KCM Race Pace and Prefontaine

In Ash Wednesday, T. S. Eliot wrote, “Because I do not hope to turn again / Becuase I do not hope.” And yet (with hope) I turn to 2013 and find myself repeating 2011 in much of its substance. Still those words resonate and haunt me.

I’ve been looking over my training paces for the KCM in 2011, and I was at exactly the same treadmill paces for my tempo runs then that I am now. And I was running my long runs on Mill Creek Trail (that is, with ups and downs) and hitting (usually exceeding) the targets. (Of course, I realize now that I was running my long runs too fast. Really, I was racing myself, which never let me adapt for the marathon distance.) This is giving me some confidence.

Also, I’ve looked at Daniels’ Running Formula paces, and I’ve thought long and hard about being a runner who is “highly trained” (but by no means elite) and “older.” I am wondering about taking the Run Less/Run Faster long run paces up one notch and the tempos at pace, and the intervals down two. This would put them more in line with Daniels’ recommendations. I’m still going to stay the course through this round of training until March 31.

Being “highly trained” means I should count on doing what I’ve been training to do. And that means that I shouldn’t count on one season of training giving me a big performance boost on race day. Being “older” means that my interval training is for keeping some speed in my legs, training my ability to recruit muscles late in the race, and improving my muscles ability to consume oxygen. I don’t count on it helping me peak that much. I’m starting to think that intense interval training is just a good way to injure myself. Thus, the more conservative approach.

Daniels says intervals should be at 3K to 5K pace and about 5 minutes long. I’m finding that to get my heart rate up, I need to run them a little faster than 5K pace. (Or who knows, maybe I really can run a 5K sub 20:00.) At the same time, I don’t want to become so taxed that my gait suffers. So I am balancing the paces recommended by Run Less/Run Faster, which are faster than Daniels’, stress me out, and compromise my ability to “run comfortably at 5K pace,” with the paces recommended by Daniels, which don’t seem to sufficiently stress my HR.

Daniels says marathon pace is 89% of HR Max for elite runners. If I was an elite (which I’m not) and my HR Max was 170 bpm (which may be a little low, but not much) that would mean marathon pace should make my heart beat at 151. That doesn’t sound too bad. He also says that marathon pace for elites is 10-15 seconds slower than threshold. And for slower (5 hour) marathoners it is 30 seconds slower. I think threshold is 5 seconds faster than RL/RF Mid Tempo. And RL/RF puts marathon pace at 25 seconds over Mid Tempo. So they are targeting a marathon pace of 30 seconds over threshold. (This is an anchor point for me, and I’ll be coming back to this paragraph as I look at training and race paces over the coming year.) Daniels says my threshold is 6:43 (for 19:30 5K race). And he says my marathon pace is 7:08 (+25 over threshold), while RL/RF says 7:14. So Daniels thinks I have 6 more seconds per mile in me. I think Daniels might be right.

I watched Prefontaine last night. It dealt a lot more with the relationship between him and Bowerman than “Without Limits.” It also showed him growing as a person. He starts as a stuck up, cocky, and self-absorbed high schooler. For example, when the assistant coaches show up to recruit him, he snubs them both because their best performances did not result in gold. This is ironic since Pre will finish 4th in the Olympics, where he is boxed in at the beginning and finishes with the best race of his life. By the end of the movie, he becomes a person who congratulates one of the runners who PR’d in a race that Pre had won. (That was pretty cool. You should also see how he wears his shirt collars over the collars of his jean jacket. That’s cool too.) And he and his friend, Frank Shorter, share the lead in a windy race in order to draft each other and beat the field. “Sharing the lead” and “working together” is a very un-early-Pre-like thing to do

I liked Bowerman and his constant figuring of race paces. (I do that, too!) And he is constantly weighing soles and shaving ounces. I liked how the shoes (precursors to today’s Nikes) were done in Prefontaine vs. Without Limits.

At one point, Pre wonders to his teammates what Bowerman does as a coach. And then Bowerman coaches Pre in just a few words on his running form. Bowerman tells Pre to run with his hips underneath him (with his hips cocked forward) so he can lift his knees higher and easier. Bowerman says, “A plumb line should run from your ears through your shoulders to your hips.” This was spot-on advice for me, too. It has started me thinking about doing some knee lift drills.

I loved the final scene, where Pre is envisioning breaking the 3 mile world record with a 12:36 by running 12 consecutive 63 second quarters. In much the same way, I imagine myself running 26.2 miles in 3:15… First mile 8:30. Second mile 8:00. Third mile 7:30. Fourth mile… Anyway, somewhere along the way, I gotta find about 3:00 (to make up the slow start and the last .2 miles). Probably in the second half… Negative splits! 180 seconds/13 miles is 14 seconds/mile! I wish I could get Bowerman to work on this problem for me.

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