Many people are baffled by my willingness to share training secrets like the controversial run/nap/run or swim/mow lawn brick, but it’s simply in the spirit of leveling the playing field in my age group. And clearly my strategy is working after getting 21st place in Chattanooga Waterfront triathlon.
The competition is listening and obviously better at my own strategies than me. Or . . . they are really smart and ignore everything I say.
But even the most skeptical readers will want to pay attention to this new discovery. It’s a bonafide winner that I’ve tested at least once . . . with excellent results.
FORCING A POSITIVE SPLIT
Most will say that the best race strategy (though very difficult in Ironman) is to negative split your run. This means the second half of your marathon will be faster than the first . . . well, good luck.
Actually, I do agree with that principle and am always looking for ways to achieve it. But, since nothing has worked, I decided to try something totally different.
The other day I went out for my “long” run of the week (10 miles) and held a pretty consistent 8:30 mile pace. It felt pretty good and knew I could probably hold it for the last 5 miles, but decided to do something harder . . . back that pace down to 10 minute miles.
One reason was that my heart rate at an 8:30 pace was about 15 beats too high. I’m honestly targeting an 8:30 pace at Ironman Wisconsin (I know, long shot) and want to teach my body how to use stored fat better keeping the heart beats to a minimum.
For most of that last 5 miles (with the exception of a couple pick ups) I held 10 or a little slower. It was extremely hard to hold back, namely because I want all workouts over as fast as possible. And frankly, it hurt my hips and knees a little more to go slower. I’m fascinated by pain and noticed that when I picked up the pace up to 8:30, the pain shifted into my feet. I assumed it was because I was “exploding” more than landing. It was an interesting experiment and confirmed my suspicion that sometimes easier to run faster.
Though it hurt a little more, there was no doubt in my mind that a 10-minute-pace for the marathon is very doable. But, it also told me (based on heart rate) my 8:30 goal may be a little optimistic. It’s probably more like 9-10 at this point, but I’m gonna keep playing with this little theory. Conditions should be much cooler in Wisconsin, so we’ll see.
A couple years ago a trail running partner used to scold me for always running fast. I’d take off and do whatever I could to always go faster and faster. She’d always say, “You know, there’s room in your life for a 10 minute pace.” I always laughed, but maybe she’s right.
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