As a side note, I'm SO happy to not be marathon training. Today's run would have been 16 miles. No thanks!
So Jim over at 50 after 40 did a great post about training plans and whether they benefit people looking to push themselves during training to achieve more. Go read the post (HERE). He thinks most plans are more for the "to finish" crowd and they are not enough for people that want to excel but I disagreed saying I think it really depends on the person individually.
Don't get me wrong if you are training based on the Novice I Hal Higdon plan, you are certainly not going to light any fires with marathon times on that plan and you must do more. Of course, Higdon also has other plans for more experienced runners which incorporates things such as speed work and longer miles along with back-to-back runs.
I happen to agree that back-to-back runs are a critical component of running a faster marathon. You must learn how to run on tired legs. I guess why I disagreed with Jim was because it seems that I have bucked the odds, so to speak. What I mean is, I tend to run slow during training and fast during races. Of course, I don't run slow all the time and my mid week runs tend to be faster than my long runs. I do tend to run a slow long run and this has still allowed me to run a fairly quick marathon time. Here are some number to digest from my two marathons last season. I included my average pace for my long run and the distance of that long run.
I found this quite interesting. I'm not sure it really proves anything from my points though. It does prove I run faster at a marathon than my pace in training but it should be that way. I think that if you look at the Grand Rapids training, I ran it about a minute to a minute and half faster, PER MILE, than in my training runs. Of course, if you look at Flying Pig, that number was much closer to my training runs but I will say that there were a couple things that made me slower in Flying Pig - heat and hills. I was not prepared for the heat that day(got to 80 by the time I finished) and I did not train nearly enough on hills for this race. Most of my training runs were flat with the exception of a few hill runs. I would train completely different if I did Flying Pig again.
When it comes to Grand Rapids, I excelled! I could not have asked for a better race. I went into it thinking I could do a 3:30 or better marathon(which I didn't) and I kept that pace(7:50) for at least 18 miles. The difference is that this was a much easier course(flat), it was great temps(40-50), and I was cocky! Haha! Yes, that plays a part in it as well -- how you go into the race mentally. I also did a half marathon three weeks out that is an extremely hilly course and killed it coming off of a 10 mile run the day before. I think that gave me a boost of confidence - maybe too much so since I still missed my goal but the result was excellent.
I guess the bottom line, as Jim said, in an e-mail to me is that this is the fun of the marathon. There are so many factors and so much science in the marathon that it's not just physical but very mental and how you prepare(or don't prepare) for it. Maybe all I need to do is get myself a bra for my head and starting thinking more and this will get me to a faster time. Thanks Jim for making me think a little more. Let me know when you're ready for the pre marathon bra ceremony. Haha! Can't hurt, right?
|From Weird Science Movie Click HERE to see the video|