Monday, August 15, 2011

NYC Marathon Training Week 6 - Sunday Faith

Coming into the close of Week #6's weekend training runs, I was a bit out of sorts for one reason or another. It seemed that I was more nervous anticipating the pace run of 7. So much so that I disturbed my sleep, causing me to wake up later the next day on Sunday and then missing a good breakfast.  I had a plan, but everything came at me holus bolus.  Or maybe not, it was more like a domino effect.  I better figure out a way to relax quick! I don’t want this to be a trend for the rest of the training or I’d be in big trouble.

Sunday was the first time in my weeks of training for the NYC marathon-that I've adhered to the slow pace of the long run. Early on, while the mileage was still considerably low, I was overzealous and ran both the pace runs and long runs much faster than what Hal Higdon prescribed.  But in the 6th week of training, when the weekly mileage increased, the pace run on Saturday did its magic: it slowed my pace down for the long run the next day. Hal’s ingenius plan to make me run the long runs slow worked this time. He’d be happy to hear that. The combination of already being tired, and making a conscious effort to run at a much slower pace, according to plan, made me realize one thing. That running the long runs at a much slower pace allows my body to be not so much beat up. I have more energy, recovery is much faster, therefore chances of compromising future workouts are greatly diminished.

One previous workout that comes to mind where I can draw comparisons with different results was Week #1. Too excited, I ran the 5 mile pace run at 8:48 pace and the next day, I ran 10 miles at 9:32 pace for the long run. At the time I didn't consult my pace from my Garmin. I ran according to how I felt that day. Since it was early on in the training, of course I felt great. Afterwards, I didn't want to admit it, running the two days hard, back to back, made me too sore to complete the mid-week long run. I didn't care as long as I ran the long run at 9:32 pace, I was happy.The bad habit started there, because I started using that 9:32 as the benchmark for subsequent long runs. I had pushed the 60-90 seconds of slower than goal race pace to the back burner. That left no room for the next workout.That was the bad part. I knew it, but I wasn't totally sold on the idea of running slow for the long runs. After all, how else is the body going to get used to running at a faster pace if I don't hit it at all in training? I guess I have to have faith in the training plan.

Let me elaborate. Before I've come across the RW Break 4:00 or Bust Plan, or Hal Higdon's Advance 1 Marathon Training program, I completed my long runs at around 10:20 pace. That time was well before I knew what a "tempo", "interval" or speed workout paces were. I ran the SAME pace day in and day out. I had no clue what 10k or 5k paces were, I just ran. I had never set foot on a track, so I didn't know how long 400 meters was, let alone, 800s or that 4 laps around the track equated to a mile. Hills? I dreaded them. So when it came time to my marathons pre 2008, my times usually hovered around 10:20-10:30 pace range. I've had one marathon in the 9:50 pace, but that was a mere fluke--we had great weather, I had eaten a good breakfast and the stars aligned. I guess what I am saying is, since I trained at one pace, my body knew to default to that pace when race day came.

Only after a dear friend introduced me to the San Luis Distance Club where we did weekly track work, and trying out the RW and HH plans, did I learn to incorporate speed and interval training to my daily regiment. However, now my trouble is letting go of the faster pace for the long runs. Going back to the 10:30 pace for the long run seems very hard for me. It feels like it is a step back. I am trying to convince myself that the difference between then and now is that speed work is intertwined with the 10:30 long runs, where as before all my long runs were devoid of tempo runs, Yasso 800s, strides, repeats, or any hill work. Again I must have faith and that I should apply speed only for the days I'm supposed to run fast and leave the long runs slow. Am I finally convinced? The long run yesterday did.

With yesterday’s prescribed long run of 10, (I ended up with 11.78 actual miles) I hit the hilly Turri Road, rather than the flat Los Osos Valley Road(LOVR), or the quad burning trails of Montana de Oro.  My Turri Road loop is still generous with 8 hills--four on Turri and another four on South Bay Blvd.

This biker had scissors on hand and was cutting off weeds growing from the bridge's edge.

I’m certain the rolling hills a were grand contributor to my slower pace. I also took it to heart that I must do them conservatively and at the same time, it was hard to push the pace considering the workout from the day before. Even if I wanted, I couldn’t run it any faster than possible with my timber legs. You bet, I wanted to, simply because I’ve done it before, like I mentioned earlier in Week #1, with my overzealousness.

Yesterday, I cruised at 10:00 pace. The difference was, the day after, I have so much more energy. The soreness I felt today is something that you can easily shake off with a recovery run. Which means by tomorrow I will be fully recovered. (But for personal reasons, I will have to push all the rest of the training this week by one day. Tomorrow will be a forced recovery day that has nothing to do running. Suffice it to say, Doctors orders.)

On that note, as I embark on Week #7, HH Advance 1 Marathon Training Plan looks like this:

Tues  REST
Wed  8 sort-long-run
Thurs 5 x hill
Fri     REST
Sat    8 pace
Sun   16 long run

Happy Running!


  1. Hi Eileen- Needed your advise on fueling during the Marathon. I know you had mentioned that you take the GU every so about the Gatorade. Do you bring your fuel belt? Where do you put your gels? For my runs I use the GU's along with half water and half Gatorade...this I guess should be my electrolytes. I can't swallow pills (wanted to use Endurolytes)so this is why I started training with the Gatorade. I just don't want to carry so much stuff during the race. Love the pics on your runs..I was in LA last week visiting my was wonderful!! ran several times at Manhattan Beach. thanks!

  2. Good question! Funny thing i forgot what I did. I had to look at my pictures to verify. Lol! So last year for NY, I carried 2 water bottles for my fuel belt. I really didn't need to because the aid stations were just plentiful and easy to get to. I was worried with 44k runners, how it might be a problem. But it was so well organized. I won't need to bring it this year. But if u dont feel comfortable with that and don't want to leave anything to chance, u should bring it. They have both Gatorade and water at each station, so you might want to alternate with taking your gu with water and Gatorade at different stations during the race. My favorite shorts have side pockets where I can stick my 6 Gus in. They are by zootsports. The pockets are tight and they don't jiggle. Or you may want to buy an extra zipper pouch where you can slip it in the fuel belt. They come in different sizes. Check out their website. Bought an extra one to stick my phone in etc.

  3. Thank you! I'll check out the zootsports website. Did you take any extra electrolytes besides taking Gatorade?

  4. The weather was great in NY last year that I didn't need extra. The gatorade was enough, however I had the salt caps with me just in case. You ran Manhattan Beach, that must be nice. How does the weather compare to NY this time of the year? How's your training coming along?

  5. NY had a heat wave end of July and early Aug....Manhattan Beach was beautiful, the weather was about 65 in the mornings and then it warmed up to 80's in the afternoon. My training is coming along pretty good- I ran 15 miles today at Central Park- The Second practice long run/NYRR. This is the first time I'm training with an HR and feel that I'm running slower, but keeping my HR in check...I'm hoping that by next month my speed will increase. Have a nice week!

  6. Forgot- did you ever try compression socks? I saw a lot of people running with them today...

  7. So jealous of you, running in Central Park! I've been wearing my HR monitor too, keeps me from running too hard. That's the best gauge. I wore long pants in NY. I wear compression socks whenever I wear shorts or running skirts. They help with recovery specially when my calves are sore and under-recovered for the next run.

  8. You have some nice trails yourself, I can see your beautiful pics. Hoping it doesn't rain till after my long run tomorrow...probably have to go to gym on Sun for my short run due to the will hopefully be open!!! Have a nice weekend.

  9. Take care of yourself. The hurricane is all over the news here. We can only hope it weakens by the time it hits landfall. Have a good workout.