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Where do I start? (Read 2132 times)

Craig Wisner


    Howdy everyone.

    I have seldom ever posted here, but have lurked and used the log off and on for years.

    Anyhow...

     

    Looking for a little advice as I'm a little lost in my focus right now.

     

    Here's a little background:

    To put it plainly, I've always been distance-oriented, focusing on marathons and 50Ks (though I've only run a handful of each to-date).

    I've never been fast.  My 2009 Los Angeles Marathon time was 5:09.  My fastest road marathon since then (run solo) was just over 4:30.

    I've gotten my distance times down to roughly 10min miles, but that's typically in the mountains.

    On the track, which I've just recently started doing, I'm not too fast either.  The first single mile I've timed myself on in years was a few weeks ago at 7:24.

     

    So yeah, I'm basically pretty slow, but I can go for hours and hours and hours (I also do ultralight long-distance backpacking...consecutive 25-30 mile days).

     

    Though I can go the distance, I'd love to get my times down and ultimately qualify for Boston.  I'm 35 so that would be a 3:15 marathon for my age group...a <7:27 mile.  Needless to say, that's looking pretty daunting right now as a single 7:30 mile is hard for me.

     

    I have a 50K trail race coming up on May 21st, but after that I'm interested in changing my focus to getting my times down.

     

    I'm wondering if I should focus on shorter distances and work my way up, essentially dumping a lot of the distance miles I do- which I admit are often just miles with no real focus/intensity.  I'm thinking that perhaps I should essentially start over, focusing on training for some fast 5Ks, and working my way back up to the marathon.

     

    Essentially I feel I've been logging quantity miles throughout my entire running career, but have never really focused on quality.  My distances (and recovery times) have steadily gotten better over the years, but my times have remained pretty much flat.  Does starting over with shorter distances make sense or should I just focus on fast marathon training if qualifying for Boston is an ultimate goal?

      I'm not going to give any running advice cuz I'm an old slow hobby jogger (those times sound fine to me!), but the experienced runners here will want you to make your log public so they can see what you've been up to- then they can make informed comments.  Make that log public.

        Working on getting your 5k-10k times down makes a lot of sense if you eventually want to make a huge improvement at the marathon.  But what that means depends on what your training looks like now.  How much are you running?  What's a typical week look like?

        Runners run.

          If you make your log public, you will get some pretty sound advice.

           

          The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff

           

          2014 Goals:

           

          Stay healthy

          Enjoy life

           

          Craig Wisner


            My log should be public now. 

            I'm a little sloppy with updating it, I know there are a few runs I haven't logged over the last few weeks.

            I'm running about 25-30 miles a week right now and have been holding that for a while.   You'll notice few times listed; I rarely wear a watch....yes, something that I have to change if I'm going to work on speed.  It's safe to say that 90% of the running I've logged it is at roughly a 10 minute pace, with 90% of it being on trail.

             

            Thanks everyone.

              Craig

               

              I do 0 miles on trail but if I did I imagine my pace may be in the vincinity of 9:30's. How much flat land running can you get in?

               

              You should get some excellent feedback. My thinking is try to work in some flat land running along with your current trail running. Work at systematically increasing your mileage. Averaging 40mpw should have a pretty significant impact on bringing down your pace. Sprinkle in some faster type running once a week to start.

               

              I imagine with the backpacking and trail running you have a good strong set of legs.

               

              Good luck !

              www.hplg.net  The Human Powered League - Solo Cup Series - Trail Building

              Craig Wisner


                Yeah, I know I'll have to to start running more road/flatland and up my volume considerably.

                I've already started trying to incorporate one track/speed day per week over the last month and it's certainly helped already.  I'm finding that I can run faster than I previously thought, simply because I've never really tried to run faster.

                 

                I guess the basic question is:  do I start over with smaller races and distances then work up, or stick with a marathon plan and work on brining my time down with more quality/speed work/volume?  Maybe both?

                 

                I know it's going to be a long road, as qualifying for Boston would mean a 1:15 improvement on my marathon time.  That's pretty huge/daunting!

                  If you're doing 25-30 miles a week then I'd work on getting used to running a little more per week before you worry about the kind of running.

                   

                  The other thing that makes a big difference for running is weight... you may already be stick thin, but otherwise losing a bit of weight will make you faster in all likelihood.

                   

                  Certainly racing is a good thing to do... once you've done some 5k, 10k, half-marathons then you start to have a feeling for the kind of paces you're capable of for those distances and can work on improving those. The good thing about these races is they don't take it out of you in the same way that a full effort marathon does, so you can fit them in without interfering with marathon training too much.

                    I know it's going to be a long road, as qualifying for Boston would mean a 1:15 improvement on my marathon time.  That's pretty huge/daunting!

                     

                    I don't know what your running volume was when you did your marathon but 1:15 isn't as daunting as it seems. I'm pretty close to doing that myself.

                     

                    There's no sense in over complicating things at this point. Hop in some races 5k on up. Racing  is excellent training for any distance you want to do. Have fun with them...go out hard and blow up, go out easy and kick it in at the end...experiement with your speed and distance fitness. You'll figure it out fast enough.

                     

                    I have some friends who are nothing but trail runners and marvel at how fast people run 5k's...just like you said, these people have never tried running fast and just might be shocked at how fast they can run. the other thing they say all the time is..."whats so hard, it's only 5k" I just want to choke em when they say that.

                    www.hplg.net  The Human Powered League - Solo Cup Series - Trail Building

                      Hop in some races 5k on up. Racing  is excellent training for any distance you want to do. Have fun with them...go out hard and blow up, go out easy and kick it in at the end...experiement with your speed and distance fitness. You'll figure it out fast enough.

                       

                      +1.  That is exactly what I'm doing.  I've did everything wrong stategically in a race a few weeks ago - and won my AG.

                       

                      I'm similar to you with always doing the longer distances and not focusing on my speed.  Then I decided to try to up my speed and did a one mile test.  You and I are very similar with 10 mm in the longer and 7 something in the mile.  Found that I’ve got to break the mental barrier; I need to quit holding back in order to run for hours and instead, just let loose mentally and make a fool of myself while learning.  I only do the speed once a week tho - either at intervals or a shorter race - because I don't want to lose my distance.  I still do my longs on the weekend.  Main thing is to have fun with all of it and treat any mishap as a learning experience.

                        all good suggestions....I suggest a few additional things worked for me in the past:

                         

                        -  set an explicit goal (ie 24 min 5k) and work towards it.  make sure its attainable in a reasonable time frame, beat it, then set a new one.

                         

                        -  find someone to run with once a week, esp for tempo

                         

                        -  also, suggested on some other threads, I find a nice way to ease into speed work is to start running your last mile or so faster for a couple of your runs each week

                         

                        best of luck!

                        Julia1971


                          I guess the basic question is:  do I start over with smaller races and distances then work up, or stick with a marathon plan and work on brining my time down with more quality/speed work/volume?  Maybe both? 

                           

                          I would guess you'd want to lean more towards the latter than the former.  Particularly the volume part.  Experiment of one here and I've only run two marathons (the same marathon a year apart), but I ran more miles overall between the two and my marathon time dropped by 10 minutes - not a huge drop but it was really the only thing I change the second time around.

                          You're too strong not to keep on keepin' on. - The Pips
                          Yes, I am! - Gladys Knight


                          Queen of 3rd Place

                            My log should be public now. 

                            I'm a little sloppy with updating it, I know there are a few runs I haven't logged over the last few weeks.

                            I'm running about 25-30 miles a week right now and have been holding that for a while.   You'll notice few times listed; I rarely wear a watch....yes, something that I have to change if I'm going to work on speed.  It's safe to say that 90% of the running I've logged it is at roughly a 10 minute pace, with 90% of it being on trail.

                             

                            Thanks everyone.

                             

                            With that information, I'm guessing you're going to hear a lot of "run more". Work slowly up to where you're running 8 or 9 hours a week. Keep at that level for a few months. Run fast on occasion. Be patient, but I expect that if you can do that you will be amazed with your improvement...and then keep at it some more.

                            Ex runner

                            Craig Wisner


                              Thanks everyone.

                              In many ways you've all helped me realize that I'm probably over thinking this.

                              Shoe


                                From your log, I would think your issue isn't that you've not been working on speed but you aren't running enough weekly on a consistent basis.   I think you will see a huge improvement in your marathon time just from increasing mileage, before even talking about speed work.  I would slowly build it, with mainly easy miles.   For me, my easy day to day pace is slower than the pace I could currently race a marathon at.  Especially for marathon performance, the miles you are running are going to have a huge impact... both for that training cycle and how consistently you are running those miles period.

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