My taper for the NJ marathon has officially begun, as I just wrapped up a 21 miler.
I would say that my "real" training for the NJ Marathon started last summer, when I first decided to train for a 3:40-- the Boston Qualifying time for my age group. Since then, I have had bad luck with getting sick and bad weather at races so I haven't really been able to "showcase" my hard work.
My average mileage in November-December was about 50 miles per week. It included a half marathon PR of 1:48:43 and a 5K PR at 23:22. Neither of these times indicated that a BQ was possible, but I gave it my best shot at the Rock 'N Roll Arizona marathon. Had the weather not been so hot, I think I probably could have pulled off a 3:45, but instead I bonked and ended up walking most of the last 10 miles.
It took me three weeks after that marathon to feel recovered enough to resume normal marathon training. I decided that I would try to average 55 MPW instead of 50, and peak at 61 instead of 56.
Week of 2/15: 52.0
Week of 2/23: 57.0 (long run of 20)
Week of 3/2: 58.5
Week of 3/9: 61.0 (long run of 20.5)
Week of 3/16: 47.1 (includes a half marathon at 1:44:04)
Week of 3/23: 58.0
Week of 3/30: 52.0
Week of 4/6: 60.0 (long run of 21)
I have been doing speed work once a week. The long tempo run used to be a staple of my marathon training program, but I removed it this time in exchange for intervals. Speed is my weakness, so I decided to do 12x400's and other shorter intervals. I've been doing my 400's at a pace of 7:04, and I did a set of 1200's earlier this week at a pace of 7:09.
To BQ or not to BQ- That is the BQuestion
Based on this training and based on my half marathon time, I am very confident about my ability to qualify for the Boston Marathon. What I am not as confident about is getting the right weather conditions. I've learned that I do best when it's completely overcast. And on a sunny day, it needs to be in the upper 30's or cooler for me not to feel like I am overheating. When I ran New Jersey in 2007, it was ideal race conditions-- about 50 and completely overcast.
If the weather is not going to be in my favor at all, there is a chance I could run the half marathon and then try for Cleveland two weeks later.