One of the frustrating parts of the marathon is that there are so many moving pieces, you can execute a flawless plan and still encounter the unexpected. While I am by no means disappointed with my performance at VCM, I am still naturally inclined towards the error analysis, the “what happened.”
By the time Christine and I had showered and made it to the barbeque, we’d both come up with the same conclusion about our training cycle: not enough miles at MP and not enough tempo work in general. While we were good about adding marathon pace into our long runs, we weren’t doing enough miles at the pace (maximum of 6) and we stopped doing tempo runs right around the time of New Bedford.
From a mileage perspective, I had consistent mileage, but no real peaks and cut back weeks. Because of school and MCAT preparations, I never got the 3-1 ratio that I typically follow. Instead, I ran a consistent 55 to 60 miles a week for almost 16 weeks. In the next cycle, I want to focus on ramping up miles for 3 weeks, then getting a true cutback week instead of steady mileage.
The only controllable error on race day was my pace. While the first mile was right on, I think the overall pace in the first few miles was a tad too fast. I averaged a 6:47 pace through mile 10, when the goal pace should have been more like 6:52 to 6:55. While this doesn’t seem like a major difference, I suspect it was the reason things fell apart in the later miles. The slight increase in effort between a 6:52 and a 6:47 likely taxed my legs just enough to introduce me to the wall. Perhaps a more telling statistic is that my average pace went from 6:47 to a final 7:05, most of which occurred over the last 6 miles.