Runners Wanted: “Next Level” Training for 5K and Beyond

“I feel the need, the need for speed!”  — Maverick & Goose [Top Gun]

I mentioned a while back that I wanted to write my 3rd place in 1 mile 7 1 2014next running book about how to attain the next level.  I want to answer the question:  “When you have reached a plateau, how do you break through to faster personal records?”  I have done a lot of reading and a lot of experimenting over the last year.  Not everything has worked out… BUT, I think I have finally found a combination of research-based techniques that will do it.  This combination will bring runners to the next level!

Is this a magical elixir?  

It is certainly not magical and it is not a quick-fix.  It requires hard work and a precise combination of specialized training.  In other words, you can’t just go run whatever you want.  You also can’t skip days or change workouts based on how you feel.

What kind of workouts will it include?

My “Next Level” training for breaking plateaus is a combination of 4 types of workouts.  Each of the four workouts have a very specific set of purposes.  Each of the four workouts have been proven to be effective for those purposes.  What is truly new about my program is the combination of the workouts.  In his book Running Science, Dr. Owen Anderson identifies 7 variables that impact running performance:

  • Maximal aerobic capacity (VO2 Max or VDOT)
  • Running Economy
  • Minimum velocity for maximal aerobic capacity (vVo2 Max or vVDOT)
  • Velocity at lactate threshold
  • Maximal running speed
  • Resistance to fatigue
  • Running-specific strength

Of course the variables overlap, with each one affecting several if not all of the other factors.  Still, any balanced approach to enhancing your performance in running must account for all seven.  If you design separate workouts for each variable, you would not have enough time or energy to get them all done and see the changes you are seeking.  Hence, the real trick is in finding specific workouts that lead to significant positive changes in several of these variables.  For the purposes of the Next Level training system, we will call these types of workouts “Super-Workouts” because they do super things for several of the variables.  Like superfoods, superworkouts are powerful.  The right combination will make you much more fit and help you break through to the next level.

Runners Wanted

Before I publish that next book and share the specifics of this new system of training, I need to assemble a group of 20 runners who want to try out my Next-Level Training System.  Interested runners would hire me as their coach for the next few months, following the fee structure outline on my coaching page.  We would start by discussing the specifics about your current level of training and performance.  I would then tailor the Next Level Training System to your specific needs in terms of your paces, goals, and lifestyle.  Then we would closely track your progress and tweak the program as needed.  Runners that stick to the program will then be featured in the book about the Next Level Training System.

Eligibility:  Are you ready to go to the next level?

Runners at all levels are welcome to participate as long as you are willing to stick with the program for at least 8 weeks.  16 weeks is preferred but not required.

Reply Now by emailing me your request to participate.  I will take the first 20 runners regardless of current performance level.  Send me a message as soon as possible to make sure you are included.

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”  — P. Mark Taylor

 

Gluten Free Supplements for Runners and Other Athletes

Living gluten free can be challenging.  Food labels are often vague or simply do not mention gluten, wheat or allergens.  Does it include wheat, barley, malt, or gluten?  If not on the ingredient list, was it manufactured in a facility that also processes foods that have these ingredients?  If it fails to mention anything about any allergens, should you trust the product?  It gets very old, very quickly.  I am worn out by the constant need to be vigilant.  Eating out can be a minefield for the gluten intolerant or Celiac.   Things are getting better, but at most cooks and waiters still have precious little knowledge or understanding about gluten and the needs of the consumer.

Now enter the world of an avid fitness fanatic and/or athlete.  The same issues arise.  If it is a pill, it is possible that there is hidden gluten used as a binding agent to form the pill.  How about whey protein?  Shouldn’t that be safe?  Why would there be wheat or gluten in a milk product like whey?  Guess what?  There is gluten in a large portion of the whey protein products available.  At one local store, I found that 9 of 10 whey protein powders could possibly contain gluten.  Only one safe protein supplement in the store.

Thankfully, I have found a brand of nutritional supplements that is almost entirely gluten-free.  Muna heard about it from other fitness trainers and we investigated it together.  I started by using the basic Genesis Pure products like the Daily Build liquid multivitamin, the Goyin balancing Blend, and the Liquid Cleanse.

For my fitness and performance needs, I also use these general supplements:

  • Mila (Chia Seeds) – omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and minerals
  • Coral Calcium – extra calcium and magnesium for bone strength and muscle function
  • Organic Sulfur – joint health
  • Greens – wheat grass (no gluten here), spirulina, and about 30 other natural nutrition sources

recoverySpecifically for the athlete, Genesis Pure offers the GPS line:

  • Moomiyo Edge
  • E2 – Energy drinks for before training
  • Pro-Arginine – Muscle health
  • Hydration mix – Electrolytes and fuel during training
  • Recovery – To maximize recovery and growth after the training

The products are effective.  Moreover, I like the convenience of getting all of my gluten-free supplements from the same trustworthy source.  If you are looking for gluten-free products, Genesis Pure products are worth trying.

Where to Find Genesis Pure Products

You will not find Genesis Pure products in retail stores.  You can get any of the products online at Amazon.com, but the prices are higher there.  The best and most affordable way to order Genesis Pure products is by using  the 25% membership discount.  There is a $39 initial enrollment fee, but then you are free to order at the discounted rate.

Once you join, you will also have the choice to turn your membership into a business opportunity if you are so inclined.  Most importantly, your membership can save you both time and money by finding all of your gluten-free supplements in one place.  :)

For More Information

If you are interested in learning more about Genesis Pure, the supplements, and/or the business opportunity, you can watch the 23 minute introductory video at:  http://wiserunning.com/about-us/gluten-free-supplements-and-business-opportunity/

You can also email me at pmark.runner@gmail.com.

Let me know if you have any questions about nutritional supplements, their purpose, or how to find if they are gluten-free.

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”

    — P. Mark Taylor

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Next Level Nutrition: The Food is Fuel Mindset

“You are what you eat.”
“You can’t outrun or outwork poor nutrition.”

Going to the Next Level

I have searched for years and I finally found it.  I have found the combination of running workouts to maximize the benefits of training.  I know how to train to get faster while putting the least amount of stress on my body.  That is awesome.  I could not be happier!

Still, I have this black cloud that is hanging over my head.  I know that to reach my full potential in the next level of running performance, I have to eat and drink wisely.  Unfortunately, I am guilty of the high crime of eating what I feel like eating.  Sometimes that means I am eating very healthy food.  Sometimes that means I eat junk.  It is a crime against me and my goals.

Why so negative?  Is this really a crime?  What about happiness?

If I had no goals for my health, eating what I feel like eating would be good enough.
If I had no goals for my running, eating what I feel like would be good enough.
…but I do have goals.  I have BIG goals.  The crime is that I am hurting my health and my progress towards goals.cupcakes

The Food Failure Mindset

The unhealthy mindset thinks of food and drink as something emotional.  It is a reward for being good.  It is feeling cleverly sneaky while we “cheat” our healthy diet.  We eat because we want to elicit some specific emotional response (happiness, relief, …) or to avoid feeling emotions (frustration, sorrow, shame, …).

These brief moments of “positive” emotions only last as long as the food or drink lasts.  Does it work?  For a moment.  The pain, frustration, sorrow, resurface as the effects of the indulgence wears off.  Then comes the shame and self-loathing.  So did it make you feel better in the long run?  No.

Even if it is a real hunger that we have, we must remember that cravings are for nutrients, not for junk.  You may feel like you want the entire box of ice cream, but your body is craving calcium and or calories.  If you are skipping meals, your body will not have what it needs.  Of course you will start craving!

Whether your cravings are for real nutrition or for emotional relief, eating what you feel like eating is almost always a road that leads to frustration and shame.  You steal the progress you could be making.  You steal your health.  You steal your own joy.  That is the crime.  In this mindset, you end up both the perpetrator and the victim.

The Food as Fuel Mindset

What food and drink ARE NOT:

  • Food and drink are not rewards.
  • Food and drink are not escapes.
  • Food and drink are not quick fixes for emotional problems.

What food and drink ARE:

  • Food and drink are fuel for a healthy body.
  • Food and drink are long-term fixes for long-term health problems.
  • Food and drink are tools to use towards your goals.

Eating wisely takes a lot of thought and preparation long before the meal or snack.  If you want to get to the next level of running performance and health, you must plan and follow through.

Although I have tried to eat well, my journey of meal planning and preparation is just beginning.  It is my next step to getting to the next level.  As my personal meal and snack planning adventure unfolds, I will blog about it here to let you know what is working for me.  Stay tuned!  :)

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”

    — P. Mark Taylor

 

 

Revisiting Long-term Goals and Setting Goals for 2015

What you get by achieving your goals
is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
Henry David Thoreau

It is time to check in once again.  Although I had some setbacks that made 2014 a challenge, I still need to reflect on the good things that happened.  I also need to remind myself of the Unreasonable Running Goals for the Next 5 Years that I set back in September of 2013.  I have some crazy-high expectations on that list.

3rd place in 1 mile 7 1 2014The two biggest goals are at very different distances.  The first is running 800 meters in 1:58.  The second is running a half marathon in 1:10:25.  All of the other goals listed on that post are interesting but not critical.

Although I listed the half marathon as my main goal in that list,  I am thinking that the 800 meter goal will need to occur first.  Here is my reasoning: I must build my raw speed and power to a whole new level before I can maintain a fast speed for the half marathon distance.  In most half-marathon training plans, the speed work comes in the first phase.  The second and third phases are more focused on elements of endurance.  Likewise, as I look at the next 3.5 years of my development I know that I must get faster.  Although I still have a few longer races on my schedule, they will not be the focus.  My training must focus mainly on speed at least until I break the 2 minute mark in the 800 meters.

This being the case, my main goals for 2015 all revolve around faster speeds at short distances.  My personal records within that last 5 years are as follows:

Running Records (since 2009)

800 meters

2:23

2013

1 mile

5:21

2013

2 mile

11:58

2013

5K

18:35

2013

10K

39:43

2013

Half Marathon

1:27:42

2013

Marathon

3:12:45

2013

You will immediately notice that they were all set in 2013.  The only PR I set in 2014 was at the 15K distance.  Why is this?  I had a knee injury from weightlifting in November 2013 and took off all of December 2013 to recover.  Then I suffered a concussion when hit by a car while riding my bike in February of 2014.  These two instances set me back.  It has taken all of 2014 to make it back to a point near my fitness level of 2013.  What are the good things that happened this year?  I ran my first Boston Marathon and I regained my fitness!  If I can stay healthy throughout 2015, I expect to see the personal records begin to fall once again.

Since my main focus is on speed, I will be happy if I can manage a big PR in both the 800 meters and the mile.  Any other PRs set in 2015 will be a happy side effect of my focus on these distances.  These goals, however, are rather vague.

Remember This:

If you aim for nothing you will surely accomplish your goal. 

Goals must be specific enough to know when they have been accomplished.  Here are my specific goals for 2015:

  • 400 meters – 0:59.99
  • 800 meters – 2:11.50
  • 1 mile – 4:59.99 (on the track)

Any other personal records set this year will just be icing on the cake.  I will race distances from 800 meters up to marathon in 2015, but mostly for fun.  The only specific goals are at 1 mile and shorter.

Your goals may be quite different from mine.  How do you go about setting goals for 2015?  Here is what I suggest:

  1. Define your goals for the next 5 years.  They do not have to be time-oriented.  It could be distances.  You may want to run a 100 mile race 5 years from now or you may want to run a 5K in less than 30 minutes.  These are YOUR goals.  You define success.
  2. Think about the multiple steps that it will take to achieve your main 5 year goals.
  3. Choose the first steps and write them as goals for 2015.
  4. Double-check your goals to make sure they are specific enough.  How will you know if you reached your goals?
  5. Revisit your 1-year and 5-year goals next year.

What do you want to accomplish?  How can I help you get there?

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“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”

    — P. Mark Taylor

Getting to the Next Level: The Role of Patience in Your Training Plan

I am guilty as charged.  The crime?  Lack of patience.  The evidence?  My training plans from the past.  They are riddled with inconsistency.  Why?  Because I am a tinker.  I like to tinker with plans and try to perfect them.  Why is this a problem?  Because it takes months for a plan to fully unfold.  A balanced plan will have stages.  It will allow for the development of new speed as well as moving your lactate threshold, running economy, and much more.  You can’t do all of that at the same time.  Bottom line: It takes months to improve the variables that impact running performance enough to see a measurable difference.

What have I done wrong?  I have continuously tweaked programs based on how I was feeling rather than sticking to the original design of the training program.

Remember This!

You should stick to your training plan without major changes for at least 3 months.

It takes ten days to get the full extent of adaptations from a workout.  If your plan is ideal, then four weeks of work could possibly show a measurable difference.  That means that it takes about 1.3 months to see a perfect plan work.  Now throw in the idea that we have good and bad days.  If you have a bad day in the race where you expect to see the results of 1.3 months of work, you might reach the wrong conclusion that it did not work.  It is only after about 3 months of steady progress that you will see a significant change even if you have a bad day.  That is why I say 3 months is the standard.  Follow a plan with multiple stages and complete 3 months as it was designed before you draw a conclusion on whether it worked or not.

Looking back at my own running over the past 5 years, it becomes clear that the times I made the most progress were the times that I stayed with a program most consistently.  That is true regardless of the program I was following.  When I first started, I followed programs from Hal Higdon.  When I wanted to get faster, I followed the plan of Dr. Jack Daniels.  Then I heard about the innovative work of the Hanson Brothers.  I followed their program and got another big improvement.

Since that time, I have been tinkering with different types of workouts.  I have found several workouts that work well on changing some of the variables of running performance.  I have gone through several and been frustrated by my lack of overall improvement.  I just keep changing things.  When I was on a coordinated program for at least 3 months, I made progress.

training program picWhile I was tinkering with my own programs, I have developed training programs for many athletes during the same time.  When they have stayed true to the program I developed for at least 3 months, they have seen the improvements they sought.  Now I need to practice what I preach.  I have developed my Next-Level Training Program and personalized it for many runners, including myself.  I know that if we stick to the program, we will get the results and move on to the next level.  I just have to stop tinkering.  I have to wait for the program to develop.  I have to wait for all of the changes that come with all three stages of the program.  I have to stop evaluating the program in the moment and wait until for my next training schedule to make any changes.

I know that my Next-Level Training Program is a balanced approach that will get me where I want to go.  The components and stages are all first-class, trustworthy workouts.  The stages are in the right order.  I just have enough trust and patience to stick to the program.

 “Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”

    — P. Mark Taylor

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Keeping Things in Perspective: Down, But Not Out

“On your worst day of running, you still inspire someone.”  This is what I remind myself when I get down.

Unfortunately, I have been down a lot lately.  Just over a year ago, I made a mistake while lifting weights.  I hurt my knees.  I ran the Secret City Half Marathon last year on hurting knees, but then I took almost the entire month of December 2013 off to allow my knees to recover.  2013 had been a year full of personal records.  I was up, up, up and flying high.  I was strong and fast.

secret city 2013I entered 2014 by racing a 5K on New Year’s Day that was considerably slower than my recent 5Ks.  This was not a big surprise since had just taken a month off.  What did surprise me was that it would take me a full year to get back to the shape I had been in before the knee incident.  I suppose that bike wreck and concussion in February didn’t do me much good either.

I trained hard and fast.  I took breaks after the longest races.  I did many things right.  Still, I have been plagued with “bad days” time and time again in 2014.  At my first Boston Marathon, I struggled very early.  I started out as planned, but got slower every mile.  I finished nearly 2 hours slower than my goal and required medical attention.

I focused on shorter distances in the summer more than ever before.  Still, I fell short on the personal records set in 2013.  I was getting closer as I went into fall, but my fall marathon had the same difficulties I had experienced a couple of years ago.  I struggled to maintain pace after the half way mark and gradually faded.  I managed to qualify for Boston 2016, but just barely.  I finished about 10 minutes slower than I had in both of my marathons in 2013.

The only course PR that I set this year was at the Townsend 15K.  I believed I had finally gotten my speed back by the end of November 2014.  I was training very well.  I expected to compete for a PR or come very close at the Secret City Half Marathon in 2014.  Unfortunately, I was ill on that day.  I was nauseous on the way to the race.  I tried to ignore that and started the race as I had planned.  I was fine until mile 4.  I slowed from 6:28 in miles 2 and 3 to a 7:30 in mile 4.  I considered stopping.  I considered puking, thinking I would probably feel better if I could let it out.  I decided to press on and make the best of it.  I pushed myself as hard as I could.  I managed to squeak out a 7:00 average pace by the end of the half marathon.  It was not race-day jitters.  I was ill for the next 36 hours.

I am frustrated.  I am as fast as I have ever been, but I just can’t seem to show it.  Staying positive is the only defense against such thoughts.

  • I am grateful that my knees did recover.
  • I am grateful that I survived the bike wreck (car involved) without anything but a concussion.
  • I am grateful that I have made a strong comeback, even if I have not shown it in a race just yet.
  • I am grateful that I have a loving wife who is patient with me as I go through all of these struggles.

Not everyone has these things.
I am privileged.
I am blessed.

I am frustrated, but I will not give up.  My training is working.  I am enjoying running.  I can’t let performance on race-day detract from that.

“On your worst day of running, you still inspire someone.” This is what I remind myself when I get down.  That is when I find the strength to stop the pity party and keep running.  They are my legs.  It is my effort.  It is my time.  Still, it’s not all about me.  That makes it worth the effort no matter how I do.

 

“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”

– P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

.

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_______________________________________________________

Wise Running Shirts & More

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I love running shirt

 

 

Giving the Gift of Running

As Christmas quickly approaches, here are some gift ideas for the runners in your life:

GIFT CERTIFICATE:  Give the gift of running!

A $50 or $100 gift certificate from Wise Running can be used to buy a training plan for an upcoming race, run coaching, video gait analysis, or some combination.  See http://wiserunning.com/run-coaching-custom-training-programs/ for details on the services offered.  Contact me directly to purchase a gift certificate.

BOOK ABOUT RUNNNING:  Give the gifts of knowledge and inspiration!

Runners are often avid readers.  Books on running tend to be appreciated by runners because they entertain, inform, and inspire.  Here are a few ideas:

 

Click here for the Current Best-Selling Books on Running

RUNNING GADGETS:  Give the gift of data and/or accessories!

Runners love technology!  Whether it is a well-designed hydration belt or a data-generating device like a GPS watch, these gifts will be appreciated.

Most importantly, nothing says I love you more than the gift of safety.  Here is the most important gear that a runner can wear at night.  It is less than $20, but it is the most important gear to wear for night running.

Let me know if you have any questions about what to get for your runner!

 “Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”

    — P. Mark Taylor

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Winners and Athletes: Runners Who Inspire Me

It is an honor to be the coach of any runner. To have that position of trust is a big deal. Runners love to win. Runners want their training to lead to special moments. It is an important position and I do not take it for granted. In the case of these athletes, it is a double honor. They are winners and athletes.

Winners

Runners at the race expo for the Farragut Half Marathon were able to sign up for a chance to win a 12-Week customized training program designed by me. Melissa and Vickie 4I had intended to award this prize to just one winner, but that is not what happened.  All of the names were written on little slips of paper sitting in a big bowl.  When the time came, I turned my head away and reached in to pick the winner.  At first I had to many pieces of paper in my grasp, so I shook my hand gently until only one slip of paper remained.  It only had one name on it:  Melissa Peplow.  I knew immediately that I had given the plan away to two people.  You see, Melissa is 1/2 of a running team; two people that run as one.  Melissa and her running partner Vicky Wallace register for races separately.  They wear two bib numbers.  Still, they run as one.  Two bodies on three legs and a wheelchair.  Each runner serves the other.  Melissa is legally blind.  Sometimes she can see things clearly, but other times she can’t see much of anything.  Vickie serves as Melissa’s eyes.  Vicky suffered a stroke and presently only has control over the right side of her body.  Vicky wants to use her one good leg to be a runner.  Melissa serves Vicky by pushing the chair from behind.  Two runners working together so that each can give it their full effort.  Every time they finish a race they are winners regardless of what the final standings say.

Athletes

It should not need to be said, but I will say it anyway: theseMelissa and Vickie 3 ladies are athletes.  Not everyone believes that.  The fact that each one has some assistance from the other is enough for a few naysayers to complain.  Any true athlete, however, will recognize Vicky and Melissa as fellow athletes. They are not heroes.  They are not zeroes. They are athletes the same as you and I.  They have grit.  They have goals.   Both of them are facing huge challenges.  Both are out there training to improve their performance.  Both of them give all they have during a race.  The vast majority of runners are not racing each other as much as they are racing against themselves, trying to get better.  That is what an athlete does.

Coaching

Every athlete I coach faces challenges.  Every athlete inspires me as they find new and intersting ways to overcome those challenges.  These two are no different.  Yesterday I met with Vicky and Melissa to have our initial coaching session.  I observed their form, discussed their training habits, discussed their goals, and talked about how to move forward with developing their training plan.  That is what I do with all athletes.  I usually meet with runners one-on-one.  These ladies run as one.  I looked at their form as individuals and as a team.  I am giving them strength training to do as individuals and run training to do as a team.  That is what they need to do to improve.  That is what they want.  They are not trying to beat you in a race.  They are in a race with their limitations… and they are winning.

You can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/With-a-Will-There-is-a-Way/581877085167519.

 “Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”

    — P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

.

.

_______________________________________________________

Wise Running Shirts & More

Find yours HERE:

I love running shirt

 

Happy Runiversary! Savannah Marathon 2014 Race Report

Sometimes the race is not the main event.  While it was most definitely the event we planned around, this Savannah trip was much more than a marathon.

THE RACE

As for the actual race, I had yet another marathon when I tried out a new fuel.  I have never been totally happy with the gels or bars I have used in the past.  This race was no different.  Although I had practiced using Bonk Breakers bars in training, they did not work as well as I had hoped during the actual race.  That savannah 2014 resultsbeing said, I still had a reasonably strong run.

My main goal was actually to remain in the 6:50s for average pace for the first 20 miles.  I slowed a little faster than anticipated but still managed to average around 7:12.5 for 20 miles.  Not what I was shooting for, but still pretty good.

Although I was following my race plan as closely as I could, I gradually became weaker.  By mile marker 23, I had to start taking some walking breaks to avoid cramping.  I kept the best pace that I could without cramping.  I was running by feel rather than pace.  I could have tried to push the pace, but I am very familiar with this feeling.  I knew that pushing the pace would lead to strained muscles that could take a long time to heal.  Time to ease up and stay healthy.  Although I was a little disappointed, I still managed to finish in 3:22:44.  This is about 10 minutes slower than my PR, but it is still a Boston qualifying time by over two minutes.  That’ll do.

savannah 2014  muna jennifer meThe Run-iversary

It wasn’t the best time I have run for a marathon, but it was the best of times at the Rock’n’Roll Savannah Marathon.  The town of Savannah is great.  The course was supported well and the streets were filled with the citizens of Savannah cheering us on!  More importantly, Muna (left) and I were celebrating our first anniversary.  Is it odd that we would celebrate it by running a marathon?  NO!  We were married exactly one year before when we stopped in South Carolina to be married at the church where her uncle was the pastor.  You see, last year we were on our way from Knoxville to Savannah to go run the marathon.  We decided to “elope” just a few days before the marathon.  We got married the day before the race.  During the race, I stayed with my new bride to pace her to a PR.

That was 2013.  This was 2014.  It has been a good year and we were in ready to celebrate by running.  Our friend Jennifer (right) traveled with us to run the half marathon.  We had fun on the road.  We enjoyed the massive race expo.  We took the ferry across the river and enjoyed historic downtown Savannah, GA.  We got up early on race day, raced, and celebrated with thousands of other folks at the post-race party.  After an hour or two of reloading with Gatorade, Power Bars, and Michelob Ultra, we began to waddle back to the car.  On both days, Muna would stop us at every historical marker in Savannah to narrate with the words on the placard.  We love Savannah. We love the marathon.  We will be back next year for another try at a personal record.   We will be back to celebrate our run-iversary.

 “Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”

    — P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

.

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_______________________________________________________

Wise Running Shirts & More

Find yours HERE:

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10 Days Before the Marathon

wise running logo 7_25_12The hay is in the barn.  It is October 28 and I just ran the last key workout for the Savannah Marathon.  That leaves 10 days between today and race day.  It takes a full 10 days to see the full benefit of any particular workout, so this is a logical stopping point.  I will not get any faster.  Through rest and easy running, however, I will keep my speed and increase my health.  The little bumps and bruises, the sore parts, the cramps, strains and all of that, those things need time to heal.  They need to be gone by race day.  Fresh legs with no soreness but all of the speed I have earned through a thoughtful and hard-fought process of training.  Yes, 10 days ought to do the trick.

Getting to This Point

Much of my summer was focused on track meets and developing raw speed.  It was in mid-July that I first started sprinkling in some marathon-specific workouts.  I still had a few track meets left as well as a half-iron distance triathlon, so I was not fully devoted to marathon until later.  My long runs began to get longer and I sprinkled in some tempo runs here and there.

In August, my monthly mileage gradually went from somewhere in the twenties to somewhere in the thirties.  Throughout September, I averaged 41 miles per week.  Through experience, I have learned this is the sweet spot for my marathon training.  I make the most progress at about 40-44 miles per week.  Some people can handle a lot more.  This is me.  I have stayed right around there through the first 3 weeks of October, too.

My longest runs are every other week.  At first I was measuring by miles, but after 16 miles I start measuring by time.  My long runs went from two hours and twenty minutes, to two hours and forty minutes.  I completed two 3-hour long runs.  The Sundays between these very long runs were in the 10 to 12 mile range.

My training paces have changed over the months as well.  In July and part of August, I was doing a lot of short (200 meters to 800 meters) intervals at 5:40 pace or faster.  I gradually decreased time at those ridiculously fast paces while increasing time and distances at paces ranging from 6:30 15257355495_c5aa8f7266_oto 6:50.  These are the paces that I want to run during the marathon, so I have run a lot of mile repeats and tempo runs in this pace range.  No, I do not plan to average 6:30 miles in the marathon.  I would like to average in the 6:50 range.  I have to plan for time to walk through water stations and take a potty break.  Hence, I practiced 6:30’s and 6:40’s to aim for an average in the 6:50’s.  :)

I have done races along the way, but I considered them all to be training runs for the marathon.  I wanted to maintain two to three key workouts per week.  That meant that I could not afford to rest up to really kill any races along the way.  So, they were just training at a good pace.

The 10 Days of Taper

So here we are, 3.5 months after the first marathon-specific workout.  The hay is in the barn.  I will take it easy.  All runs will be at 8:00 pace or slower except for a few strides now and then.  This is enough effort to maintain my speed but easy enough to heal completely in 10 days. My scheduled miles for this week add up to 26.  Next week, I will run 9 to 12 miles before race day on Saturday.

Not only am I going for a personal record (PR) at the Savannah Marathon, but it also the one year anniversary of our wedding.  Muna and I got married on the way to the race last year.  It will be a great day no matter how the race turns out.  Gotta keep things in perspective.

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“Train smart, eat well, & enjoy the run!”

    — P. Mark Taylor

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Check out these books by P. Mark Taylor for more advice on running:

The Gift of Running: A Book for Runners & Future Runners  Wise Running Book COVER mockup

&

Wise Running: Thoughts on Running and Life

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