April 29, 2010

Missoula Marathon time

It's that time again - I've got my Missoula Marathon training plan in hand, and 8:20 is the magic number.

Last year, the goal was simply to finish my first marathon. After training all spring and starting the race with the 3-hour, 40-minute group, a sore IT band on the course resulted in a 4:01 finish.

This year, it's about the time - that 3:40, to be specific. A pace of 8 minutes, 20 seconds per mile should bring me in just under.

Last year's training program was about building mileage, steadily increasing my long run each week until I topped out at 20 miles before the race.

This year's plan - put together by the same trainer friend as last year - is similar, with a few changes:
  • The mileage buildup continues, but instead of running just one 20-miler before the marathon, I'll complete two, plus a 22.
  • There's also a focus on pace. Those long runs are about distance, so will be slower. One day a week will be a tempo run focusing on building up miles at the 8:20 pace.
  • The weekly mileage also goes up. Last year, the most I ran was 38 miles in a week, once. This year: 49 miles, three times.
Overall, the plan requires that I slow down from the pace I've been running 13-milers at for the past three months. Surprisingly, it's more difficult than it sounds - but so far, so good.

Check back for more on my progress.