Sunday, June 26, 2011

I Long for the Long Run

I shared Mike's critique of my marathon training plan with my wife. Sharing similar concerns regarding the "too far/too soon" aspect, she passed on the following loving quote:

"When you get hurt with some weird injury, don't come whining to me because it's your own ridiculous fault."

So ... I'm tweaking the plan - and not just with respect to this, but a couple of other areas as well.

I did cut back slightly on the mileage this week, running 5 days rather than 6, and 44 miles rather than 48. My speed work day came pretty close to what the plan called for. I did find it difficult, and I think I would have hit it spot-on, but for a final interval+ cut short by an uncalled for trip to the nearest bathroom.

Another part of the plan that I had a concern with was the lack of true long runs, a staple of most marathon training plans. For example, here's what the training page from the Mount Desert Island marathon says about long runs:

"The most important ingredient to marathon success is the long run; it mirrors the marathon itself. "Going long" is a hallowed weekend tradition that is despised and loved, feared and revered, bragged and complained about. First-time and casual marathoners should gradually increase the length of long runs and complete at least three runs of 18 to 20 miles prior to the marathon. "

So the MDI site calls for at least 3 runs of 18-20 miles. The Pfitzinger plan I followed the last couple of years calls for five of these, and last fall in preparing for MDI, I ran six of these, including four 20-mile long runs. How many of these are in my current plan? Zero. In fact, there was only one week where the long run reaches 17 miles.

Here is what the Run S.M.A.R.T. folks said when I asked them about this:

"As for the long runs, Jack believes the risks of running longer than 2 hours and 30 minutes (regardless of pace) during a marathon build-up far outweigh the benefits. 17 miles at 9 minutes pace brings you to Jack's cap. I'm fine with you going 18 on that day and if you're feeling good at a slightly faster pace at that point in your build-up and you can hit 18 or 19 in no more than 2:40 or 2:45 then I think that's fine. But honestly, you don't need to run any longer than that. After getting through this schedule, if you pace yourself properly during the race you will be ready to reach your goal."

I do plan on running for 2:45 a few times during this training cycle, and we'll see where this takes me for mileage on those weeks.

Next week includes a couple of days with some marathon paced miles, with the rest of week filled with easy runs. Should be manageable. No real hill training yet ... more on that next time.


  1. I like to see marathon training plans to get new ideas or reminders on what to do in my training so thanks for the MDI marathon training page link!

  2. Sorry to see in your sidebar that you've been sick. Hope tomorrow's race is a good one!

  3. Trevor! It was great running with you at the MDI! Thanks for checking out my blog:)

  4. Good for you, keep up the great work. Thank you for sharing your stories of success!