state of confusion

From part of my Saturday long run on the Summer Streets:

Yep, Mr. Garmin was a pretty confused fella around the Grand Central viscinity, and thats not even all of it.  (He seemed confused around 72nd street and around City Hall Park too.)  And it seemed like there were a lot of confused people in the streets…primarily the bikers who decided to move into the pedestrian lane?  You all know my fear of bikers, now I was even more terrified!  I know it was partially my fault for hitting the snooze button one too many times…but still! 🙂  Anyways, approximately 8 miles of my long run were in the streets…then took it to the park and over to the west side highway for the remainder.  And even though I intended to do 18-19, actually wound up with 20 (I guess I wanted to do a little bit more just in case Mr. Garmin shortchanged me with the distance on Summer Streets.)  Was fine, except I think I needed to take 3 gels instead of 2…and the weather was beautiful!!  Gotta love looking like you were at the beach instead of running 😛

And on the topic of long runs, guess thats where I am confused too.  I was told that I am doing my long runs too slow and that I need to run them at marathon pace and thats why I’m struggling to hit 3:40.  (though had the DNF not happened last year, I probably would have gotten it…but at this point I’ll never know!)  To be honest, this summer it’s been a struggle just to get the miles in, let alone running the long runs faster.  And even though the weather was nice on Saturday, I don’t think I could have held 8:15-8:20’s for 20 miles…my legs were tired from some quality workouts this past week!  And just judging from past experience…

  • In 2006, I ran the 18-mile tune-up at an 8:48 pace…so I guess you can say I “raced” it.  Although I felt good that day, my legs were trashed for days afterwards-I couldn’t do any speedwork, and all my runs were slogs.  And as it turned out, my actual MP on race day was 9:06…
  • And in said marathon (NYC 2006), which was my first-I didn’t hit the wall at all, even though I hadn’t gone beyond 20 miles in training.  Only lost 2 minutes and change in the 2nd half (which apparently for the NYC course, is an even split.)  Mile 26 was one of my fastest miles of the race!
  • When I ran my marathon PR in NYC 2008-I had an initial goal time of 3:50, with 3:45 as a “stretch goal.”  Most of my long runs were in the 9-9:30 pace range, only one long run was at MP-13.1 at Grete’s…which actually was sorta unplanned.  And obviously, I got my goal as I ran 3:44.  Once again, only lost 2 minutes and change in the 2nd half-and mile 26 was my 3rd fastest mile of the race (only miles 2 and 3 were faster-and I believe both of them included the downhill ramp on the Verazzano!)
  • As for last year…well can’t really talk about it, marathon-wise.  But you know, I didn’t do a single training run at 7:27 pace-so how the heck was I able to hold it for 13.1 miles?

So I’ve been sorta going by the rule to do long runs 60-90 secs slower than MP, as the point is to build endurance, time on your feet.  And I thought that paid off in both marathons I finished as I felt strong at the end and not like I was gonna bonk.  Any MP work I did was in shorter runs.  I didn’t want my legs to get so trashed from doing long runs too fast that I couldn’t do any quality workouts during the week.   But am I going about everything all wrong?  And with 8 weeks left to go, 5 long runs til taper time (well actually 4, as one of them will be the 20K race), is there time to fix things if need be?  Hence me being so confused…

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9 thoughts on “state of confusion

  1. I always my slow runs faster than “the book” says. I have tried several programs and haven’t seen one that advocates repeated long runs at MP. Even FIRST has the long runs at MP+15 or so until the taper starts. If you do all of them that fast, might burnout the legs…. I aimed for MP+30 and even that got hard the longer the training went on.

  2. Well, as they say, if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I truly believe you need to believe in yourself a little more. The mind game goes a long ways in a race – which explains what happened in Philly last year. You believed in it!

    That being said, perhaps throw a couple MP miles in a long run to spice it up. Or even a few slightly faster miles – I find sometimes that can help jar the mind and body to believe in what it already can do.

    You have a lot of people behind you supporting you – believe it.

  3. Not that you need any vote of confidence from me, but I think you are doing it right. Run LSDs at 60-90sec below your goal marathon pace is good. I probably wouldn’t try for MP run for longer than 13 miles as that takes more out of you than is necessary. You’ve got history on your side so don’t question it. Even if it’s against the “book”, you already know what works for YOU, which in the end is what counts. Stick with it!

  4. i really like what pfitz says about long run training pace. you have the book so you can look at the specifics. you can’t trash your legs w/ MP for entire long runs, but you should be doing part of them at MP. usually the later miles, when you are tired, but still able to recover properly. i find pfitz quite helpful re: this and I also like his ideas about “negative splits” during the race.

    • I do agree with that philosophy-faster finishes and I have executed that in a coupla long runs last year, and plan to for my last 20 this time (unfortunately, the LTR is not the place to do something like that.) That said, I felt that this summer it was a struggle just to get the distance in…let alone pick up the pace…

  5. I think you are on target running your long runs 60-90 secs. slower than MP. If you want to see where you are in your fitness and teach the body to run hard when it is tried try doing the last 4-5 miles of your long run at MP. I did a 22 miler last year preparing for Chicago, 17 slow and the last 5 at MP, was a huge confidence builder. Stay with it, your headed for that BQ!

  6. I think you’re right and agree with what others said. Long runs and MP runs are quite different. This Daniels-based chart has the former a full minute slower than the latter. I think you might want to do a shorter MP run, as Lam suggests up to 13. Beyond that is too much. Listen to your recovery.

    I don’t know when the 20K is in relation to Chicago, but if it’s four weeks out or longer, I’d race it, i.e., not do it as an MP training run. Grete is always good for that for those running NY.

    A two-minute positive split in NY is quite impressive.

    • I’ve used that website before-great calculator. I’m running New Haven on Labor Day…so thats a little over a month out, I was planning on making it a race effort (I’ve heard it’s a great course!)

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