Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Up and out the door a bit earlier today. I wanted to get a longer run in, but I haven't been feeling up to it since the race on Saturday. I woke up at 3:30, had a small bowl of Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch, a swig of Gatorade, and was out the door by 4:00 for my warmup, which I have been doing ever since the calf problems. I usually just walk about a quarter mile, then stretch whatever feels tight. It's been working, so I don't mess with it.

At 4:25, I hit the road. I'm almost embarrassed to mention this given everyone else's weather situation, but it was fifty-two degrees and calm, perfect for a run. I had wanted to get in 18 to 20, but needed to be home by 6:00, so I decided to go for 15, making the somewhat ambitious assumtion that I could pull off six minute miles for an hour and a half.

I was out just thirty minutes earlier than I usually run, but it was absolutely dark and quiet this morning. I was able to hear and analyse every breath for the first hour of the run, and it was, at times, mentally draining. These workouts are tough in a way that transcends the physical, step-after-step discomfort. The mental aspect is one that I was unprepared for, coming from a 10k and under background. The legs seem to be willing to do whatever the mind tells them, but the mind is unrelenting, in a constant subconscious versus conscious battle to do less.

I ran past my house at ten miles in an effort to mess with my own head, and in a further effort to show myself who my daddy is, I did the last five miles over what is usually the beginning 2.5 miles of my longer, faster efforts. The effect was as intended, and I had to work my brain a little to adapt to the fact that I wasn't stopping, and I wasn't just getting started either.

A really good run overall. Fifteen miles in 1:29:22 with an average heart rate of 150. Mile-by-mile (with average heart rate) was 6:43(128), 6:12(143), 6:05(144), 6:03(146), 5:57(148), 5:47(152), 5:56(155), 5:55(151), 5:54(153), 5:57(155), 5:53(156), 5:46(157), 5:47(159), 5:38(161), 5:37(159). The heart rate and pace information is very encouraging. I actually started feeling smoother and breathing better with four miles to go, once I hit the 5:40s and near 160. Not sure why this would be, but the last four miles felt much better than any other four miles that I could have picked out of this run.

Now it will be interesting to see what kind of recovery I need before I'm ready for the next one. Hopefully just two days, but I don't necessarily make that decision. The committee of the whole will be giving me lots of feedback over the next day or two, and we'll see what the legs, lungs, mitochondria, and brain decide. Cheers.


Blogger Duncan Larkin

This is one hell of a solid workout. Man, I'd kill for that progression right now, and for a North Dakota dewpoint. Outstanding job, Eric. Keep those kinds of workouts coming.

8/01/2006 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger Eric

Thanks Duncan. I have to think that we'd be seeing a few more of these types of runs weaving through our blogs if the weather wasn't so ridiculous.

I'm going to keep grinding these things out, as they seem to be really working for me. I'm somewhat following Kevin Beck's plan. I haven't yet gotten to the actual marathon pace efforts, but I'm close. It's Tuesday with 9 weeks to go, so I'm about ready to make my move. It may just be caveman time.

8/01/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Greg

Nice run Eric. I know exactly what you're talking about with the mind games that you have to endure during these longruns. I think that's what makes them the most difficult.

8/01/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Mike

This looks very good to me after seeing that you averaged 172 heart rate for the race. Averaging 150 for this run, so close to that last race shows you still have some "headroom" to work with while trying to average 5:43's at Twin Cities.

I'm glad to see you not abosolutely killing yourself to run at exactly marathon pace at this point. To keep coming up (instead of trying to hold on) should be paramount in your mind. Save your best day until it matters the most.

8/01/2006 09:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Fatboy

Kevin Beck's article is interesting, and I think it makes a lot of sense. Spending a lot of time at or below race pace is absolutely critical, and with 9 weeks to go (roughly 7 weeks of meaningful training), this is that time.

I few weeks back I mentioned 3x10k, 60-80 min of race pace intervals, etc. Depending on your energy levels (which seem to come and go), those types of workouts, if paced properly, will probably not suck you dry as bad as a 20 mile time trial.

It's interesting that he mentioned a 5k of 15:25 prior to his failure to run sub-2:30. You shouldn't be discouraged by that, but it's going to take some specific work to achieve effortless 5:43s for 2.5 hours.

You're doing great, Eric.

PS. Did (died) Walker Ranch this weekend. Did we ever do that one? It got longer and hillier somehow.

8/01/2006 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Lawrence

Your description of the mind games at play was perfect!

8/01/2006 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Eric

Thanks for the comments, guys. Fatboy, I think I just got to the one run when I was in Boulder. It wasn't Walker Ranch. I wish I had had more time there.

I'll have to see how the 20k MP run turns out, and what kind of recovery I can manage. I'm assuming the 3x10k would be at 5:35-5:40 pace or a 5:45-5:40-5:35 progression? Either would be good, specific training.

8/02/2006 07:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Fatboy

That sounds fine. Something long like that needs to simulate race pace, while falling short of a marathon effort.

Need to start living in 5:10-5:15 world too. If that's anaerobic (and causes consternation amongst the gallery), we need to re-visit your targets.

Mixing long target pace workouts with (not quite as long, but still pretty) long sub-target pace, in addition to long runs should produce some neat results. Your last run shows you're in shape, but you had roughly 4 miles of specific, goal pace training. You need more than that.

Walker Ranch is a gnarly 8 mile loop that in my fittest days I bested in 65 minutes. On Saturday, it took me 85 minutes, and many tears. For context, a fit mtn biker generally does it in 70-80. You'll have to join me for part of your next marathon buildup.

8/02/2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Mike

At 59 days out now, this peanut now officially endorses anaerobic training, provided you promise to allow time for a decent taper.

What's the deal now, Pfitzy or Beck? Or is it a little of both, more specific pace work a la Beck but the consistent schedule of Pfitz? Those 20 and 25K efforts sound awful Lydiard-y too.

8/02/2006 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Evan

Another vote for the long tempo run (40-50 minutes) at 10 seconds below marathon pace. Also effectively done as a progression from just over marathon pace to actual tempo pace. Especially in the early morning this tends to correlate with the body waking up to the effort anyway.

On Mike's point about "Is it Pfitz, Beck or Lydiard" I'd note that any intense training plan will probably make Eric fitter at this point. Because he can only do of the programs we'll never know which one would have been best. Every program for training to race a marathon has a 20-25km run at pace in it somewhere. That's not what distinguishes the serious training programs -- they vary more on periodization and volume of anaerobic work, and the cycling of mileage from week to week.

8/03/2006 11:16:00 AM  
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