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Run to Win (Blaine) Runs Slow and Races Fast (Read 821 times)

    Hey Blaine, I was snooping your log in the wake of your recent 2:48 marathon and was surprised to find that you did your easy runs so (relatively) slowly. Care to speak to this issue here? I find it quite amazing that you can run 16:30 and 2:48 when most of your daily runs are in the high 7min/mile range (or slower). You run your tempos at 6:40 pace, which is close to my "easy" pace. And yet you are racing practically as fast as I am. How much of your success do you attribute to taking it really easy on easy days? Thanks!


    Prophet!

      bumpty-bump...and at relatively low mileages too ... do share!


      Blaine Moore (MM#2867)

        First and most important: My base. I had a few years in college averaging 85 miles per week including off seasons with a few weeks as high as 120 miles. Granted, those were 6 to 8 years ago, but I have never let go of that base line. Second: No time off. I may not have run constantly (and even took 8 or 9 months once through the whole graduation process after being sick), but read about my off seasons to see how I spend my down time. Third: The structure of my workouts. I know exactly what I am going to run at the beginning of the week, and have a general idea of what I am going to do for months in advance. I tweak as appropriate. Fourth: Fuel. I eat a lot, and I eat a lot of the right stuff. I am a student of my sport, and am constantly reading about training and nutrition and use myself as a way to experiment and find out what works and what doesn't. There's more to it, but that's a great question and truth be told I have been thinking about writing about all of this at RTW for quite a while. Rather than coming up with a half-assed post on the spur of the moment, I'm going to just leave it at the general topics above and take a little time to write a more complete answer for you. I have about 30 drafts of half written articles on my site, a few of which could easily tie directly into this. You'll have to waste a lot of time reading it, but I'm egocentric and convinced that I have a writing style that is enjoyable to read. Heheh. Not that it is overly related, but I am in the process of putting an eBook together about marathon preparation and recovery that I want to start selling in January. I think that planning for your race and executing properly leads to something that is even more important than running well and enjoying the race: being alive and enjoying the finish and the next few days. Running well in the future is directly related to how well you can recover from your running in the present. I was asked about it in my post race write up of the Marine Corps race, and here is why I think that I can recover quickly: "As for recovery, there are four things that make a difference in how fast you recover. First, what you do before your marathon. Second, what you do during your marathon. And third, what you do after your marathon. There is also a physiological component based on your age and genetics, but even that can be manipulated by the first point and since you have no control over it is worth paying attention to the first 3 points." See, now this is becoming my half-thought-out post, heheh. I promise I'll spill the beans, but it isn't something that I can just put together on the spur of the moment as much as I'd like to. If it makes you feel any better, I do have a very good idea about what it is that works so well for me, and I am pretty sure that I can create some systems to make it work for other people as well.

        Run to Win
        24 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)



          Thanks, Blaine. I figured you'd like to write about it on your own site. Just thought the question might be helpful. Cheers!


          Blaine Moore (MM#2867)

            Thanks, Blaine. I figured you'd like to write about it on your own site. Just thought the question might be helpful. Cheers!
            Yeah, a kick in the butt can often get me to write something that's been in draft for a while. Not that it specifically will deal with this one race, but you get what I mean...

            Run to Win
            24 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)



            Ed4


            Barefoot and happy

              I find it quite amazing that you can run 16:30 and 2:48 when most of your daily runs are in the high 7min/mile range (or slower).
              That doesn't sound surprising to me. I'm slower than Blaine, but the difference between my easy and racing paces is comparable. My easy pace is around 8:45 right now, and my 5k pace is approximately 5:50. In both cases the easy pace is roughly 50% slower. I think many people run much faster than necessary on their easy days. I didn't figure this out for myself until I got a HR monitor. I've been base-building for five months now and my easy pace is steadily falling by about 4 seconds per mile per week. As long as I keep getting faster, I intend to keep doing it. Smile
              Curious about running barefoot? Visit the new barefoot running group.


              Blaine Moore (MM#2867)

                That doesn't sound surprising to me. I'm slower than Blaine, but the difference between my easy and racing paces is comparable. My easy pace is around 8:45 right now, and my 5k pace is approximately 5:50. In both cases the easy pace is roughly 50% slower. I think many people run much faster than necessary on their easy days. I didn't figure this out for myself until I got a HR monitor. I've been base-building for five months now and my easy pace is steadily falling by about 4 seconds per mile per week. As long as I keep getting faster, I intend to keep doing it. Smile
                I'm thinking of getting the garmin forerunner while the $50 rebate is still available (well, telling the wife she can get it for me for christmas a bit early anyway - I already got the permission from her for it just trying to justify the expense). If I do, then I'm going to try heart rate training for a year to see if it makes a difference. I wasn't too enamored of it when I tested it in high school, but since I could get my heart rate into the 230s+ without too much effort and only needed about 30 seconds to be back in the 120s it didn't seem too useful at the time. I think that a solid year would give me a good idea about how well it works over a span of time and over different race distances in the season. As for the slow pace, another tidbit that I thought of that might not have been apparent from my training log is that I did a lot of trail running this summer. Running on the trails is slower than on the roads, but builds a lot of strength. Especially at Bradbury, an 8 minute pace by feel was usually closer to 9:30 or 10 minutes per mile (ish).

                Run to Win
                24 Marathons, 17 Ultras, 16 States (Full List)




                My Little Pal

                  Blaine, your MO is familiar. I have a pal on another forum who is 47 years old and runs 5k's in the 17's and comparable times at distances up to 13.1. His normal training week is 80-100 miles at an average pace of 9:30-10:00. He inserts speed work which he calls "sharpening" a few weeks before his racing season starts. He often does 80-90 minute runs with 3-4 miles @ 6:30-7:00 and the rest at 9:30.
                  At the end of the day, be happy with where you are and what you've accomplished.