I plan to kick-off my 2013-14 running season with the TCS 10K on 19th May and hope to end it with the Boston marathon on 21st April 2014 (assuming I get a place when the registration opens in early September 2013). Between these two events I plan to run the Hyderabad Full marathon in August, 50Km at the Bangalore Ultra in November and the Mumbai marathon in January 2014. I might optionally run HMs at Mysore in October and Auroville in February 2014. Unlike last year when I took a complete break from cardio exercises for 7 weeks after the HM at Auroville, this year I continued exercising with between 4 and 6 cycling/running sessions per week after the 2012-13 season ending Auroville HM in February 2013. I did this without a concrete training plan or goal with weekly running mileage being below 35Kms and cycling mileage varying between 45 and 65Km. Since the 2nd week of March I did run a fastish, tempo paced 10K every Tuesday just for self-confidence. During this period I did just one run beyond 20Km. While taking a short break from running is good and helps the body recover from any injuries or muscle micro tears, this year I felt the necessity of continuing to run - in order not to let my fitness level degrade much, keep the self-confidence and also help manage the stress of work and personal life. I have got used to my life being anchored by training for one event or another and feel more stressed out than usual when not doing so - assume this is what addiction is about. I was also paranoid about not putting on much weight. With a lot of hard work and self control I had managed to bring down my weight to what I think is my optimal racing weight of 55Kgs and I was hoping to keep it close to that at the start of training for the new season. Despite a bit of travel and eating out regularly I managed to keep my weight below 57Kgs.
Even when running without a time goal I still needed to have my Garmin - another addiction - and did keep looking at it periodically. I put together my 10K training plan with an ambitious target of 42:55 - over 3 minutes faster than my PB in TCS 10K 2011. The intent was to start training from week 8 of the 12 weeks FIRST training program from the week of 25th March. My 1st training workout was a 4 x 400m intervals with a timing target of 1:28 - I struggled to do those between 1:35 to 1:40. I blamed this on the fact that I had not done intervals since the 2nd week of January and that I was doing this in EGL rather than the tracks. The 6.5K run at short tempo pace of 4:16 was a real disaster - I could not sustain that pace beyond the first 3 Kms. That is when I realised that my target was unrealistic and if I continued with it my chances of getting injured would be very high. So I tuned the weekend long run of 16K for a 10K target time of 43:55 - which meant a pace of 4:41 per Km. I could not achieve that as well - I ended the 16K with an average pace of 4:52Km - for the first time in the last year or so all 3 key training runs of the week were below par. There were perhaps many factors for this - the hot weather, jumping into the middle of a rigorous training program at the start of the season, general fatigue due to not having taken any time off from running etc. .Nevertheless,I further revised my 10K target to 44:20 and tuned my training program accordingly. From the FIRST race prediction/equivalent performance at different distances table I found that the 10K equivalent time for a 3:37:20 marathoner is 46:44. Or looking at it the other way a 42:55 10K runner should be able to a marathon in 3:20 - this re-confirmed the fact that I had started with a completely unrealistic goal for 10K. Having trained for and run a number of marathons I know for sure that the 3:37:20 that I did in SCMM 2013 is close to the best I will ever do - perhaps I could bring it down to 3:35 at best. And knowing fully well that I am more a longer distance runner of moderate pace than a fast paced runner for short distances I would be happy to beat my PB 10K timing of 45:57 and very satisfied if I can go sub 44:30. The 2nd week of training was a bit better but still not completely on target even for the re-revised goal. The left glutes, left calf and the left sole are all playing truant once I restarted the hard training. Hopefully supplemented with stretching, foam roller exercises and strengthening I should be able to sustain the train over the next 6 weeks. If needed I may cut back even further on the intensity as 10K timing is not very critical for me. The key goal this season is to stay injury free and keep my FM timings to below 3:40 and as close to 3:38 as possible till April 2014!!