TITLE: 40 KM
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: August 23, 2005 4:40 PM
DESC: My recent string of pleasing long training runs continued with my longest long run of the year. Does that portend a good race six weeks hence?
I did my longest long run of the season on Sunday:
four times around a 10 km loop in the local state
park, for a rough total of 24.8 miles. This run
came at the end of my longest training week, too,
61 miles. It was, I believe, my longest week ever.
I was pretty happy with the results. I knew that
I needed to pace myself in order to complete this
run, so I planned to begin gently. But, as slow
as it seemed at the time, I must have felt better
than I expected. My four "lap" times were 51:36,
51:01, 50:38, and 48:38.
Even better, the first three were faster than all
but the fastest split time for my recent 18-miler,
over the same course.
I broke each lap into two parts that are roughly
5K each. Near the end of each of these parts, I
clocked a single mile in order to gauge my pace.
The eight miles, in order, were 8:36, 8:30, 8:33,
8:23, 8:27, 8:08, 7:40, and 7:27. Yes, I ran the
24th mile in 7:27.
Total time: 3:21:53. Color me pleased!
Later in the day, I went back to compare my time on
this route with the same training runs for my previous
two marathons. My log reminded me that I was unable
to do this route last year, due to flooding from
heavy rains in the preceding week or two. But back
in 2002, I ran this route on September 21, as part
of my then-longest (by far) week ever of 51 miles.
I didn't run negative splits that year, though my
fourth lap was my second fastest. The run took me
3:59:38. My improvement in two years was about 38
Notice, too, how late my longest long run came in
2003. My 2004 24-miler came on the same weekend,
September 19. By hitting 24 miles a month earlier
this year, I have the luxury of being able to do two
more long training runs: a 22-miler next weekend and
a 20-miler exactly three weeks before the race date.
I can focus these runs on pace management and speed,
without having to worry about endurance.
At this point, I am guardedly optimistic that I can
make a solid improvement on my marathon time from
last year. The guardedness reflects the intrusion
of reality... I took restroom breaks during the
training run that I will hope not to take during the
race. Those rests, however brief, improve running
time at the cost of actual time. Plus, there is a
big difference between early 8 ½-minute miles
and early 8-minute miles. But I will also rest my
body in the weeks leading up to the race, and I will
do more to manage my diet and sleep. We'll see.
Doing this run reminds me just a bit about how
grueling the marathon is. As happy as I was with
my time, my quadriceps are still feeling it two days
later. Over the course of the run, I lost eight
pounds. (Don't worry; most of that comes back with
a moderate-sized meal later in the day.) And I needed
a nap on Monday, though I didn't get to take one. :-)
Back to the track tomorrow morning...