I was having a hard time choosing between the Miami Marathon and the Disney Marathon. I liked the idea of running through the amusement parks and I liked the size of Disney ( 60,000 !! ). Another thing I liked about Disney was that they provide transportation from the airport to the hotel, and hotel to the race. It would be nice to not have to worry about those logistic details on the day of the race. I also thought the weather in Orlando would be better than Miami. Personally I'd rather deal with cooler than ideal than hotter than ideal, and Disney would provide that. So, with all those things in favor of the Disney race, why did I chose Miami ? Timing. The Miami race is 3 weeks later. As I've been reading more and more about the training required and the toll on your body of the race itself, I think the extra 3 weeks will allow me to build my distance slower and allow for more rest days, and some time for recovery if something goes awry between now and then.
My plan is to do a long run tonight of 18 miles at a slightly slower pace than my target marathon pace. Assuming I can walk tomorrow, I'll sign up then and make my travel plans. I've been reading a book on marathon training by Tom Holland, called The Marathon Method. I like it so far and it seems to give a breif overview of a number of useful topics. I'm only halfway through, but think it's a worthwhile read if you're thinking of trying a marathon. Another source I've been using lately is the Runners World Forums. There's lots of people there, with lots of experience so it's possible to get lots of good info there. The only problem there is that you have to spend a little time to get to know the characters. I've spent some time on other forums and found that there are some people who are more knowledgable and helpful than others. Some just pursue their own agenda, and some are just ornery. My initial impression of this forum is very positive. The frequent posters there seem to be willing to help and also seem to know their stuff..
Now, back to tonight's run. I'm a little unsure about the ideal pace to run my long runs at. Most of the training literature I've seen says that your long runs should be at a pace about a minute per mile slower than your actual race pace. This is going to be hard for me. Even when training for my half marathon I didn't like to go slow on the long days. I like to push hard, and go fast. I also know that I have a history of getting injurred, so I recognize the need to back off the gas pedal a little. For my last long run of 15 miles, I ran it at my MP ( marathon pace ). Tonight I will back off a little bit and run 8:40 per mile for the first 6 miles, then 8:20 for the next 6 miles, and then my marathon pace of 8:00 for the last 6. From what I can tell, the downside to doing your long runs too fast is that it requires time off to recover that you can't afford, and it can lead to over use injuries. I'll let you know tomorrow if those issues are a problem.....just don't stop running !