Thursday, September 25, 2008


Yes, my last post was written with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. I thought my use of italicize and words like “always” and “whole” would help make that obvious. If not, running my first half in 1:23 should have been another indication that I was being facetious – considering a month ago I ran an all-out half in 1:24:38.

Anyway, I was just playing off of some of the comments I have received lately.

Mark thinks I should go out in 1:27:30 – or 6:40 pace. If we consider the following facts, this just seems overly aggressive;

1) my PR is 6:47 pace
2) I’ve never run 1:27:30 for any half of any marathon
3) none of my training/racing points to anything below 6:50 pace

Maybe I'm just too logical when it comes to these things.

Here are some examples from the 2007 Grandma’s Marathon that I’d like to avoid;

1:22:03 1:41:50 3:03:53
1:26:51 1:37:17 3:04:08
1:26:49 1:37:29 3:04:18
1:27:13 1:37:45 3:04:58
1:23:03 1:41:58 3:05:01
1:27:13 1:37:37 3:04:50
1:27:47 1:37:49 3:05:36
1:28:18 1:37:24 3:05:42
1:26:11 1:39:30 3:05:41
1:23:04 1:42:45 3:05:49
1:24:40 1:41:18 3:05:58
1:27:48 1:37:59 3:05:47
1:25:52 1:40:19 3:06:11
1:24:53 1:41:39 3:06:32
1:27:06 1:39:27 3:06:33
1:28:54 1:38:11 3:07:05
1:18:44 1:48:30 3:07:14
1:23:50 1:43:37 3:07:27
1:28:59 1:38:03 3:07:02
1:26:30 1:41:00 3:07:30
1:27:33 1:39:55 3:07:28
1:24:10 1:43:37 3:07:47
1:29:16 1:38:27 3:07:43
1:18:17 1:49:37 3:07:54
1:24:01 1:44:37 3:08:38
1:24:26 1:44:20 3:08:46

Mark had another comment that basically said I either needed to run aggressive or just go for a Sunday stroll through a park. I didn’t realize those were the only two options. What about running conservative early on, strong through the middle and aggressive during the last 10K? I don’t remember ever mentioning not trying my best on October 5th. Sometimes you just have to adjust your goals and strategies based on how the entire training cycle plays itself out.

Okay, that’s enough idle chit-chat on goals and strategy. Time will tell soon enough.

Normally I don’t like to use the same QOD as, but I can’t help it today.

Quote of the day;

“You want my advice, for the athlete and the coach? Don’t care as much about your training as you care about your recovery. Why is that? Because if your recovery is good, then your training will be good. Always.” - Valeriu Tomescu, coach of Olympic marathon champ Constantina Tomescu-Dita


Anonymous said...

Want another example to avoid? Here are my splits from 2008 Rock 'n Roll Marathon:

1:38:33 | 1:58:50 | 3:37:23

Part of my problem was the heat, but most of it was 16 miles of trying to reach a goal I had set months before and wasn't in shape to reach, followed by 10 miles of pain.


Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I ran about a 1:25:30 half marathon two months before Grandma's this year (Earth Day Half in St. Cloud), and managed a 3:03:10 for the marathon. And my final five weeks of training were crap, just lifeless, and I don't recall ever going over 20 miles for a long run.

So it looks to me like a sub-3:00:00 effort is doable for you even with (or perhaps because of) the injury-induced reduced training. Or maybe I'm full of it.

Good luck either way.

Love2Run said...

The best I've ever felt and done in a marathon was using the 1st 6 miles of the marathon as a warm up (at 30, 20, 20, 10, 10, 5 sec slower in the 1st miles) goal pace for the middle miles and all I had left for the end. It was hard to hold back at 1st but worth it in the end. Good luck with whatever plan you do!ql

Adam said...

Hmmm, your list of splits made me look at Grandma's 2008 in more detail. There were 51 runners between 2:50 and 3:00. On average, those runners slowed by 6 minutes. Only 7 ran a negative split! Of course, it got hotter as the day went on, but that seems to be the case for most TCM and Grandma's marathons.

What about the faster runners? There were 63 who ran less than 2:50. On average, they slowed by 5:55 from the first half to the second. Only 5 ran a negative split.

So what does that say about strategy? I don't know. It's hard to believe that 90% of everyone who ran under 3 hours was disappointed in their race because they slowed down after halfway. But again, it was a hot day.

Anonymous said...

I was running a marathon a couple of years ago with a guy in his early 40s - around 7:20 pace. This was the fastest either of us had attempted to run a marathon. I finished stong in about 3:11 and he finished just a few minutes later not wanting to pick it up too much and blow his BQ.

So both of us have since run a couple of marathons. My best is around 3 hours. He recently ran 2:52 at Boston!

Although the above example is purely anecdotal it goes to show that big advances can be made in a relatively short time frame even when past performances have been in a modest range.

I do not know how this person's mind set changed but one could speculate that he dared to push the envelope and through dedication and consistent training realized his running potential that two short years ago he did not know existed.

I just throw these things out there for the purpose of discussion. There wern't many comments coming in and I thought I would liven things up a bit. Run your race any way you want. I wish you the best.


Anonymous said...

Why not leave the watch at home, forget about time, and run to the best of your ability on marathon day. You will be more relaxed, focused, and determined to use all available energy from start to finish.

Running times are best thought of after the race, when they can help quantify past and present performances.

It sounds like you value the result more than the experience...

Chad said...

Bart, my Boston was a 10 minute positive split and that sucked. 20 minutes must have really hurt.

Paul, after my 1:24 at Rochester, I thought sub-3 was possible. Lately I haven't been so sure. We'll see...

Adam, interesting stats. However, I didn't say you had to run negative splits to be happy with your race. But I think slowing down 30 seconds per mile during the second half of the race is a lot and would guess that most people who run around 3 hours wouldn't be happy with that.

Mark, not knowing much about the situation, I'd guess the guy you're talking about just improved his training and his fitness. I think those things are easier to change than one's mindset.

Anonymous, great comments - you're probably right. I like the idea about valuing the results more than the experience. That may make for a good post next week.

Anonymous said...

Never mind, just run 400 seconds per mile or 4 minutes per kilometer, your choice.