Monday, January 30, 2012

Committing to the distance(s)

It was a good weekend for running. Two colleagues who always check in with me on their weekend running both reported great experiences. I had a decent long-ish run on Saturday and an invigorating trail run yesterday, on a course best described as nature's roller coaster. This morning I was pleased to hear that my friend and colleague FS achieved a PR for a 10K race on Saturday. She wasn't even trying to do that. It was the zen of the run.

My goal for this month was to exceed 70 running miles. After tomorrow's run I'll probably come in just at 69. I averaged 73 running miles per month in 2011, plus three miles per week on the elliptical machine. I think I made a critical mistake by under-training on distance in the three months preceding my half marathon. My training mileage peaked in March at 74 and plummeted to below 60 in April. No wonder I struggled in the last miles of that race in early May.

For the first time ever, I'm going to write out a training plan that will help ensure that I cover the distances I need to get my base up where it needs to be. It's nice to head out the door with no plannned distance. I can cut it short anytime I feel like it. But if I go out knowing that I can't come home until I've reached seven miles, I'll make sure I do just that.


  1. My recommendation would be to increase your distance on the weekend long runs. You should run a few 10 milers between now and May.
    One thing to try during the long run is to go out easy for the first 7 miles and then run the last 3 at Half Marathon race pace.
    I find that running most of my long runs nice and easy is fine. As long as you cover the distance your body will get conditioned for the longer race.

  2. I agree on longer weekend runs. Do you know if Bethpage bike trail is open? That's my best course for long runs because it allows for 10+ miles out and back. I like the idea of 7 easy and 3 at half marathon pace. But I wonder if I could even maintain that at this point.

  3. I don't know about the Bethpage bike trail, sorry. I usually do my long runs at Sunken Meadow or around my neighborhood.
    Run the first 7 miles about 90 seconds slower per mile. I always try and finish my long runs strong. The key is to start out real easy.
    The idea is to condition your body to be able to handle an increase in energy demand after you have already consumed a good amount of your reserves. Proper fueling is key before any long run. Try different foods to see what gives you the most energy. I found boiled potatoes and pasta works best for me.

  4. Finishing an easy run fast has become one of my normal methods, though I do much better with it on middle and short distances. Fueling is indeed crucial, I've learned my lesson that glycogen and electrolyte depletion guarantee a bad result.

    My standard meal the night before a race has become a slice of pizza. In the morning I'll have a 300 calorie bar (Cliff or ProMax) about two hours before the start. If it's a 10K, I'll have a gel 20 mins before the start and another about 45 minutes into the race.

    You're likely done by then!


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