Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Surf City Marathon: My Goals
With Surf City Marathon (!) rapidly approaching, I have to figure out some goals. What do I want to accomplish from the race? Do I want to run for fun? Set a PR? BQ?
hahahaahahaha... okay, you can forget about BQ, hahaha... that was a joke...
Anyway, I have one main goal: I want to set a marathon PR.
Is that attainable? Yes, very much so. I ran 4:42:26 on this course last year and beat that time in "the race even marathoners fear" when I ran 4:37:51 in the San Francisco Marathon. Surf City is a relatively flat course - there are some inclines at about Mile 7 or thereabouts - so the course is set up for speed.
So, what sort of time do I have in mind? Crack 4:30? 4:15? Go for a sub-4 marathon?
That's the tricky part. I'm not experienced enough in marathons to know what makes for a good race strategy and what doesn't. In fact, I've never really had a race strategy. Surf City 2010 was all about getting to the finish line and San Francisco was, well, I thought I'd give it a go the last 6.2 miles but surviving the hills was really the primary objective. I just wanted to have enough strength in my legs entering the last 6.2 miles.
When running 26.2 miles, I don't know what works or what doesn't work for me. I don't know how fast I should run the first few miles, when to pick it up, when to ease up, how fast to run in the middle miles, the end miles, etc.
My initial strategy is to run a bit faster early on, to bank miles early on as my pal Katie so eloquently puts it, and to try and keep up that pace. How fast? I know my body and I know what works and what doesn't work on longer runs. What doesn't work is this: run slow in the early miles and then pick up the pace midway. If I run 11-minute miles early on, there's no chance I'll be hitting 9-minute miles afterward. My body doesn't work that way.
So that sort of helps me. I know that I have to run hard, fast early on and then maintain the pace, and hopefully I'll have enough left for a strong final surge.
What time am I shooting for then?
I do think a sub-4 marathon is something I will want to shoot for at some point, but right now, for my third marathon, I want to crack 4:20. I want to get under 4:20 and want to shave off more than 20 minutes from my Surf City 2010 time. I'd be happy with that.
So, that's the target. 4 hours, 20 minutes. I'm coming for you on Feb. 6.