I should provide some back drop for those that will look at my times and wonder why I am so slow. My fastest marathon is 4 hours but I haven't broken 5 hours in 10+ years. The last sub 5 also was before my last knee surgery which was followed by a 20 lb weight increase which now is closer to 30. My focus instead turned towards running trails and finishing short to mid distance ultras. My theory was that as I added distance I would lose the weight and with the weight off I would get faster. It was a good theory that has been complicated with years of dealing with injuries. So this year is simply about getting my distance in without pushing hard especially on uneven surfaces (trails) which I hope will reduce my chances of injury. I also believe the run-walk method will reduce the stress on my legs as they get used to roads again, and at this point in time, I am pretty much injury free so it's working.
I am running the roads not the trails to avoid causing issues, once the snow melts I will run the trails as a few of the marathons are definitely off road. Here is the elevation profile, the route is in Rosemount and Eagan, basically I head from Rosemount via Diamond Path up Pilot Knob, down Cliff to Lexington to Wilderness to Dodd to Shannon Park.
I adhered to the run walk method regardless of going up or down hills, it was hard not to run down the hills and my ultra brain sure thought about walking up some of the hills. My plan was to run sub 13 minute pace which would be a 5 hr 40 minute marathon. Remember my goal is to finish uninjured, yes I want to go faster but first I need to have my legs fully back. I will admit that I do want to see at least 1 of the 12 marathons to be sub 5 but that will be weight, weather and day dependent. The overall pace was around 12 minute, 50 second pace and since this includes stoplights and stopping to get water bottles out of my nathan, I am having to admit that the run-walk method is working. I did struggle over the last 3 miles but I think that was as much related to the cold air, fueling that I did today. I am cutting back on gels and blocks as much as possible and am not using Heed or S-caps. I am using Nuun tablets but it seemed like after I ate some Clif Shot blocks my energy felt better. I also think part of my issue today is my legs adapting to the pounding of my weight on the pavement.
I also have a pace (blue) versus heart rate (red) chart and it shows my heart rate never going to high but going up as the miles increased. I also can see that my recovery pace as shown by the lower HR average during the walking breaks trended up as well.
So next week I will push the long run to 17 miles and use the same process. After that I will have just 2 more long runs before the first marathon. And after the first marathon no more long runs, just marathons.