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The many faces of speed work! (Jul 8th 2014, 7:48pm)
A break-up with my marathon love (May 12th 2014, 2:03am)
You're planning to run WHAT?!? (Mar 3rd 2014, 3:03pm)
Gearing up for Houston Marathon (Jan 3rd 2014, 1:01am)
Twin Cities...as I ran it. (Oct 21st 2013, 3:22am)
Running to heal - Patrick Rizzo (Sep 18th 2013, 7:43pm)



Gearing up for Houston Marathon

Published by
pjrizzo   Jan 3rd 2014, 1:01am

I have been pretty silent with sharing a lot of details since Twin Cities Marathon came crashing down on me. I took two weeks off immediately following the race to recover my hamstring and regain my emotional bearings. Any race that you pour so much energy into training for only to have not go well takes its toll on the emotional side as much as the physical.

After the frustration of Twin Cities Marathon, my target immediately became revenge. In this case, revenge comes in the form of Houston Marathon on January 19th. The first couple weeks of my second straight marathon block started out with a surprising consistency. It was a seamless jump from one marathon buildup into another. This one would be less reliant on base building and more on revisiting some speed work with the volume necessary for racing a marathon.

After my two week break, I decided to do a little bit of my early base work in Boulder, then spend a week up in the mountains training and seeing some friends in Gunnison/Crested Butte area. My early indicators showed that yes, I was still fit. It was no problem for my body banging out 5 minute miles for a little 3 mile tempo to test my hamstring post-TCM. Then the next week I did a longer workout that ended up being faster...and at 9,000 ft. elevation. Things were looking great as I started up my training block toward another marathon.

The more things settled into place, the more things jostled around for me though. Once back in Boulder, my tempos were solid but my speed was lacking. I was redlining at nothing now, hardly able to maintain my marathon PR pace for workouts. Training volume was solid, but quality suffered as we hit a cold spell that sent temperatures as deep as -15* F for 5 straight days. There was one workout in the ice and the next one on a treadmill (my first time on a treadmill since 2010-11 winter). I didn't fair well on the treadmill!

Now here I was, questioning my fitness. I just dropped out of a workout! I've never dropped out before. Am I sick? Am I getting mentally soft as I get older? What's happening to my running lately?

I'm pretty sure that every runner suffers from the same condition: we can go have a solid couple months of training before having one bad workout and we question our entire existence. This isn't good when I had my monster week of training coming up! I have 10x1k and a 30k progression run NEXT week! Should I lower the bar some and have Brad (my coach) give me fluff workouts to rebuild my confidence?

I stuck with the plan and nailed my next two workouts faster than I have in a few years. The later being faster than I ran before my last 3 marathons. How could I forget that I had a bunch of great workouts in the last few weeks? Obviously my fitness wasn't REALLY suffering. I just couldn't get good conditions to work out one week. I know better than that!

Now I'm sitting at 2 weeks out from Houston and back to chomping at the bit! These are the ebbs and flows of marathon training on the mind and body alike. These are the ebbs and flows of winter running! We're at the whim of Mother Nature to deal us the necessary cards to have ample footing for workouts and warm enough weather for any useful feedback. I would say I'm back on the horse, but I guess I'm realizing I was never really off of it in the first place. I just, like everyone does, had a few bad days among my year of training and racing.

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