Marathon on Deck: Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon

logoThe second weekend in March kicked off the spring marathon season and opened with a successful run in South Carolina. It also began the cycle I wrote about in the fall: race, recover, build, taper, repeat. Over the next few months, I’m excited to participate in some interesting events:

  • March 30: Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon
  • April 12: Garden Spot Half Marathon (Official pacer, 1:45 group)
  • April 21: The Boston Marathon
  • May 3: Deca Dash 5K
  • May 18: Sugarloaf Marathon
  • June 8: Ironman 70.3 Eagleman

Yup, a marathon. This weekend. Already. Eeeeeek.

There was only three short weeks between Columbia and Knoxville, so my primary concern after Columbia was recovery. I spent the week following the race running slow recovery miles, swimming, biking and resting. Nevermind triathlon training and double workouts at that point-  I needed to maintain endurance and recover quickly. When week two of recovery rolled around, my goal was to get in a short speed workout and a faster paced medium long run before my final taper week. I completed a short track workout with some speedy 800s to see how it felt to pick up the pace, and a speedy/hilly 15 miler on Saturday. I’m running mainly recovery miles all week to prepare for Sunday’s marathon, with the exception of my final key workout: a seven mile run with two miles at goal marathon pace.

I went to Columbia knowing I wanted to run aggressively to determine where my fitness was, particularly on a hilly course. Columbia had a total elevation gain of 1,002 feet, and Boston has a total gain of 783 feet. Columbia was a good test to see if I could throw down on some hills. I’d like to run Boston a little more aggressively, though Boston is a tricky race to target for a PR. I know the course well, but it’s easy to go out too fast and burn out your legs early in the race. There’s also the late start time. I won’t start running until 10:25 am that day, so if the weather is going to be hot I’ll be running during the peak of it (which ended up being 90+ degrees in 2012). I’m hoping to run harder in Boston and Sugarloaf and just see what happens. I have some goals in mind, but I also realize I’m running a bunch of races in a short time frame so my primary focus will be recovery.

As for the Knoxville Marathon looming in the very near future, I am certainly not racing it. I’ve run the past few races with time goals in mind. I spent much of the fall season injured so when I finally could race, I didn’t want to hold back. Once I recovered from my last fall marathon, I added several shorter distance races to my schedule with the intention of racing them as tune up races (the Fred Lebow Half Marathon, Super Bowl Sunday 10K, and Quakertown 10 miler). I really wanted to get some hilly miles under my belt running because I know the marathons I chose for the spring were much hillier than the races I completed in the fall.

So as for Knoxville, no racing. I realize I keep repeating myself, but it’s because I need to hear it! I’m going to be tempted to run aggressively since I’m going down with some speedy friends that will be running hard that day, so the challenge with this race is going to be holding back. If I feel good on Sunday, the plan is to negative split the course as preparation for Boston. In Knoxville, I’m hoping to run about an eight minute mile for the first half of the race – mainly to practice running that pace to prepare for my debut as a pacer at the Garden Spot Half Marathon. After the half-marathon point, I am planning to gradually pick up the pace and try to run a few miles at goal marathon pace after mile 20. Or maybe not. I’m honestly more concerned with going slower for this race as preparation for Boston and Sugarloaf. I have no goal time for Knoxville, and my only goal is to check Tennessee off of my list and complete a long run. As my friends say, a “catered training run”. I’m excited!


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