Running update: Low and slow

Marathon training continues.

I wanted to give a general wrap up of mileage for January when that month ended. Unfortunately, I didn’t do very well at tracking actual miles because there were runs where I forgot the Garmin or it wouldn’t pick up the satellite signal until well into the run.

February has been better for keeping a beat on things.

I run four days each week and started to build in a day of cross training (swimming or stationary bicycling) with two days of honest-to-goodness rest.

As my most recent times reflect, on some of those longer runs I have begun dialing back my speed a bit. After my first 15 mile run in January, which I ran in 2:07:59, I was cramped and sore for days and worried about re-injury by increasing my distance and intensity too much. So, I’ve consciously decided to stop running each run like a race.

On every day that is not a speed training or hill repeat day I am holding back a little (and sometimes a lot). This has resulted in slower times over-all (16 miles in 2:20:10) but stronger finishes and feeling better afterward. The day after my 16 miles I literally felt like I could run another 16.  Basically, with long runs especially, I have chosen to follow the rule of thumb to run them 30 seconds to a minute slower pace wise than my marathon goal pace.  I am trying to follow conventional running wisdom. I do this for injury prevention and to stave off frustration when my legs are so tired and sore that I can’t push myself harder when I want to.

Pushing myself harder pace wise is reserved for Wednesday now. Last week’s speed training had me running four, 3/4th miles at a 7:30 minute pace and finishes a 7 and a half mile run at an over-all 8:09 pace average (and that was with a comfortable run back to our groups meeting place and a restroom stop).

This change in pace and mindset was brought about by a Runner’s World article where experts claim 60 percent of all marathon runners experience some injury during running season, and a large part of those can be contributed in part to a runner not being honest about his/her level of fitness. It made sense, especially having experienced stress fractures.

It’s not that I am not competitive, or that I do not want to do better than last year. I just realize that doing better, in a big part, means doing so in a way that does not lead to more injury. So, I dialed it back this month with the speed to give my legs time to build up strength, and my bones time to build in density over distance. I’m hoping this pays off.

And when I run now I am not as worried about catching the guy in front of me. I close my eyes and imagine what it will feel like crossing the Flying Pig Marathon finish line strongly and without the pain I experienced last year.


2 thoughts on “Running update: Low and slow

  1. Pingback: Running update: Low and slow « I want to run far and run fast | Injury Prevention

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