Actually I had no clue how fast I was running. I look at my splits only after I get home.
The ForeRunner, in additional to several standard displays (that show distance, pace, total time, etc) has a ‘custom’ display where I can choose what information to display.
When doing long runs, to prevent just the sort of thing you describe, I configure it to display only my ‘Total Milage’ (not even total time). So the only feedback I get until I return home is how far I have run.
I set the watch to record an automatic split every mile so when I return home I can download the data to my pc. There I can see the datails of the run, including my splits, a ‘map’ of the route and even the elevation along the entire run.
I use different ‘custom’ displays depending on the type of run. When running intervals I set the watch to record splits based on my interval distance and recovery time or distance (it can do either). I set it to beep at each transition from interval to recovery. And for at least the first couple of workouts at a new pace or distance (like this weeks intervals) I also display lap time (in this case 800m) to help me establish my feel for the pace.
The schedule I follow has elements from Daniels and other books as well. Its not a ‘canned’ schedule and after each race (about every 6 months) I adjust elements based on how I feel things went in the prior training cycle.
For example after my fall marathon I added a mid-week medium long run, extended the base phase, moved the start of hill training back by several weeks, and in addition to starting later I also shortended by 2 weeks the time spent with intervals.
Some of these changes resulted from feedback from this board and other items I changed to suit my own feelings.
The inclusion of 2 24 lsd’s over the last 5 weeks is less about physical conditioning and more for ‘confidence building’. I run a 20 or longer lsd every other week almost year round so I have the endurance to cover the distance. As the race approches I run the last part of long runs (as much as half the distance) at closer to (or faster than) race pace.
For me its never a question of ‘can I go the distance’. I run a marathon every 6 months. When the race is over I do 4 weeks of recovery pace running and then I am back to preparing for the next marathon.
My milage never really drops down, even in the 4 week recovery its mostly pace not milage that drops. My plan is to build on the conditioning from one race and move right into training for the next one, with more milage and a faster pace then in the prior one.
I can cover 26.2 on any random day of the year, I need the confidence building of the last couple of long runs to ‘know’ I can do it at my planned pace.
As far as tapering I think that my milage drops are fairly significant, just not as drastic as some people recommend. If I was running much higher milage (at least 90) then perhaps dropping by a larger percentage would be in order but at my milage it would be too extreme. Besides going from mid 60’s to 50 and then to 25 makes me feel more than rested enough. I just think the popular press puts too much emphsis on tapering.
During the last 2 weeks I said I do mostly tempo and marathon pace. I really didn’t say that right. What I do run mostly fartlek during this period. If I am feeling good I may run a 1/4 or a 1/2 at interval pace its just that I don’t do the workouts like a structured interval workout. These last 2 weeks I try to take the pressure off so I run as I feel but generally keep the insensity up as the milage drops off.