Friday, September 12, 2008


The long run is something that unites all marathoners, no matter what speed. In order to train for a marathon, you need to go long. It's a little ludicrous to non-runner, the idea of going out for 20 miles. Plenty of friends have asked me why I don't just run another six and be done with it. When I first started running, I would dread the long run. Then it became something I'd look forward to, mostly because it gave me an excuse to eat a ton afterward. (Ideal post-long run meal: bacon cheeseburger. Sometimes two.) From a training perspective, I realize now that I put too much stock in the long run. Instead of getting in the miles, I'd focus my training around it. Now, I'm following Pfitzinger and doing more tempo runs and the medium-long runs during the week. The one part of training that's confused me a bit is the midweek 14-and 12-mile runs. I wasn't sure what they were doing, other than making me sleepy at my desk. Now I know. I went for a 21-miler this morning. Odd as this is to say, it wasn't really hard. It was probably the 100th time I've run 20 or more. It's a long way, and I there are bound to be tough parts. But today's sailed by with the pace at about 7:45 or 7:40. I didn't run the last mile slower than the first, and I felt like I could easily keep running. Those midweek medium-long runs have given me a nice endurance base. My one concern is a little hamstring soreness in my right leg. I had a persistent hamstring injury two years that lasted forever, just a dull ache that stayed around for many months. My recovery plan is a bit unusual: I'm taking a four-hour bus ride to Washington, DC, to see friends. I hope there's no knife-wielding maniac onboard.

21 miles, 2:43:18


The Laminator said...

Nice run! Yeah, I've done those 10-12 mile mid-week runs too when I'm at the peak of marathon training, and have had the same experience as you. Although at times it seems like such a long distance midweek, it really makes the weekend long runs sail much more smoothly. Good luck on the rest of your training. It sounds like it's all going real well for you.

Brian Morrissey said...

Thanks a lot. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has felt doubts about those medium-long runs. I feel very good about where I am endurance wise. I just need to get the tempo runs better.

Anonymous said...

Great running Brian! Pfitz knows his stuff. Believe.

It would have been great to know what your avg heart rate was (and how it compared to earlier in the season).

90% of my miles in my buildup have been 8:15 or slower, but on an 18 miler this Sat I was shocked to find that 8:00 pace was only taking 130 bpm (65% HRM). It was 155 in June. I had to force myself to get down to 7:30 pace (and this was in San Francisco's hills) just to get myself to Pfitz's recommended minimum 77% HR for long runs. I then ran the final 2 @ 6:40 to get me to 170 (85%). Now while I ultimately want to race the clock, not the heart rate monitor, data like this is a real confidence booster.

Again, most of my mileage is very moderately paced compared to my actual marathon race pace (8:15+ VS 6:45) with judicious use of tempo and Max VO2 work. You CAN run slow to run fast.

Be careful not to push the tempos too hard too soon. I found that Daniels and Pfitz's recommended ranges are a touch fast if you are also building to new levels of mileage.