After taking the last from running, I finally hit the road again this morning. I opted for the lonely and lazy way out and ran by myself at the San Gabriel River Trail around 9:30 this morning. Most of the CA Cruiser are running a half marathon in north San Diego County. It was a coolish, less than 60 degree, overcast morning. Which is in stark contrast to the wonderfully sunny, high 70 degree day we had yesterday. It must have been great bike riding weather, because there were more bikers on the trail than I remember seeing.
I ran 10 miles on a double out and back route on the bike way. The first 9 were at 9:20 pace; the last 1 was barefoot at 11:51. I got three comments this morning about running barefoot. I've been running my last mile barefoot since Christmas on the trail and this is the first anyone's ever commented.
The big debate at the moment is what training plan should I use. I've got the Illinois Marathon in 6 weeks and then the Missoula Marathon 10 weeks after that. I'm still chasing the sub 4:00, but don't know if either of these will be the one. Missoula probably offers the best shot for that.
For Austin a couple of weeks ago I used the three day a week approach of the FIRST system. I enjoyed the speed work and tempo runs midweek but the long runs never did come together. For me those are the best predictor of marathon performance and true to form Austin was slow.
The last time I was able to break the 4:00 barrier was at the Des Moines Marathon in October 2009. I was using Bart Yasso's training program from Runner's World and his book "My Life on the Run". A year later, still using Yasso's plan I ran a disappointing race at the Twin Cities marathon. Thinking I was over training and not recovering from the 5 day a week schedule I switched to FIRST. So far it hasn't lived up to its promise at least for me. I like the three day approach but I worry that the mileage just isn't enough. With Yasso's plan I topped out at 50 miles a week. On the FIRST plan I topped out at 30 miles or running combined with 2 days of cross training on the bike, elliptical or stairs at the gym.
What to do for these next two has been on my mind for the last week or so. Although I'm tempted to go back to Yasso, I think I'm going to give FIRST another shot. I'll train through Illinois, running with Joe at his pace, and then give it a go at Missoula. It would be fun to go sub 4:00 on the last day before I jump age groups.
There's never a shortage of things to ponder and obsess over as a runner. Let's just hope I can stay healthy through it all.