Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Marathon Training Plan Clarifications Part I - Pace

I recently wrote up and shared my training plan here with others, and realized there were things I'd left out. One big one: pace for my runs. I was focused on sharing the structure, the total weekly mileage, and the progressive overload of hard (longer) versus easy (shorter) runs during the weekdays along with the long runs on the weekends, that I never ever talked about what my plans were for what speed I was actually planning on running these 600+ miles until San Francisco Marathon.

My plan focuses on basebuilding. There's not really speed focus anywhere in that plan I've put together. I've got to get my long run up up up to meet the challenge of the marathon, and, to keep me less likely to get injured, that means I need to get my weekly mileage way up too to handle the physical stress of those long runs better.  So my working sole on basebuilding, every single run in the training plan is intended to be run at the same pace - an easy pace. Trying to get that VO2Max to go up up up, train my heart and lungs, keep me feeling strong and fresh as I add more and more miles each week.

I've actually had some problems grasping at what a good pace is since I did have a baby by C-section 15 weeks ago, which means I've been back running for 9 weeks. For sure my post-baby pace is NOT the same as my pre-baby pace.

The pace I'm going to go with is about 12:45 to 13:15 min/mi. RRCA run coach certification class taught attendees to go with about 80% of intended race speed. Train slow, race fast.

I plan to reevaluate what's an "easy" pace as the season goes on and my fitness and post-baby body improves and adjusts.

And let's get real. There will be days I don't follow this. I think most runners would go a little mad to be told to run the same pace for every mile of every run for 19 weeks! I'm sure I'll pull some intervals on the treadmill to break the monotony. I'm sure I'll occasionally run one evening faster than I should. But the goal is to have the majority done at this easy pace and get to the starting line trained up and injury free!

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