First of all, I had a terrific 10 mile run this past Sunday. The weather was 50 degrees with some sun and I was able to wear shorts!! I forgot how nice it is to run without something (i.e. pants) wrapped around your legs. I finished the 10 miles in 75 minutes (7:30/per mile pace) and I really wasn't looking to push speed...just enjoyed the run and the weather. One of those nice days when everything seems to be working and you don't even feel tired. Too few and far between though unfortunately.
On to the topic at hand: the plan and goals for the 2007 Bayshore Marathon. There is plenty of time...still 5 months to go...but winter running can pose some problems and slow the progress down. For me, at least, it does. Normally, I only get out once a week in the winter. There are all sorts of excuses I use for this...too numerous to go into here. This year, however, I'm determined to get out at least 3 times a week through February before diving full bore into Bayshore training.
The plan is to maintain a high level of conditioning for up to 8 -9 miles through February. That means, coming out of winter, I would be in great condition to set a PR for a 15k if need be. Then, start building miles again as the snow melts. I don't want to try tackling 16, 18 mile runs on ice covered sidewalks. I'll use this time to rest the body and focus on "perfecting" a shorter distance...hopefully building a good platform to start from once the serious marathon training starts at the end of February.
I guess I'll be loosely following Hal Higdon's Intermediate I plan. I don't follow any plan right to the letter. I like to develop my own system...listening to my own body...and trying out my own ideas. If I feel like pushing harder one day, I do so. If I feel like relaxing and just enjoying a leisurely run, I do so. I don't like to feel confined to a running schedule. However, I do monitor the recommendations of the expert plans. Mainly, I watch to make sure my long run goals for the week are following the progression the plans suggest. I might go a couple miles farther or a few shorter but as long as they are within range, I'm good to go.
For Bayshore, I'm going to keep my goals reasonable. I did 3:36 in Chicago. I need under 3:16 for a Boston Qualifier. If I really bust arse, I might be able to get that at Bayshore. However, I'm expecting to only make an incremental improvement...a stepping stone to get me within range. So, the goal is to run a 3:27 marathon which is a 7:54/mile pace. I feel this is very doable. In Chicago, my splits were 1:49 (bad start)/1:47. In Traverse City, I'd like to hit 1:40/1:47. This is my reasonable goal. My stretch goal would be to hit 3:23 (1:38/1:45).
Ofcourse, this statement of goals is still 5 months - and a lot of running - away from the event. I reserve the right to modify them as training progresses. For now, this is where I'm at mentally. At least, I can obsess over this for the next several weeks. I am nothing if not a geek for statistics.