In Daniels Running Method, he makes this point over and over again: If you want to train faster, race faster first. And I do want to train faster. I desperately want it. In fact, I think I run so I can push my body to the very edge. (OK. Not the very edge like Roger Bannister. But up to my very edge.) I am constantly tweaking my paces and workouts. And I typically smoke my “virtual partner.” I want to find the edge, and I do enjoy looking over it.
In 2011, running on the edge did not turn out so well for me. I raced Hospital Hill and missed my goal time by 5 minutes because I pushed myself too hard on a really hot (80 degree) day. And then I missed my marathon goal time (which was 5 minutes too fast for me in the first place) by 20 minutes because I hit the wall at 22 miles and was running on compromised Achilles tendons. And in general I was a pretty cranky person who was obsessed with running. I just looked back at the KCM and (based on my 170 max HR), I ran miles 3-6 at 94%. Which at the time I knew was hot, but I figured I’d settle down. I did indeed settle down for miles 14-18 to a manageable 88%, but by then the damage was done, and I ran smack into the wall at mile 22.
I did not race in 2012, but I did some time trails. And I liked those much better. I needed the time off. Still, I’d been pushing myself in my workouts a little harder than I should. I just did a 10K time trial at the end of the year. And my training plan for it included actually lowering my interval times until I felt solidly in control of the pace and my gait throughout the workout. I started liking intervals a lot better once I could handle them. And I found out how much faster the “Run Less/Run Faster” paces were than “conventional wisdom.” By the time I had finished lowering the paces, I was pretty much running at 5K speed. I still really like the “Run Less/Run Faster” plans. I just add 40 seconds to my 5K to find the interval paces.
Now, I’ve set my paces based on a 19:30 5K (20:10 for intervals) and they are not moving until I have a race or time trial to prove I’m ready. I’m going to let my virtual partner keep up with me. This will be the “Trust Your Training” season.
This year, I’m going to try HHH and the KCM again. But this time, I’m going to follow Daniels’ advice: Race Faster First. The first goal is a 40:27 10K at the end of March, which will put me at the 19:20 5K pace. (So, part of the experiment is to train at 19:30 and see if it puts me in 19:20 racing form.) And if I don’t make 19:20, I’ll repeat the level. Fitness gains are hard, and I’m trying to be a patient runner. Keep in mind that these are treadmill times at 1%, which represent a perfectly flat straight course. Ideal conditions. Add 10 – 15 seconds per mile for your typical KC course. I’ve found that 1% on the treadmill is pretty much 0% on the road.
After the March time trial things get tricky. Depending on my result, I will reset my paces and start training for the Hospital Hill Half. April and May will be base building for the KC Marathon with the goal race of Hospital Hill. Along the way I plan on “training” using the Corporate Challenge Half (probably on May 18) and a 5K (at training pace – hitting about 20:30) over Memorial Day weekend. These will be dress rehearsals for Hospital Hill. Then I will reset my training paces and gear up for the big event: the KC Marathon on Oct 19. I’m waiting to set time goals for both HHH and KCM until I have racing results. Hate to get my hopes up, but a BQ at Kansas City is a pipe dream.
What can I say? I love to train, and I really don’t like racing that much. But I’m starting to see racing as the way to allow myself to train faster without being on edge all the time and constantly tweaking my plan. So races are starting to look a little more appealing.