When I was handed my training plan for Columbus, the schedule included a marathon pace run every Saturday. My goal marathon pace is an 8:45. Sounds easy enough right? At the end of the run I should end up with an 8:45 pace.
That’s what I thought until I mentioned to a more experienced runner a few weeks ago that my marathon pace run ended up being an 8:53 because I started too slowly. He was confused and asked me to clarify and I told him that I started around a 9:10 pace and worked my way down, trying to catch up a little in the back half of the run. This is the part where I realize I’ve been doing them….
The goal of the marathon pace run is two-fold. One, it’s supposed to get you physically comfortable running at the pace you plan to run on race day, and two, it’s designed to get you to ” feel” that pace. In other words, at any given time during the run, you should know, without the assistance of a watch, that you’re running your correct marathon pace. By learning what marathon pace “feels” like, paces either too slow or too fast are quickly felt and adjusted accordingly. The proper way to execute is to run mile after mile at marathon pace, exactly, or as close as possible (within a few seconds)
Ahhh, now that makes sense.
So last week, I was excited for my marathon pace run. I felt slightly sluggish that morning after the Liberty Mile, and I wasn’t quite hitting my pace. At mile two the earth jumped up and smacked me (yeah, I fell – remember that?) so I didn’t finish my run. That was a first.
Today, I gave it another go, with much better success. Paces over the course of 8 miles were as follows: 8:34, 8:42, 8:42, 8:51, 8:44, 8:51, 8:40 and 8:34. They were pretty darn close. Despite the fact that I was very close to hitting my pace and learning what it “feels” like, I wasn’t happy with the level of effort it took. My breathing was a little more labored than I would like it to be. I’ve experience that a lot this summer and not quite sure if it’s humidity, heat, dew point, or allergies or something. But I have 10 weeks to figure out what will make this pace more comfortable.
I’ve done some research and found an article on Increasing Lung Power so I am going to work on that. I’m also planning on incorporating a tempo run into my plan on Tuesdays to add another day of faster pace running. Between these two things, I’m hoping in 3 weeks to see some progress. I’ll keep you updated.
Hope everyone’s summer training is going well.
Columbus Marathon – 71 days and counting.