29 Weeks of Training, 3 Weeks of Tapering

Yesterday I ran 20 miles with a buddy, my first 20 miler for 9 weeks, and my last 20 miler until the Santa Barbara Marathon on December 6th assuming all goes well.

Last week was my 29th week of training for the marathon and I manaqed 54 miles.  Over those 29 weeks, I've managed to run 1,219 miles and an average of 42 miles per week. My low point was 16 miles (the week I got the swine flu) and my high point was 2 consecutive 57 mile weeks with 2 consecutive 20 milers.

While I didn't achieve my peak mileage goal of 60 miles per week, I'm happy because I'm not injured!!  Training has had peaks and valleys but overall I KNOW I can finish the marathon without a problem.  While I won't be anywhere close to my 2 hour, 35 minute PR, I'll be happy to finish in the 3 hour, 3 minute (7 minutes per mile) range.

I've been pessimistic about my training of late due to constant, recurring setbacks.  Back problems, knee problems, swine flu, colds, smoke in the air, heat, more back problems, tiredness, you name it.  I'm not one to not speak my mind.

But I'm also a stickler for documenting my daily training, which gives me the opportunity after 29 weeks to see the big picture.  While my mind wreaks havoc on my psyche by telling me my training has sucked for 2 months, I look back at the stats and see, heck, I may not be training for a marathon record, but I've done some homework!

What surprised me the most is that my average weekly mileage over 29 weeks was 42.  I was surprised by that because all I think about is the 16.5 mile swine flu week and the 25 mile vacation cruise week and how much fitness I must have lost.  But not only did I run an average of 42 per week, I actually ran 16 or more miles 7 times over 7 months, including 5 18+ milers.

So I shouldn't be so hard on myself.  I may not win my age group in the Santa Barbara Marathon. But heck, I've done a lot of training and by golly, I'm gonna have some fun!

Marathons for most of us are an individual fitness test.  We're not competing against the other runners present that day. We set our own goals and work towards them.  For the majority, the goal is to finish.  For others, it is to achieve a particular time or personal record.

My goal for this marathon is to finish at or near 3 hours.  I don't expect to be the fastest 45 year old at the race.  I just want to have some fun with it.