Thursday, April 7, 2011

Train Slower to Race Faster - Part II

You guys already know what I’m going to say…you’re good :)

The problem with running 30-45 seconds/mile slower than our standard race pace is it’s still too close to the lactate inflection point. We’re cutting ourselves short on key aerobic adaptations. The majority of marathon training should be done around 80% of your predicted marathon race pace (or for half-marathon training, 25-30% of your half marathon race pace). That’s about 2-2.5 minutes slower per mile than you expect to race in a marathon. Towards the end of the training cycle is when you can add speedwork sessions to build efficiency at race pace. To estimate your own training paces, try the McMillan calculator.

It’s counter-intuitive, so it made a big difference for me to learn the science behind training this way. It definitely makes sense for the marathon. However for half marathon training, I can’t imagine doing my “long runs” at 8:45-9:00/mile pace when my half-mary race pace is about 7:20/mile. Then again, the length of my weekly “long runs” will need to increase significantly as well to 14 or 15 miles. Right now I top out at about 10.

Upon further review, my current half-marathon training strategy is probably most in line with 10K racing. Not coincidentally, that happens to be the distance I’ve recently performed the best at according to the age-grading calculators (70%)

It’s time to evolve beyond from my haphazard ways. Thanks to the extreme heat and humidity of summer in Hotlanta, I’m treating the upcoming months as my off season. It’ll give me a chance to test out the long, slow distance thing. I make my own best guinea pig. Hopefully I’ll approach the fall with fresher, stronger legs ready to be fine tuned for the demands of shorter races. We’ll see how things turn out over the next few months. I’ll continue to do the race/weight correlation for you too.

It's easy to tell other people how to do things, but it's quite different trying to put it into practice for myself. I counting on y’all to help keep me in line.

8 comments:

  1. Great points and great comments. Looking forward to hearing how this goes for you!

    I do wonder, do you think all this still applies evenly for slower marathoners (running less volume)?

    In my mind, somehow it's easier to see that running a 9:30 pace long run can set you up for a 7:30 pace marathon, but a 12:00 pace long run doesn't seem like it could lead to a 10:00 pace marathon as easily. I'm probably just making excuses for myself :-), but any thoughts?

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  2. I agree with Lisa's thinking on the pacing for "slower" runners. The whole thing is just mind boggling. I mean, it makes sense, because I train slower than I race.. but I assumed that was everyone. guess not? I don't know. I think I have to re-read your posts and think about them. It's very interesting.

    I love posts like this that really make me think. Great job!

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  3. I'm in ATL too! How cool to find other running blogs of people near by!

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  4. I always thought I could get by not doing the long runs by doing a high volume of short, fast funs during each week. Then on race day I'd be able to cruise since I'd actually get to go slower than whatI was used to.

    Lisa, have faith your long runs will pay off. The elite Kenyan runners adhere to the same hard/easy LSD philosophy as the novice marathoner. They just do TONS of mileage (a with a touch of freakish DNA to back it up). You are building your aerobic base, and will reap the benefits even if your mileage is on a smaller scale.

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  5. Hi ATL Lisa! Congrats on your first race last month!

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  6. I feel the same way about the half marathon training. I'm training for a 10 miler and while I wanted to think that my 11 miler yesterday was at a pace I should be doing it, I was just not feeling it yesterday and the run sucked!

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  7. Great points and great comments. Looking forward to hearing how this goes for you!

    I do wonder, do you think all this still applies evenly for slower marathoners (running less volume)?

    In my mind, somehow it's easier to see that running a 9:30 pace long run can set you up for a 7:30 pace marathon, but a 12:00 pace long run doesn't seem like it could lead to a 10:00 pace marathon as easily. I'm probably just making excuses for myself :-), but any thoughts?

    ReplyDelete