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Sep 10, 2013

Things I'm not doing but know I should be.....

The runner's Bible
Marathon training is hard.  I don't care whether you are a beginner doing the minimum to finish the race, a walker doing the race or an experienced marathon runner.  There's no doubt about it that it's hard work to train for a marathon.

As with most people who run marathons, usually they want to get faster.  Not that I don't, but at this point, I'm not willing to do a couple things that would certainly make me faster.  Of course, there is a trade off to these two things for me and the biggest one is not getting hurt.

I want to run faster.  I want to get a new marathon PR.  I want to qualify for Boston.  But....... I'm not willing to if that means being hurt and not being able to run.  I already push myself to the point of breaking and while much of our stumbling blocks tend to be in our heads, I don't think that's the case for me considering I've trained and run four marathons in the past.  I know what my body can handle.  I guess that's part of training for more races and finding out what works best.

Ok, enough rambling.  These are the two things I don't do but know that I should be doing in order to get faster.

Do speedwork.  To be fair, I am using the Hal Higdon Intermediate II program and it does not include speedwork.  In fact, he does not recommend it until you go through the Advanced program.  I've tried to do speed work in the past but as those miles start to add up, it takes a toll on my body and I can feel an injury coming.  I'm not talking about being sore because soreness and pain are completely different.  You will have soreness throughout the training program - expect it but I see too many people getting hurt and not run.  I got into this to keep running, not to get hurt.  If you are interested in the advanced training, follow Janet's blog at Miles Fly By.  You will see how training is done!

Doing back to back runs.  This is a big one.  It's been one of my main stumbling blocks.  If I could get over this one, I know I could improve my marathon time with this alone.  The training program I'm going through does have me running back to back runs, however, I cannot take it.  It's physical and not mental.  I've done back to back runs and actually do run four runs back to back all week(this week I'm doing 5,10,5,10), and I do this every week but I"m talking about back to back in regards to the long run.

For example, this week, I'm supposed to run a 10 mile run on Friday(at marathon pace) and then a 20 mile long run on Saturday.  The key is to teach your legs to run when you are tired.  I get it and it makes sense and I agree with it.  It's just not something I can handle and I always feel like I'm on the edge of being hurt.  For this reason, I run M-Th straight and then rest before and after my long runs.  I still feel like I get 75% of that benefit because by the time Thursday comes along for a 10 miler, it's not an easy run by any means after running three days in a row.  Of course, that 25% I'm missing equates to lower marathon times.

I was able to PR at my last marathon by a large margin(about 20 minutes) and I credit most of that from running more miles as well as some back to back runs.  I did no speedwork to get that.  I'm probably at the maximum improvement I can go without adding these two things in the mix.  I'm ok with that.  It's why I've decided to do a 50k next year - I can handle the miles, just not fast.  Maybe my last marathon I just had perfect conditions(I did).  Maybe I'll get great conditions again this year(hope so).  Maybe I won't feel it this year.  Maybe I'll feel awesome and surprise myself.  That's the great thing about the marathon - sometimes luck is just part of it but it sure helps when you've trained properly for it.

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


  1. Great post. It's all an experiment of one, and running yourself into injury to keep up with a training program is insane. This is supposed to be fun, right..

  2. Thanks for the shoutout. It's definitely wise to listen to your body. The last thing you want to do is end up getting hurt. Getting injured is always a concern in the back of my mind because it's so common in running. I hesitated to even try training for a marathon because I was worried I'd end up hurt. Sometimes I worry that I'm walking a fine line, but luckily it's all worked out so far. I think some pushing is good to find out what you're capable of, but not to the point of getting injured. It's always a good feeling to get a PR, but I think the ultimate goal is to keep running and keep enjoying it. Times aren't everything!

  3. I agree with you 100%!!! The 10 mile runs followed by a 20 miler the next day. Killed me. I did one and thats it. I just couldn't do it. I was also afraid of getting hurt. My ITB did not like those runs.

    I did the best as I could do with that training plan. I knew it wasn't going to be perfect, but I made it work for me. I think thats all we can do.

  4. Won't lie to you, and a 3h25 marathon isn't going to be easy till you can run a faster 5km 10km and half... but it's not that hard to change the training a little and in such a way that it can work for you...

    Yes I ran 20km on the mountain on Saturday and then 30km on sunday, in fact most weekend I run 2 big runs, and then in the week I do 2 track/hill sessions, but I know that will not work for you as you have told us your body will fall apart. For you I would say choose day to work hard and only look at running the easy (down hill / wind behind) sections of your run faster then normal. Your legs need to get use to the idea of running at 5km pace (21:30).

    That said a friend of mine headed to the track for the first time ever and is loving it!!!

    Other things to remember yes I run 60+ miles a week, but I never run hard for more than 4/5 weeks (sometimes only 3 week) then I take a break from training hard (cut back week) if I didn't I would also fall apart... (I'm starting to fall apart now!)

    Good luck

    1. I hear you coach. I should mix in some 5k races later in the training cycle. I usually do them when not training hard but agree that it's needed