Friday, June 09, 2006

Am I doing this wrongly?

Well, how time flies. A bit over a week ago I was worried about doing too much when I was starting my 9 runs in 9 days block. To be honest, I haven’t even thought about it since then; I just went running each day, and apart from Monday’s death march, it went swimmingly. Tomorrow is my first rest day in a while, and I’m actually annoyed about it. I’m half tempted to do a short run, but I won’t. Running 6 days a week is going so well, it would be silly to change it.

Yesterday’s recovery run was a bit faster than usual, but the heart rate was down just as much, which is why I’m ok with it. The temperatures have been soaring (well, relatively speaking; this is Ireland) up to 25C/77F, but when I do my runs in the morning it is a lot cooler and more suitable to running.

Today I set the alarm clock to 5:05 am, but once again woke up by myself just before that. I was still feeling tired, but that went away as soon as I hit the road. The plan was 5 miles along Caragh Lake, 5 miles back, and 7 miles in a loop towards Killorglin. The wind was very blustery, and after fighting against it for 2.5 miles I had enough of that and turned around, and added a 5 miles loop towards Ard-na-Sidhe instead, where the road is sheltered by trees.

It all went so well I can’t actually believe it. I was waiting for fatigue to strike, but it never came. And this on the ninth day of consecutive running, and with the highest mileage I’ve done so far. So far it certainly looks like choosing the 24/70 plan was a very good idea. I guess my aerobic base is up to levels I’ve never even come close to, and that’s why running seems so easy these days. When I got home I got a bit of a shock when I checked the time and realised that I had been running at sub-8 pace.

Now, I have read all about running your long runs slowly, and Pfitzinger himself recommends running them between 10% and 20% slower than your target marathon pace. My target time for Dublin is 3:30, which is of course pretty much 8:00-pace. Therefore I should be doing my long runs no faster than about 8:40. The thing is though, I’m not even pushing it. I’m running relaxed, the breathing is normal (though I doubt that I would be able to have a conversation) and I always feel that I could run faster if I really wanted to. So, where’s the error? Am I running too fast? Is my target time too slow? (but remember, it is already 25 minutes faster than my present PR). So much to think about, so much to ponder. And there I was thinking that running just requires you to put one foot in front of the other, and then repeat that for a few thousand times.

I told a new work colleague that I did 17 miles this morning. He went pale, started coughing and for a second looked like he was having a heart attack. Non-runners are weird aren’t they?

8 Jun: 5 miles, 45:23, 9:04 pace
9 Jun: 17 miles, 2:15, 7:56 pace


  1. Yes, non-runner's are weird, but the feeling is mutual. I get 'you're a freak' looks when I say I ran 2-3 hours on the weekend. I don't even bother to say anything about the 50K that I ran.

  2. Sounds like you have transitioned into 6 day training weeks perfectly. Well done - enjoy your rest day!

  3. that's a good question about the pace of the long runs. I would think that if a 3:30 is already 25 minutes faster than your PR I would stick to that pace. Also I would say that Pfitz knows what he's doing so I wouldn't go any faster than 8:40. Should these runs feel relaxed? I mean if you don't feel like it's a recovery pace maybe it's ok to feel so relaxed...I'm not sure.

    Then again if it's too too easy then maybe you should push up your goal marathon time by 10 minutes or so. What kind of training did you do before the 3:55? How long again was that? If you have been training longer and harder maybe a 3:20 isn't out of the question.

  4. I would say that if you cannot hold a conversation for the entire length of the long run then your pace is too fast to be called an easy pace. It may have felt good, but maybe you should try talking to an imaginary friend while you are running then your coworkers will definitely think your whacko.

  5. Sheesh, Thomas! You are "on"!

    I won't try to answer your questions, because I have no clue. I run by feel - which sounds funny since I wear a HR monitor every time I run. My limits are artificial limits set by the doc though, rather than real HR limits. That's why I run by feel - can I breath? Do I hurt? Can I talk? I don't have a plan, I just run. So, look to the others for advice - like Rob. In the meantime though - you are doing great!

  6. Whoops. That last "Rob" comment was me, Michelle. I forgot I had signed on to hijack his blog. My bad!

  7. I was reading second "Rob's" comment and wondered if it's Michelle:)
    I am with Rob, I run by an effort and talking pace. But may be you do aim low with marathon pace? BTW, for my first marathon I ran long runs at 9:00 and averaged 8:45 at the race. Who knows, I am lost.

  8. Haha. Your coworker is funny :).

    Thomas, about your comment. Yes I haven't ran a lot for the past few weeks. My knee was having some joint pain and I don't want to make it worst by pounding on the road.

  9. seriously, don't be tempted to run your longer runs any faster than that.

    your speedier work should be reserved for intervals, hills and the 'track'.

    you are in a perfect place now to keep the rest of your training sensible. keep the consistency, don't go mad, and it will all pay off in spades in Dublin. I think that time sounds like a perfect goal for you: while being an enormous chunk off your current PR, it's also not unattainable given the work you have put in and your current level of fitness. Just keep it all in check now and have patience with yourself. The 3:30 will be yours.

  10. Non-runners are a pretty strange breed. Did he say "I don't even like to drive that far"?

    Take the long runs by the book. Easy runs are supposed to be easy.

  11. I agree with Jack even when I don't run so far, they sometimes think I invent all this!!

    More to remember about the easy pace...

  12. I thought that Michelle had taken over Rob's body too. Freaky!

    I've always worked with the 'have a conversation' rule = an easy pace. I've heard the same goes for whistling while you run. That I can't do.

  13. it sure doesn't seem like you are doing it wrongly. it seems great to me. but i'm not an expert :)

  14. oh, and the other thing, johnny likes to tell me that just when i've hit the high that you are at - that's when i'm most prone to overuse injuries. so definitely take your rest days. just when it all seems swimmingly fine it'll hit...

    not to scare you or anything :)

  15. lol that's about the same reaction I got from my boss when I mentioned cycling for just under 1 1/2 hours to get to work. She was tired walking from the garage to her

    I bought a little wall hanging last week cause I liked the saying on it "Start off Slow and then tapper off". That's my motto for those long