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Closer to the Edge

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Closer to the Edge

Post  Dave-O on Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:37 pm

I don’t think I’ve told this story before.

I ran my first marathon in the spring of 2004 in 3:28. I followed that up with a DNF in Chicago that fall due to cramps. Afterwards, I decided to get serious about training and read Hal’s Ultimate Training Guide. In it, he talks about how one can expect solid improvements for the first seven years of training. I instantly started crunching numbers in my head for the next six years, and randomly assumed I could improve by 10 minutes per year: 3:20 by the end of 2005; 3:10 in 2006; 3:00 in 2007; 2:50 in 2008; 2:40 in 2009; and 2:30 in 2010. I can still vividly remember where I was sitting when this thought process went through my (incredibly) naïve head. At the time I couldn’t run 2 miles at a 5:44 pace, yet I was sure that in six years I’d be holding that pace for 26.2. Sometimes ignorance can be bliss.

Notwithstanding the idiocy of expecting such a linear improvement, I stayed ahead of my envisioned progression. Until last year. Last year, I failed to improve upon my PR of 2:34, and actually, I didn’t even run a marathon. Due to Chicago’s heat, I audibled to racing it as a half at the last second, where I was on pace for a 1:09 through 8 miles, puked, and stumbled home with my tail between my legs. Then I got married and ignored running for about 8 weeks.

Now, I’m not saying I’m already at the edge of my capabilities. Because based on the above story, you can see that I have no shame in overestimating my talent level. I still believe I can improve at every distance. But I do recognize that I’m closer to that edge. Long gone are the days when I could be assured of a PR every time I pined on a bib regardless of weather, training or course profile. Over the last year I’ve come to accept that I need many variables – both those within and out of my control – to come together on race day to crack the elusive 2:30 barrier.

With that in mind, this training cycle will be much of the same: lots of miles, two long runs per week, and a focus on tempo runs. The only slight modification is that I’m hoping to make 10 mile tempo runs a near-weekly occurrence, even if they end up slightly slower than goal pace. I need that high level aerobic effort to improve my efficiency between 5:35 and 5:55 pace. Also, my current favorite record to listen to while running, This is War by 30 Seconds to Mars, is just under 60 minutes – i.e. perfect for this run. I may listen to it on every 10 mile tempo, because I’m weird like that. I’ll pay extra attention to track 7, “Closer to the Edge”, just as a reminder to stay disciplined for these next 17 weeks and to take nothing for granted.

Because this year, when we meet at Sweetwater, I want to be celebrating a 2:29….even if it’s a year “late.”
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Seth Harrison on Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:57 pm

I'll be interested to see just how many 10 mile tempo runs it takes until you've had it with that CD.
Good luck finally breaking through 2:30. I'd be willing to bet that you get there.
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Jerry on Fri Jun 17, 2011 4:41 pm

Since I am not going to Chicago, you sure will have a great race, Dave.

I am on the fence for Boston though. Be warned. affraid
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:01 pm

I like the looks of this training plan and the cleverness of this blog title. Good stuff.
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Neil Ruggiero on Sat Jun 18, 2011 12:57 pm

Good luck this summer Dave!

And I love the title btw, Jared Leto is pretty high on my man-crush list.
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Natalie on Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:52 pm

Your paces make my head spin! 10 miles in an hour? I need to block out half a day! Right now, I'm making a mental list of all the things I could do with that extra time. Oh, am I depressed! pale
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  John Kilpatrick on Sat Jun 18, 2011 6:53 pm

@Dave-O wrote:one can expect solid improvements for the first seven years of training.

I have never heard that, but that is encouraging. With the amount of work you put into chasing it, I hope you smash it.

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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Matt W on Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:24 am



With the types of training runs you've put in over the years, I know that you have sizable chunks of time waiting to come off your PR. You are a determined, focused, and talented runner. I wish you the best of luck on race day this fall.
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Schuey on Sun Jun 19, 2011 10:15 am

Yes Dave you are close to the edge, the edge of breaking 2:30! It's not a matter if it happens IT IS GOING to happen this fall. Yes we will be tossing back many cold beers at Sweetwater this year and hopefully this year after dinner you and Britt make to the post party at our place this year!

I also like the idea of the 10 mile Tempo run every week for you. For myself I think I would have to mix that up as a Tempo one to two weeks and then Tempo Intervals for a week. I do think that key workout along with the two long runs a week is going to be just what you need to go OVER THE EDGE!
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Kenny B. on Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:06 am

@Schuey wrote:Yes Dave you are close to the edge, the edge of breaking 2:30! It's not a matter if it happens IT IS GOING to happen this fall. Yes we will be tossing back many cold beers at Sweetwater this year and hopefully this year after dinner you and Britt make to the post party at our place this year!

I also like the idea of the 10 mile Tempo run every week for you. For myself I think I would have to mix that up as a Tempo one to two weeks and then Tempo Intervals for a week. I do think that key workout along with the two long runs a week is going to be just what you need to go OVER THE EDGE!

I am no expert compared to you guys but 10 mile tempo is a killer workout and if you can maintain that weekly where it does not affect your other training days then one can see how you will hit your goals. I agree for I would mix it up with the tempo intervals. Wishing you lots of healthy and successful running as you progress towards sub 2:30. Looking forward to the announcement of 2:28:245?
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Vivian on Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:24 pm

Thanks for your hard in getting this forum started. I have been doing something similar in adding tempos most every week (although no where near 10 miles). Will you keep this up to the end of the cycle or transition into speedwork? Would you say tempos are your forte or weakness?
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Dave-O on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:04 am

@Seth Harrison wrote:I'll be interested to see just how many 10 mile tempo runs it takes until you've had it with that CD.
Good luck finally breaking through 2:30. I'd be willing to bet that you get there.

You're probably right. I'll likely end of making different playlists for these runs to vary it up. But that wouldn't have fit my narrative. Very Happy

@Jerry wrote:Since I am not going to Chicago, you sure will have a great race, Dave.

I am on the fence for Boston though. Be warned. affraid

Ehh, I doubt I'll be in Boston next year. Too many other races I want to run.

@Mike MacLellan wrote:I like the looks of this training plan and the cleverness of this blog title. Good stuff.

Thanks Mike!

@Neil Ruggiero wrote:Good luck this summer Dave!

And I love the title btw, Jared Leto is pretty high on my man-crush list.

I missed a chance to see them this spring, was bummed out. Have you seen them live?

Natalie Wolf wrote:Your paces make my head spin! 10 miles in an hour? I need to block out half a day! Right now, I'm making a mental list of all the things I could do with that extra time. Oh, am I depressed! pale

Well if it makes you feel better, its more like 90 minutes with warmup and cooldown. tongue

@John Kilpatrick wrote:[

I have never heard that, but that is encouraging. With the amount of work you put into chasing it, I hope you smash it.

I hope its more like 10 years...

@Matt W wrote:

With the types of training runs you've put in over the years, I know that you have sizable chunks of time waiting to come off your PR. You are a determined, focused, and talented runner. I wish you the best of luck on race day this fall.

Thank you sir.

@Schuey wrote:Yes Dave you are close to the edge, the edge of breaking 2:30! It's not a matter if it happens IT IS GOING to happen this fall. Yes we will be tossing back many cold beers at Sweetwater this year and hopefully this year after dinner you and Britt make to the post party at our place this year!

I also like the idea of the 10 mile Tempo run every week for you. For myself I think I would have to mix that up as a Tempo one to two weeks and then Tempo Intervals for a week. I do think that key workout along with the two long runs a week is going to be just what you need to go OVER THE EDGE!

Ok, beers and shots on you at Sweetwater. bom
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Mark B on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:18 am

The exciting thing about approaching the margin of diminishing returns in training is the opportunity it provides -- actually, requires -- for you to experiment and find out what type of training it'll take to get that last bit of toothpaste out of the tube.

I hope the 10-mile tempo runs are what do the trick... not just for your benefit, but for the rest of us, as well.

I mean, who doesn't want to say they know a sub-2:30 marathoner?

Good hunting.
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Dave-O on Mon Jun 20, 2011 11:24 am

@Vivian wrote:Thanks for your hard in getting this forum started. I have been doing something similar in adding tempos most every week (although no where near 10 miles). Will you keep this up to the end of the cycle or transition into speedwork? Would you say tempos are your forte or weakness?

I consider shorter tempos - in the 4-6 mile range - to be a strength of mine. I regularly knock them out with my Fleet Feet teammates and on my own.

However, those are ~20 seconds faster than goal marathon pace, so while they improve my lactic threshold, I do not think they address my running economy at goal marathon pace. I think at this point I need to really dial into the 5:44 pace I expect to hold for 2:30. That's where these 10 mile "tempos" come into play.

Plus, the more I read about the training of elites, these type of runs are a key component to their trainnig. And I'm nothing if not a wannabe elite.
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  GregC on Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:29 pm

Yes. Yes. Yes, Dave. I think this is exactly what you need to do to get your next level. Big mileage, with the focus on longer tempo runs. As a matter of fact, if you didn't log a single sub 5:30 mile this summer (outside of races), I think 2:30 is in the bag. I know you're not ready to go there, but I think you're on the right track...and I think you get my point anyway. Don't trash your legs with the killer interval workouts, do some moderately tough (and mentally tough) long tempo runs, and get the miles in. I think that's your recipe for success at this point.
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:31 pm

What he said.

RUN MORE!

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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:41 pm

Just to get this straight, by "tempo," you don't mean LT, right? You mean at-or-slightly-faster-than-MP? Or at your level, are those pretty much the same thing (LT&MP-20)?
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Dave-O on Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:51 pm

@GregC wrote:Yes. Yes. Yes, Dave. I think this is exactly what you need to do to get your next level. Big mileage, with the focus on longer tempo runs. As a matter of fact, if you didn't log a single sub 5:30 mile this summer (outside of races), I think 2:30 is in the bag. I know you're not ready to go there, but I think you're on the right track...and I think you get my point anyway. Don't trash your legs with the killer interval workouts, do some moderately tough (and mentally tough) long tempo runs, and get the miles in. I think that's your recipe for success at this point.

So this means you'll be joining me on a lot of these runs, right?


Mr MattM wrote:What he said.

RUN MORE!

Sir yes sir!
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Seth Harrison on Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:00 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Just to get this straight, by "tempo," you don't mean LT, right? You mean at-or-slightly-faster-than-MP? Or at your level, are those pretty much the same thing (LT&MP-20)?

I was wondering the same thing. Where does your tempo pace fall vis-a-vis your MP pace, and is the tempo pace different for the 10 mile tempo run as compared to a shorter tempo run?
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  GregC on Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:18 pm

@Seth Harrison wrote:
@Mike MacLellan wrote:Just to get this straight, by "tempo," you don't mean LT, right? You mean at-or-slightly-faster-than-MP? Or at your level, are those pretty much the same thing (LT&MP-20)?

I was wondering the same thing. Where does your tempo pace fall vis-a-vis your MP pace, and is the tempo pace different for the 10 mile tempo run as compared to a shorter tempo run?

I'm not sure if Dave follows Jack Daniels exactly, but I'm sure his pace would follow these charts pretty closely. First you determine your VDOT (Page 2 of the linked article) and then you figure out what your tempo pace would be based on the chart on page 3 of the linked article.

http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=7482
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Admin on Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:27 pm

Typically somewhere between 15k and half-marathon pace, yes?

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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  mul21 on Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:33 pm

@Seth Harrison wrote:
@Mike MacLellan wrote:Just to get this straight, by "tempo," you don't mean LT, right? You mean at-or-slightly-faster-than-MP? Or at your level, are those pretty much the same thing (LT&MP-20)?

I was wondering the same thing. Where does your tempo pace fall vis-a-vis your MP pace, and is the tempo pace different for the 10 mile tempo run as compared to a shorter tempo run?

I'm relatively certain Dave is loosely referring to these as tempos. I'm betting, based on the "economy of running at MP" comment that these are going to be glorified MP runs, which for most of us are much further than 20 seconds off of our true LT pace. I'd guess these runs he'll be doing are basically his mid-week long run with a 2 mile warm up and cool down and 10 miles in the middle somewhere in that MP to MP-10 seconds range. Plus, the fact that all of the tempos he has Chris and I doing are no more than 10 miles total with 6 at tempo pace, I'm thinking that I'm pretty close on my guess here.
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Michael Mitchell on Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:34 pm

You are doing well. We are proud of you.
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  GregC on Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:39 pm

Mr MattM wrote:Typically somewhere between 15k and half-marathon pace, yes?
Half-marathon pace is too fast for a 10 mile tempo. It's more like MP minus 5-10 seconds.
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Re: Closer to the Edge

Post  Tim M on Mon Jun 20, 2011 2:39 pm

Dave, I would say good luck with the sub-2:30, but luck really doesn't have anything to do with it. Your hard work will get you there. Just a matter of when.

I have the deluxe version of This is War. 30 Seconds to Mars does Kanye better than Kanye does. Same thing with the Lady GaGa cover of Bad Romance.
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