Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Slow Down!

Every run isn't a race. Every run as a purpose. And that purpose isn't to run as fast as you can for as long as you can. I usually break up my runs into different categories:

1. Recovery Runs: These should be run anywhere from MP + 20-30%. So basically slow. When you are finished you should feel better than when you started.

2. General Aerobic Runs: This should be run anywhere from MP + 15-25%. I like to start these runs out on the slow end and finish them off with the faster miles. These runs should still feel easy, but faster than Recovery runs.

3. Medium-Long/Long Runs: These are runs that are longer than 10 miles (11 miles and over). You can run these runs even faster (MP + 10-20%). Again starting out on the slow end of the range and picking it up towards the end is the best way I think. Usually do 1-2 MLR's and 1 LR a week.

4. Marathon Paced runs: These are typically done in the middle/end of a long run. This what you think your current marathon pace should be. Some people like to run these at goal marathon pace, but I think it is safer on the body to run what your current fitness describes. Runs like this could be 18 miles with last 10 at MP, 20 with 12 @ MP, etc.

5. Lactate Threshold runs: Usually done for segments of 3-7 miles, these segments should be runs at between 15k-half marathon pace. For the longer runs (6-7 miles), best to stick to HMP, shorter runs can go towards 15k pace. Do a couple mile warm-up/cool-down to get in 10 or so miles.

6. Vo2Max intervals: These are run at 5k pace and usually are in distance from 600-1200m. I usually jog half the distance of the interval as rest. You should do 4-6 reps of these along with a warm-up and cool-down to get 10+ miles on the day.

So for my marathon pace of 6:26, my paces should be:

Recovery: 7:43-8:22
General Aerobic: 7:24-8:03
MLR/Long Run: 7:05-7:23
Marathon Pace: 6:26
LT pace: 6:02-6:10
Vo2Max: 5:40

(I wish I could hit those paces now :) )

Another great way to determine if you are running too fast is to use a Heart Rate monitor. This can benefit beginners greatly. You'd be surprised how many people run too fast. The key to this is to finding you max heart rate. This could be found by either doing some all-out track repeats, all-out hill repeats or at the end of a 5k race. The age formulas thrown around are usually not that accurate.

So for HR training:
Recovery: < 76% Max
General Aerobic: 70-81% Max
MLR/LR: 72-84% Max
MP: 80-88% Max
LT: 82-91% Max
Vo2: 92-95%

Most of these values above come from Pete Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning, 2nd Edition, one of the best resources for marathon training around.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

OK A Little Late: Marathon Fueling Tip

Not only is marathon fueling important during the race, but it is extremely important pre-race. Especially in the 24 hour before the race.

There are many train of thoughts when it comes to fueling for a marathon race. Carb depletion, carbo-loading, etc.

I've tried the carbohydrate depletion routine during the first half of the last taper week. You basically go on the Atkins diet for 3-4 days. You drop a ton of weight, but you usually feel like crap, drop your immune system when you really don't want to get sick, have horrible runs because you feel like crap and doubt why in the hell am I doing this.

So after doing some research, I found what works best for myself. It's the Western Austrailian Carbo loading method. Basically, its Carbo-loading for dummies. Here's my routine....

1. For about 2 weeks out from the race, when we are in our taper. I simply cut back on over-indulging in food. I don't change my diet, I just don't have the second or third servings that normal marathon runners during training eat. I'll have smaller portions of snacks. I won't drink soda, beer, etc. Doing this method,  I usually drop 3-4 lbs and get pretty lean pre-race. I got down to 153.2 lbs before I left for Boston this year.

2. I let the flood gates open about 2-3 days before the race. I basically eat anything I want, concentrating a little more on carbohydrates. There's is nothing special to this though. You just eat. Eat what you want.

3. The Australian Carbo load mentioned above is a 24 hour carbo-load which usually consists of:
a. A short run (I do 2 miles), with 2:30 at mile pace, and 0:30 all out.
b. Immediate ingestion of copious amount of carbs after this run.
c. Continuous ingestion of copious amount of carbs during the day.
d. Cut-off solid food ingestion 12 hours before race.
e. Ingestion of copious amounts of liquid fuel about 3 hours before the race.

For my liquid carb consumption, I use Ultra Fuel.

It taste like child's paste dissolved in water, except worse. It's difficult to mix, but it works for me and I won't change to anything else. Basically, the rule of thumb is three hours before the race the number of carbohydrates you need is your body weight in kilograms (1 kg = 2.2 lbs) times 3. Then divide this number by 100 and you get the number of servings of UltraFuel. Each serving of UltraFuel is 4 scoops.

I also use 1.5-2 servings of UltraFuel after the fast paced WAC run about (3a).

Just a note, be near a port-a-potty when doing this because its a lot of liquid to ingest.

I haven't hit the wall in a marathon since I've been doing this. 7 straight.

Friday, May 20, 2011

First Post: What Not To Wear To The Start Of A Marathon

I've seen it a million times. Especially at marathons like Boston, New York and even Wineglass. People show up to the start of a marathon hours before the start dressed in their race gear and nothing else.

Usually, it's cold and windy at the start. So, they shiver their race away before they even take one step during the race. Always feel bad for those people, since I already can tell they'll have a horrible race.

So today's tip. Invest a dollar or so at Goodwill and buy some old sweats and sweatshirts to keep warm at the start. Or even use some old work clothes you've got lying around the house. You'll have a better race, and you won't shiver to death. Toss the clothes right before the start. They'll probably be donated.

I wish I had a cool picture of a shivering runners, but unfortunately I do not.