Be sure to add your blog to my blog list -- Click HERE or blog list above to add your blog!

Jan 23, 2012

Hyland Post #4: Marathon and the pacing strategy

Rest day on the schedule today......


Here's a recap of week #4 of 18 weeks of marathon training:

Miles Run:  19.16(this week was a cutback week)
Days Run:  4(missed one day)
Cross Training:  10 miles on the bike and one weights session
Time Training:  3 hours 53 minutes


So this week I start to up the mileage again.  My expected miles jumps to 29 miles for the week.  While it seems like a big jump(since you really should stay within 10% increase per week), I did miss a day of running last week since I pulled my calf muscle.  It's all better and the extra day off really helped it.  I even got in my cross training as well last week.

This week starts week #4 of 18 weeks of training.  I will start by increasing two of my weekday runs to 6 miles(or just one mile more per run).  The plan also includes a long run of 11 miles.  I would have to say that I normally run my weekday runs pretty fast but I'm really trying to make a conscious effort to keep these easy runs except maybe for some speed work once a week.  Also, I am really going to try to keep my long run at least 1 minute per mile slower than marathon pace as least for the first 7 miles and move to just under marathon pace for the last four miles.  This helps you learn how to speed up when you are tired and I've tried it in the past and really gives you a great workout - physically and mentally.

Running at a much slower pace has been a struggle for me.  Why?

1) I really am comfortable at a quicker pace that say 10 minute pace per mile
2) My running buddy that I run with on the weekend has once speed - fast!  Well, not really too fast but faster than what we should run long runs in.
3) Usually we are training in winter, like now, the faster I'm done, the faster I'm in a warm place(haha!)

There's really no benefit to going at a 9-9:10 minute pace or faster(marathon pace for me) during these training runs and really you should not do it either.  My worry is that I get burnt out much too quickly and then my marathon time will suffer because of it.

Let me give you an example....On my first marathon that I ever did(Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, Michigan), I went out way too fast!  I was feeling good!  I trained hard for this!  I wanted my sub four hour time dammit!  Things were going awesome.  I was really pushing things and was feeling great all the way through about mile 22.  Then it hit me....the wall.  I crashed and crashed bad.  I ended up finishing in 4:12:17.  Not a bad time by any means but had I just listened to my training and did a steady slow run from the start, it would have helped me get to that sub four hour time instead of walking as much as I did at the end.

On my second marathon(Detroit Marathon), I did much better with pacing(probably since I ran with a pace group) but mostly because I slowed it down in the beginning.  Not that I was not hurting at the end but I really did not feel it until I got to about 24 miles and I was able to push through those last few miles to get the sub four hour time I wanted(3:58:45).  In my opinion, the pacing made a huge difference!
You don't want to feel like this at the end, do you?

So that is my #1 goal as I start to run double digit miles again for my long run - keep the pace slow and steady.  Try it sometime, you will be amazed at the results.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!


  1. thanks for this, jeff! My main problem with longer distances is going out too fast too. It's something I plan to focus on a lot for bayshore. I'm actually thankful for this snow right now and people who don't shovel because it forces me to go sooo much slower and it's like I'm training my brain for when it gets nicer out like, "this is what it should feel like at first, nice and slow". I'm excited to follow you through your training for this marathon

  2. It's about time on your feet! Get that body accustom to different paces. You're to the point you should be able to calculate your pace without your Garmin........ just saying! HA

  3. you've been tagged in my latest post.. :-)

  4. I like this strategy Jeff! I've been struggling with my long runs lately because I'm going out too fast and then the final couple of miles are just torture! I've got 12 to do this week and I'm going to try to take the first 6 much slower, then pick it up.

  5. Yes! Even thought logically it all makes sense, it seems you need to be thrashed about before you can really understand the importance of conserving energy and going out slower than feels right and holding back when the energy of your taper and the thrill of the start tries to sweep you rushing forward. There is nothing like negative splits!

    Hope you don't mind me posting this here, I'm doing a paperback giveaway of STRAY on my blog, and The Jade Rabbit is free on kindle today in honor of Chinese New Year.

  6. It's so hard to check the speed at the beginning of a race due to all that adrenaline and nervous energy. But it really does help. I'm definitely running with pacers in Detroit.

  7. I am trying to run based on HR right now and it is amazing how slow I need to run to get the right HR zones. I think this will take me time to get used to doing.

  8. I agree with you that pacing is huge. While not nearly as fast as you, going out very slow made a huge difference in my Detroit Half time this year. My first mile was 1 minute slower then what my average pace ended up being, and I think I am going to shoot for that kind of start from now on.