Friday, January 15, 2010

Sub-forty. No. Yellow. Aaaaaaauugh!


Racing season 2010 begins tomorrow with the Snowflake 10K in Flushing, MI. I'm really not sure what to expect, and my training program can't seem to make up its mind any better.

Part of that may be because the training plan has figured out I'm nuts. The program is one I downloaded from the British Web site of Runner's World. It's designed to sync up with the Global Positioning System/heart rate monitor that I religiously employ to boss me around in the simple, low-tech, freeing activity of running to help me run half as fast as Paavo Nurmi did in the 1920s, flying by the seat of his enormous bloomers. You plug in a date and goal pace for your marathon, and it gives you a plan you can then download into your Garmin. I want to post a Boston Marathon-qualifying time at the Martian Marathon in April. That's 3:30, already a wee ambitious for a guy whose best marathon on a very short resume is a 3:43, so of course I entered a slightly faster goal time yet for insurance's sake (at the slightest hint of an injury, I'm backing off). (Der.) Why should my plan take me seriously?

So here I am finishing out Week Four, and it's time for a 10K test. The Riverbend Striders were very cooperative, scheduling their race to fit my needs. So I'll run 6.2 miles. Got it. How fast? Pfft. Like I said, my program can't make up its mind.

The calendar part of the plan suggests I aim for a sub-40 finish (6:26 per mile); this is not going to happen. The pace chart on the same Web page suggests a 6:51 pace (for a 42:33 finish, which is about what the McMillan Running chart, from a whole 'nother training program {which I'm not linking you to because it comes up playing music that busts you for reading blogs at work}, says I should be capable of if I want to keep deluding myself about qualifying for Boston); this is slightly more reasonable, or would be if it weren't January. And then it loaded the race into my Garmin with a goal pace between 6:51 and 7:11 (bringing me home at anywhere from 42:33 to 44:38).

I'm glad I didn't pay to get the souvenier shirt in this race, because I have a feeling I'd show up and they'd offer me a short-sleeved blue one; or a long-sleeved yellow one; or a white tech one; or a gray hoodie; or ...

5 comments:

Jim Smith II said...

Could you go back to the bit about using the UK version of RW... I mean I know most of our races in the states are in Kilometers, but wouldn't the US version work ;-)

Jef Mallett said...

Okay, this might be broadcasting too much about myself, especially after all those jokes in Trizophrenia about my dad's cheapness: The plan on the UK site was free.

Liz said...

I suppose there's something philosophical in that. Training plans don't train for you. You still have to put in every stride yourself, and your body still gets the overriding vote if it doesn't feel like conforming to schedule. The general outcome of most runs is the same regardless of numbers. So why should the plans make sense? Is it important if they don't?

JohnQ. said...

How about you chuck the technology and just run like hell?

Jim Smith II said...

Jef, that's hilarious! I totally get it though.

JohnQ - I get your point too, but I just like the data too much. I want to see the improvement (or not), I like knowing what I did, etc. Nope, it can be a pain, but I'll keep the Tech...