Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cold, wet & not much fun

The regular Wednesday night workout needed to be curtailed somewhat in deference to the taper. I was (am) feeling much more chipper with the hip and back having settled down, leaving only the knee as any source of discomfort, but then it is no different to what it has been for a thousand or so km of training, so I regard it as something that would be nice to iron out through the taper, but no threat if I don't.

While I'd toyed with the idea of a tempo run last night, I felt that would be just a bit too much given how shaky I had been feeling on Monday...even if there is still a week to go. "Time to cruise" was how I think 2P put it. What's more, it suddenly came in all cold and rainy just in time for our running. It proceeded to stay that way for the next hour and half and then cleared. Typical.

So, anyway, after 4-km warm-up with Gary I decided to re-try that Maffetone heart rate test on the 400-m track (running five miles at my "upper aerobic limit" of 143 beats per minute (77%) for 8 km). I actually only held the 143 for three miles (three times four laps) and then decided to do two miles at 149 (80% HRmax).

The data for the HR143 section are a bit different to last time. I was certainly a lot faster, as would be expected, but in contrast to last time there was actually some drift. I didn't actually quite average 149 for the second part, but the fact that the pace was up close to marathon pace was good. To be honest, I'd have liked to have seen it a bit faster, but I can't complain too much.

Mile Time Pace (min/km) AvgHR HR%max
1 0:06:56 0:04:20 144 78%
2 0:07:04 0:04:25 143 77%
3 0:07:12 0:04:30 142 76%
4 0:06:52 0:04:18 147 79%
5 0:06:55 0:04:19 148 80%

I am happy that I did this run because it wasn't stressful and has given me some valuable feedback on my aerobic state. I think the result is that I can expect to be able to run the first half to 30-km of the race at about 3-hour pace without getting uduly stressed. The really tricky part will be getting from 25 to 30 km without the heart rate getting too high, but if I manage that, then I could probably afford to start throwing caution to the wind and see how hard I can bring it home.

In my previous marathons I've gone out a little fast and then had a positive split on the second half. The best ones were where the fade was only slight. This time I am seriously considering keeping right on or marginally slower than pace for that first 30 km and then trying to bring home a negative split. It is risky though, because I can't help thinking that even if I run easy, I'll be too buggered after 30 km to pick up the pace -- hanging on is about as much as I can expect, and any slight fade would lead to a blown goal. By starting just ahead of pace gives some time in the bank, but then you have the risk of that over-pace segment causing a bad late fade? A negative split sure would be nice...

Such are the thoughts of one who is staring down his fifth marathon.

7 comments:

2P said...

Mate I got excited - I thought by that title you were in Melbourne or Sydney - weather has been atrocious here.

It is the age old dilemma go out hard and hold or go out easy and bring it home?

Ever thought of just taking the first k or 2 fairly cruisy and then just accelerating up to what feels sustainable after the excitement of the start is over?

Just a thought.

MilesandMiles said...

first 30k at 3h pace sounds conservative and indeed risky... that would mean running the last 12.2k at 3:41/44 (i think) pace on tired legs to get a PB... having said that if you believe the HR zones can give you the optimum pace on that particular day...
Arnaud

Tesso said...

I'm not going to offer an opinion. 15 marathons and I still have no flamin' idea of how to run them.

However, I am getting some sort of sick enjoyment out of watching you sweat over it :-)

mika said...

Marathon is a sort of experiment on your body, so trying something new is good. Go for negative split!!!

Clairie said...

If you have always gone out fast before....you will always get what you always got, if you always do what you always did.

So..go out easier than race pace and then wind it up.

I read another blog recently http://davidcriniti.blogspot.com/ and if you read his Monday post it has some great ideas. He went out bang on pace, mentally telling himself this was easy, so after 30km (perhaps the 25km mark in a marathon) he could wind up to give himself some time in the bank for any unforeseen stops/delays/wall-hitting etc.

I like the concept of breaking the run down into smaller runs and setting a goal for them rather than worrying each km about pace. So for a SUB 3hr marathon (no other goal) something like this:

7km - 30mins
14km - 60mins
21.1 - 1hr 30mins
30km - 2hr 8mins
40km - 2hr 29mins
42.2km - sub 3hrs

Rachel said...

I'm not a marathon runner, but I think taking a new approach is a great idea. It might just work and what's the worst that could happen? Besides it's always my approach to take the first half easy and come home with a negative split. I'm too scared I'll bonk otherwise!

Ewen said...

Don't sweat 'uduly' Steve ;) Did you mean udderly?

If you feel you're in very good 'endurance' shape, the negative split plan should work. Physically, it's good, but mentally, it's tough 'being behind' for so long.

With the 'drift' in that test, do you use a running start, so your HR is 144 when you start timing? By the way, 80% for me, is way below my 'upper aerobic limit'.