Friday, July 10, 2009

Long Run, Trimmed

I'll have more to say about long runs, the theories behind 'em and their role in the marathon-training scheme. But right now I'll just post the workout and a few words, because I need to eat and I need to rest; I feel very wiped out.

So I jumped into this 16-week training plan more than a month in, at Week 11 counting down toward the Berlin Marathon on September 20. I was relying on my fitness base from Ironman to carry me, but this first week of training soon revealed that to be overly ambitious, or hopeful. I discovered that Ironman fitness and fast marathon fitness, even fitness-in-progress, are two very different things, and that my body was not fully recovered from the 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling and 26 miles, 385 yards of running that I did on June 21 (not too mention all the work that got me ready for that effort).

When I woke up this morning I knew I couldn't do what the plan told me to do: 20 miles at 8 minutes per mile. Well, I could, but it would have been foolish. The track repeats on Monday, the tempo run on Wednesday—this was all high-intensity stuff, new to me, and it left me feeling mildly sore and majorly worn out. I made the decision to trim the run to 16 miles. (Yes, I need to do long runs, but did you know there are three more 20-milers scheduled in the next seven weeks?)

All that said, I think I would have been able to do a solid 20 fairly comfortably today if I had gotten my ass out the door earlier in the day. By midrun it was quite warm, well into the 80s, and on the humid side as well. Most days I do a 16-miler without stopping to drink or eat, but today I found myself desperately thirsty after two loops (four miles) on the dirt at Glendoveer. So most of the slower miles on the chart above—9, 13, 15—included 20- to 30-second pauses to drink some Gatorade. Otherwise, after starting a little too fast, I did a decent job sticking near the 8-minute/mile pace I was shooting for. In the end, it was 16.2 miles at 7:58/mile, and it was done.


  1. All I can say is 2 things:

    1st-your IM training needs all types of training - interval, speed, power, tempo, endurance...and so does marathon.

    2nd-you're crazy! Running that already? Did you at least stop for 2 weeks?

    so, I guess you're an endurance veteran -you rock, nice job.

    3 hours in Berlin.

  2. Michael, I'm an endurance dummy is what I am!

    You're absolutely right about IM training -- and the fact that I *didn't* have a good mix of all the types of training is probably why I didn't get faster. Especially on the bike. The last two months it was almost all just mid-paced longish rides. That got me ready to ride a long way at a steady pace and get off the bike in pretty decent shape to run, but it got me nowhere as far as riding hard.

    I took a full week off, then did some very light cycling and running the second week, no swimming (lap hours got cut way back at my public pool during the summer, it sucks). To be honest, I think another week of rest would have been ideal. And, ideally again, if this race were in, say, November, that would have been better. But I was committed to running the thing and figured what the hell might as well go big.

    One thing I'm going to write about soon: I was reading Brad Hudson's book about running marathons and he writes very convincingly of the need to adapt whatever program you choose to fit your own training progress. It has me thinking that I am going to be open to shifting things a little bit as I go along toward Berlin. For instance, on a few weeks, I might trade a track workout for two mid-paced runs, and a cross-training day or two along the way may get exchanged for recovery runs. It would be interesting in a sort of scientific way to go purely FIRST, to see what happens, but my highest priority is staying healthy and running the fastest time possible. I think a modified FIRST program might get me there. We'll see! Thanks for visiting, PD