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Detroit Marathon 2012 #slowyourroll

Can I just say that it is beyond my comprehension how fast US Track and Field Olympic Athletes run?  I mean, I see them run their races, I see the times they post and “get” that it’s fast, but what I can not comprehend is the body’s ability to move that fast.

This hit me while I was watching the Men’s US Track and Field Olympic 800M Finals this past Monday night.

Nick Symmonds WON the event with a time of 1:43.92.  That’s basically 1 minute and 43 seconds for running 800m,  or 1/2 mile.

The last time I ran that time at the track (June 12, 2012, a time of 1:43.2), I was running 400m laps, or 1/4 mile.

Nick Symmonds runs twice as long as me in half the amount of time.  Now, I know he is an Olympic athlete, and I know that this is what he trains to do, and I know that no matter how much time I spent devoting to training….I would never in a kajillionbillion years be able to run that fast!  When I finish my 400m at 1:43.2, I am exhausted and out of breath.  The thought of what I would feel like, which ultimately is dead because my heart and lungs would have exploded, to run either once around that track in half that time or twice around the track at that same time, well it is just beyond my comprehension.  And having done speed work now once a week for the past 18 or so weeks, I am just in awe of what those athletes do!

CONGRATULATIONS to all the U.S. Olympic Athletes!  I can’t wait for the London 2012 Olympics to start on July 27!  Go Team USA!


New Training Program
Christy and I are making two KEY changes to our training this time around as she trains for Chicago 2012 and I train for Detroit 2012:

  •  Different “long” run training schedule; specifically, a Hal Higdon training schedule.
  • Running NOT fast

During our transition time between the “not to be mentioned, I can’t believe how hard it was, I’ll never do it again” marathon this past June and our upcoming fall marathons, we have been doing a lot of training analysis and assessment.  And we have decided that despite all the great science in the Run Less, Run Faster training program that we used for the “not to be mentioned, I can’t believe how hard it was, I’ll never do it again” marathon, we think it was too much unnecessary running on the long runs.  Even when I told experienced runners that we were doing 5, 20-mile runs, they balked. So we are pulling things back a bit-Hal Higdon’s long-run training schedule will have us running 29 LESS miles over the course of our training schedule:

Since I currently have 407.8 training miles and 26.2 actual marathon miles under my belt since March of this year, I’m feeling pretty confident that running 29 LESS training miles will actually be to my benefit!

The other big change we decided to make was to run all our long runs at a pace of 10:44, one minute slower than what our goal marathon pace is for the fall.

While we were running the “not to be mentioned, I can’t believe how hard it was, I’ll never do it again” marathon, Eric our pacer said that long run paces should ALWAYS be a minute slower than your actual goal pace times.  Honestly, I had never heard that before.  Our long run pace times during our most recent training ranged from 9:59 to 10:44, and I always tried to beat those times.  I figured if I could run as close to the 9:44 pace during the training runs, I would be golden on race day.  Yeah, well…as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men.

Lunch last Thursday at The Quarter Bistro and Tavern where Christy and I hatched, confirmed, and solidified our new training mantra: “Run Less, Run Slower.” It’s not a very exciting photo but it is momentous in two ways: 1) The two of us gals who want to run fast, fast, fast agreed to run slow, slow, slow and 2) We’re wearing “street” clothes with our hair done and I suspect it’s one of the better pictures of us on this blog.

Tempo Run
At the above mentioned hatching of the soon-to-be-famous “Run Less, Run Slower” training program, we talked about how hard we thought it would be to run that slowly, i.e., a 10:44 pace on our long runs.  During our tempo run on North Campus, which had taken place just a few hours prior to lunch, we struggled to run “slow.”

As you can see, we didn’t quite hit our “recommended” pace times for any of the miles, but where we were WAY off was during our slow, warm-up and cool-down miles.

I think this could be one of the ONLY times we didn’t hit our goal/recommended pace times for the fast miles.  But I was tired and, perhaps more importantly, I didn’t even care.  And here’s why:

  • I’m still physically recovering from the June 17 marathon.  As I mentioned earlier, I’ve got 434 miles under belt right now and don’t feel the need to push anything.
  • I’ve made a conscious decision to not be nearly as serious during this training as the last one.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ll train seriously, but I won’t be so serious about it.  Does that make sense?  Bottom line, I want to have a lot more fun (so far-check), I want to laugh a lot more (so far-check), and I want to be in the moment while training and not fret about how I’m going to blog about it (so far-let me get back to you on this one).

Long Run
Saturday morning rolls around and it’s time for our long run. In addition to changing up our overall long-run schedule, we decided to switch our first few long runs.  “Our” massage therapist (Renee has been Christy’s massage therapist for 20 years and mine for 2 months) who is a marathon runner with a lot of “WINS” under her belt told me that we shouldn’t do a long run (13 miles or more) for 3-4 weeks after the marathon.  So we opted to do a 10-mile run yesterday morning.  On Friday, I sent Christy an email reminding her to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!! because the time and weather conditions of our Saturday run would be very similar to what we experienced during the “not to be mentioned, I can’t believe how hard it was, I’ll never do it again” marathon.

Christy and I kept talking about how hard we thought it would be to run the 10:44 pace during our long runs, but we agreed to stick to it.  We started off and checked our watches a lot more than usual.  In the beginning I felt like I was calling out more often, “We’re running an xyz pace, let’s slow it down,” and by the end of the run Christy was saying it more.

As you can see from our pace times, the first half of the run we were pretty significantly faster that then 10:44, but the second half of the run didn’t seem to be much of a problem at all.

FIRST long run of our new training. Hoping to hit 10:44 pace times-sometimes we were faster and sometimes we were slower.

What was great to experience during this long run was the effect of the heat on my body. I know that sounds odd because I’ve spent a lot of time post-marathon blogging about how the heat and the hills played a much larger role/took a much greater toll during the marathon than I thought, but I didn’t translate that to how it would affect me/how I would feel when I wasn’t trying to maintain a certain fast pace. I never once felt during this training run as bad as I did during the marathon, but I was surprised by how tired I did feel at times when I wasn’t running particularly fast.

My only hope, at this point, is that all my running lessons learned will actually start to penetrate and sink into this thick, stubborn head of mine!  Because, as the saying generally goes, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” And I ain’t making THAT mistake again.

Carry on, friends.  Carry on.

First long run of this training. I’m holding up my empty chocolate milk glass and Gatorade bottle. Why? I’m not too sure. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but now as I struggle with a caption for it, it just seems stupid.

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