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:
Wed 8 sort-long-run
Thurs 5 x hill
Sat 8 pace
Sun 16 long run