- May 3, 2004 at 1:05 am #1464
Today I ran the Long Island Marathon in 3:29 (a BQ for me; male/46). Not too bad considering I started running only 28 months ago; and never ran in my youth. Race conditions were not good, winds of 20-25 mph with rain on and off, plus tempertures near 70.
The start did not go well. I must be one of the few runners that have any respect for runners faster than I am. I always line up according to the pace signs. I started near the 8:00 mpm sign. I must have weaved in an out and passed several thousand runners/walkers that were not on the pace of where they lined up.
Because this race has a combined start with the half marathon (about 5000 runners compared to 500 for the full) it was crowded and I could not run my planned pace until after mile 3! I was off my goal time by more than 3 minutes at the 5 mile marker.
From that point on I decided to just run between 7:50 and 8:00 (or at least at that effort level considering the winds) and see what develops. I was nervous to push the pace due to the weather and the response to my post last week about gel’s.
When I asked about gel’s and sport’s drinks I didn’t expect the majority opionion would consider their use important. Since I never raced or trained with either of these I spent all week flip-flopping between running with or without them. It really had me concerned.
In the end I decided to race the way I trained but I was still worried that the lack of gels might doom me in the final 10k. As it turns out I was comfortable the entire race. I never slowed, even in the aid stations, and finished feeling strong. Overall I ran feeling close to how I do on a long training run.
My splits, not counting the first 3 miles, were all under 8:00 and I ran a large negative split overall. Like in training I picked up the pace after mile 18; by the final 10k I was running around 7:45 or better.
Overall, I would say I am happy with the results but I don’t feel I ran my best race. I ran too conservativly in the first half and even with the poor conditions could have finished 1-3 minutes faster.
For the next few weeks I will be building my milage to pre-marathon levels and I want to begin training in June for a fall marathon.
I will be asking for comments on my next training schedule after I have finalized it but in the meantime I need to decide on a goal pace. I want to aim for something challenging but not unrealistic. I think sub 3:20 may be possible next spring but over the next 6 months I think going for a sub 3:25 would be a more resonable goal. Would you go for the tougher goal or take the incremental approach I am suggesting?
- May 3, 2004 at 3:14 am #14396
Randy — that is awesome! way to go and way to beat that last 10k finally. Don’t under estimate the power of starting off slower than goal pace and negative splitting. That slow start caused by other runners might have been the best thing that happened to you today. Many of runners go out too fast and build up lactate early and are toast at 15-18.
Great job! keep up the attitude
- May 3, 2004 at 12:31 pm #14397
Congrats on the BQ!!! I agree with Woody, starting out slowly might have helped you in the long run, especially with those conditions. However, you did learn a valuable lesson, people always line up in the wrong spot.
As for your goals, I still think you should focus on short races this summer and fall. Then ramp your training back up over the winter for Boston. However, if you decide to keep a fall on you schedule, I’ll echo what Ryan posted last week. Start training and see where that takes you, then start thinking about a goal. It’s very hard to set a goal for a year from now. Lots can change between now and then. As for the fall, I would say 3:20 is not out of the picture, especially given that you didn’t run your best race.
- May 3, 2004 at 12:46 pm #14398
Randy, Congrats! I agree here with Woodrow and Zeke. Now, your ready to dial down, train with those gels and stuff, and set the next goal. For now, take it easy and enjoy. PSKI
- May 3, 2004 at 12:52 pm #14399
Randy, good job. Now, you have time to get used to gels and sports drinks before your next marathon and find what works. One suggestion I would make on that front. As soon as you pick a race, find out what they serve and see how your system responds to that.
As for setting your next goal, Zeke quoted me with the exact advice I would offer in your situation. Right now, of course first focus on recovery. Train hard for a while, then worry about picking a specific goal as the race nears. I like to have some ballpark goal out there but that could be as simple for you as saying 3:20-3:25, then refining it as you see how the summer’s training progresses.
- May 3, 2004 at 2:17 pm #14400
magpieMemberRandyS wrote:Today I ran the Long Island Marathon in 3:29 (a BQ for me; male/46). Not too bad considering I started running only 28 months ago; and never ran in my youth.
No, not bad at all! 🙂
- May 3, 2004 at 2:49 pm #14401
Great Job!! another person who has become my inspiration… and only 28 months? surely you didn’t just get off the couch? and to do it without gels or sports drink… I’m sure that taking it easy the first few miles helped, can’t wait to hear “the next chapter”…
- May 3, 2004 at 2:52 pm #14402
I think it’s very impressive given the fact you’ve only been running for just over 2 years. Impressive regardless of how long you’ve been running.
Good job! Looks like theres a lot of potential there!
- May 3, 2004 at 2:54 pm #14403
JeffMemberAnonymous wrote:I think it’s very impressive given the fact you’ve only been running for just over 2 years. Impressive regardless of how long you’ve been running.
Good job! Looks like theres a lot of potential there!
This was posted by me. It had me as a guest!
- May 3, 2004 at 3:13 pm #14404
Nice Job Randy! Way to tough it out under less than ideal conditions. I was able to find some articles on marathon recovery by pfitzinger in running times that may interest you.
- May 3, 2004 at 3:54 pm #14405
Actually I did ‘just get off the coach’ 3 years ago this week!
Three years ago, at age 43, I was a pack a day smoker (for 28 years!), had high cholestoral, high blood pressure and acute asthma. I had also gained about 40 pounds since my mid 30’s (most of my life I was thin, around 140’s at 5’9″). I went to the doctor in early May of that year and was told I was facing the prospect of being on medication for the rest of my life.
I gave up smoking, changed my diet to semi-vegatarian (I still eat fish and occasionally poultry), and began walking. Yes, at that time I could hardly walk even 1 mile. It took me 20 minutes and I thought I would die!
Each day I got back on the treadmill and after a few months I was walking 5 miles a day. The weight dropped rapidly back to the weight I was in college. And my asthma was improving every day.
I began reading about ‘race walking’ and using those techniques (and athletic training methods; like intervals, etc.) I became faster as a walker. Eventually I could sustain a 10 min/mile and I could cover 5 miles in less than 55 minutes. After 8 months (New Years Eve, 2 years ago) I decided I had reached my limits as a walker and decided to move on to running. Not to mention I wanted to get off the treadmill (in my bedroom) and onto the roads and race-walking in public looks plain silly!
By then my blood pressure had dropped to 120/60 (from 160/110), cholestoral was 110 (from 305), I had few symptoms of asthma, weight was down to 140 (from 180), resting heart rate was 42 (from high 60’s) and I was walking 35 miles a week.
I decided to move on to running. And like with walking I began buying every book on the subject I could find. I also decided that at the beginning of May (4 months later) I would run the Long Island marathon for the first time.
In hindsite that was not a great idea but with the 8 months of walking combined with 4 months of running I managed to race it in 4:28 (and I managed to stay on my goal pace of 10 min/mile for the first 20 miles, no walking at all till after 22 miles).
Since that first race 2 years ago I have steadily increased my milage and my pace. I was averaging mid 60’s the 6 months leading to yesterdays race and as I have done every 6 months (I run a marathon every 6 months) will add a modest amount of milage to my weekly schedule. Probably moving to the high 60’s or low 70’s as a new average milage (from the low-mid 60’s of the last 6 months).
My asthma, which I thought I was over in the early months of walking and running resumed last year in the form of ‘exercise induced asthma’.
Unless I pushed hard I had no asthma symptoms. It took most of last year to work out that AdVair (the only medication I take) would solve the problem. Since November, with that problem solved I have been training as hard as ever.
My biggest regret is not discovering running while I was young. I feel that I have improved rapidly for someone my age and I seem ‘built for running’.
I suffer no bio-mechanical problems, have never had a running related injury and recover easily from my daily workouts. I haven’t taken a day off in over a year. I ran the marathon yesterday but feel no worse than after a long training run. I plan to resume running tonight, at a reduced level, and build back to the mid 60’s by the end of May.
If I had discovered running while young (high-school and college age) I am certain I would have had the potential to go under 3:00 in a marathon. Now I may be too old for that goal but I plan to continue to train hard over the next several years and discover just how fast I can become. Plenty of 50+ people have done it so I feel its in the realm of possibilites long term.
For the short term I am going to focus on reaching 3:20 and then take it from there. Regardless of how fast I get (or don’t get) I am healthier than at any time since my teen years, I have a better chance of living to see my children grow up and plan to continue to run into old age even if my PR’s become only a distant memory.
- May 3, 2004 at 4:14 pm #14406
Great job – Maybe I should set my sights on Qualifying for Boston. I run fairly well and I am working hard on improving my speed. You have inspiried a try for Boston – thanks.
- May 3, 2004 at 4:14 pm #14407
Randy, very interesting story. It does sound like you have something special to make that rapid of a consistent improvement. I’m sure part, but not all, of that is related to your desire to learn. As long as you learn from the right sources, that can serve your performance goals well.
I like how you say you started. For those of us who started running early in life and/or had active lifestyles before running, jumping right into running doesn’t seem like much of a big deal. However, for late bloomers who started with an inactive lifestyle, as you did, beginning with walking like you did is a great way to build up enough fitness to handle the demands of running. When inactive people who want to start a fitness program ask me about starting, I like to suggest that they make sure they can walk for at least 20-30 minutes without doubling over in pain afterward before moving on to a run/walk program and eventually graduating to all running. Of course, people can be quite resistant to that idea.
- May 3, 2004 at 5:56 pm #14408
What you are recommending is almost exactly what I did at the start, but I stuck with the walking program beyond the level you described.
My shift to running didn’t happen until I felt I could no longer improve via walking. Perhaps an even better measure of a persons readiness to begin training to run is when you no longer are getting faster as a walker.
And as much as I feel ‘GalloWalking’ is NOT how you run your best marathon it is the best way for a beginner to transition into running. Its exactly how I transitioned, building on the 8 month base of walking, gradully shifting over to running.
I don’t often give performance advice, being too new to running to offer any with authoritity, but on other forums when advicing new runners planning a marathon I give the same advice as you: Get started by walking, then GalloWalking, then running, and only then begin planning a first marathon. In my case from 1st walk to 1st marathon took 12 months and I would have been better off waiting long.
Only 6 months after my 1st marathon I ran a 3:40 on a tougher (hilly) course (versus a 4:29 at my first). That 50 minutes PR came not from better training for the second but from LACK of training for the first. Looking back I wish I had waited another 6 months!
- May 3, 2004 at 6:10 pm #14409RandyS wrote:And as much as I feel ‘GalloWalking’ is NOT how you run your best marathon it is the best way for a beginner to transition into running.
Exactly. A lot of people don’t get that. There is definitely a place for walking breaks in the continuum of running and I frequently suggest to people that they alternate walking and running. It’s just that walking’s proper place in the continuum is at a different place than improving times.
- May 3, 2004 at 7:08 pm #14410
Congrats on the PR and BQ! How was the course ‘redesign’ in comparison to the old course? Recover well and enjoy your success!
- May 3, 2004 at 8:50 pm #14411
I posted about the course change a few weeks ago. At the time I was against the change because I felt it added nothing positive.
In general I still prefer the old course but with yesterdays winds the new course probably was better. For about 1/2 the race we made turns quite often which meant you didn’t have to face the wind for an extended period of time.
Once we reached the parkway, which runs straight north and south (arrow straight), with the wind from the south we had an 8 mile stretch with no relief at all.
That was rough for a few miles but then I ran with a group of 3 others and we each took turns leading into the wind. I am not sure if it helped but at least it made us feel better. It was the only portion of the race where I got to talk with other runners and maybe it helped to take my mind off the wind.
Overall, I feel ‘neutral’ about the change to the course, but I am against the shared starting time with the half marathon. It was way too crowded this year. Last year the full started 1 hour earlier than the half and you could run your pace almost from the mat.
If I wanted to run a large race I would run NYC or Philly. I run Mystic and Long Island because they have small fields and fast starts. At the least they need to spend more time informing the runners about the pace signs and what they mean.
- May 3, 2004 at 9:24 pm #14412RandyS wrote:At the least they need to spend more time informing the runners about the pace signs and what they mean.
Not just that but also why they are there. So many people seem to think they have the “right” to start in front of others who are faster than them because they paid just as much to enter the race. Well, that’s a nice feel good concept but it’s not at all courteous and it doesn’t take into account the safety issue of people who are much faster trying to maneuver through packs of people who are much slower. A lot of people who do know what those signs mean simply don’t care because either they don’t care about/understand the importance of lining up properly or they take part in the self-fufulling prophecy of “everyone is going to start forward of where the signs say they should so I better do the same.” The signs at most of these races are all but useless. They sucker courteous, “follow the guidelines” types like you into starting too far back and do little, if anything, to actually solve the issue of people lining up improperly. Personally, I just line up about where I expect to finish. If I expect to finish in the top 10, I line up in the top 10. If I expect to finish in 50th, I try to line up with about 50 people in front of me. This seems to be the most effective method but, of course, is harder to do when you have two races starting at the same time.
- May 3, 2004 at 10:32 pm #14413
I decided to move on to running. And like with walking I began buying every book on the subject I could find.
Randy, thanks for sharing your impressive personal story on running. Which book(s) would you recommend to a beginner to marathon training? Thanks for sharing your experience.
- May 4, 2004 at 12:27 am #14414
My favorite specifically targeting the marathon distance, and I suspect the favorite of most runners, is:
“Advanced Marathoning” by Pfitzinger/Douglas.
Two other favorites, valuable to a marathon runner, but covering much more than only the marathon:
“The Competative Runners Handbook” by Bob Glover.
“Daniels’ Running Formula” by Jack Daniels
These 3 should be on every runners book shelf, especially a marathoners.
Good Luck in your training and race. There are lots of people here that can give you advice while you train.
- May 4, 2004 at 4:38 pm #14415
“Finish Line Road Racing” has posted the chip times for the splits in the race. After my slow start I ran faster with every passing mile.
My 10k split was 51:55 (8:22 pace).
I finishd the race in 76’th and not until the 101’st finsher did anyone cross the 10k mat slower than I did. And that guy was an exception; almost all of the next 50 slower finishers crossed 10k before me. I need to learn a lesson from this experience and line up smarter at races.
Meanwhile I ran the last 10k in 48:19 (7:47 pace).
The halfway split was 1:46:30 (8:08) for the fist half and 1:43:11 (7:52) for the second half.
This is the only time (in 6 marathons) that I ran the 2nd half (-16 sec/mile), and the final 10k (-35 sec/mile) faster than the first half and 10k respectivly.
I know that large negative splits are not the optimal strategy for racing a but it certainly builds confidence in my training.
In a way setting a goal of BQ’ing, or any specific goal, may actually work against running your best time. Instead of pushing myself I ran to finish in my BQ time; which is exactly how I trained. When I race next fall I want to leave my best race on the roads, not simply meet a time goal.
After Sundays race I felt more like I had done a training run in horrible conditions rather than a race.
- May 4, 2004 at 6:35 pm #14416
Congrats! Getting a BQ in such a short time is a real accomplishment!
(it took me 9 attempts over 6 years to finally get it right!)
Enjoy some well deserved rest.
- May 9, 2004 at 1:15 pm #14417
Congrats Randy! I’m 47 also trying to get my “BQ” [again]. That’s quite an interesting story about your previous life and the race. It took me three attempts to qualify. You’ll find that as you become more experienced race conditions will be easier to handle. I would suggest you try the gels in training, as they really helped me in long races. While I think your next time goal is reasonable I would be careful about possible injuries with two marathons in one year. With a few more years under your belt youll be better equipted to handle the work load. And training for shorter races will only help you in your next attempt.
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