Thursday, April 15, 2010

Slow and Steady

With a long run scheduled today and uncertainty about how my body may perform, I turned to the running experts for guidance. I have been listening to Pure Fit Radio, a weekly podcast hosted by Bart Yasso. Last week he talked about the "proper" way to do a long run, with an emphasis on negative splits.

The basic strategy is to do the first 25% of the run 1:15 slower than your marathon pace, the next 50% at 1:00 slower than marathon pace and the last 25% at marathon pace. I figured what the heck and gave it a go.

My marathon pace in March was 10:39, but my first goal to achieve is a 10:00 pace. I used this number as a base.

Miles 1-4: Goal 11:15. 11:15 is REALLY SLOW...I had a very hard time getting close to this, even with some hills. 11:00, 10:55, 10:56, 11:08

Miles 5-10: Goal 11:00. Got in some trail work with a bit of extra hills and also incorporated a few laps on a synthetic track at the local college. 11:10, 10:45, 10:55, 10:53, 10:54, 10:55.

Miles 11-14: Goal 10:00. Quicker turn over with my feet. Definitely tired here, but the slower pace for the first 10 allowed me to complete this section with success. 9:52, 9:52, 10:11, 9:57.

My legs started aching in all of the usual places somewhere around mile 10, but I was able to work through it and finish. I had a nice ice bath (my new favorite treatment) when I was done.

Mileage: 14.00
Time/Pace: 2:29:30/10:40
Avg HR: 148


  1. Thanks for this post, FGR.Ive been told by my TNT coach, I need to really slow down my pace for the first three miles of my long runs for myhalf-marathon training. As you've stated, I'm afraid that this will be far more difficult than I'm already fearing, as I've found it hard to go slower at the beginning of a long run. I always feel that I can't pick up the pace if I start out too slowly. BTW, conrats on being able to find enjoyment in the ice baths. The first thing I'm looking for after a long run is a hot tub...

  2. I think I heard you mention that you work and train in Binghamton? I went to school and ran cross country and track there in the late 70s/early 80s. There are certainly some great hill runs in Binghamton, either north or south of the Susquehanna River. Nice area for running. You should check out the Triple Cities Runners Club if you are in Binghamton often.

    Are you really trying another marathon in May? That doesn't seem like a lot of recovery time. Even 2 marathons in a year is quite a bit............I once foolishly ran 3 marathons within about 4 months (December, March, April), with the 3rd marathon being Boston in 1978. Definitely too much! Then, I had a friend who ran the Skylon marathon in Buffalo one day, drove to NYC overnight, and ran the NYC marathon the next day. He completed both under 3 hours. He was a bit crazy! Anyway, keep up the good's been interesting following your progress. My one word of advice, having followed your progress, is don't overdo it or over train. Part of becoming a successful runner is well placed rest periods to recover, instead of having to take time off from an injury....

    Mark Raybuck
    (from the Mark and Eric's Running blog).

  3. Mark, Thanks for the comments...I find myself teetering back and forth on my training. My mind is so tuned in to working out, and for the most part, I've never felt better. The one thing that is holding me back are these joint issues, achy hip, sore knee...I continue this argument with myself daily, run/don't run, rest/push a bit more, etc, etc. How frustrating!

    Erin, Glad this helped you out. I was able to complete this run and felt more or less good afterwards. It was slower than I wanted to go, but I probably would have ran about the same time and it wouldn't have been a negative split.

  4. Impressive weight loss! I have been running for over 41 years, including some SUNY Buffalo graduate school years with the Buffalo Philharmonic Athletic Club (BPAC.) I just found my Skylon International Marathon results from 1981. My estimated lifetime mileage is about 25,000 miles. I remember a BPAC bumper sticker, "Long Distance Runners Keep It Up Longer." ;-)