Barely Hanging On…..

I don’t know if I ever formally mentioned that I’m using the Run Less Run Faster book as a guideline for my training for the Lansing Marathon.

This book has a chart which gives you a target finish time of what THEY believe you should be able to run, with proper training, of course.   It takes the “I wanna run X:XX:XX” out the equation when its right there in black and white that you can or cannot probably do it based on your current run times.   After you figure out your goal pace/marathon finish time, then there are multiple training tables which plan your training.  They also include a training plan for each of the Boston Marathon Qualifying standards.  Although, I’m not necessarily looking for a BQ because it seems impossible, I did select one of those plans because unlike the more generalized plans, it spells out each and every workout down to the pace you are “supposed to” run without any additional calculations necessary.

I won’t lie, this book is intimidating as all get out.  The premise is to run 3 key runs each week:  Speed, Tempo & Long Run, then add in two cross training days.  I chose biking for my cross training since I’m on deck for a 70.3 triathlon in July.  This 5 day plan works out well for my schedule because I can juggle the days, live my life, work, be a parent, be the “soccer mom”, and still not miss anything too important training wise.  In fact, I have never ran all the miles on a normal plan so I was willing to change my focus a bit this time around from “just run the miles” to “let’s sharpen the focus”.  I’m also not a person who wants a coach to whom I need to answer to but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like the idea of having a structured plan. 

As intimidating as the plan is in regards to hitting the numbers, I was a bit surprised as to how easy the workouts were to understand.  It is all spelled out for me and I just look at it on a day to day basis.  If I can’t do my speed work on Monday, I just move it to Tuesday and look at the day on my chart for the workout details.  I program my treadmill to the desired intervals and honestly, just try to hang on for as long as possible.  The paces are NOT easy for me.  Marathon training is not easy for me which is why I do it.  The paces, the plan, the training is a constant challenge.  I have not yet nailed a speed or tempo session and I don’t know why but that doesn’t seem to bother me.  I just keep on moving to the next workout as if I DID nail it and things are progressing.  In fact, they are progressing in a positive manner.  I “almost” nailed last night’s speed session.  In fact, I nailed a good 75% of it.  Progress in week 11 with a late start and a couple “rough” weeks.  I can’t wait to see where I am on April 21st when I fight it out mentally & physically at the Lansing Marathon.  I honestly do not believe that I will hit my predicted finish time for this marathon but I will be interested to see how close I come to their prediction.  I have considered sliding back to the next slower BQ training plan but what fun is that?  I don’t want to nail every workout but rather reach for it and keep trying to improve.  So  yes, I’m “in training” but I’m barely hanging on…… good thing I don’t go to the gym cuz I might scare someone.

fall off treadmill

Do you like to train within your comfort zone or do you try to push the limits?  I’m sure if I had a coach instead of a book, they would back me down so that I could nail it and grow my level of confidence but I kinda like it this way because this is what I do for fun.

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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10 thoughts on “Barely Hanging On…..

  1. Can’t wait to hear how you do. I finished my first full in Nov by just logging the miles. I don’t have time to figure out paces, etc. but this book sounds like a great reference. I am planning on a fall marathon and have been looking for a plan.

  2. That sounds crazy. I found some intervals to increase 5k times that is 3 interval sessions a week. I have done it for a month and I am on my second now, can’t wait for my next chip timed race. Of course for me distance right now is taking a backseat while I build up the speed. Takes allot of listening to the body when you are pushing intervals hard three times a week.

  3. TTF….WTF….I got both that book and have incorporated some of its principles and I am a certified marathon coach! And I am easy and free….and told you I am always there for you…no charge. Maybe you just don’t ascribe to how I have guided you in past or my coaching philosophy. That’s ok…I can live with that…but you have always had “free” coaching from me at your fingertips. I have spent a lot of time to develop detailed training plans for those striving to qualify for Boston…those that I believed had the potential and could commit to the necessary training.

    Run Fast Run Less (RFRL) can work and it is best for those injury prone that can’t handle “high-mileage”….but one cannot get around that running more miles per week…even a lot of slow miles…gives an aerobic boost that cannot come from high-focus on high-intensity run training coupled with x-training regimens in the days between. It can work…but it is not as easy to run BQT using that system. Tom Nolan is one fellow I do know that has made very consistent marathon performances following their training regimen.

    And if you aren’t hitting your speedwork splits or flying off or barely hanging on…or worse yet…finishing them far slower than what the training says….well, that is feedback that one needs to fall-back in those intervals to a speed that is reasonably controlled. And if that speed/pace is noticeably less than what training program calls for…then that’s feedback one may have to adjust their race goal time accordingly.

    You keep up on the training and as weeks go by…maybe some improvement and you back on track. But you have to run those intervals at “hard-controlled” and run all of them like that. If you can run the last one faster….by all means do it…but never finish slower than goal interval duration/pace….or adjust downward to make sure you can run all of them at a controlled speed. Make sense?

    I am an RRCA certified marathon coach. I have run 24-marathons since my first in Oct 2007 at Chicago…one 50k and one 50-mile race included (8:23 for the 50-mi)…and I have run 4 straight Boston Marathons and qualified to run my 5th at Chicago. I know how to train to get to Boston…and most of the time…run Boston and qualify again.

    Seems like you could benefit from my ability and experience. Ditto for any other of your running crowd that want to chase the “unicorn” (aka antelope).

    Hey…get me one of those necklace-like badges shown in your last pic. That’s my fee!

  4. Well it’s good to hear how you are doing….I was doing fairly well and I was quite surprised at how well I was doing till this week……Monday night I was gassed….just couldn’t do what I needed time wise. But I am doing the cycling and swimming along with the running. I did figure out Monday, NOT to swim the morning of the tempo run…..I have been learniing more about myself following this plan. I am following the 3:55 marathon plan, I need a 4:00 to BQ this Spring. Hoping I have a cushion, I know I won’t. But I do notice more confidence in myself with the crosstraining. Keep me posted on your progress!! Good to know someone else following this at the same time. I do like this program, at this moment……

  5. I like to push my limits when I train. One of the things I enjoy most about being a runner is seeing how much I can improve. You can only do that if you push yourself. However, I’m starting to discover the limits of how OFTEN I can push myself. I think I need to limit myself to 2 or maybe 3 true “goal” races per year that I really train hard for. Other races are just ‘for fun” or ” to the best of my ability right now.” I’m trying to enjoy some “downtime” right now for another week or two or three (whenever this crappy weather clears up) before jumping into solid training for the Palos Half.

  6. I actually just read this book! I think the plan is perfect for my husband because he is already cross-training – biking and swimming. He has bad knees so he can’t run as much as some training plans require. He likes to run fast when he trains. I did notice that the training plan has higher paces due to stressing quality runs over quantity. It looks quite challenging. I am interested in seeing how the plan works for you!

    Personally, when I train I like to push myself but I like to be able to complete the plan – at least to the intent of a particular run. I am always watching my heart rate and to me this is a more important indicator than hitting a prescribed pace. I suppose if you are a runner looking to BQ then pace is more important. I am far from that however! 🙂

    I think there is something to be said about being able to nail a training plan and mentally knowing you are going to rock a race because you nailed the plan. But it sounds like you are the type of runner that doesn’t need that. 🙂 I guess the only thing I would be careful of is training outside your abilities and risking injury or overtraining. Good luck!

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