Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Training at marathon pace: Goal - Negative split each mile

16 Week Marathon Training Plan - Week 6 - Day 3

Today's run was another marathon pace run. I've been trying to keep steady during those runs and to keep the pace up around 7:20 or so. The weather this morning was cool and I knew that would mean my pace would probably be a little faster than previous marathon pace runs.

I warmed up with a little over a mile run to the starting point of the main set of marathon pace miles. By the time I got to the first mile marker I was right at 7:00 minutes per mile. That was a bit faster than I wanted to go, but this morning my goal was to negative split every other mile so on the next mile I was at 6:58. The negative split the next two miles by about 10 seconds and the last 2 miles by another 5 seconds.

These marathon pace runs are fun but can be a bit boring when done on a 1 mile out and back route. To make things interesting this morning I added the goal of negative splitting every other mile. That truly helped break up the monotony of running out and back on the same route and I was able to get a little better at pacing myself as well.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How to Make the Best out of a Boring Run

16 Week Marathon Training Plan - Week 6 - Day 2

I ran another route by guessing the distance based on the total time running this morning. I knew the route I wanted to go, and I decided to turn for home after 20 minutes to get a 40 minute run in. If all went according to plan, I would average an easy pace of 8:00/mile and after 40 minutes I would hit my goal of 5 miles for the morning. It was a total success… kind of. I picked up the pace on the way home to negative split the run so I knew if I followed the exact route I had gone out on I wouldn’t finish the 40 minutes, much less the 5 miles. So I altered the route home by taking the long way around the park and that turned out to be a great decision. I ended up with 5 miles exactly and the run was over before I knew it.

Heading out for a timed run and paying attention to your pace to try and guess the distance ran can take some of the monotony out of running. I wouldn’t suggest doing it on important training runs where the focus on pace is crucial, but I think it is good to do on some of the easy runs where you’re just looking to get some minutes on your legs instead of really worrying to much about the actual distance.

Monday, September 20, 2010

How to run exact distances without GPS.

16 Week Marathon Training Plan - Week 6 - Day 1

Today I tried to guess my way through the scheduled training run of 7 miles. I ended up just short with 6.8 miles but it was nice not to have a planned route to run. I tried to keep the pace even during the run, but the first 16 minutes were tough because my legs felt thick, sluggish, and generally slow. I know I was slower for the first couple of miles because everything felt more efficient towards the second half of the run which normally means my pace is somewhere around 7:45 or just under 8:00

I was glad to see the weather was just as cool as it had been during the weekend. I think that is bringing more and more people out into the early hours of the morning to get their exercise in for the day. It is good not to be the only one out on the trail suffering through a few miles. I love seeing the packs of 10-15 runners that are there together. They are segmented into groups based on ability. It is all very nice and neat. They have planned routes, aid stations, and conversations about anything you can think of. I want to run with those big packs on some mornings and I plan on joining a running club here soon. I’m thinking of the Dallas Running Club or maybe a triathlon club to get heading in the right direction for multisport racing next season.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself though. Right now the goal is to complete the marathon and have a good time doing it. At least I’ll be running with the big pack that day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How to beat the mental game of running

16 Week Marathon Training Plan - Week 5 - Day 7

This has been a good week of running. I took an extra day of rest on Friday and I'm thinking I might continue to do the same thing at least the next couple of weeks. I like having the extra day off before my long run, and next week's long run is set at 16 miles so that extra day might be just what I need.

Today I ran 6 miles with 6 x 100 meter sprints. I took the sprints hard and took the recovery very easy. It was good to shake the legs out during those 6 miles, even when the first mile was very sluggish.

The 2010 Dallas White Rock Marathon is now 11 weeks away and I am happy with the way the training is going. The coming week will be packed with easy miles, some faster than others.

Just like today's run, it seems like a week of quality training can start of slow. The key to excelling is to push through the sluggishness of the first couple of weekly training days so that by the end of the week you are in good form and strong enough to go farther and faster than the training schedule dictates.

Some have said the marathon is 80% mental and 20% physical. Realizing training runs will suck from time to time is a good place to start getting past the mental aspect. Getting out there and running even when it sucks will help you get through the physical.

Triathlon Training Log Image from Dailymile

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Running long and recovering fast

16 Week Marathon Training Plan - Week 5 - Day 6

The "Long Run" is crucial to training for long distance races, or so I've read. It makes sense though; if you want to race long, you need to train long. The goal is not only to get some serious distance under your feet and legs, but also to put some minutes and hours under them as well.

Today I set out on a 14 mile route I had run in the past. I felt like I had a faster pace than my previous time to run the route. The weather was cooler than it had been and I made sure to get started before the sun came up so I'd finish in relatively cool weather.

This long run felt good. Much better than the 10 miles I ran last Saturday. The only preparation I made sure I completed was to drink plenty of water on Thursday and Friday because my issue with dehydration last week sucked and I didn't want to go down that path again.

Another thing I think that helped with this long run was that I took both Thursday and Friday off. Thursday was a planned rest day, but Friday I had a 4 mile run scheduled. I felt like taking an extra day would mean I would be fresh enough to keep good form through the run, even if the temperature started to rise. I was right. The run felt great and I'm thinking the extra time off might be something to think about for next week.

Friday, September 17, 2010

16 Week Marathon Training Plan - Week 5 - Day 5

I had 4 miles on the plan today but ended up sleeping in and getting an extra day of rest before my long run tomorrow. I feel terrible skipping workouts but I figure as long as I am consistent for 5 of the 6 days I run throughout the week I should be good. I also make sure I don’t skip a pace specific workout like a Marathon Pace training run or the all important Long Run.

This morning I laid in bed browsing the web on my iPhone reading articles and blogs written by people on the subject of skipping running workouts. It seems like a lot of people skip training runs for one reason or another but the resounding message was that unless you are sick, you should be able to skip 1 or 2 days and pick up where you left off.

However, if you let your training lapse for a week or more you need to ease back into the training where you left off and then slowly increase your mileage to where you can then skip a couple of days to get caught back up and on track. As long as you don’t make a habit of skipping multiple weeks, I don’t think it will make too much of an impact on your end result.

The key is to make sure you stick to listening to your body, take a day or two off when needed, and have fun. Once you lose the fun, well then its just work, and work sucks.

  Sunday run in the rain.