After a couple days of reflecting, this year’s Fargo Marathon turned out to be a big learning experience for me. While I’ve spent several marathons refining aspects of training, preparation and racing tactics, there’s always something to learn in the ongoing experiment of one.
For instance, I’ll be checking humidity for future races, and treating it much like a warm weather. The higher the humidity, the more premium I’ll put on hydrating early in a race.
But there was a big lesson No. 2: speed work wins out over endurance.
Last year, heading into Grandma’s Marathon and the Chicago Marathon, I had a heavy dose of twice-weekly speed drills and long weekend runs. The result was 2 very big personal records.
Even an injury leading up to Chicago didn’t slow me much.
Training plans leading up to February’s Surf City had me scheduled to do more of the same, but various factors hurt my endurance training. The result was a 3-minute drop from Chicago and a much needed break from hard speed workouts. During the latest buildup, I ratcheted up mileage, though painful, but skipped the fast stuff. Another 3-minute drop.
All things being equal, quality speed work – long intervals and tempo runs – wins out over simple distance in my book. Mix fast and long in a solid training cycle, and there’s reason to go into a marathon expecting good results.
One of the best parts of my marathon Saturday is walking away learning from the race, and believing my best racing is still ahead of me.