At this point, the Long Beach Marathon is legend. I look back fondly at my journey through the streets of Long Beach and laugh at all the trials and tribulations. That means that I'm probably ready to take an honest view of what worked and what didn't.
(1) Long runs. Many of them. All in all, I put in 2 20 milers and 4 other runs over 16 miles. And dozens of runs over 10 miles. This time I had the confidence that the distance would not be a problem.
(2) Multiple dress rehearsals. I put in three runs that I would classify as full dress rehearsals. Wore the clothes that I wore on Marathon day. Down to the same socks and shoes. Practiced everything (except drinking on the run).
(3) Fuels and electrolytes: No cramping this time. So the gels and Endurolytes worked. Also, my last dress rehearsal let me know I needed more electrolytes than one capsule every 30 minutes.
(4) Miles. And more miles. Long slow ones. 750 of them. While they didn't make me fast, they gave me the confidence that despite my lat marathon experience, 26.2 miles was within my grasp.
(5) Fueling strategy. I said this before. Breaking this race into a series of 3 mile runs was key.
(1) 24 week training plan. Too long. Somewhere around week 16 or so I was ready for it to be over.
(2) Pfitzinger. Just too much for this new runner in an old body. About the same time I was burning out, I was also breaking down. Spent the last 5 or 6 weeks continually tired. I thought that having two rest days a week would be good, but the grind of the medium long runs during the week got to me.
When I look at the list above, there is only one thing that really stands out. 24 weeks of Pfitzinger. Just too many miles for too long for me. Interestingly, I didn't break down physically (well, except for two weeks of the creeping grunge), but mentally I was toast.
Albert Enstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And he seemed like a pretty bright guy. So it's time to make a few adjustments.
The big change is that I'm going to go back to Hal Higdon. I had good results with his plans in the past. I'll start with his Advanced-I Marathon Plan. The big differences are 18 weeks, and only one day a week off. With Higdon, recovery occurs using short runs (3 - 4 miles) instead of the extra day off and long recovery runs.
Then, somewhere around the midpoint, I do a reality check and see how I feel. If I still feel good, I'll continue down the path. If not, I'll step back to his Intermediate-II Marathon Plan. One of my FB/Twitter friends followed this course for Chicago and whacked about an hour off her marathon time.
For now, it's back to recovery (3 easy miles last night).