Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Three needed long runs?

My husband, Rick, and I ran the Mountain Mist 50K on January 28, 2012.  We have an upcoming marathon, the Instant Classic in Chesterfield, Virginia on March 17.  So that puts 7 weeks in between the two races. What would I normally do with 7 weeks between 2 marathon or marathon-plus races?  Well, a whole lot of resting and then maybe a 14 miler in the middle of them.  I truly believe in the "take it easy for a day per mile raced" approach, and I don't ever expect to be fully back until I've given myself this time for recovery.  

What did I do this time?  I tried to follow Rick's Advanced Marathoning approach.  This book's programs are TOUGH.  During Weeks 3-5, it called for a build-up of a 17 miler (February 18), 20 miler (February 25), and then another 17 miler (March 3).  Well, I am glad I tried those long runs!  I actually did my best long runs of the year over the last 3 weeks.  I have done them even while battling a bad cold throughout and some brutal winds during the 2nd week.  I'm not sure how smart this was, but I actually tried to get faster as the weeks went on, and I was able to do this too (it helped that I was over my cold by the last week).  It's fair to say that the 7:45 average for last week's 17 miler can count as my tempo workout for the week too!  

You can do long runs anywhere from 30-90 seconds off of your marathon pace goal.  I am someone who usually leans towards the slower end of the long run range.  I recently trained for a 7:27 marathon with most long runs in the 9:00 range (see entry here).  Since I love the 9:00 pace for long runs, these long runs really took me by surprise.  Where where they when I wanted them for Chicago?  Is it the cold weather that is making them easier or is it that my "marathon season" is already under my belt (3 in this training cycle already)?  Was this a smart approach (3 long runs at a fast-for-me pace), or will I now be more tired for the upcoming marathon?  These are all things that I am wondering.  The marathon's results will really help me understand what part of this training cycle worked for me.

Here are the splits for the long runs:

February 18

February 25

March 3
Ignore the last .01 (accidentally pressed the watch again), so 7:45 was the average for the first 17 miles.
And finally, the results for the last (and inaugural) Instant Classic were very informative!  The times seem pretty slow, but that could mean that the trails are pretty tough.  Mountain Mist will hopefully have prepared me for them, since its conditions are very tough with lots of different types of trails.  I am eyeing the 4:07 female course record and wondering if I have a chance of getting anywhere near it.

The Instant Classic Marathon Trail Run - Results
Chesterfield, VA USA
March 19, 2011
Male Winner: 3:11:37 | Female Winner: 4:07:18
Average Finish Time: 4:42:10 


  1. Good luck on your upcoming race! I know you are going to do WONDERFULLY and I can't wait to hear about it!