Help! I'm Stuck. (Read 5104 times)


A Saucy Wench

    Now...just for arguments sake...what if you get to the point where 20 mile training runs feel GOOD. Like you didnt hardly run at all. Are you still flogging yourself unnecessarily? Its just something I wonder - I had a 22 miler this year at slightly faster pace than normal the day after a hilly PR 10K and I felt great the whole time. I guess the question is what did it do for my runs the rest of that week. And I rightly dont remember. I should go look. MTA: ok I went and looked. I cruised the rest of the week at a faster than normal pace. All my runs felt easy peasy including a hilly 10 miler that I did faster than I normally do a flat run. Last week I had fully planned to go longer than 20 and I got to 20 saying "I feel REALLY good now and I feel like I am NOT going to feel really good much longer" so I stopped. And the rest of that day and my run the next day I felt like I had not run at all. Love when that happens. Hope "one of those good days" happens on race day. I had 2 really hard workouts right before the 20 also. Makes it hard for me to embrace taper.

    I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

     

    "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

      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'.
      This is among the top 10 best single posts I've ever read here and one of only 3 or 4 I've ever bothered to bookmark so I can find it later. And probably Mikey's longest post ever. He should talk more. Sometimes.
      E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
      -----------------------------


      A Dance with Monkeys

        Who, sir, are you?


        Prince of Fatness

          Mikey and Nobby thanks for those posts. I sense some frustration but what you are saying is not falling on deaf ears. I plan on running my second marathon next year. After running my first I came up with what I wanted to do to improve my time... 1) Pick a day that isn't so hot. OK, that has nothing to do with this thread, heh. 2) Drop some weight. OK, neither does this, other than the fact that the weight should be dropped before I start with the heavy marathon training. 3) Go into the meat of the training with a higher base. Injury prevented this last time. 4) Run more weekly mileage. I ran 45-50 mpw for the 8 weeks up to the race, not including taper. 5) Keep the longest runs about the same. My long runs were 19, 20, and 22. I may even bump that last one down. The psychological benefit is no longer needed, I've already finished a marathon. I really like the idea of keeping it to around 3 hours. 6) Add some quality workouts. Injury prevented this last time, too. Based on what you are saying I think I am heading in the right direction. I really think the number one priority is just keeping the mileage base up. That will keep me motivated over the winter for sure. By this time next year I should be ready to go. We need more threads like this one.

          Semi-retired.


          A Saucy Wench

            This is among the top 10 best single posts I've ever read here and one of only 3 or 4 I've ever bothered to bookmark so I can find it later. And probably Mikey's longest post ever. He should talk more. Sometimes.
            Is it....could it be? No, must be a figment of my imagination nightmares.

            I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

             

            "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

              Now...just for arguments sake...what if you get to the point where 20 mile training runs feel GOOD. Like you didnt hardly run at all. Are you still flogging yourself unnecessarily? Its just something I wonder - I had a 22 miler this year at slightly faster pace than normal the day after a hilly PR 10K and I felt great the whole time. I guess the question is what did it do for my runs the rest of that week. And I rightly dont remember. I should go look. MTA: ok I went and looked. I cruised the rest of the week at a faster than normal pace. All my runs felt easy peasy including a hilly 10 miler that I did faster than I normally do a flat run. Last week I had fully planned to go longer than 20 and I got to 20 saying "I feel REALLY good now and I feel like I am NOT going to feel really good much longer" so I stopped. And the rest of that day and my run the next day I felt like I had not run at all. Love when that happens. Hope "one of those good days" happens on race day. I had 2 really hard workouts right before the 20 also. Makes it hard for me to embrace taper.
              If 20 miles feels good it is almost by definition not flogging yourself. I don't want to speak for Nobby or Mikey, but I think the point that is being made is that there is no magic number and running a little farther just because that is what the schedule says is not a good idea. It sounds like you understand that as you stopped at 20 while still feeling good despite having a longer run planned.

              "You NEED to do this" - Shara

                Not quite sure what the justification is for all the sarcasm. I made a general statement that 20 plus mile long runs are more beneficial than those under 20 miles. Considering that the majority of commonly available training programs include a number of 20 plus mile long runs, that seems to be a universally accepted belief. Do you have anything of a constructive nature to offer the OP, or are you are content just playing the critic? Tom
                As to the 20-mile versus less than 20-mile debate, there are some cookie-cutter type plans written (especially in countries that use the metric system) with 30K as the longest run, that is only 18.6 miles, are the people that follow those plans really that much less prepared for race day than folks who got in x-amount of 20 milers? As Mikey said the long run is important, but not more important than all the rest of the training combined. Consider two situations and tell me who you think is more prepared to not just to run, but to race a marathon. Runner A: averages ~70 miles a week with a low week of 60 a high week of 80 miles for 3 months or ~14 weeks leading into the race having done at least one run every week of 16-18 miles before the taper, but no runs longer than 18 Runner B: Averages ~45 miles a week with a low of 25 miles and a high of 60 miles but has 4 runs of 20-22 miles, but has no other runs longer than 12miles and has to take 2 days off after each 20-mile effort. Assuming both runners get to the starting line uninjured I know I'll take Runner A every time, he (or she) has a huge advantage in overall mileage, long runs that still very much taxed their aerobic system and did all the things physiologically that long runs are supposed to do and has been much more consistent in thier overall training. Runner B may be a more typical marathon finisher these days, and they could most likely get to the finish line, but that doesn't mean they couldn't be even better even if thier overall weekly mileage stayed the same just by being more consistent and not having to recover from training runs that were too long and/or hard for thier fitness level,

                "You NEED to do this" - Shara

                xor


                  Cutting and pasting only a piece of mikeymike's post:
                  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'.
                  That post was great... as are nobby's contributions. I do have to say one thing though... My experience is different from yours. And posts like that make me gunshy as all hell to participate. I've never run a 2:30. I've never won. I've trained opposite from the way many people suggest... and perhaps because of that, I've never reached my "potential" where "potential" is measured in one specific way. Hard to say. Here's what I know. In January of last year, my marathon times were 4:00ish. I ran 65 marathons last year. In November of last year, I ran a series of three in four days. My times: 3:55, 3:37, 3:36 The weekend afer #65, I ran a 1:36 half, and a 3:47 full the next day. I continued running 3-4 marathons a month. In May of this year, I ran a 3:28 at Eugene. So, in 16 months, I dropped 32 minutes from my times and did interesting things like running what I call 'negative split doubles' (second day's marathon faster than the first day's). All while running a lot of 20+ mile runs. Could I have run a sub 3 by not running all this stuff and doing it the 'right' way? Maybe. Perhaps. But I had FUN doing what I did. 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. All of these people I *highly* respect, BTW. But I'd like to participate too. FWIW, I know a whole lot of people who are running 26.2 or more miles several times a month. And some of these folks are consistently pulling down 3:20 or better times. I do not suggest this to beginners, nor do I suggest it as the 'right' way to train. I just want to note that we're not all spontaneously combusting either. 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.

                   

                    Ennay: Although an interesting "argument", I think you're missing the point, at least my point, completely. I don't have any problem people running 20-milers. Once again, when I thought Backstretch was being sarcastic, I said I could help him list some runners performing well by doing lots of long runs. At the elite level, Toshihiko Seko did quite a few 50~80km runs. Rob de Castella was doing 30-milers quite frequently. Of course, after getting beaten by these two, Salazar included 30-milers and his performance went down south... People like Doug Curtis or that tall Swedish guy (Stall???) used to run a marathon almost every weekend and they did alright. Running beyond 20-mile mark frequenty didn't do them any harm. I, for one, also stated that for my first marathon attempt, I was young and stupid enough to do a 3-hour run a week before (I was doing most of my long runs at 6:40~7:00 pace so that must have been about 25-miler; then 2:30 on Tuesday and 2:45 on Thursday and that Sunday I ran my first marathon, over a hilly course, in 2:59. I'll let you decide whether to call it a success or a failure. So when Backstretch posted his comment, I automatically thought it was a sarcasm because, who knows, he might be one of those people who might do well by doing tons of long runs! My problem, and I'm not quite sure if this was Figbash's point either, was to consider 20 miles as clear-cut boarder line for "success" and 19 is not enough... So if you go for a 20-miler and feel GREAT, I'd say, by all means, go further! Sometimes, you want to take advantage of good feeling and push the envelope; nothing wrong with that! I've done a 30-miler in training before. I passed 26-mile mark in 3:05 and continued and, even though slowed a bit, finished 30-miler in 3:40. I was running it to raise money for MS so I actually had a guy driving a car alongside and measure the distance (no garmin back then!). So I was talking to Rod Dixon; Rod and I, along with Lorraine Moller, are putting together a marathon training program on behalf of Lydiard Foundation. We've been talking a lot about this lately; Arthur Lydiard took a group of 20 people for the first-ever jogging club back in 1961. The youngest was 50 and the oldest 74. Prior to starting up this "jogging" thing, every one of them had had at least one heart attack (and that's why they started jogging). Eight months later, every single one of them was running 20 miles WITHOUT STOPPING and 8 of them completed a full marathon. And these guys were running around 4-hour marathon. It makes me think...they've got to be doing something right. 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. In a way, it becomes an argument of; "Well, I want to run this marathon thing because it's kinda cool but I don't want to do the work..." When I first came to the US, a little town in Washington State called Moses Lake... As I enrolled myself, there was this other Japanese guy... He came over to my room and asked me to help him pick classes (I was already done with it because I knew what I wanted to do). "So why did you come to the US? What's your objective?" I asked him. "I came to the US to study English," he said. "Good, then take as many English classes as you can," I suggested. "Well, then it's kinda boring..." It's kind of same story. This is exactly why things like FIRST program becomes popular. They want to run a marathon; but they don't necessarily want to run. So as a coach, you can do one of two things; you can be a hard-nose and tell them to screw it and forget about it if they can't handle training 7-days-a-week; or try to accommodate. Sure, if they can do several 20-milers during the course of preparation, great! That really shows they are ready to handle a marathon. But the reality is; they are not. For a beginner; we are talking about getting to run a 10k in the first year; then a half marathon in the second year; then a full marathon on the third year... I think that's fairly sensible. I like to see slower guys to get up on their toes and learn to run fast. I personally think it's a lot more beneficial for even a slow guys to do some leg-speed work once a week than trying to squeeze one more 7-miler just to make it to 45MPW... Work on hills (incidentally, I always picked some hilly course and maybe alternate bi-weekly and tell them that, because of the hills, a 14-miler is worth 16 and 16-miler is worth 18... Whether it's really so or not didn't matter; it was the EFFORT, not mileage or time, that mattered). Run some 5k races--if you're running a half marathon at, say, 10:30 pace and running a 5k at 10:00, there's something wrong with your program. I enjoy running; hate to say but there's no fun in plodding. One more thing; most of what's said about physiology, unfortunately, is based on a bit faster guys. I don't really think there's any extensive study done on ordinary slower people of today. When they go beyound 4-hours in training, and running a marathon in 5-hours, I think we are now getting into ultra running. All this talk about carbohydrate depletion and fat burning metabolism and all are mainly for people who run a marathon somewhere around 3-hours and faster. With my limited association with some ultra runners, I don't think even they slog 3, 4, 5-hours running every other week. I could be wrong with this one, though... I think I yapped enough here.
                    xor


                      With my limited association with some ultra runners, I don't think even they slog 3, 4, 5-hours running every other week. I could be wrong with this one, though...
                      Depending on what you mean by 'slog' (did you mean this simply as "go out for a long time" or did you mean "shuffle because they are out of gas"), I know lots of people who do this. In my same group of friends who are running 26.2 milers 2-4 times a month exist a subset of ultra folks. Especially folks training for 100 milers, they will COMMONLY go out for 2-6 hours every other weekend. Or every weekend. Or twice in one weekend as they approach their goal races.

                       

                        Depending on what you mean by 'slog' (did you mean this simply as "go out for a long time" or did you mean "shuffle because they are out of gas"), I know lots of people who do this. In my same group of friends who are running 26.2 milers 2-4 times a month exist a subset of ultra folks. Especially folks training for 100 milers, they will COMMONLY go out for 2-6 hours every other weekend. Or every weekend. Or twice in one weekend as they approach their goal races.
                        Okay, one more thing then! ;o) I would have to say the latter. I mean, if you can "run" for 6-hours, as some people I'm sure can, by all means! You're in a super shape! What I mean is; you know some "marathon training folks" who drag their legs most of the way simply because the schedule calls for "your second 20-miler". Let's fact it; if you're not prepared to even run a 20-miler, why drag yourself to run 3 X 20-milers? When Japanese runners talk about marathon preparation, when Naoko Takahashi begins her marathon preparation, she would fly over to Boulder, CO (nice she can afford to do that...), and spend about 3 months walking around and jogging around up and down the foothills of Rocky, yes, as I'm sure you guys have heard, up to 70km a day. They call it "leg building" phase so they can handle marathon training. Today, 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.


                        1983

                          Cutting and pasting only a piece of mikeymike's post: I do have to say one thing though... My experience is different from yours. And posts like that make me gunshy as all hell to participate.
                          Don't be gunshy...your input is appreciated. Differences provide the spice of life. The trick with this internet thing is to filter out the BS and take what applies to yourself or what you are looking for. What you are looking for might not be right for everyone else, but who cares, I know I don't. If it is right for you then thats all that matters. And if someone gets a bee in their bonnet because they read something in a book somewhere, and they want to run 30 miles at a clip then they can knock themselves out. Maybe it will work for them, maybe it won't. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and to voice their opinion. Some people are better at it than others. The thing is, the posts that usually get peoples panties in a bunch sometimes have lots of value if you can just look past the BS. It is up to the reader to decide what works best for them. Whenever I see a rantish post, I say who knows, maybe they are having a really shitty day and their dog just threw up on their rug. Whatever! If I see anything in it that I think will help me, I read it.
                          Favorite quote: Stop your crying you little girl! 2011: Mt Washington, Washington Trails, Peaks Island, Pikes Peak.


                          A Saucy Wench

                            I wasnt really trying to "argue" Nobby. I do see your point. Hell, if you read the first marathon thread you'll see I LIVED your point. I am just an experiment of one, going through that constant wondering of what works for me and what doesnt. Big grin In someways I suspect that had I the time I would find success a la srlopez.

                            I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets

                             

                            "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

                              In someways I suspect that had I the time I would find success a la srlopez.
                              I agree with that 100%. I'll never be fast, yes I can be faster than I am but it just seems more fun srlopez way. If I was alot younger I'm sure I'd think differently. That's why there is Chocolate and Vanilla...

                              "The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling." - Lucretius


                              Prince of Fatness

                                But I had FUN doing what I did.
                                I'm not sure that there is anything more important than that right there.

                                Semi-retired.