Claire posted a question recently about how I was able to run consistent mile splits in a race a long time ago. I never answered her comment, because she and I started a different conversation, but last night's workout has me wondering the same thing.
In reality, I think that being able to run consistently paced miles on the road comes from one thing - doing lots and lots of miles on the road. I wish there was a better answer, but if there is, I don't know it.
The race I was talking about was in the fall of 1990. That was one of the 4 years in the past 23 where I've run 2400 or more miles in a year. Interestingly enough, those 4 years were done in pairs - 1990/1991 and 2003/2004. Anyway, the year that I ran those super-consistent miles in a 30K was the first year that I qualified for Boston. And, in the three months up to and including that 30K, my monthly mileages were 248, 272, and 267. This year, I've gone over 250 miles exactly once. Last year, I didn't do it at all. In looking back at my logs, I ran 252 miles this May, and the last time I ran over 250 miles in a month was June of 2004 - just before I ran Hardrock.
Consistency is something I seem to be lacking these days, at least in my pace and my miles. So, where am I going with this?
Well, last night was another MP workout. The plan was a 2-mile warm-up, 4 miles at 7:55 pace, and then a 2-mile cooldown. My mile splits were 7:56, 7:46, 7:53, and 7:35. In the last mile, I deliberately pushed a bit, so I'm not concerned about that split. But, my ability to pace myself evenly is just not there right now. Those splits might not look really inconsistent, but for a marathon, that's too much variation. If I wasn't wearing a Forerunner, I might be even less consistent.
In looking at my training miles since I started my Western States taper, my mileage base isn't really strong either. I've only run one 40+ mile week since the start of July, although I've had a few weeks just under 40 miles. I'm wondering if my current training plan is going to be enough to run a 3:30 marathon. I just don't know if I'm running enough miles to get to where I need to be. And, the only way for me to increase my miles right now and maintain my quality work would be to ditch my lifting. I don't want to do that, but I also don't want to fail at my marathon.
I have some thinking to do, I guess. I still have about 8-9 weeks of quality training time before my marathon. I may need to focus more on increasing my running miles rather than lifting 2x-3x per week.
Speaking of lifting, I did an upper body workout this morning and felt OK. I did the same workout as Monday but didn't increase any weights from Monday.
Because last night's workout felt OK from a leg perspective, I think I'm going to do Yasso 800s tomorrow - 8 of them. Then, I'll do a MP workout on Tuesday and then take it easy for a couple days into a 5K next weekend. I want to use that 5K as a test to see if I'm making progress on the Daniels' VDOT chart.