When Training Goes South….Adjust and Make New Goals

As I mentioned on Monday, it’s time for me to shift gears on my goals for the upcoming Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon. The month of April was a complete disaster on my training plan. Simply put, I’ve missed too many training runs in order believe that I can pull off a 2:35:00 half marathon one month from tomorrow. I mean, if I did that, I would have taken off 33 minutes from my 13 mile run this past Saturday. There simply isn’t enough time to envision being that much quicker in such a short period of time. So, with that understanding, I thought about how I wanted to approach my training between now and Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon. Also, I took a serious look at how I wanted to approach the NYC Marathon as well.

The key here is to not loose focus. When I set out my initial training plan, all of the goals I set were to get me to a sub 6 hour 2017 TCS NYC Marathon. Yes, I have failed at each goal along the way thus far. However, hitting those goals was designed to keep me moving towards the NYC Marathon with setting a marathon PR as the main target. I can still get there. The 2017 TCS NYC Marathon is around 6 months from now. So, all is not lost. I can still pursue my sub 6 hour (and even a sub 5:30:00) goal time. Nothing about where I’m at right now should tell me that those goals cannot be met. As I talk about switching up my goals for Rock n Roll San Diego, know that none of that has anything to go with my NYC Marathon goals.

However, with all those missed runs, I’ve had to alter my training schedule for Rock n Roll San Diego. One thing I had to seriously think about was how to do these last 4 long runs.

As you can see, I’m opting to take the track workouts away. To be honest, it’s a little bit of a logistical thing. This weekend Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 comes out. As a Disney employee, I usually get to see the movies on the Saturday after it comes out in the morning. So, even in my initial planning, I probably would have taken out this track workout and found a time to get in a 6 or 7 mile run in instead. Even if I had kept a track workout on that day, it would have been a 10 x 400 (instead of the 14 x 400) because my last track workout was 8 x 400. Since I didn’t want a track workout the weekend before the race, I’m only cancelling out of one track workout. Don’t get me wrong. I will be back at the track this summer in preparation for the NYC Marathon. However, for Rock n Roll San Diego, it’s a no go. Instead, I’ll take to running the 10 x 400 on the tread mill the next two weeks. Followed by running 2 x 800 on the treadmill the next two weeks. In the marathon training, I’ll be attempting 800’s. So, I’ll get a start on that before Rock n Roll San Diego.

My big question was what to do with my long runs. I could have opted to run the 15 miles and had 2 weeks with shorter long runs. However, I think by getting up to 17 miles in the long runs for this cycle will turn out better for me not only on race day at Rock n Roll San Diego, but in launching me into NYC Marathon training. The last time I finished a 15 mile training run was December 13, 2014, while training for the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon.  I haven’t run a 17 mile run since September 27, 2015, while preparing for the 2015 Chicago Marathon. That run, however, was supposed to be much longer and I cut it short. My last scheduled 17 mile run that I actually completed was on July 25, 2015…again for Chicago. So, it would be great to do those distances just to prove to myself that I can. Plus, I can use my 11, 13, 15 and 17 mile long runs in this training cycle to measure up against what I do with those distances in the next training cycle. Hopefully, it will show progress.

So, where does that leave me on my goals for Rock n Roll San Diego? I’m deciding to wait until the week before the race to announce the final goals for the race. I feel pretty confident that I won’t be in good enough shape to hit a 2:35:00. Instead of putting out new goals now, I’m going to let these last few weeks of training dictate what those goals should be. Jeff Galloway did say in his book on mental training that one of the big defeaters for us runners is setting unrealistic goals. Yes, we want to push our limits to achieve faster times. However, if you set a time that is too much of a push, you’re setting yourself up for failure that could lead to an even slower time in your goal race. That’s why he uses the “Magic Mile” time predictor. It’s why others use Yasso 800’s. These two kinds of runs can give you a good idea of how fast you might be on race day.

A pattern on my long runs in this cycle has come out. It seems like every other long run is a bad one. If that holds true, I could be in for a great race. I mean, I had a great 7 mile run. Then, a horrible 9 mile run. Followed by a really good 11 miles. Then, the stinker 13 miles this past weekend. If the pattern holds, I should get a pretty good 15 miles and a bad 17 miles…leading into a great race weekend. Of course, that stinker 13 miles probably had more to do with lack of training in April than anything else. We shall see. For now, you should know that I’m not chasing down that 2:35:00 Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon time. On race week, I’ll have a more finalized set of goals.

However, I will be thinking about this training cycle a lot as I get myself ready for the NYC Marathon Training cycle. The next month is one where I’m looking to build momentum heading into my marathon training. If I have a strong next month, then my time at the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon can do nothing to derail my goals for the NYC Marathon. I will post a final set of goals for the Rock n Roll San Diego Half Marathon during race week. I’ll have an A, B, and C goal for this race.  So, before you think I’m feeling sorry for myself, it is possible that I could still have that 2:35:00 half marathon goal. Right now, however, that time looks less likely than it did a month ago. Time will tell. I am approaching this month as one where I’m going to work hard to improve because I’ll need that as I get ready for the NYC Marathon. It’s going to be an interesting month.

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