Monday, January 16, 2006

I'm considering....

... entering the 45th Annual Washington's Birthday Marathon in Greenbelt, Maryland on February 19th, in 5 weeks, as my 10th marathon. After 3 PRs in late 2005 at distances from 5K to the half marathon, I'd like to see what I can do if I push myself on a standalone marathon.

Here's the Gmaps course map that I made from the race map. (Now corrected with elevations, but you have to scroll way to the right to see them. Wicked hill right at the end of the course.)

  • Maintain my long, slow distance running base
  • Keep a focus to my run training
  • Small, local, stay-at-home race
  • 10:30AM start time
  • Make a marathon PR attempt with no overnight travel
  • Good race reputation for a very small event
  • The entry fee is cheap enough that I don't mind cutting it short as a training run and DNFing if I choose to
  • 3 loop course may be boring
  • Hilly course may keep time slow
  • Weather can be terrible
  • May disrupt some bike and swim training
  • Preparation and recovery may compromise training
  • Possibility of injury
  • I'll be one of the last straggler finishers (based on previous results) even if I PR
  • May choose to DNF if not on pace after 2nd loop (and just get a ~19 mile supported workout)
If I choose to DNF and just use it as a long workout, that could still serve me well as a long run launching pad for a PR attempt at the Lower Potomac River Marathon (flat, scenic course) on March 12th, just 3 weeks later.

What do you all think? Recommendations?


Danny said...

don't you actually have to train sometimes??

Keryn said...

So you're going to do the marathon in March anyway, right? I know you're the queen of endurance events, but two marathons within three weeks? And three within 8 weeks? Are you feeling ok? Seems like too big a risk of injury to me.

nancytoby said...


Funny, I thought my cycling 869 miles and running 724 miles last year was a bit of a training base. But maybe it's not the mileage levels that you train at.


No, I think I wouldn't do it if I ran a PR at the first one. I think maintaining the mileage base is not as big an injury risk as letting the mileage drop off and ramping it up again, but I don't train very high mileage weeks even for marathons. Thanks for your thoughts!

Bridget said...

I personally love doing marathons, they are just so much more fun that just training by yourself. The thing I have to watch out for is doing too many though, because I tend to get injured (stress fractures this year). However, if you are feeling good then I think you should do it! Why not? You are obviously enjoying yourself!

Danny said...

Jeez. I sense some "bite" in that response.

I wasn't trying to be snide, I was just wondering about the lack of an organized program. If you want to PR, wouldn't it better to specifically train for it, with some sort of dedicated plan?

(BTW I'm not even sure if I've run 724 miles in my lifetime yet. And as it stands, you've got 9 times more marathon experience than me. So believe me, I wasn't trying to be condescending or anything.)

Julia said...

I agree with Danny, I've never seen you follow an actual training plan that would bring you to a PR. You just sort of go to the events hoping that it will happen but you don't do specific preparation to make it happen.
This is not to say that you don't train or that you don't do monumentous events, or that you don't have a base for your sports, but if you want to PR in a stand alone Marathon you should have a specific running plan for it - BTW Nancy, I LOVE your drive and totally admire your spirit - so this is a comment to get you thinking. Again, if you need some ideas (for the marathon only) just give a holler!

Lynne said...

Galloway has training runs longer than 26 miles. I would think that you could use the Greenbelt Marathon as a good last lsd before Potomac. It's probably a lot more fun than running by yourself! And, you're right - You can DNF if you are not feeling it... I agree that looped courses are not very motivating.

Cliff said...

As long as u don't consider as a A-race and go all out.

You will be sacrificing some bike and swim time for sure. On top of that running, especially marathons, put a lot of stress on the body. The stress will effect your rest and recovery.

If you enjoy the marathon and will have fun doing it. I say why not.

Steven said...

I'd be careful of doing too much too close together. You'd probably be OK if you treat it like a training run and don't go for a PR. Maybe even pull out after 2 loops like you say. Remember to keep your eye on the bigger prize that is in November.

*jeanne* said...

I like the Google course thing. Interesting.

The trouble with going for a PR at GWB Marathon, then if you aren't making it, of dropping out to try to PR at LPR Marathon is that you will then have gone out awfully HARD for GWB to count as "simply" a training run.

But a 3-week taper into LPR sounds fine otherwise. At least to me. I do almost all my marathon training in organized races. I use them to train, NOT to race. Around here, there are so many events, it's easy to schedule training runs this way. Much more convenient than the organised training programs offerred by the many local running clubs, even!

mipper said...

well, considering that you are ramped up at teh moment and that marathons seem to be your "long runs" lately, i am fairly sure you could pull this one off. i agree with cliff and not making it an A race. i see what you are doing here sort of what i am doing with my training series leading up to my marathon in May. you are looking at this soley as supported training runs, and only hoping to PR one (which is understandleable since you will not have travel to deal with and it is a later start, etc). i don't know much about training plans and you know i am the queen of overuse injuries, but i can't imagine, with the almost 100 miles in pure races you've put in since Novemeber (not even counting training runs here... just races!) i really think you have enough of a base to do this.

but again, what do i know.

Nancy, you are really amazing. i am learning so much by watching you and seeing how you just llok at something and say "hey, if i am reasonable, i can do that." and then you do it! you are an amazing athlete and i really admire you and what you do.

go for it girl!

Chris said...

If you want to do it, I say go for it. You're far enough out from your scheduled races later this season where you can have more flexibility in your schedule and still make your season work.

Just make sure you're recovered from your Disney weekend. The body needs time to repair itself. If you're getting good feedback from your body in that regard though, why not?

soccerdad said...

i think it's great. what an ambitious schedule. most "experts" would probably tell you that it's too much too quickly. but you know what? you're having fun, you're motivated, and you haven't injured yourself. SO GO FOR IT!!
keep kickin', nancy!

Ellie said...

What everyone else has said.... if you use them as training runs, with the possible exception of making one of them, maybe Potomac, an "A" race hoping for a PR BUT..... not being too disappointed if you don't PR. I kind of agree with the "If it happens, it happens" approach, myself.

Madame La Blog said...

Point #4 in the "cons". We've already established that you know how to run, but you have the opportunity to take this time and transform into a whole different swimmer. Why cram all of your big goals into one year? I'd say stay hungry for the marathons, and work towards the IM specifically. All the running in the world won't help you if you don't make it to T2 on time (did I say that before? Oh yeah, every day, to myself. ) JMO.