before running a 1:20:49 1/2 marathon)
July 8 - averaged 6:10 (did 6, heat wave - 35 deg C. ugh)
Aug. 19 - averaged 5:55 (did 6)

Wow, that must all be staggeringly dull for anyone who isn't, say, me. But what I glean from these numbers is that first, I most often did 5 repeats, bummer I thought I usually did 6. There was predictably steady, consistent improvement after the pregnancy until April where I hit my peak fitness. The blip in July was caused by the heat wave and can be disregarded, in fact may be an even better work-out than the one previous. But, most important, I have more or less achieved the same fitness as I had in April, the difference  between 5:53 average and 5:55 average is within the noise of the signal itself I think. Does 6 X 1600 m predict well for a marathon. No. But it predicts well for a 1/2 marathon I think. So I think I am in about 1:22:45 1/2 marathon shape (adding 2 minutes to the 1/2 I ran in April to compensate for the huge downhill). That predicts a 2:54:36 marathon BUT, one more caveat, I am a better runner over 10 km/half than I am over a full marathon. Why bother to predict if I am going to throw in all these if ands buts and caveats? To procrastinate from packing of course. But it's good food for thought.


  1. Only 1 minute rests? I'm impressed!

    I've been thinking about how the two times you ran 2:54 you were planning to run 2:50. Perhaps you should be planning 2:55-56 for the next one (I really should look up the difficulty of the Montreal course); if you're thinking 3:00, it'd be much harder to make up time at the end if you're having a good day, but if you're feeling good late in the race planning a few minutes faster, that PR might happen.

  2. steveq - i have been thinking the same thing. partly b/c most of the climbing in montreal comes after 25 km. you can see the profile here:
    thanks for the advice. will chew on it further.

  3. I just sprayed coffee all over my computer screen - 70 meters of climb between 25 and 30 km and you think it's a hard course??? I'm a little jaded from trail races, but I can't imagine how one can go up from the river and have so little climb.

    You're a better runner at the shorter distances, so it makes sense to start a little conservatively and turn it into a race toward the end.

  4. Is it really 70 meters of climb? Holy crap, that 230 feet! That's a heck of a lot of climb. Yes, I am a true roadie. Me hates to climb. My 2:54:11 was run at Chicago, the biggest "climb" was an underpass.