Lessons learned from Baltimore

As I've mentioned, I came away from the Baltimore Marathon with a lot of things to say. I wanted to keep my race report to the point and focus on how I felt at the time – I had to let things sink in, as well as taking time to celebrate getting a sub-4 marathon. It's important to me to write these things down to make the next race experience of any distance even better.

Study the course map

I knew Baltimore had hills, but I got overconfident that my constant hill running would make those hills look small. That's partly true, but the hills in the marathon were a lot different. They were longer in distance with gradual climbs; while the hills I usually run on have a steeper grade, they're not as long when it comes to distance. Just look at the first few miles of my Garmin data with that steady climb.

Had I looked at the map closer, I would have ran more mountains or found roads that had hills longer than a half mile.

Longer short runs

If When I train for a marathon again, I need to incorporate the "middle" distances more. While training in the heat was highly beneficial this summer, I didn't have enough distances in the 6-8 mile range. I definitely had benefits of doing doubles a few times, but from an endurance perspective, I need more longish runs mid-week.

Cross training

I still need to cross train more, especially with weights. I have drastically improved my routine with core work and some weights at least once a week, but I need to do it twice a week. All that made a huge difference this time around, but I believe with more I’ll only be stronger in the final miles.

Start even slower

I need to start farther back. I still feel like I ran the race I wanted to – I didn’t start too fast and I never felt like I hit a wall. However, I wish I had started a little farther back to slow down a little bit more in the first few miles. My first 3 miles were 10-15 slower than my goal pace at 8:36, 8:35 and 8:45, but I feel like I should have been a little slower. Between mile 3 and 4, I passed the 3:40 group, who I thought was going too slow, but obviously they were doing something right.

I should have started near the 4-hour pace group and been more conservative. I can't beat myself up for that – with the way the wind was that day coupled with my cold, I don’t know if that would have made any difference with how I felt around mile 22.

Wind training?

I need to train in the wind. In the fall and winter that's easy, but in the calmer summer months I'm not sure what to do.

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So there you have it. There are no failures with running -- it's always about learning lessons and make it better next time around. As for "what's next," I'll have a post on that ... eventually.