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Monday, May 2, 2016

Toronto Marathon: Post Race Navel Gazing

Doing the Splits

Misery loves company.

Looking at my splits, it's pretty clear that there are a lot of people whose pace drops off during a marathon.  Sure we all talk a good game about negative splits, but really, most people have a hell of a drop-off after the halfway point.


Split 1 is seriously net downhill, but 5:03/km is pretty darn fast.  Placing 448th.

Split 2 was flat with a tailwind... things got bad, felt like hell, 5:25/km.  A very precipitous drop in pace, and yet my placing actually improved to 443rd!  Picked up a whopping 7 spots in my category!

Split 3 was flat with an awful headwind, I went right off and struggled to keep it under 6:00/km pace... and yet I barely lost a place, going 449th (ie. right in line with where I was at split 1).  Held by category placing, and actually improved my gender placing!

This tells me:
- Most people at marathons are as unprepared/dumb as me
- Men are likely even worse for it than women

Insanity, Specificity, Weight

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.

My 2010 post-marathon blog post:
It seems to come down to this: up to the half marathon, I can get away with 2-3 runs a week (one long, one tempo, one other) and enough of the cycling fitness carries over to still be able to improve and do well. But for the full marathon, there is a wall you can't get over without the big running mileage
Then I tried the Furman First plan in 2013, which calls for 3 runs per week, and had the same miserable end to the marathon.

And now, in 2016, what did I do?  Ran the long runs, did a tempo or two each week, and biked a lot... and expected that to carry me to a PB!

Surprise - it didn't.  Specificity matters.  If I want to run fast over 42.2km I need to do run-specific training leading up to it.

And then there is weight...

2013 post-marathon Jono, what do you think?

But ultimately I think the bigger factor is still weight... I don't think I can pull off a 3:35 without dropping some pounds

Wow, you're smart, you'll definitely do better in 2016!

Except I didn't lose the weight, and didn't improve.

I know all of these things but for some reason I expect something magical to happen on race day and carry me through... I forget just how bad it feels when the legs stop moving nicely and freely and start lurching and protesting.  Those last 10km are never going to be easy, but I think with additional running mileage (read: less biking!) and less weight to carry around I could overcome them and PB.

... if I'm willing to lay off the biking, I should try it sometime.  Right now, I'm not.

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