Friday, June 13, 2008

Training Journals and Marathon Performance

Yesterday I went out and did two mile repeats, the first one at 6:54, which is probably a bit fast, and the second at 7:09, which is probably a bit slow, but at the end of three straight days of what felt like pushing-the-envelope speed work for my current level of conditioning, I was happy just to finish.  I knew going in, with my achy stiff-legged warm-up run, that I was going to be paying a price, and that was certainly confirmed with my cool-down run!

This morning I am stiff, tired and I slept like a log last night.  Eight solid hours which is about an hour more than usual.  And it was lights out the whole way.

This marathon training cycle I have been approached by more than the usual number of runners interested in taking their marathon performance to the next level.  Getting better as a marathoner is all about understanding what makes you tick as an endurance runner; incorporating speed, stamina and strength work outs, with a fairly knowledgeable comprehension of nutrition, physiology and training and racing strategies.

Looking back over my training history it's quite apparent that all of my best training cycles have come when I have kept fairly comprehensive training journal. Frankly speaking, I can't do my best without a training journal.  Stricken as I am with limited mental capacity, it's just too hard to remember over a four and five month period how I have felt at different times, the progress I am making, the mileage I have actually run on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis, which work outs I have responded well to and which ones I didn't, what I weighed, what I ate, what my heart rate was, what I...  well, you get the idea.   There is just too much information to carry around in my short term memory and it gets readily lost when I try to box it up and ship it off to long term memory.

I was recently reading a training journal from five years ago and while I recognized my handwriting, I might as well have been reading a stranger's diary.  But once I started reading, it the memories all came flooding back.

Two things have worked in my favor when it comes to keeping track of my marathon training. The first was my Polar Heart Rate Monitor with its ability to download workouts; a hugely useful amount of data, and the second of course has been my Boston or Bust Marathon Blog.  And it never hurts having the knowledge that all kinds of people are essentially reading over my shoulder. It keeps me honest.  It also makes me show up for work outs!

So yesterday I went out and got simple marathon training journals for those runners who had approached me about getting faster and setting new personal bests and qualifying times.  On the inside of each front cover I labeled them "Marathon Personal Best Kits".

Oh yeah.  I weighed 205 this morning.

I have a 5K race tonight.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of these days Buddy you're just going to have to bite the bullet and teach your own marathon clinic.

I'd pay you in beers but I know that every time you want to get fast and qualify you stop drinking amigo!

4:24:00 PM  
Blogger Ovens2Betsy said...

Okay Vince -- hopefully this will be motivation for you. I've moved your blog from the "I'll check every month or so to see if they're blogging again" to the "I read it at least once a week" section. Your writing is witty and inspiring and, while I totally understand your break, I really missed the blog!

7:30:00 PM  

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