First of all, thank you to everyone who left such wonderful, supportive comments on my post about moving to Raleigh yesterday. I was tearing up again this morning, reading them. Big virtual bloggy hugs to all of you. In a non-creepy way, of course.
This afternoon, though, it was time to dry the tears and steel myself for the first long tempo run I’ve done in a while: 7 miles total, with the first half at goal marathon pace and the rest at half-marathon pace. Doesn’t that sound fun? Anyone? Bueller?
Well, it wasn’t fun. If you want the details, see below. But can we chat for a minute about this whole concept of goal marathon pace? I feel like it’s come up a lot lately in my running circles!
Admittedly, GMP is kind of a new concept for me. In all of my previous marathons, I haven’t really trained with a certain pace in mind. Marathon pace was whatever pace I felt up for that day. Of course I wanted to finish well, but I never incorporated pace-oriented work into my training.
But a marathon is a race. And so there is a race pace. And getting that pace through your thick skull is an important part of training. Or so I am told.
This training cycle I am doing several GMP workouts – like tonight – as well as structuring other key runs around the concept. Long runs, for instance, should be 60 seconds per mile slower than GMP. At least. Ditto recovery runs.
Or so I am told.
It can be challenging to enforce such pace parameters. I think naturally, many people – including me! – get stuck on the notion that if I want to run a marathon at X pace, I should run my 20-miler at X pace. But that’s a recipe for disaster. Or, at a minimum, dead legs and runs that take several days to recover from. (I learned this one the hard way by pushing my 20-miler a bit too hard last weekend, I think.)
Marathon training means increased mileage. Something’s gotta give. I’m coming around to the fact that my average pace might slow down a bit as I work my way from 30 and 40 mile weeks to 50 and 60 mile weeks. And even with all of those miles, every run has a purpose: the GMP tempo at 7:45 pace and the recovery run at 9:15 pace are both important. And the long run should be just that – long. Not fast. Just long.
I’d love for others to weigh in on this! How do you approach marathon training? Do you train with a GMP in mind? As I said earlier, this is all sort of new to me. In the past, I’ve always been of the “eh, throw in a long run or two in and that’s good enough” mindset. But I don’t think I’ve lived up to my potential in my past marathons, either.
Whew, this turned in to a novel. A nerdy running novel. Sorry!
Today’s EAT: The hubs had dinner plans of his own tonight, so I threw together a solo snacky dinner when I got home from practice:
TJ’s Everything Pretzel Slims, hummus, cheese and a peach. Snackalicious! Seriously, those TJ’s pretzel thingys rock my face off. Have you tried them? They are perfect for dipping in hummus or eating with cheese!
I also crunched on a yummy ear of corn with butter and lots of salt. I crave salt big time after a hard workout!
(Thanks, Megan, for sharing your CSA goodies. The corn was delish.)
Today’s DRINK: I rehydrated with a glass of this Simonsig Cab:
I’m sure my snacky dinner didn’t really do it justice, as sipping this wine made me think of a filet or a rack of lamb! But it was lovely to sip, regardless.
Today’s RUN: So, that whole pacing thing. I kinda blew it tonight.
The assignment: 7 mile tempo run. From 72nd on the West side, up to and across the 102 street transverse, then back down the East side to 72nd (3.7 miles) at GMP. Then, two times around the lower loop (3.4 miles) at half-marathon pace.
The results: Well, if the assignment had been to go out too fast and then blow up at the end, I would have gotten an A+.
(BTW, a few people have asked how I get Garmin screens into my posts. I use Jing, which is a free screen capture software, then simply crop the resulting image and insert it like any other pic! In this case I also added the red stuff in Paint. High tech stuff!)
Splits 2 through 5 were the supposed GMP. 7:37? 7:29? Yeahhhhh. Probably not. I should be shooting for 7:45 to 8:00 here.
The thing was, it felt good. I was having a lovely chat with some teammates and it didn’t feel hard and even as I glanced down at my wrist and noted that I was going too fast, I kept going with it. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I suspected that this would mean pain and suffering at the end of the workout. I was right.
See: splits 7 and 8. Oy. My legs were stiff as hell and try as I might to get a bit of turnover going, it just felt impossible. I do not want to feel like that when I’m 5 miles into my marathon. I do not.
From that perspective, this workout was a good lesson. Don’t go out too fast. Just don’t. Of course it feels fine at the time. It will haunt you in the end.
May that lesson stick with me in the start corral in Chicago.
Today’s QUESTION: What’s your approach to pacing when you’re training for a long race? Obviously, I’m a-workin’ on it. I think I know what I need to do – now it’s just a matter of doing it!