27 June 2013

could less be more?

long have i heard and even promoted the concept that some of the world's best runners don't always run at top speed.  my friend trevor has often reminded me that one of the finest triathletes anywhere craig alexander has noted that he will often have low intensity training runs, and that when people pass him on the road he's not bothered by the fact that they can say that they outran an ironman world champion.  and it's well noted that most recreational runners spend too much time training for races at a moderate-level effort, ignoring high-intensity workouts and dismissing easy runs.

can you out-hustle this guy?

since i've started working with my coach, i've been walking more during my workouts than i have in about three years.  i've also been logging long runs at a much slower and more labourious pace.

my weekly mileage during this training cycle has also dropped by about 50% compared to where i was four months ago.  my friend stan had even wondered if i'd stopped logging all of my training on dailymile because of the lack of total training distance.  again, coach's orders.

so where do i stand now?

at this point in my training for the erie marathon, i'm running four days a week (down from six this past winter/spring).  my long runs are slower than previous long runs, but heading toward longer distances.  speed intervals are faster than i've run before (now just south of 4:00/km).  as of today, my tempo runs are now just around my desired marathon pace of 4:30/km, which is faster than what i'd been able to put together in advance of mississauga.

am i happy?

you bet.

is my coach right?

i think that i have to reserve judgment on that until after race day - but for now everything that he's been telling me is coming to pass, so i've no reason to relinquish my trust in him.

"remember, you're a machine" he tells me.

i feel like the right gears are starting to turn.


  1. Just before I read this post, I wondered again how you were doing. I checked Dailymile and was a bit shocked that you're only running 4x a week. Everything I've read and everyone I've talked to so far have met much of their success and improvement running at 90 - 120 km per week.

    Of course these guys all went from around a 3:00 marathon to sub-2:50s so maybe improving on an already fast time requires logging more (quality) miles.

    Their main reason was the long miles during training are what's going to keep you going in the last 10 km of the race.

    However, none of this is to say that you and your coach's plan is not effective…only that it's different. Also, having said that, I remember running around 55 - 70 km per week for my BQ in 'Sauga and then a bit more for Chicago.

    The most important thing is that you trust and execute the plan that you and your coach have set up…and it sounds like you're on the right track. Looking forward to running with you at the Beach Run and Erie.

    1. thanks stan! yeah, i know ... that's sort of what i was banking on during my training this spring. i did connect with my coach on this, and at this stage he's asked me to be patient and focus on quality over quantity. his concern is definitely not about me covering the distance, but in increasing the speed at which i cover the distance.

      i guess that given that my last two marathon results hit about the same mark, i'm ready to see if maybe following the coaching plan will break this mini-plateau and land me the BQ. the jazz fest run will provide a good indicator methinks.