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May 10, 2012

I think I'm progressing

No rest day today!!!!!  It felt good to get out there even if it was just 3 miles.  I'm back!  Time to just enjoy the run.  I'll be starting training for the next marathon, Grand Rapids, Michigan in mid June.

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In the meantime, I've done a little research on my marathon progress.  As you can see below, I've run three marathons in the last year.  What I noticed primarily is that I start slowing at mile 23.  Hit the wall?  Maybe.  That's frustrating - for one reason - learning to train for this!  I'm not running more than 23 miles in training!!!

My guess is that I'll need to add speed work(Eh gads!) and/or hill training(ummm....) to help me with these last few miles.  I'm sure the hills at least will help get me there.  Of course, I could always follow the Higdon plan more precisely which means running Saturday and Sunday but I'm not sure I'm will to do that.  I guess I have a little over a month to decide.

By the way, when you look at this, you will notice that Detroit is not showing 26.2.  The reason it's like that is the way the Garmin took the data when I lost a signal through the underwater bridge coming back into the USA.  I really did do 26.2 miles(at least) and the time is right since it kept going even though the distance was off.  Regardless, the slow down is still there.

I will say that of the three marathons, Flying Pig was THE hardest not only because of elevation but also due to the heat/humidity that I was not used to running through.  But it was not my slowest time and I'm happy about that given the conditions.  Bayshore has rolling hills so I thought it was somewhat harder than Detroit(at least I thought so) but it was also my first marathon so I didn't know what to expect.  Detroit is flat - well, not really.  So why was I able to PR under 4 hours and keep my speed a little faster - maybe I just had a good day?

One thing to note, the elevation gain and loss for Detroit compared to Flying Pig.  This would make you think that Detroit is a difficult elevation and really Bayshore was the easiest course but I felt Detroit was easiest.  Not so looking at the elevation changes.  This means I must have just had a great day for the Detroit Marathon.  I also PR'd in a half marathon at 1:38:18 a month earlier.  What's up with that?  Was I in better shape?  Do I just train better in summer?  Perhaps because of the training miles I did when it was hot in Summer and then I ran in a cool marathon, it made it feel easier even though it was not?

Bayshore Marathon
Detroit Marathon
Flying Pig Marathon
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge
Give me your thoughts.  I know it's a lot of data to take in but I'd be interested to hear what everyone has to say about the numbers.

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

16 comments:

  1. I recognize that huge spike in the Detroit elevation chart, the ramp to get onto the bridge. I was not expecting it to be so steep until we actually were on it. Guess I will know what to expect this year!

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  2. See, I thought Detroit (13.1) had some decent hills...the bridge and tunnel were tiring. I really wish I had been able to get in more hill training before the Bayshore half, but I have some ankle tendonitis that is being cranky. As for your Garmin measuring wacky in the tunnel, I always think it's odd that GPS devices aren't a little better and extrapolating and filling in the blanks...not like you went for a swim in the river between point A and B after all! I didn't using any timing, but had my iPhone with me while I ran. My husband and kids tracked me while I ran and didn't loose track in the tunnel. Makes me think that program is smarter about predicting location. :)

    Also, random question...I think I remember you saying you got burned out by two marathon training sessions last year. Anything in mind to help prevent that this year? I only run halfs so far(and use Higdon as well), but still find I get a bit burned out at times despite really enjoying having a race to look forward to and a training plan.

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    1. Some garmins picked up on the missing info and put it in. Mine acted weird and didn't pick up the missing piece but you are right, it should(and usually does); in regards to two marathons, I did say that -- then I signed up for two this year. Ha. I think that I have just gotten used to running more so it has not been as much a strain but I think once I do the marathon in fall will determine that better. I'm not planning two next season(at this point) but do plan to run as much or more. One thing that has worked for me not getting burned out is trying to limit races to once per month. It's long enough in between that you are looking forward to it again. This year, I did a half on 4/15, 4/22, a full 5/6 and a half coming 5/20 - I can already say it's too much. While I want to run the 5/20 half, if I had not paid for it, I probably would not do it.

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  3. There are two ways to avoid the wall:

    1) slower pace....too fast for conditions and training level is the biggest problem. Picking the proper pace upfront is the hard part 8/

    2) Hill sprints, fast tempos, 10k pace , 5k pace long intervals, squats, etc.

    Worked for me...I seem to be able to run faster marathons with no huge wall on less miles than Hal Higdon intermediate II(which I used before). I did not have to do back to back sat/sun runs like he suggests either...long run day bracketed by rest days..which I also like.

    Congrats again on Marathon #3!

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    1. It sure has worked for you. I love the long run bracketed by rest days(or at least cross training)

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  4. It is pretty interesting that you've consistently slowed down around the same time in each marathon. Without ever having run more than 14 miles, I probably can't help much. Maybe slow down more from the beginning to have more energy left? Any fueling issues like drinking more or taking in more calories?

    I know it may not sound like fun, but I definitely recommend speedwork and hills. I've made a habit of making Tuesdays my "workout" runs. That includes doing things like Yasso 800s, mile repeats, cutdowns, etc. I've done some speedwork runs on the track and some on the trail. I try to work hills into a bunch of my runs, but every now and then I make a point of specifically doing hill repeats. We have a hill right outside our door that climbs a little over 100 feet in about .25 miles. After the first couple times it starts to suck, and I always hope I'm not going to give myself a heart attack. I try to stick it out 6-10 times though and remember that it's making me stronger. After both speed and hill workouts, I feel accomplished. So while it may seem like torture at times during the run, I always feel good knowing that I did it.

    Having said all that, I know it can be tricky for you since you mostly run in the morning. Maybe you can try to work some intervals into your runs though? I think the speed and hills have definitely helped me improve a lot.

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    1. Janet - you are in a perfect place - hills, trail; I would do more hill work if I lived where you do. Speed - that's another story - yuck!

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  5. Well, it's all an experiment of one, but for me, I think hill training gave my legs strength at the end. I'm one of those who loves speedwork, but have to back off of it because it destroys my legs for days and prevents other training. Not sure how many 20 milers you do, but I also found huge difference when I did 3 20 milers, the last one going over 20 sometimes. That's just me, of course, cause I also do less miles per week than you do.

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    1. Agreed - 3 20's the next time around. This I'm confident I can do.

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  6. I was consistently hitting the wall at mile 9-10 in my half marathons (my first marathon is next Saturday). Even during my marathon training when I was up to 20+ miles I hit the wall at mile 9 in a half marathon. I was always going out way too fast, trying to go with the flow of the crown. My watch said I was running to fast, but I didn't slow down because I thought I could just magically run 15-30 seconds per mile quicker than my pr pace.

    I started focusing on negative splits and just relaxing and having fun with the race during the first half. The second part I would build up speed and not burn out because I had a good amount of energy left. I took nearly 2.5 minutes of my PR within a few weeks simply by running the race right and not hitting a wall.

    I don't have any experience with marathons (yet), but maybe you could work on negative splits with your training and then apply it to your next marathon.

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    1. Yes, part of my probably is too fast start if you see the three above. Looks like you worked out your issues though. Good luck!

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  7. Not sure what to tell you. I know that in all of my marathons (4 now), I have needed to slow down. There is section in the higdon books that talks about this. Page 153 of the second edition talks about this, and discusses plannin to go slower towards the end. I did this for Martian very successfully. HOWEVER, I now have the 4th edition of his book, and this table is completely left out of the book, and it focuses more on negative splits. I need to work harder on that for my half marathons. I go out too fast and fizzle. I feel like I start rather conservative for a marathon, though, but it still gets hard.

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  8. Oh, the book is Marathon, the Ultimate Training Guide, that I am referring to above.

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  9. I HEAR YOUR CALLS AND I UNDERSTAND YOUR PROBLEM...

    So do I have all the answers, no, but let me tell you this: I can run run for 3 hours at marathon pace, so can you... differance is I am finished my marathon and you still have 6 miles to go. I bet if I tried to run on for another hour I would die!!!

    So you have to remember that you are training for a 4 hour race (how about a 3h45 I know you can) and you need to get more 3 hour runs done... There is a 56km race here in Cape Town and years ago when I was running it I would be training for a 4 hour run, and I would be running 3 hours most weekends.

    So for you, I would say run more, now I understand it when you say you can't run more in the week, so it's more on the weekend... I like to aim at 25-27 miles a weekend!!! so it's always 2 runs and if I run 20 on the one day it's 6 on the other, and if I run only 14 on the one day, then it's 12 on the other. I also like to run most of the shorter run at a tempo pace.

    good luck in finding the right plan for you.

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    1. Coach - that is exactly what Higdon shows. I hate it! Haha! Getting used to running on tired legs for the long run is his point. I've decided to add more miles(still not 2 runs on weekend) and I've also added three 20 milers to the schedule as well that will hopefully help. As I progress through the next training cycle, if I can get comfortable with two runs on the weekend, I will try them. I tried it before and felt like I was burnt out(but probably was just getting stronger)

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