Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Questioning Conditioning Level?

Last night we started week one of the Pfitz marathon 18/55 plan. If you would say that there are actually 19 weeks left until the plan you would be correct. However, next week is the GMR relay and so we will miss that week of official training runs, although I do plan on doing more than the prescribed mileage.

So we had our 7 miles with 10x100m strides. We did 6 miles on the lakefront path and then headed to the track for the strides. Last time we did this I found it too difficult, and so instead of striding the straight parts of the track and walking the curved parts, we strided the straight parts, walked for half the curved part and started a slow jog for the second half. This way we were moving faster and the strides weren't coming out of basically a stand still. This worked a lot better and so we did 1.25 miles on the track giving us a total of 7.25 miles on the day.

Now then. Here's my question. We paced 8:31 for the 6 miles. It felt good, easy, I wasn't breathing hard, Jason and I were talking to each other the whole time. We took our heart rate after we finished and it was at about 145 which seems to be about where it should be (I realize this is less than accurate, but it was just to get an idea). Granted this was only a six mile run, but we have been having most of our runs faster or at the low end of where I think they should be. For example, these general aerobic runs should be between 8:43-9:13 and I didn't have one mile in that range. The long run we did on Sunday was *just* within range. The nine mile run last week was way under pace at an 8:27 average.

So my question I in better conditioning than I thought? Should I think about moving my marathon goal time down a bit? Maybe I should just keep running where I feel most comfortable and see if I can stick with these paces as the training continues. Just for a look see, I typed in a 3:30 marathon into McMillian and got these numbers :

Endurance Workouts Pace/Mile
Recovery Jogs 9:31 to 10:01
Long Runs 8:31 to 9:31
Easy Runs 8:31 to 9:01

Stamina Workouts Pace/Mile
Steady-State Runs 7:36 to 7:50
Tempo Runs 7:17 to 7:36
Tempo Intervals 7:11 to 7:26

So looking within the Endurance workouts, it looks like I am always within that prescribed range. The concern comes when I look at the Tempo Runs category. We have been adding in tempo runs into our training although they haven't been for very many miles. (we have done a two mile Lactate Threshold and a three mile). For these, the pace has been a bit higher than that range, but as Thomas mentioned in the comments last week, it is almost easier to go for longer on these because you end up finding a rhythm. I don't know if I can find a rhythm between 7:17 and 7:36...but you never know.

I think that the first LT run we have will be a nice test to see how things will go this summer and I also think I'll have a better idea of paces as the miles start to add up. I have no leg pain (a first for me for awhile) currently and I am wondering if it's because I am having fewer foot strikes and so less time out there...I don't know...maybe my sciencey self is taking over and I should just keep running comfortably and see what happens. After the first 3 weeks of the plan I will take a look at all these numbers again and see where we are and how we line up.

Any suggestions from the peanut gallery are always welcome :-)


Fran said...

It's certainly a possibility that you can do faster. I started last year aiming for a 3:30 marathon using GA paces slower than what you're doing. I found that over the course of training I was consistently improving and had to change the marathon goal as time would go on. I've found the HR monitor to be quite useful in gauging how much I improve.

It's hard to predict race times based on training paces. A better way would be to run a shorter race and use that to figure out where you're at.

Josh said...

Okay, it's hard for me to talk given the fact that my training has been off lately, but I'd see how the first three weeks of training go and proceed from there. If, at that time, you feel you can move your goal to 3:30, then definitely go for it.

GeekGirl said...

First of all, I HATE tempo / LT runs. Hate them. They hurt and I find it really hard to keep my pace. Though my pace has improved by 30 seconds just in the past few weeks.

Anyway, I would say perhaps it's time to do a 5k or something to see where you are condition wise. If not a formal race perhaps some sort of time trial. Then punch those into the calculator.

I've found that my training paces do not click with the calculator, but my races do.

Firefly's Running said...

You are doing great. I have not been running lately so I can not speak from experience. You are doing better than me.

Running Jayhawk said...

3:30? Sounds brilliant. The quicker you get to the finish line, the faster you can get back to chinatown to run me did say you wanted to do an ultra on 10/7...right?

Oh, I kid.

You are one badass mofo, lady. I am both amazed and impressed by your swiftness!