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#9303823 - 04/17/18 11:19 AM marathon strategy.
Chas, Chuck, Charles, etc. Offline
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Registered: 09/26/02
Posts: 30573
Loc: Maryland
So I'm signed up for marine corps marathon, which will be run on OCT 28 this year. My goal is to try and go for BQ. MCM isn't the ideal course for BQ, as it's a little hilly and very crowded.

Do I also sign up for Philly (NOV 16)? I'm worried that it's a little close in terms of schedule. I don't know the 3 weeks is enough to recover+prep.

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#9303866 - 04/17/18 12:01 PM Re: marathon strategy. [Re: Chas, Chuck, Charles, etc.]
dirtyS13drifta Offline
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Registered: 12/07/02
Posts: 51479
Loc: Oregon
I think it depends on your weekly milage now.

Like if you have a steep ramp up till october, you might risk peaking in october and needing time off. Like you'll probably still finish strong in Nov, but maybe not "peak".

But if you're mostly in shape (40-50 mile weeks) and just sharpening your skills/speed/etc. 3 weeks seems pretty recoverable. You won't really be doing "prep" 3 weeks out anyhow.

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#9303920 - 04/17/18 12:36 PM Re: marathon strategy. [Re: dirtyS13drifta]
Chas, Chuck, Charles, etc. Offline
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Registered: 09/26/02
Posts: 30573
Loc: Maryland
I'm hovering around 35 mile weeks right now, about to ramp up to 40-45 in the next 3 weeks or so. Rest week for me this week.
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#9303926 - 04/17/18 12:42 PM Re: marathon strategy. [Re: Chas, Chuck, Charles, etc.]
Kevin Returneth Offline
Jr Poster


Registered: 04/16/18
Posts: 184
Loc: Best Coast
I think the strategy around having [2] marathons that close together with a time goal is to decide around mile 18 or so if 'today is the day', as thats the go/no-go point to pack it in and try again at the next one.

I definitely wouldnt do both, but I'm a bitch. If prep isnt going well and theres some kind of an injury that might clear up in the delta between the races, thats one of the scenarios to punt completely on the first one. Or use the first one as a half race to evaluate fitness for the thon 3 weeks later.

Or, 2 complete shots at a BQ as you're right on the edge of where you'll be mostly recovered. But 30-45 mpw sounds like you dont do enough mileage to be completely recovered in 3 weeks unless you're really tough or something.

my random thots
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#9303933 - 04/17/18 12:54 PM Re: marathon strategy. [Re: Kevin Returneth]
Chas, Chuck, Charles, etc. Offline
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Registered: 09/26/02
Posts: 30573
Loc: Maryland
The 30-45 a week right now is more for durability than anything. I will admit I'm a bit of a glass cannon and injury prone. I'm holding back on the mileage on purpose.

The 18 mile go/no-go decision point is something I've considered as well, and may be the best approach.

Call it stupid, call it pride, but I would hate to run a marathon from the start at what I know is not my 100%.


Edited by Chas, Chuck, Charles, etc. (04/17/18 12:54 PM)

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#9303948 - 04/17/18 01:09 PM Re: marathon strategy. [Re: Chas, Chuck, Charles, etc.]
Kevin Returneth Offline
Jr Poster


Registered: 04/16/18
Posts: 184
Loc: Best Coast
I've only ever done [1], but there's a quote from Deena Kastor that might be useful. She never gets to the starting line 100%, but rather has a target to arrive at 80% [coming off a cold, allergies, injury, maybe a lull in training/who knows].

She still holds AR's from days where she was only 80%

alternatively: in a thon you never know how you actually feel/what the day has in store until the 20 mile warmup ;). It's not like a 5k or mile race where you know how critical how you 'feel' before the race matters. A thon is just a fight, and you need to be battered for a couple of hours to know really where you stand on that particular day, you might surprise yourself.

Eg just yesterday Desi wanted to step off course at mile 3 and DNF...

Unless you follow a pfitz/daniels/related plan and dont blow off all the workouts/long runs and mail it in ofc ;\) [then you pretty much know heh]
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#9303959 - 04/17/18 01:16 PM Re: marathon strategy. [Re: Kevin Returneth]
Chas, Chuck, Charles, etc. Offline
Post Master Supreme


Registered: 09/26/02
Posts: 30573
Loc: Maryland
you're absolutely right; people look at me like i'm stupid when I tell them that marathons start at mile 20.

I guess I'm pushing hard this year because of my progress the last few years:

2014: 3:40.xx
2015: 3:27.xx
2016: 3:18.xx
2017: Off

That 3:18 should have easily been sub 3:15, but I stupidly forgot to eat after mile 15 and I smacked into a wall at 21. I said it on the other running thread, but I really feel like I'm right at the edge of BQ.

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#9303971 - 04/17/18 01:21 PM Re: marathon strategy. [Re: Chas, Chuck, Charles, etc.]
Kevin Returneth Offline
Jr Poster


Registered: 04/16/18
Posts: 184
Loc: Best Coast
yea so dont mail it in and wait for race day. I forget what a 3:15 equates to [1:30 half?] but you probably want to have an indicator half race around 1:32/1:33 or so leading up to it unless you're a particularly strong runner and dont fade much.
Me I'm older so my BQ is 3:22-ish and I use 1:37 [1:34 seems safer!] as the half indicator that "I'm ready" [fitness wise] assuming I get the long runs/muscle endurance training in.

Leaving all that shit to be discovered on just race day is asking for it [not sure if you're doing this], but all those pfitz/daniels indicator workouts like 6 miles at MP with 2 miles EZ and things like that really matter.

I'm a believer in the half race as a generic indicator of fitness but I'm pretty sure it is of limited value in factoring how much you'll crater in the backhalf ;\)

your delta is only a couple minutes so you're fine. I have to reach all the way back to the 5k to have an indicator that I can BQ. I just crater in anything longer heh. Oh well, f*ck thons lol
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#9304177 - 04/17/18 06:58 PM Re: marathon strategy. [Re: Kevin Returneth]
Mrs. Ironmom Offline
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Registered: 03/12/01
Posts: 68799
Loc: Long Beach, CA
As a 2x Boston qualifier (brag!) Iíll give you my two cents.

If your sole goal is to qualify, then pick the race that gives you the best odds that are outside of your control. Course profile, weather, crowds...whatever, then put everything you have into it. There are so many marathons out there now, you could easily find another one to do if you bomb that A race but want to parlay your fitness into another attempt.
I think your 3:18 is a great indicator that you can do it. You know how to run ďfastĒ at the distance, and youíve learned from your mistakes. It took me 3 attempts to nail mine, but the third one I went in with the mentality that I was going to succeed no matter what. I didnít give myself a B goal. I trained specifically for it (didnít follow a plan or anything though) and defied conventional wisdom and ran as many miles as I could at race pace. No track workouts, no fartleks, just running every day that I could at that 7:10 or whatever pace, regardless of distance. I think I peaked at 70 miles per week.
A huge part of it is the mind game. You have to run the race on that knife edge and push through any walls you hit. Itís all in your head anyways. \:D
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#9304178 - 04/17/18 07:01 PM Re: marathon strategy. [Re: Mrs. Ironmom]
Mrs. Ironmom Offline
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Registered: 03/12/01
Posts: 68799
Loc: Long Beach, CA
Oh, and I think I might go for my 3rd BQ on the newly revealed Revel downhill course this October. Almost 6k feet of descent from the Big Bear lake area to the city of Redlands. The start is right near our Boy Scout camp, and every year we drive up there Iíve thought what a good downhill run it would be. Plus, I really like the challenge of running that far downhill and moving through the carnage in the last few miles. \:D
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