Friday, April 13, 2012

Heat and Boston: Contemplating the Options

The weather forecasts are all calling for mid to upper 80s for Monday now, which obviously flat out sucks. I'm still floored at how quickly and drastically the forecast jumped up 20 degrees yesterday afternoon, but it is what it is and it's time to start thinking about what to do. 

A few options I've considered:

A) Run it easy the whole way and take no real chances. Try and enjoy it and save the legs for a possible run at the Sugarloaf Marathon next month. 

B) Take the first half easy, reevaluate, and maybe pick up the pace a little in the second half. 

C) Say #$*& it, and still try to crank it and at least go for the fastest possible time. 

The nice thing about A is it is safer, though there are no guarantees for the weather at Sugarloaf either. However, it's also kinda boring because it is safe, though I might not think that if I did really well at Sugarloaf. 

Plan B allows a safe approach as well, but what's the point, really? I would go slow, then go faster... and for what? What would that do? Shades of gray don't really seem fitting here. I think I can pretty much remove this plan from the table.

Plan C... it's a romantic notion, but a very risky one. I don't think it's supposed to be terribly humid, so a dryer heat would make a difference. Still, 84-88 degrees is #$%@ing hot and it's asking a lot. I could run shirtless, splash water on my body every aid station, drink a lot... and I could scale it back if I felt signs of trouble coming on. Almost a reverse of Plan B. But there's that chance that everything clicks and it turns out fine and I don't need to scale it back, though that's a huge gamble, but is also appealing (if not stupid). There's also a much greater risk of blowing the engine, obviously. Huge, in fact. I remember when I ran the Vermont 100 in near 90 degree weather with very high humidity and still did well, but running at a pace that's twice as fast in a road marathon makes a huge difference. 

I could still do Plan B or C and recover enough in time for Sugarloaf (if I opt to do it), but Plan C in particular would lessen the chance of me being near peak form even more on that race day and I'm already on the bubble to break three as it is. 

A few of you commented on my weather post yesterday and I appreciate the insight. Please feel free to continue to share your thoughts, it's helpful to get different perspectives and hear why. 

Oh yeah, I ran today. Uneventful. 

Ran 3.0 miles @ 7:43/mile pace. 
Paved roads. 
Slightly hilly. 
Lower 60s, sunny, windy. 
Saucony Kinvara 2, shorts, short sleeved shirt. 


middle.professor said...

definitely not B. I have completely lost my acclimation to exercise in heat, so no surprise there if you have. I ran today - 60F and sunny and at the start at least I was uncomfortably hot. Didn't really think about it much after the first mile or so though. Here are my thoughts. I am generally risk averse.

1. humidity will not be bad - that's in your favor
2. cloud cover and wind direction will matter
3. For a well acclimated runner, there should be a small effect of only 1-3 minutes. Of course, if you want to break 3H, you don't realistically have say 3 minutes. More sadly, you are not well trained in 85F.
4. It would seem that the risk of a major slow down due to heat is reasonably high.
5. This suggests to go with plan A - enjoy the race and get in a killer workout.
6. That said, how will you train for sugarloaf? How will running a marathon at ez pace effect your training next week. You usually taper 3 weeks before but you've been tapering for 3 weeks already so this would be a loooong taper. Not optimal but way better than heat.

ultimately - this is the major reason I dislike marathon racing. If you don't hit your target time for whatever reason, its very hard to just jump in another race during the same training cycle. You just have to be satisfied with the effort and move on.

Jeremy Bonnett said...

Great words Jeff.

Jamie I think with your fitness level you do well at Boston and still be able to carry over, even with an additional taper to Sugarloaf.

Judson Cake said...

Just be careful.