Help! I'm Stuck. (Read 5102 times)

    Today, some beginners check internet marathon training and say, "Well, I played tennis in high school and I'm still young; I can't be a beginner. I think I'll start advanced runner II..." And they'll miss 1/3 of workout anyways because of parties. Then they'll try to stick with 3 X 20-milers... These are people who would "slog" long runs.
    FTFY. Some other beginners also start with advanced runner II after working on a decent base, finish all the workouts (including the 3x20 milers), and have very good first marathons. There are all kinds of unprepared first-time marathoners, some of whom did 3x20 and some who did not. Some who followed an internet plan and some who ran by feel. There's no correlation between choosing a plan off the internet and being prepared (or unprepared) for a marathon. Either you trained right or you didn't, regardless of whether your training was downloaded, impromptu, or whatever.
    How To Run a Marathon: Step 1 - start running. There is no Step 2.
      So... sorry if this or my participation riles anyone up. I don't really intend to do that. EDITED TO ADD TWO THINGS: 1) sorry for the length, and 2) NO, I'm not saying people, especially beginners "need" to run 20+ milers. It's more about the tone that makes this particular frequent midpacker think twice or three times before trying to chime in.
      Exellent post. Great post. Awesome post. And hell no not riled up at all. I love reading that kind of stuff. I could never to that, or maybe I could but I can't imagine. Still I love reading about it. I enjoy just about everything you write on these boards. And I'm not against the idea of some people (who are not me) doing very long runs, even frequently. And I know there are people who run marathons every week of the year and love doing it. And that is great stuff. And I'm not going to tell any of those people that they NEED to stop doing that or that the only way to train is via MY method. You didn't tell anyone else what they NEED to do.

      Runners run.

      xor


        I love you, man.

         


        Dave

          I love you, man.
          This thread is only tolerable without pictures.
          I ran a mile and I liked it, liked it, liked it.

          dgb2n@yahoo.com
            I'm not offering these numbers to impress anyone. In fact, I'm pretty sure that those times are quite unimpressive to the people that mikeymike mentions.
            Nice post, srlopez. Times are impressive or unimpressive: some make us say "wow" and some don't. And that's cool and fun. Running 65 marathons in a year is also a "wow" thing. Also cool and fun. What I take from your post, though, is that if you hope to be a runner for life you have to measure the value of running in ways much broader and deeper than the "wow" factor ever could. I hope that my ability to run pretty fast never discourages anyone else from running a step, as fast or slow as they need to do it. Whatever faux-expertise I have to offer comes from being lucky enough to have been at this long enough to stumble across some attitudes and training habits that work. And also from coming in contact with some pretty special folks along the way. Keep running!


            Hawt and sexy

              So this is what happens when I go internet free for a couple of days. So I am late to the party. This is one of the few things where Nobby and I disagree, but what I have to say generally goes for those who have or will run a marathon that does not beat Oprah's PR. I really did not care too much how far my longest long run was going to be before my first marathon. I did want to hit 20 miles and I did but that was not too important to me. The thing I was looking for was time on my feet. I knew that my first marathon was going to be close to the 5 hour mark, so all I really cared about was getting a long run in that was going to last longer than what my marathon would. I needed that to be completely mentally prepared for the first go round at 26.2. So, I came to the start line knowing that I definitely was going to finish well within the courses time requirement. (Steamtown was my first marathon and you have 6 hours to complete the course and receive an official time.) Now, with that said, I don't NEED to run for a longer time than whatever my next marathon might be as I know that I have what it takes to finish one, but I find myself still running for an amount of time longer than what I plan my next marathon will take. Does everyone need to do this? Well probably not, but it is something for those who have tried a marathon and failed to put back into the files of things to try before the next race. Do you have to hit 20 miles? No, but it can help, especially if you think you need to conquer the mental side of things. I do find it unreasonable for those who plan on having a 5+ hour marathon to never run for longer than 3 hours. Yes, that would mean training for a marathon the same way you would train for an ultra almost, but at the same time, how can you ask someone to go run for 5 hours when the longest time they have spent running is only 3 hours? Now, if you are going to be close to the 3:15 or 3:30 mark no biggie, but at 4 or 5 hours, you really need to consider taking a couple of long runs past your expected finish time. Yes, it sucks, but I think it should be done just to boost the confidence. I know it helped me through my first marathon, and I am very glad that I don't have to do that really long run for marathon training at least. Sometimes, I miss maryt. *sigh*

              I'm touching your pants.


              Bugs

                RunningWild, Your PRs are really good. I bet you can run faster than a 9:30 pace. Sorry your thread has turned into a general LR discussion, but it's good information for us all. Thank you! Good Luck with your marathon. Nobby,
                I think far too many people today are doing this marathon thing; and far too many people just don't want to do the work.
                I was curious if you would include your wife in that category since she trained just 25 mpw with a really nice finishing (non-professional) marathon time? What do you think the minimum amount of work should be? Most of my friends train well under Hal Higdon Int II for first marathon and then fell hopelessly addicted to the marathon but then struggle with what to do next to improve. I wish more of the 'book writers' would focus on what kind of training should be done year around. I sure have not figured it out. My point is we're not lazy, we're just clueless. I'd be very interested in your training plan because I really like the faster LRs however I know too many are hard on my feet. On the 20 subject... I ran 6 20's training for this marathon. I really don't think I'm in any better shape than the year I ran 3 20's. I planned to run to 22-23 but had tummy issues my last LR and couldn't make it. I sure hope the 'months' of training I did means more than one run that was short the 2-3 miles. (BTW, I was sick because I drank more powerade than normal. I would highly recommond runningwild have a dress rehearsal before his last LR since its an important run.) I hope I worked hard enough. Not sure I would train the same way, but my intentions were good. I think there is much truth to what Nobby said about sometimes better to run less mpw and get a decent leg workout. I think I also slogged a lot of miles trying to keep the miles up. I seemed to plod the first 3-4 miles on many runs, my last miles no matter what the distance are always the fastest. Is this normal or should I have been cutting miles back to run on fresher legs?

                Bugs

                  I was curious if you would include your wife in that category since she trained just 25 mpw with a really nice finishing (non-professional) marathon time? What do you think the minimum amount of work should be? Most of my friends train well under Hal Higdon Int II for first marathon and then fell hopelessly addicted to the marathon but then struggle with what to do next to improve. I wish more of the 'book writers' would focus on what kind of training should be done year around. I sure have not figured it out. My point is we're not lazy, we're just clueless. I'd be very interested in your training plan because I really like the faster LRs however I know too many are hard on my feet.
                  Bugs: I feel like I've hogged some of the threads more than plenty but I guess I've got to respond to your comment! ;o) If I insiumated that I thought many marathon participants were lazy and don't really want to run, that wasn't my intention. You're right; I think many of them are misinformed and don't quite understand what to do and how. There are, however, I feel, who really don't care much for running. I just saw a thread here where this young guy was asking whether doing 4~5 days a week of weight training would help or hinder marathon training. Well, I went and checked his log and he doesn't really run much at all--well, he does go up to 10-miles but he runs about 3 times a week. This is a typical argument the late Arthur Lydiard faced many times back in the 70s and it still goes on. And, once again, a program like FIRST, to me, is a great example of people wanting to "improve" their marathon by running less. Okay, now I'm sounding contradictory. I guess I'm the one who's been saying to do less long runs here. I guess that's the message for people who tend to run too much. So in the case of my wife? Well, right from the get-go, she did tell me that she's not interested in breaking records. I suggested her to do some hills and/or some faster runs and she said she wouldn't want to do them because "it hurts". She said she just wanted to finish the darn thing. But heres' the thing though; first thing we did was for her to get enough strength to go for 2-hours without stopping. Then she did some faster runs on treadmill (when we moved to MN and it was not easy to run outside but easier to run fairly hard on treadmill). She went out and ran her first ever road race, a 5-miler, at sub-8 pace. Actually, this may be the difference...??? I mean, many jump to a marathon program (because that's what they want to do) and jump into doing several 20-milers. Their goal, right from the get-go, becomes going far. Invariably they would develop shuffling action... Well, so they "plod". In other words, if they start their training at 10-minute pace, they'll probably stay at 10-minute pace...??? I don't know; I've never taken 2 individuals of pretty much equal background and give one "conventional" marathon program; the other what I believe to be the adequate program and see what happens in 2 years time... I guess it's not realistic; plus, really, everybody is different and, as a coach, what I would do is to see how they would react to training in the first few weeks or months and decide the course. Some may need to work on endurance, others may need to cut back... This young lady I've started working; the one who set her half marathon PR en-route to City of Lakes 25k a few months ago; she just ran her PR in a 5k this morning by a half a minute. She did her 3-hour run as a preparation to TCM (one and the only and the final long run for it) last weekend. She said she felt like she's never done a long run this hard. Then she had a head-cold so I told her to take 3 days off. She was still congested today but went out and ran well. I told her to go for a long run (1:45) tomorrow EASY. She laughed and said, "One thing I've learnt so far from you is to take it easy!" So basically she's already set PRs in half marathon and 5k by taking it easy. You read our blog by Susan at our website; she's another example of cutting 3 minutes off her 10k time by taking it easy. Well, we still work hard. But we work hard when we're supposed to; and take it easy when we're supposed to. I always said to Susan that, all the PR she ran this past season, she already had them all in her. All I did was to let them come out. A real work of developiing would start this winter... That's another story. You really can't do that by following a schedule, any schedule, blindly. If you just absolutely love to run and love to just get out and hammer an hour everyday; or run a marathon every weekend, I have no objection to it; all the power to them. I think what Srlopez had done last year is something quite extraordinary; I don't think I can ever duplicate that! Could he have done a marathon faster? I'd have to say yes. Naturally I believe, if he balanced his training properly, he would have run a marathon significantly faster. Would he have liked it? I don't know. I think my wife would have run her first marathon in 3:45ish and gotten it down to somewhere around 3:30 years ago. She said she wasn't interested. So I didn't twist her arms. She said she wanted to run a marathon and do it under 4-hours; but didn't want to run more than 3~4 times a week. So I accommodated it. For someone like that, trying to do 3X20-miler would not be a good idea. I guess in the end, whatever turns you on, isn't it? ;o)
                    Even though the phenomenon sometimes frustrates me, I totally get the obsession many--especially newer--runners have with the long run for marathon training. I really do. I mean for most of us, the marathon is the one distance we race where the race itself is longer than any (or at least almost any) training run we ever do. Just the distance itself is scary enough, let alone thinking about racing it. And when you do go out and botch a marathon and the final 25% of it becomes a brutal death march, it's really easy to say that the solution is more long runs--after all it wasn't until after 20 miles that the wheels came off, right? The thing is no matter what distance you're racing if you totally mess it up, the disaster won't show itself until about he final 25% of the race. I can't tell you how many times I've run 5K's that went 5:20, 5:38, 6:19-doing-the-funky-chicken. But when we do that we don't automatically look at that last mile as the problem the way we do in the marathon. We don't say, "Oh, obviously I need to do more runs that are longer than 2 miles because at 2 miles is where the wheels came off." Because all of our runs are longer than 2 miles, hell they're longer than the race itself. So we look at other things and say, "Well I need to do more speedwork," or "I need to do more tempos," or, "I need to run more hills," or if we're really clever we might even say, "I need to run more," or, "I need to stop overestimating my fitness and going out way too fast!" Long runs are very important for marathon training. In most training weeks, your longest run is your single most important run of the week. But it's not more important than all the other runs combined. And just because it's an important run doesn't mean it's a good idea to flog yourself for four hours. I like Nobby's recommendation to focus on time, more than distance. Although I log distance, I plan my training based on time. In marathon training, I try to do at least 2 single runs per week over 90 minutes, with one of them being over 2 hours. I never run longer than 3 hours and very rarely even approach 3 hours. But I do run every day and run relatively high mileage for a regular person. Okay but I'm faster than the average person and that means I can run 20 miles in well under 3 hours so I can't possibly relate to the challenges of slower runners! Yeah, I've heard it before. But I've got plenty of experience working with slower runners, and my experience tells me the same thing Nobby's a thousand times more extensive experience tells him--that although it may be psychologically important for a newer marathoner to go over 20 miles at least once in training, it's probably not a good idea to go longer than 3 hours, regardless of distance, very often. We call training "training" and not "practice" (well most of us anyway) for a reason. It's because although there is some element of it that is mental and psychological practice for the stress of racing, really what we're trying to do is train our bodies. We're actually trying to make physiological changes to our bodies to make them better able to run fast and long--we're increasing our abilities to process and use oxygen, building capillaries, increasing blood volume, increasing aerobic enzyme activity, strengthening our hearts, our lungs, our muscles, our connective tissues. We're building neuromuscular coordination and becoming more efficient, quicker, smoother, lighter on our feet. We're developing more powerful, more efficient strides, we're...training. We are indeed also practicing--developing a raw toughness, an edge, a killer instinct, a detached ambivalence to our own suffering in favor of a laserbeam focus on The Task At Hand, an understanding of what we can and can't do, and a belief that we can do just a tiny bit more than what we've done so far. But all that mental practice doesn't mean a thing without the training, and really you couldn't have one without the other so the question is moot. Now these changes both physical and psychological can only happen a little at a time. That is, no matter how big of a workout or a run you do, you can only make so much progress from one effort. At some point, you've gotten all the training stimulus there is to get from a single run or a workout and you're just bludgeoning yourself needlessly, prolonging your recovery and compromising the next few/several days of training. The exact point is probably a bit different for everyone and the intensity certainly matters but for your run of the mill long run, 3 hours is probably a good rule of thumb. So it's really the sum total of all the little efforts that do much, much more of the work than a few Big Efforts, but the Big Efforts can put the finishing touches on a training cycle. That's why weekly, monthly, yearly, lifetime mileage is always much, much more important than the long run, but the long run is still important. Nothing magical happens at 20 miles. You don't suddenly switch to burning fat over carbs or any other such physiobabble. You're always burning both, and the mix depends on effort/pace, not distance. Run a lot of weekly miles at low intensities and you'll become damned efficient and using fat as a fuel source to spare your glycogen. "The Wall" is purely a function of outrunning your fitness level. If you run the first 15 miles too fast, you'll hit the wall no matter how many long runs you've done over 20 miles. And if you go out slow enough you'll never hit it even if your longest run ever was 10 miles. I guess what gets me riled up and why I've felt the need to write this novel is when you've consistently got the most experienced, most accomplished runners and coaches on this board saying that 20 milers are not the be-all-end-all and still there is vehement argument from people who've never run a marathon or have run one or two off of low mileage and long runs talking about the NEED for 20+ milers, as if there's no other option (I'm not specifically talking about this thread here, BTW). You'd think experience would count here. Nobby is, literally, a world renowned coach. Obsessor has run 2:30. Tanya is 47 and ran sub 3:40 this year at Boston. Jeff won his first marathon and has run 2:38. I'm nobody's idea of elite but I've shown an ability to improve through training--I ran my first marathon in 3:40, took a full 30 minutes off between my first and my 2nd, and have taken another 15 minutes out of my marathon PR since then, with hopes of more time coming off soon. When you consider the collective experience--the many tens of thousands of miles, the many hundreds of races, the many dozens of marathons--on the side of "Don't overdo the long runs," you'd think there might be something to it. Just sayin'.
                    Mikey, do you mind if I archive this excellent post on my Running Page? With appropriate credit to you as the source, of course. Smile I would have asked this as a PM or email if this website had a PM feature or I had your email address. Hope you don't mind the public question. Feel free to reply here or email me at jim2wr@verizon.net.
                      I have to say that post by Mikeymike was one of the best, if not the best training post I've ever read. And I am such a newbie. It is truly wonderful to come here to learn from the big boys. And Nobbie, I hope you realize how much insight, wisdom and knowledge about training you give to us newbies for free. I am very appreciative. I enjoy your posts immensely. Myself, 5 x 20 mile runs for my first marathon....did not prepare me. I needed some quality in a few of those long runs, but I ran them mostly as unfocused slogs....as only a newbie could. So I totally agree, the weekly long run distance of "20" is highly over-emphasized. slopez.... you forgot to mention an important variable....besides the weekly marathons...what your weekly mileage to support those was??

                      "During a marathon, I run about two-thirds of the time. That's plenty." - Margaret Davis, 85 Ed Whitlock regarding his 2:54:48 marathon at age 73, "That was a good day. It was never a struggle."

                      xor


                        slopez.... you forgot to mention an important variable....besides the weekly marathons...what your weekly mileage to support those was??
                        I run 70-85 mpw. This includes race day. This is what I am currently running, btw, although I had a bad August and early September. On weeks I ran doubles last year, my mileage was 90ish. I won't go into how I broke up the year for training purposes, but as I approached September 2007 (the weekends consisted of triple, double, double, quadzilla), I spent the summer months building mileage and didn't so any speedwork at all. Most of September was 100-110 mpw. Quadzilla week was 125.

                         

                          Mikey, do you mind if I archive this excellent post on my Running Page? With appropriate credit to you as the source, of course. Smile I would have asked this as a PM or email if this website had a PM feature or I had your email address. Hope you don't mind the public question. Feel free to reply here or email me at jim2wr@verizon.net.
                          I don't mind at all, Jim, glad you liked it!

                          Runners run.


                          Cat in a Pot

                            Interesting thread. My longest training runs are 3.5 hours or 18 miles, and since my training is mostly for trail running and my long runs are always on trails, I probably never go over 14-15 miles. That being said, I've grilled my coach a number of times as to why he doesn't have me running closer to marathon distance. His answer is simple and basic: He will never have me run longer than 3.5 hours or 18 miles in training for a marathon or even up to a 50k trail run because it takes the body too long to properly recover. My tapers (which start this week for my trail marathon on Oct 12) are two weeks in length. My longest runs over the next two weeks will be two back-to-back 1.5 hour runs on Friday and Saturday. He motto, quality beats out quantity. My coach has participated in many marathons, triathlons, and long distance (500 miles and up) cycling events, and is a certified trainer. I tend to think he knows what he's talking about, which appears in line with what Nobby's been saying. Just my 2 cents worth.

                            Leslie
                            Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
                            -------------

                            2014: May - MDW 70-Miles (w/Trail Factor 50k) - Cascade Crest, WA/Astoria, OR/Portland, OR

                            June 7 - Grasshopper Peak Redwoods Run 30k - Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA

                            July 12 - Mt. Hood 50 - Mt. Hood, OR

                            Oct 11 - Firetrails 50 - Lake Chabot, CA


                            "The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside." (Unknown)
                            Ultrarunnerpodcast

                            Trail Runner Nation

                            Fatozzig's Place

                            xor


                              I'm glad I didn't listen to that coach.

                               


                              Cat in a Pot

                                I'm glad I didn't listen to that coach.
                                Well, Nobby seems to be saying something along the same lines, unless I am misinterpreting him, and he seems to have achieved positive results for himself, his wife, and his athletes. Dunno . . .

                                Leslie
                                Living and Running Behind the Redwood Curtain
                                -------------

                                2014: May - MDW 70-Miles (w/Trail Factor 50k) - Cascade Crest, WA/Astoria, OR/Portland, OR

                                June 7 - Grasshopper Peak Redwoods Run 30k - Humboldt Redwoods State Park, CA

                                July 12 - Mt. Hood 50 - Mt. Hood, OR

                                Oct 11 - Firetrails 50 - Lake Chabot, CA


                                "The farther you go outside, the farther you go inside." (Unknown)
                                Ultrarunnerpodcast

                                Trail Runner Nation

                                Fatozzig's Place