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Thursday Run and Running Goal Musings


Thursday, December 05, 2013

It's Thursday, a work at home day and a day to run on my lunch hour. And today, it's a day of reflection on my running goals.

Today was the peak of a period of unseasonably warm weather. Noon arrived with 60 F temperature, cloudy skies, and SSW winds at 15 mph. I took the opportunity to run in shorts and a tee shirt, and to test a pair of summer weight anklet socks I bought at closeout prices on Black Friday. The socks should work fine for running in warm weather, though I might not get to wear them again till March.

In honor of the warmth, I ran the neighborhood route with three small hills that will be closed to me when there is snow on the ground. The streets and sidewalks were mostly damp pavement with some dry patches and a few puddles of snow melt. I only stepped in one puddle, so that's good. The total effort per RunKeeper was 4.30 miles in 30:02 for an average pace of 7:00 per mile. Mile splits were 7:11, 7:00, 6:55, 6:53, and a 6:59 pace for the last 0.30 mile. That's a bit faster than I had planned on Sunday, but it felt good. I did keep the mileage right where planned for a week that I'm converting from three to four running days.

At the suggestion of PAULOBRY, I've been looking at the McMillan running calculator for an estimate of training paces. You put in a recent race time, and it calculates what your training paces should be. Today I looked at it to try to fit what I've been doing into the McMillan framework. Today's pace would be a tempo run based on my October 5K time, or right at the border between a tempo run and a steady state run based on my Thanksgiving 10K time. Yes, the suggested paces got faster with the more recent race time. In October, the suggested long run pace was 7:48 to 9:05; now, it's 7:37 to 8:52. That makes me feel a bit better about having a hard time holding a run slower than an 8 minute mile, but there's more going on here than that.

I watched McMillan's videos describing the long run, tempo run, steady state run, and tempo intervals. I think I have a divergence of goals from what McMillan is coaching. McMillan seems to be coaching to produce the fasted possible race time. There's nothing wrong with that, and many runners have that as a goal.

I don't. While I don't have anything against having a fast race time, I really want to finish with a smile, have an easy recovery, and be able to get back to regular running soon after the race. The idea of resting one day for each mile raced would make me avoid a marathon because I don't want to take a month off.

Looking back, I ran a 5K in October trying to run as fast as I could maintain a steady pace. I deliberately tried to get a 5K PR. I got that PR, and I was surprised that I needed recovery time. In contrast, I ran a 10K on Thanksgiving with the goal of keeping good form, not re-injuring my foot, and having fun. It happened to produce a PR for 10K, but that wasn't the goal. And I was rewarded with the ability to just keep running regularly, which is more important to me than the PR in the 10K.

I think I didn't run that 10K as hard as McMillan would have me run it in the context of the training program. If this is indeed the case, my paces for McMillan-style training would be faster than the suggested paces. But I'm not sure how relevant that is if I want to train for sustainable regular running rather than training for the fastest possible race.

I still want to do the Flower City Challenge half marathon on April 27. I'm 90% sure I'll pay the training arm of the local running store for a program aiming at that one. But I'll be sure to discuss goals with the trainers when this happens. Sustainable, injury-free, and smooth recovery are all more important that fast race time.

This is not an insurmountable divergence of goals. I learned to read about weight lifting and adjust for the fact that primary implied goal of most writers (muscle hypertrophy) is irrelevant to me. I can learn to read about training for road races and adjust for the fact that the fastest possible race time is not my primary goal.

I'd like to be able to run further, and longer. I want to complete a half marathon. I expect to complete that half marathon in a time that will look impressive to many casual runners, but not be in contention for winning the event. Whatever time I achieve, the time won't be as important as finishing, running all the way. And running all the way won't be as important as goal number one, Don't Get Injured.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
PAULOBRY 12/8/2013 9:03AM

    Don't let the recovery period be a bar to running a marathon. According to Hal Higdon, there is no exact formula for marathon recovery. He elaborates that race day variables like elevation, temperature, etc. could slow the recovery process. Since your goal is to finish your new races without injury and not PR seeking, hopefully your recovery would be in the "normal" range.

Although I have not raced a 10k, much less a marathon, typical recovery plans involve something like my online plan provides:

recovery until day 7's three mile recovery jog
2nd week gradually building to "normal" training (e.g. 4 days a week)
ready to run hard again by the 3rd week.

Basically the rule of thumb is not linear as you extend the race distance.

I think you would have a much better handle on whether a marathon is a goal after you complete your half. I believe all training cycles should have planned recovery weeks and I don't think that a typical marathon recovery is outside of that boundary.

I admire your training in such cold and windy conditions. A lot of commitment.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/6/2013 6:36AM

    A competing philosophy you might want to peruse is Jeff Galloway's... his primary goal is injury free, but he too has metrics for judging/predicting your own best pace based on measuring a "magic mile".

I expect that my personal best from the Lincoln HM this year will remain my PB, as speedier HM's is not my own goal. But it was sure nice to have! emoticon m emoticon


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MJREIMERS 12/5/2013 11:10PM

    You've got it right! My philosophy of running is changing and is a lot closer to your's. I'm still dealing with my "knee issue" and I'm really missing running. Especially, those last nice days before our single digits with minus degree wind chills came!!!

My first 1/2 marathon will probably be my best time. I proved to myself I can do it and now I want to finish with a smile on my face...not slurring my words and dealing with cramps in all places! I'm glad I ran that race for me, but now I'd rather run with the camaraderie that I've found in this community.

Thanks for the great blog and for helping me stay focused on what's the most important....staying injury free!

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TAICHIDANCER 12/5/2013 10:00PM

    You can do it. Slow and steady ....

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