Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Indy Mini : Part 5, Well Now What?

This will thus end my analysis of how Jason and I did over the weekend at the Indianapolis 1/2 marathon. If you are interested in reading the whole extravaganza here are links to the previous parts:

To say the least, we went fast. We went faster than I ever thought I could run 13.1 miles. All we added to this workout regimen from when we trained a couple of years ago were some tempo runs (and I don't know if I ever did those correctly) and we would do pace runs before our longer runs. For the entire race I felt very comfortable at the pace we had picked and am wondering if we had any idea of what we had been doing, or even trained at a higher pace, how fast we could have gone. This brings me to....

The 2006 Chicago Marathon


Last year our training regimen was :

1) Go out and run
2) Eat a cheeseburger
3) Go out and run farther
4) Drink frozen margaritas as a recovery drink

Last year we trained at about 10 minute miles....and we finished the marathon in 4:20.....almost exactly 10 minute miles. (go figure)

So my question is, how fast can we run this year? We are going to be following the Pfitzinger/Douglas plan outlined in the book Advanced Marathoning (which, by the way, we bought the day after the 2005 marathon). We will do the 18 week/55 miles max plan (although we are going to start about 4 weeks early because we are going on some trips this summer and need some buffer room). A lot of the runs in that book are configured like: run this run at a pace 10% slower than your race pace (or 20% or your marathon pace or whatever). So what is my race pace?

If you do the double your 1/2 marathon time and add 15 minutes to get a good idea of where you will finish the marathon you get : 3 Hours and 49 Minutes (or 8:44 min/mile pace). First of all I have some time before the marathon, it's not like next month. Second, what if I trained at a higher intensity than I did for this 1/2? Could I just double the time thus ending in : 3 Hours and 34 Minutes? I ask because for me to Boston Qualify I would have to run the marathon in 3:40.59. which is an 8:25 pace, which almost sounds doable (shhhhhh that's really scary).

Because of my love of buffers I would not want to run the marathon at 8:25 and come in at 3:40.59......if I could train consistantly at 8:10 min/miles, and could then run the marathon averaging 8:10 min/miles finishing in about 3:34, giving me 6 minutes to play with. (Of course if I run 8 min/mile I have 10 minutes to play with but I might need those 10 minutes because I would be crawling at the end :-) )

Jason and I will start paying more attention to our pace this summer and see where we feel comfortable, if the 8:10 mile is too fast and we aren't keeping up with the training, we will re-evaluate our goals. Either way, my primary goal this year is to be under 4 hours.

So here's to a summer of running, sleeping, working....and drinking frozen margaritas on my porch whenever I get the chance (you can't give everything up).


Joe said...

Your enthusiasm is admirable and contagious. I'm feeling your positive vibes way over here in Vancouver. Your example is encouraging me to reevaluate my goals.

> So here's to a summer of running, sleeping, working
> ....and drinking frozen margaritas

Strawberry, lime or some other flavour?

BTW, nice report format! :-)

LeahC said...

I like the frozen originals (although I did take orignal mix last summer and added fresh strawberries to the blender and that was super tasty)

I thought you might like the format...I admit being a copy cat :-)

Joe said...

Hehe. Imitation is the highest form of flattery! I hope other RBF-ers adopt that format.

Bob said...

Ditto on the enthusiasm, I am liking it.

A BQ time is not out of the relm of possibility for you. Lets get that all squared away right now. Personally I know I could not run the 3:15 required to do it for a man my age.

If you use McMillian's running calclulator which has proven pretty accurate for lots of people. At your Current fitness level you could run a 3:45:40 Marathon. BTW McMillian's tool will also help you sort out training paces. All that being said that is not alot of time to shave over the course of your marathon training.

Now I hear where you are coming from shhhhhh don't talk about it. We all hate to fail, but as they say trying and failing is worse then never trying. But I really have little dobut if you set your mind to it you could do 3:40. In fact I am pretty confident you could.

I don't agree with the idea of running all your training runs at around 8:10. Now you know I am a first timer at this distance but my advice would be to Follow Fitz's plan it's sound. Do your general areobic runs at an aerobic pace. Build your aerobic base and prepare your body physically for the distance by doing the miles.

I feel your pain because I really don't know how fast I could go and there is no real way to assess that if you are doing your training correctly.

My plan is to race a couple of races this spring and base my training paces off of that, then run a half in the fall in place of a long run to see where I am at. All while keeping that stated goal of 3:45 in my haed. I see no reason you can't have yours be a BQ 3:40.

Oh and one last thing to this long long comment. Chicago is a fast course, qualified the most women for the BM last year and the best part, you live there, no hotel, no travel, no strange food, you know the course, hell you could run it during training.......hmmmmmm

LeahC said...

Hi Bob-

I love (!) long comments.

I wouldn't do all my training runs at 8:10, but I would assume that this is my marathon pace and then get all my other paces from that....10% slower for long runs and so on. I don't's REAL exciting I do know that!

John said...

Without knowing much about your training, it still sounds like a goal of 3:34 is very doable, especially after your run at the Indy Mini.

Actually, you probably could have run Indy faster if you ran more evenly paced and not so conservative in the first three miles. I figure you ran the first 3 @ 8:53 pace and then the last 10.1 @ 7:59 pace.

I'd say you were good for at least a 1:44 for a half marathon given the way you finished strong.

As for the marathon, the key will be consistency. Putting in the miles as well as getting use to the 8:10 minutes/mile marathon pace and running it consistently in training (i.e. as part of your long run, MP pace runs, etc).

Don't forget the slower recovery runs as well as some faster paced efforts at 5k/10k pace. If all goes well you'll probably see PRs at the shorter distances as well. Good luck!

LeahC said...


I am wondering if I was able to run those quick later miles because I was conservative in the first three miles.....but I did finish with a lot left, so I probably could have been a bit quicker at the beginning.

John said...

Nothing wrong with being conservative at the start. Your conservative first mile was in line with your goal pace. In hindsight, it looks more like a warmup mile given your actual pace and finish.

This race effort must be a real eye opener for you because now you know how much more you can push yourself if you are willing to put in the training.

And that is what's so great about running. You can either run for the sake of running and train/race at the same pace (i.e. your 2005 Chicago Marathon) or you can continually seek to improve on your times, and see how far and fast your mind and body will take you. Keep it up!

LeahC said...

good point. one thing I HAVE to work on is not getting so worked up about the start of the race, because I warm up too early and then I just stand in the corral for like 30 minutes. Maybe if I can get myself to warm up and into the pens with 5-10 minutes to go then I could start faster and feel more comfortable with that faster pace......

Andrea said...

Pfitz plans are the way to go, I used one last year for my fall marathon. They're dead on, if you train at a given pace, you can definitely run it! I trained for a 3:30, I ran 3:30:05. A friend did bits and pieces of Pfitz to run a 3:40, and came in at 3:40:xx. So if you can handle the training with the buffer, go for it, otherwise I'd have faith in the plan and be confident that what you're training at will come together on race day!

(Chicago is my fall target race as well - they already have over 24000 entrants, I should start thinking of that soon..)

LeahC said...


that is VERY exciting to hear. I just put all the runs into my calender and am now trying to decide how to plan things along with my vacations.

Thanks for hte information.

Nicole said...

Leah I just have to say you are inspiring. I say go for it after all 99% is mental. I'm also going to look into the plan you mentioned because I am really disliking Hal's plan which is what I followed last time I ran. good luck with the training

LeahC said...


thank you :-)

the Advanced Marathoning book is really good so far. It has tons of information about why you are doing the workouts you are doing. if you decide to run with that book, let me know what you think!