"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Brief thoughts on training

I finished writing my training schedule for the Mankato Marathon and then I went back over it and drew a line through about a third of it. Even at that, I'm thinking, "Well, sure, if I could do half those workouts, of course I could break 3 hours." This is a strange new world for me.

My usual way of training is to try to be efficient, do as little training as possible that gives a chance of success. Unfortunately, that usually means a 1-in-a-million chance; I aim for an unrealistically high goal, fall short, then spend the next winter convincing myself that I did okay.

This time, I'm looking at a very challenging goal and trying to set myself up so I could achieve it without really trying once race day comes. This creates a new problem - it's likely that I'll peak way too early and/or burn out before race day. I was going through Brad Hudson's book again and noting that he thinks Americans tend to peak too early because they're doing too much specific training too early in their schedules. In his marathon schedules, runners don't do marathon paced running until 3 weeks before the race, but they do a lot of half-marathon paced training. For me, that just leads to doing the first half of the marathon close to half-marathon speed and dying at 16-18 miles.

I'm going to have to expect to not complete at least one workout each week, to keep on target. Planned failure! This is very strange, indeed.


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...


Re-define success.

E.g., I came to this blog intending to say something witty and pithy, but instead I said "Re-define success."


(And I didn't even plan for it.)

RBR said...

Sheesh. Boys. *eyeroll*

I only ask you to be nice to you and don't hurt yourself.

@ G: "re-define success", I prefer "Don't set goals, you won't be disappointed when you don't achieve anything." Same diff really. Plus I get to take pictures and wear silly pink outfits when I run. No one expects much out of me then. :)

Colin said...

I'm not sure I agree that Hudson had no MP running until 3 weeks before the race -- in his "Marathon Level 3" plan he has formal MP running as early as week 9 of 20, plus many other runs with some MP component to them (notably several of the progression runs).

For what it's worth, you can see my training prior to last month's marathon here. I started with Hudson's "Marathon Level 3" plan and adjusted as necessary. There were no individual killer workouts, but some tough sequences (the week of 4/25 - 5/2 finally convinced me to go for sub-3 on race day).

As for your problem of running the first half of marathons near your half-marathon pace, use your Garmin! If you're aiming at sub-3, there's no reason to run faster than 6:45 pace for the first 18-20M or so (if you're still feeling good then, by all means speed up a bit).

Scream'n Turtle said...

Have to believe that statement-Americans tend tp Peak out to early. I'm a example of this-Peaked in April and now on High WARP downspin.
Best of luck @ Mankato

SteveQ said...

Thanks for the spreadsheet, Colin. I have Hudson's book in front of me and you're right; I was commenting from something else he wrote. It's surprising how closely you folowed his program, since Hudson's "Mr. Individualize."

Colin said...

Yeah, my training did end up fairly close to that schedule. I tweaked it on the fly a few times when it seemed appropriate, but for the most part his schedule as presented seemed to fit me fairly well (better than Pfitzinger and much better than Daniels, which works for me in shorter races but not the marathon). Hudson might not approve of my following it so closely, but in my defense I did read the rest of the book also ...