IM Louiville

IM Louiville
Bikes racked at Ironman Louisville 2010

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Long runs

NOTE: RAYOR results are now posted on Chicago Athlete.

Since the end of June, most of my Saturdays have been designated as "Long Run" Saturdays. CARA started their training for the Chicago Marathon in late June. This meant that every Saturday that I wasn't either racing or preparing for a big race the following day, I was out there with the group, helping pace other runners in preparation for the Chicago Marathon.

Now the Chicago Marathon has come and gone, yet I need to continue to get out on Saturdays for those long runs to train for my upcoming marathon which is a mere 5 weeks away. The weather here in Chicago has been less than optimal for the last few weeks. It has been unseasonably cold and windy which makes these longs runs something I haven't been looking forward to. I have worn shorts for every marathon I've ever run, yet I'm not wearing them in training right now. And we all know how you're supposed to train in what you plan on wearing. I feel like if I would have worn shorts yesterday, my legs would have been numb within the first 3 miles!

One of the things I continue to struggle with is the pace at which these long runs are supposed to be done. Some experts say your long run should be 1-1:30 minutes/mile slower than your planned race pace. Others believe you should run these long runs within a certain heart rate. Yet there is even another opinion that you should do these runs at the pace you expect to do in the race. So which is correct?

Well, I've tried running at the pace I plan to race at. Still came in slower than expected. I've run a minute slower than race pace and came in almost at the same time as when I did the long runs faster. And I've run it according to a heart rate monitor and did about 10 minutes slower than running it according to the other plans. At this point, I can't tell which works best. I know there is a chance of injury when you try to do your long runs at race pace and they say it breaks your body down too much. However, I've run my fastest marathon time when I've trained the long runs at race pace. But how many more times would I be able to do that before I sustained an injury? Who knows? I think it's a very fine line and one that is very individual to each person.

As I volunteered at the Chicago Marathon just a couple of weeks ago, I found myself wishing I had signed up for Chicago instead of Tucson. I knew many people running Chicago and I'm envious of the fact that they are now done with their marathon and are now enjoying a bit of rest and relaxation.

One thing is for sure, I've pushed just a little harder for this marathon than the past couple marathons I've done. I am also feeling little nagging pains here and there which are warning signals to me that if I continue to try and push harder, I may be setting myself up for injury. So why do I continue to push? To see improvement. I am not running nearly as fast as I was hoping I would be at this point in my training, but I do know that I haven't ever trained as hard for a marathon before. I'm trying to find what my limit is. I may be expecting too much too soon.

Yesterday's run was brutal. I think I took the first half too fast which made me miserable and very slow for the second half. But it's all about time on your feet, right? I have a hard time buying that. I don't see how running for a long period of time at a slow pace will make you run fast during the race. Sure, there are speed workouts you can add, but I still haven't been able to make that work and starting now won't help.

We shall see.


KK said...

I know you'll do great come race day, no matter which way you elect to train. Think of the bright side - you'll feet so light and free on race day wearing shorts after training in those near winter conditions.

Anonymous said...

go commando

Pam said...

Hang in there MJ. You're going to rock Tucson and have the satisfaction of knowing you trained in the miserable weather of Chicago and didn't give up.

John from Grand Haven, MI said...

remember that post you wrote about how it wasn't all about being fast?! i KNEW you wrote it against your will!

Anonymous said...

Hey MJ
Don't ignore nagging pains. They can turn out to be chronic pains. I'm no expert but I would slow down for my training runs , if it makes you more comfortable. You are such an athlete, you will be able to kick it up a notch on race day! Your anonymous friend