Long Island Marathon – another PB

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Ryan 12 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #5179


    Sunday I raced my fifth consecutive Long Island marathon.  I finished in my goal time (3:19:45 chip, 3:20:04 gun) which extends my streak of pb's (at this race) to 5.

    Since I started running 5 years ago (my first marathon was at Long Island) my progress at this race has been slow but steady.

    2002: 4:28 – 40 mpw
    2003: 3:37 – 50 mpw
    2004: 3:29 – 60 mpw
    2005: 3:24 – 70 mpw
    2006: 3:19 – 80 mpw

    The first race is an anomaly because I only ran to finish, I was not trained well enough to race (I walked for 8 months followed by running for 4 months before that race). The miles a week are my average miles for the 12 months preceding the race (there is little variation from high to low (less than +/- 10 mpw throughout the year).

    The interesting part of yesterday's race was that after training for and carefully visualizing my race strategy I reversed direction only minutes before the gun went off.

    The first change was deciding to only drink water. I train without gels or aid drinks but usually take a few cups of Gatorades when racing. Because I had 'bathroom' issues minutes before the start of the race I decided to stick with what I do in training. I didn't want to risk a stomach issue from the sugary drinks (I don't think they make any difference anyway).

    The last 2 years my race strategy was to run a negative split (running the last half of the race 3 minutes faster then the first half in both years). This year I planned to do the same but while waiting for the gun overheard runners discussing the weather. The temperature was supposed to climb to near the 70's from the mid 40's at the start.

    I started second guessing if I would be able to negative split in such a warm conditions (that’s 10 degrees warmer than any prior year for me). As the gun fired I decided to run a slight positive split; allowing myself to slow in the second half as the day warmed.

    That worked well, running the second half 2:16 slower than the first half, but I believe a negative, or even split, is a better strategy in general. Overall my pace stayed in a pretty narrow range. My fastest mile was 7:16, the slowest was 7:48, and average pace was 7:37.  With 3 miles to go I picked up the pace, running 7:35, 7:36 and 7:34 so I finished strong.

    So where do I go from here? Today I feel good; my legs are only a little sorer than after any long training run. I feel good enough to run my usual workout tonight (but at a recovery pace).

    Setting a specific time goal helps to keep me motivated. I think a reasonable goal for next years race is a sub 3:15. By then I will be 49 and I have doubts about ever reaching sub 3.

    On the other hand I'll never reach sub 3 if I don't first work on reaching the intermediate goals. After I break 3:15 a sub 3:10 may also be within range 2 years from now but beyond that I am less certain. After 50 I will surely begin to slow, or at least progress even slower than now.

    Because I finished feeling pretty strong and my legs feel good today I probably could have run a bit closer to 3:15 even this year if I hadn't run so conservatively. Once again my lack of mental discipline to tolerate discomfort holds me back from achieving maximum potential.

    As usual, throughout the race, negative self talk was non-stop in telling me to drop out, slow down, or take a walk. Luckily I managed to avoid doing all 3; I never hesitated, slowed or walked in spite of part of my mind shouting at me to do so.

    Over the next 4-8 weeks, while running recovery pace, I'll gradually build mileage back to the 80-85 mpw pre-race level. In November I will run the Philly marathon but not race it. I will run it at a comfortable training pace as I build mileage to 90-95 mpw leading into the winter as I prepare for next spring's goal race.

    I think the extra mileage, and more focus on long tempo runs over the last 3 months of training, will help me drop another 5 minutes by next year.


  • #20566


    Wow, nice report and PB. 

    So you ran the entire marathon while consuming ZERO carbs or electrolytes?  Interesting. 

  • #20567


    Congratulations Randy! That's an impressive drop in times over the years.  Interesting to see the mileage and times over the past five years.

    You sound like you've got your running  goals established for the next couple of years, steady progression seems to work well for you.

    So, what are you going to do about that voice in your head telling you to quit? You've been training your body, maybe it's time to start training your mind. It's tough enough to run a marathon without negative thoughts clouding your brain.   

  • #20568



    I see no great need for gels or aide drinks. I have tried them, on and off through 11 marathons, and found no difference in how I raced or how strong I felt in the final miles.


    Regarding the 'voice in my head'; I plan to practice racing without the pressure I put on myself in the spring.

    I usually race a fall marathon but starting this year I will run them without a particular time goal. More as a 'fast' training run leading into the winter training for the spring race (Long Island again).

    (also, as I get older running 2 'good' marathons will be increasing difficult to do, better to focus on 1 goal race while maintaining fitness throughout the year by training for the fall race, at a reduced intensity)

    I hope that getting comfortable in the fall race without the mental baggage of 'do or die' will allow me to control the negative self-talk better.

    In the end while I suffer the self-talk I seem to resist it ok. In spite of part of my head wanting me to slow, stop or drop out I did not.

    Its almost like the negative self-talk keeps my mind busy while the body runs the race on auto-pilot. My actual pace was held to a pretty tight range regardless of how much my brain was saying to slow down.


  • #20569


    Randy, a suggestion on the self-talk issue. Look into visualization, I'll try to offer some useful links this evening. If you've visualized that successful race with no negative voices in your head plenty of times ahead of time, you'll be much less likely to hear those negative voices in the race.

    Then again, if that negative self-talk prevents you from picking up the pace when it might be ill advised, maybe it's a good thing that you want to keep having. 😉

  • #20570


    I'd appreciate the links Ryan. I'm interested in the mental game too, just like with my running I always feel there's room for improvement in that area too.

  • #20571



    Yes, I would like to investigate the technique you described. One of the reasons I am not racing fall marathons this year is to experiment with new techniques without the pressure of it being goal race.

    One thing I plan for Novembers Philly marathon is to run without a watch (or with the display set to 'blank' so it only records the splits for later review). In training, although I time almost every workout (except in the last week before the race), I normally don't check my time until the run is over.

    I even set my GPS watch to display only distance so I can run my planned mileage but not know the pace until after the run.

    In training I ran yesterdays 13.1, 16 and 20 mile split times often in the past 12 months. But in training it felt so much easier (at least mentally; any negative self-talk during those workouts was related to the yard work waiting for me when I got home).

    I think 'clock watching' during the race, something I don't do in training, may be adding to the race day stress. How many posters here race without a watch (or at least not peek at it during the race)?


  • #20572


    I think 'clock watching' during the race, something I don't do in training, may be adding to the race day stress. How many posters here race without a watch (or at least not peek at it during the race)?

    I think a lot of people get burned by this. When I was in high school, we weren't allowed to wear watches in races. After that, I got used to running without a watch. Because of that, I almost always ditch my watch before the race and don't miss it a bit. I have worn a watch in a race twice. My first time, I was checking my mile splits and I ended up yo-yoing trying to hit just the right splits and I think that was part of the cause of one of my worst experiences ever. My second time, I knew the race (a very low key one) wasn't going to have official timing and I couldn't count on getting any time at the finish so I wore the watch but never checked it during the race.

    I'll try to get together some links and see if I can find some book recommendations. Seeing Anne's interest and realizing how this might interest others, I might make another topic of it in case people who might be interested don't miss it if they don't check this topic.

  • #20573


    Randy and Anne, I just want to make sure you don't miss it. I decided to make it into a new topic since others who may or may not be following this thread will see it.


  • #20574



    great job on the marathon in spite of the 'self-talk'… I've had tummy problems with sugar as well and got some advice from a nutritionist (marathoner also) who suggested Accel Gel which has protein in it as well… seemed to help on the long runs I used it on, a full marathon test was not completed as I had other issues…

    I REALLY like the finish time vs. mpw listing… and if the first marathon is an anomoly it might be because it was the first & experience (or lack of it) plays such a big role in longer races…


  • #20575


    Before anyone comes along to take advantage of this, I'd just like to point out one thing about the mpw vs. time comparison. There are more factors that are going into Randy's improvements than just miles per week. Factors such as cumulative running base, marathon experience, and even other modifications to his training, no matter how slight, would also account for some improvements. I'm not suggesting that his training volume hasn't been a factor in his improvements, just pointing out that it's not the only factor.

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