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Getting fast before going long (Read 368 times)


Sultan of slug

    Hi guys! Long time browser, first-time poster.

     

    I'm wondering whether to eschew my fall marathon this year (it would be my third) and instead focus on shorter distances. After crashing and burning in my second marathon last October (a PR, but with a hellishly slow final 10k), and struggling with an achilles issue since then, I've been thinking: Did I jump into the marathon too quickly?

     

    Daniels suggests starting runners on short races for years before moving them up to longer distances. It sounds like a lot of elites do this too - witness Rupp's and Farah's reticence to jump into the marathon. Daniels also inserts repeats early in the season, even for marathoners, as a way to improve form.

     

    This contrasts to my own experience. I had never done any really structured training before doing Pfitzinger's 18/55 program ahead of last fall's marathon. I made it through the program somehow, and it whipped me into way better shape. But I wonder whether all those slow miles have put a ton of stress on my body, given that I've never seriously trained for shorter distances. Especially since the race, all I've dared to run has been "easy" mileage, which has probably led to poor form. I was hoping to get a fast, short season in this spring before transitioning to marathon training this fall.

     

    What are y'alls' experience with this? How many people jumped into marathons quickly, and how many of you had some longer history of racing 5-15k relatively seriously first? Can the latter group comment on their injury history?

    zonykel


      What is your goal or purpose in running a marathon? It's just an arbitrary distance (albeit, a challenging one).

       

      based on what you posted, I'd recommend you work your way up. shorter distances are tough as well, though. I found myself less comfortable running a 5k, a 10k and a 15 k compared to a half marathon. I think your decision will be based on what you like about running.


      And in the end...

        I jumped into marathons... I had no desire to race shorter races.  Still don't, but I'll do the occassional short race, particularly for our annual corporate challenge track and field events.

         

        There's nothing about distance running that will inherently be worse for you physically than shorter distance training.  If you really want to get fast, you'll still be logging a lot of miles, but you'll change the focus of the runs.  Shorter races are also far more intense, so you're actually placing MORE stress on certain areas, not less.

         

        If you want to get faster at shorter distances that's a perfectly fine thing to do.  If you want to continue running marathons, that's perfectly fine, as well.

        ------------------------

        The GITM is moot.

          So, it appears you already "experienced" what many do in their first marathon attempt... a slow march to the finish. Assuming you don't want to do that again, I'd suggest as Z did and run shorter races until you feel you are ready to commit to the training necessary for a better marathon experience.  If you want relatively inexpensive guidance, check out the Running Wizard, factoring in much more about your personal situation than a cookie cutter program will.


          HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

            I think that runners lose speed as they age, which may encourage the elite runners to run the shorter distances while they're younger.

            It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

              I didn't race a marathon until I was 30 years old, after I had been racing already for almost 15 years at the shorter distances. We all are likely to take our experience and assume that it was the best path, but I would definitely recommend learning to race at the shorter distances before moving to the marathon.

               

              Racing at the shorter distances does so much for your form, your ability to tolerate pain, to "ride the line," etc. I think it's much easier to learn the basic skill of racing over the 5k distance than the marathon distance simply because you can make so many more attempts. Finally, you learn that while mileage is a (if not THE) key to running well, it's not the only element of training that works.

               

              I think oddly racing at the shorter distances will also give you more respect for the marathon. Once you learn what a full race effort is, the prospect of giving that over 26.2 miles will help you understand what you need to do in training.


              Sultan of slug

                FWIW

                 

                Age: 27

                Marathon: 3:09:43

                10k: :39:58

                8k: 30:16

                 

                My predicted marathon time is slower than either of those two times would suggest (and the 10k was before I started marathon training). That goes to show how badly I bonked. Maybe it also suggests that my natural talent is higher in shorter distances.

                 

                As for the question of "Why marathons?", it's a difficult one. Why indeed? Partly because of the serenity of long training runs, of getting to explore the city on foot for a couple hours. But really, I originally signed up for one on a whim, for the challenge, and to force myself to start training semi-seriously. Now that I've established the habit of running more seriously, I don't actually need a marathon per se as a motivator.

                 

                Frankly I'd also like to get revenge on the marathon after it beat me so badly last year.

                   

                  What are y'alls' experience with this? How many people jumped into marathons quickly, and how many of you had some longer history of racing 5-15k relatively seriously first? Can the latter group comment on their injury history?

                   

                  --- You from Louisiana?  I use that word all the time. But is it y'all's, or y'alls' with the second apostrophe after the s vice before?  :-)

                   

                  Okay, on to serious matters, We sound similar in that "crash and burn in the last 10K of first marathon attempt" statement you made.   -- I think you can do shorter, and longer training at the same time.  My MPW is going way up over time, but my speed in the shorter races is getting better too and thus able to hit PR's at all kinds of distances.  My third marathon as well is coming up, and I have prepared alot better by a mix of short distance speed training hand in hand with the long runs.  We'll see the results of this training 5 days from now and if it all panned out well...

                   

                  Each person has their own injury history and patterns... If you are able to ramp up mileage by mixing up those longer runs with speedwork in some shorter runs, you can achieve 2 goals at the same time:  Faster short run times, and also solidly prepped for a better marathon performance.  Again, this all comes down to how resistant a person is to injury.  Work on building very slowly and pay close attention to that Achilles.   If you can add miles over time + do the speedwork with no injury making itself present, then you are good to go and should be able to build better strength, endurance, speed, and thus better long and short results simultaneously.   Probably best would be a focus on the shorter races now, and then build in the long runs approaching the November race..

                  The Plan '15 (big parts)→  Feb:  Va Beach Distance Series 50K (Set a PR)     /// April:  Hampton, VA 24 Hour Run for Cancer  (Goal: >80.1+Miles for a PR)  ///    "Run Hard, Live Easy."   ∞

                  DoppleBock


                    How old are you now?  From your avatar picture ~ You look like a fine looking man and you must be a beast of a runner.

                     

                    I didn't race a marathon until I was 30 years old, after I had been racing already for almost 15 years at the shorter distances. We all are likely to take our experience and assume that it was the best path, but I would definitely recommend learning to race at the shorter distances before moving to the marathon.

                     

                    Racing at the shorter distances does so much for your form, your ability to tolerate pain, to "ride the line," etc. I think it's much easier to learn the basic skill of racing over the 5k distance than the marathon distance simply because you can make so many more attempts. Finally, you learn that while mileage is a (if not THE) key to running well, it's not the only element of training that works.

                     

                    I think oddly racing at the shorter distances will also give you more respect for the marathon. Once you learn what a full race effort is, the prospect of giving that over 26.2 miles will help you understand what you need to do in training.

                    http://a-big-horse.blogspot.com/ 

                    2013 Goals ~ Mar < 3:00, 5M < 29, 10k < 35  

                     

                      Maybe it also suggests that my natural talent is higher in shorter distances.

                       

                      What's your annual mileage? More likely your performance curve indicates that your weakness is aerobic endurance--as it is for most of us. Most normal people don't run enough mileage for their marathon times to be of similar quality as their 5k/10k times. There are exceptions but that's usually true.

                       

                      I jumped into marathons (my only goal was to qualify for and run Boston) but I later took some couple year stretches where I didn't run any marathons and just focused on shorter distances. Doing so definitely helped my marathon times when I went back to the 26.2 distance, for a lot of the reasons Jeff mentions above.

                      Runners run.


                      HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                        ...

                         Racing at the shorter distances does so much for your form, your ability to tolerate pain, to "ride the line," etc. I think it's much easier to learn the basic skill of racing over the 5k distance than the marathon distance simply because you can make so many more attempts. Finally, you learn that while mileage is a (if not THE) key to running well, it's not the only element of training that works.

                         

                         

                        I am currently thinking that the marathon also has the problem of additional factors - specifically, fueling. I'm wondering how I could better approach that, and I suspect that I need to experiment on something more intense than just easy or even medium long runs.

                         

                        I don't have any such concern with shorter races.

                        It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.

                        JML


                          I jumped to the Marathon too quickly when I started running again in 2009 and definitely regret it.  I went from a 5 miler in June, to a half in October, to a marathon the following March.  The five miler and the half were great experiences, the marathon......less so.  I then ran another half (great race - 9 minute PR) followed by a terrible second marathon in Chicago in 2011.  I realized at that point that I needed to rethink my training and goals.

                           

                          2012 marked a marathon free year where I learned how to train properly with the help of RunningWizard.  I bettered my half time by almost 10 minutes and capped off the year with a PR at the 5k.  I am really enjoying training for a variety of shorter races and am in no rush to try another marathon.    It will be there when I am ready.  FWIW - My advice is to try to train for some shorter stuff and find your sweet spot.  I think that mine is the half distance (at least at the moment) and I find it much more enjoyable to train for a distance where I can have a solid enjoyable race.

                           2014 goals: run a bunch....race some.....repeat...

                            It loos like he does a lot of core work.

                             

                            How old are you now?  From your avatar picture ~ You look like a fine looking man and you must be a beast of a runner.

                             

                            There was a point in my life when I ran. Now, I just run.

                             

                            Well, fuckers

                            He still stands

                             

                            The Diary of a Once-ran.


                            Sultan of slug

                              Interesting takes from all sides here. Thanks for the input.

                               

                              Mike, you're right that it takes a huge aerobic base to reach anything near your potential in the marathon. And that's a big reason I'm leaning towards shorter races: I'm not getting any younger, and I'd like to see what I'm capable of while I'm still young!

                               

                              It's going to be less time consuming - not necessarily easier, of course - to come closer to reaching my potential in the 10k than in the marathon. That obviously takes years of 100-mile weeks, which I'll never do. Not sure what my annual mileage has been until now - probably lower than I think - but I'm shooting for 1500-2000 this year,the lower side of which would allow me time for injury, unplanned breaks, vacations, etc.


                              Sultan of slug

                                  It will be there when I am ready. 

                                 

                                Excellent point. Part of me wants to go ahead and race Boston soon so I can have that experience, but (1) what's the point of that anyway? And (2) I can always do that in a few years.

                                 

                                It should also be mentioned that the marathon carries the most prestige among non-runners, and let's be honest, that's appealing for the vain among us.

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