Success in any race comes down to consistency in training and execution on race day. Personal experience, coaching, and listening to or reading countless athlete interviews reinforces this. A big breakthrough or a PB is typically followed by lots of good, not necessarily great, training week in and week out. This is a reminder to try to complete all the runs during the week, do them at the appropriate recovery to moderate paces, get in those strides, run the speed work at an intense/faster than race pace effort, and do the long runs. We’re baking a cake here with lots of ingredients that are all important!
If you’re feeling run down, overall consistency can still be maintained by taking a day or two off, especially if that keeps us from overdoing it and missing even more time with a severe illness or injury. Again, hardly any workouts need to be home runs where you run much farther or faster than ever before. Also, we sometimes view less than stellar runs as a complete waste (despite the fact it was still work), or that not doing exactly the prescribed plan is failing. A) no plan is the only way to do things, there are a lot of paths to success, but consistently doing any of those will get us there generally, B) it’s ok to fail in practice, because it’s... practice. In other sports, people strike out or miss shots - Some days you just don’t have it - but keep at it.
This was an entertaining rant by a college basketball coach (ripping into her team and sport in general). Don’t worry, I’m not trashing you all! I just like how she speaks to this “doesn’t have to be much, just be consistent” message, or as she puts it simply “get your butt in the gym”! http://www.1011now.com/sports/headlines/Wisconsin-Womens-Basketball-Coach-Goes-on-Rant-366795511.html?device=phone&c=y
We can apply the same with running. 10 seconds off pace on 1000m reps, but out there completing them all? That could only be like 4-5% missed off pace - good in my book! 1-2 miles less than finishing a 16 miler is only 6-12% less, and would still be over a 2 hour run. Solid, especially if it keeps you moving forward and allows you to stack weeks on top of each other with a variety of consistent (training) stress on the body.
The other factor for success in the marathon will be the actual execution on race day. We can show up in the best shape of our life and ruin the opportunity by pacing poorly or making other equipment, diet, etc mistakes. If we continue to look at our training like practice we can think more about and analyze the details that go into making good decisions that will become habits before, during, and even after a race. Are you going out fast and fading on aerobic runs, fartleks, and intervals? Best performances are almost always even split to a negative split race, so work on changing to that habit now. Are you tired, low on energy? Recovery day paces too fast? Diet sufficient? Sleep? This is another reason to keep a log. We often forget the details in training that can help us later on. I know I cannot remember much beyond a week or two so be sure to keep track of what does and does not work along the way.
It is also critical to have fun with the training and not be too consumed with a big goal time. The training paces are guidelines to keep us in the ballpark. You do not want this to be a stressful few months because the race can eventually just be a culmination of that (emotional) stress. Try to find a balance of relaxed but hard running on the workout days, and take recovery days as they are intended to be. If the goal time is a bit too hot right now, back off of the paces to what you can handle, and let the fitness come to you. You want to be on top of your training, not the other way around where you feel buried by the workload.
Yoga For Runners: Join Hillary Helt, certified yoga instructor and Fleet Feet Sacramento Fit Specialist on Thursday, February 4th for this 2-hour fun event. Learn why yoga is the perfect compliment to running and join in a 45 min long beginner yoga class designed to meet a runner's specific needs. Learn More and Register Here.
SRA Discounts: Our friends at the Sacramento Running Association would like to provide our Boston 365 trainees a 10% Discount into the Super Sunday 5k or 10k on February 7th. Use promo code: FFSTRAIN16SSR at registration and please make sure to let Coach Charlie know so he can make any necessary adjustments. They are also offering a 10% discount off the Sactown 10-miler on April 3rd. Use code: FFSTRAIN16STT at registration.