Sunday, October 05, 2008

September Mileage, My 20 Miler and the Parrot Predictor

My running volume has definitely picked up! During September, I had my biggest month of running ever, hitting 177 miles (previously my biggest month was last Sept at 150 miles). October promises to be a big mileage month if I stick to my schedule. My target marathon is Nov 16th so my last 20+ miler is scheduled for October 26th before my taper begins. I am being cautious - watching how I feel so I don't overtrain. I had been keeping to my schedule for the past 5 weeks - but this week I skipped a 10 miler on Wed. I wasn't feeling up to it - and I think the extra rest paid off. Once again, I struggled sticking to my schedule while on travel. I have one more travel week coming before my race. We will see how I do!

Today's 20-Miler
After a great 10 miler run at marathon pace yesterday, today was the big 20 miler! I have been pretty tired lately, but was optimistic because I got a good nap in yesterday afternoon. I was in bed a bit late, but felt ok when the alarm went off at 4:40 am.

After gearing up I headed out in the darkness with 4 hours of running ahead of me. The first miles felt pretty comfortable. My plan was to run 12, stop for water, then run the final 8. I like having more than half my run completed before I stop.

When I stopped after 12 miles, I was feeling a little more worn out than I should have at that point - not so much my endurance - rather my legs were starting to ache. I figured that my 10 miler yesterday probably caused the pain to come a bit sooner today. I could tell that finishing was going to be difficult.

After mile 14, things were getting harder. I pushed it through to mile 18 before I went from my run 5 min walk 1 min routine to run 2 minutes and walk 1 minute routine. Two important but strategic points: 1) by mile 18 the only way home was to finish up the distance, 2) I was going to finish if I had to walk it - but I still had some run left in me.

I finished in 4:09:57 - a 12:28 min/mi pace. I am quite happy with this pace which is within the 60-90 sec of my target marathon pace. My time was less than one minute more than my 19 miler a month ago.

Parrot Predictor
George Parrott, known affectionately as "Coach George" on the Dead Runners Society listserve, presented this idea a few years ago. He suggests that a runner can run no faster in the Marathon than he runs his fastest 26.2 miles in a week during training.

I use a spreadsheet log that automatically does the predictions and so far it has predicted:

August 4 - 5:21:24
August 18 - 5:29:36
Sept 1 - 5:13:46
Sept 8 - 5:07:34
Sept 15 - 5:03:43
Sept 22 - 4:47:45
Sept 29 - 5:01:56

From my previous logs, the predictor did "ok" at getting a ballpark marathon time. In 2006, it was difficult to judge my times leading up to my first Disney Marathon. I didn't have many training weeks that exceeded 26.2 miles. The last data point, about a month before the race, predicted a 5:50 time. I finished in 5:47. Predictions leading up to MCM ranged from 4:50 to 5:16 (about 5 data points). I ran that one in 5:06. For the 2008 Disney, I fell into a training slump after MCM and only had one week with miles over 26.2. It predicted 5:08. My time was 5:35.

So from the numbers above, if I ran my marathon in 3 weeks, I would predict a time of about 5:05. With 3 more weeks before my taper, who knows....The important thing is to be sure that the wheels don't fall off after San Antonio leading up to Disney like they did last year.

On to another week!


Petraruns said...

Random guess - you're good at maths right? I love your Parrot predictor and can sort of see why it would work - but don't have historical records to check it out on. Next race!

It sounds like you're doing well so I'd definitely watch yourself - I am a great believer in being a tad undertrained rather than overtrained.. Good luck with it all!

Susan said...

I admire your ability to stick to it! And how smart you are to always make your water stop PAST the halfway point. Very wise!

I think you'll do wonderfully in San Antonio, for what it's worth.

Tammy said...

Wow, I can't imagine putting these kind of miles, but I'm sure I will eventually. Great job on all the hard work. I have to take some pointers from you.

Rural Runner E said...

Nice long run.
Looks like you had one heck of a month of September.
Great job.
Keep it up.

Gordon said...

you wouldn't want to share your spread sheet with a fellow runner, would ya?

ShirleyPerly said...

Good job listening to your body, Chris. When Dave and I got back yesterday, I thought it was a LOT more humid than when we left. Not sure if it was the same over the weekend but if so, I'm sure that would have made things tougher for your 20-miler. Regardless, you got it done and can be sure that a standalone 20-miler would have been much easier as will your marathon in San Antonio, which will hopefully be in much cooler weather!