Thursday, July 28, 2005


During my Grandma’s marathon training, Thursday’s usually meant getting up before 5 AM for a solo 10-12 mile run with up to 9 miles at marathon pace. Today’s run was my first hard workout on a Thursday since before Grandma’s, which meant a 4:40 wake up call. Believe it or not, getting up wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be.

My coach mixed things up a little this time. Instead of a straight run at marathon pace he wanted me to run 3 x 2 miles at half marathon pace with a half mile jog in between. I decided to run this on the dirt track near my office. Being my first such workout in awhile, I gave myself a little wiggle room and planned to run somewhere between 6:20 and 6:40 pace. When I saw my first 200 meters took 51 seconds or about 6:50 pace, I decided to try a new strategy. I decided I wasn’t going to look at my splits at all – I’d just run how ever I felt. I didn’t even look at my splits after finishing each rep (pat on the back). I waited until I was at my desk before I checked and I saw 13:07, 12:53 and 12:57 (for 3200 meters). So I basically averaged 6:30 pace or so. Not great, but for a solo effort at 5:30 AM, I’ll take it.

I’m not sure if Debbie runs without a watch or not, but this weekend she talked about focusing on just having fun and training however she wants – rather than focusing on speed, miles, time, etc. Even talking about her 10 mile race she said she doesn’t take her splits at all. Instead, she just focuses on her effort and how she’s feeling. She said even taking her splits, but not looking at them throws her off. For awhile I was at the point where I’d take my splits, but not look at them. Maybe I need to get back into that habit during races again.


Anonymous said...

I generally take splits or time all my intervals. Part habit, part shows me how I'm doing. When I am really waxed for a "required" speed session, I either skip it, or don't take splits. Since skipping splits usually ensures I'll get the workout in, I do that.

I don't take splits in races, though I have a good sense of what I'm doing after several hundred career races. I will attempt a 10 mile race next Sunday and go and do my best. I don't expect to run well, but I will get a real good sense of how far I need to go in my training. If I get in the 62 range on tired legs I will feel I am already progressing to 2:45 range.

I'd say at least two days a week I am tired enough after the workout that I am suffering to some degree. Either my stomach hurts or physically I have a hard time moving around the rest of the day.

The past year I have tried to go easier on my recovery days and not try and go ass over tin cup on the last few intervals or tempo miles. I want to go harder on my long runs (the day after a hard workout), but physically I am not there yet. Having the mental fortitude to push for close to 20 miles the following day after a hard workout is becoming increasingly difficult. I have many other responsibilities besides running, but I am still intrigued by the fight. There is a saying I use on myself which goes like this, "Don't tell me how rough the water is, just bring in the ship."

The whole purpose of training to me is seeing how much hard volume I can eventually tolerate in a week. I am not overly concern with hitting a specific weekly mileage number. Just so 5 workouts for the week are over 10 and eventually I will have a couple 20 total days is probably fine. I finish my preparation by racing three times in four weeks before the marathon. This gets one used to the rigors of racing and for me is my sharpening. The marathon then is pretty darn tolerable if one pulls this off. Ultimately it hurts like hell, but many times I find myself saying I suffered more than this several times in training. That works to 23 miles. I have no theories or helpful hints past 23.

Chad said...

It'll be interesting to see how you do using Ron's program.

Man, if you could run 62 after your 23:56 4-miler, that'd show some progress in a short timeframe.

The problem with me looking at my splits is that my mind is like a calculator that doesn't have an off button. I see numbers and I just start computing.

During this workout I wanted to verify what lap I was on and I made sure to check when I wasn't near the end of a lap. I couldn't even check at the 200 meter point because my mind would start calculating 10.5 minutes by 6.5 laps.

It's best just not to know - at least if I don't want to lose my focus.