Tag Archives: Marathon Training

Time for Tempo Runs

26 Jul

I modeled this year’s training for the Marine Corps Marathon after the training schedule I used for Baltimore last year. The major difference between the two years is the type of mileage I’m putting in.

Last year, when I started training I was not a very serious runner. I ran cross country in high school, but hardly ever ran more than 3 or 4 miles at a time after that. I hadn’t received much training, and never considered myself a very knowledgeable runner. Since then, I’ve become more self-taught. I’m often reading articles, learning how to get stronger, faster, and stay injury free.

One of the major changes to this year’s training over the last, is adding Tempo Runs to my weekly workout. I know that a lot of the traffic to my blog comes from runners like me, out training for one of their first long races, who have plenty of questions about what they are doing.  So I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned and what I’m doing.

Why do Tempo Runs? Simply put, tempo runs help you run faster.  These runs are not sprints, but they are harder than just going out for 5 miles.  There is plenty out there on the science behind tempo runs, but essentially you are pushing your body without burning it out.  John Hanc of Runner’s World Magazine puts it this way, “Tempo running improves a crucial physiological variable for running success: our metabolic fitness. ‘Most runners have trained their cardiovascular system to deliver oxygen to the muscles,; says exercise scientist Bill Pierce, chair of the health and exercise science department at Furman University in South Carolina, ‘but they haven’t trained their bodies to use that oxygen once it arrives. Tempo runs do just that by teaching the body to use oxygen for metabolism more efficiently.'”

What type of Tempo Running is good for Marathon training? Really, it depends on who you ask.  Some people say to stick to Tempo intervals, while others will tell you to just put in some miles at your Tempo pace.  What I have been doing is pretty simple:

  • The Pace:  a 10 mile race pace.  You want to be able to ask a question to your running partner, but not hold a conversation.  You should be comfortably uncomfortable.  Pushing yourself to the point that you would like to slow down, but not to the point where you NEED to slow down.
  • The Distance:  I have been adding my Tempo Pace to a 5 mile workout day.  I will start with one mile of slow, warm-up pace, then take off for 3 miles at a swifter Tempo Pace.  After roughly 3 miles I’ll slow back down for an easy mile long cool down.

These Tempo days have not been replacing my track workouts.  They should be added as a more difficult day to your running schedule.  I look at it like this, if I run 5 times a week, I have three hard days and two easy light days.  My hard days consist of a long endurance run, a track interval workout, and a tempo day.  The easy days are to help me recover while still getting in the miles.

Now, like I said before, I’m not in any way the most knowledgeable person on this topic.  I am, however, an average runner looking to improve on my previous race times.  I can say with absolute certainty that adding tempo workouts to the mix has both made me stronger and more confident pushing myself on the road.  I suggest you do your own research and come up with the perfect Tempo workout plan for your needs.  You wont regret it.

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Week 1-2: Hot and Tired

28 Jun

6 Miles: Start and end at 14th and Park, NW

I have to admit, these were not my best two weeks of running.  The past few weeks have been absolutely crazy for me at work, often at the office with 5 plus hours of overtime a day.  It was a big few weeks for me, as months of preparation were coming into action.  Hitting the road for a run after 12 or 13 hours at the office was not exactly what I wanted to do, especially with this weather.

You may recall that I wrote a post a few weeks ago about how much more I liked running in the heat than the cold.  Well, I take every single one of those words back.  I liked running in the heat for a total of 10 days.  All 10 of those days happened to be when the DC heat was below 90.  The past few weeks haven’t seen a day under 90 yet.  Running in 98 degrees with DC humidity has been brutal.  I’ve tried waking up to get in my run early, and waiting until almost dark to get in my run late.  I’ve even tried my damnedest to time out my run with a rain shower, only to have the rain pass by, as if to rub the heat in that much more.

But even with the lack of sleep, intensive heat, and low motivation, I still laced up my Asics and hit the road.  Although they were slow, the miles have now been logged.  I even did two track workouts, which actually turned out to be some of the best days for me.

This week’s long run was only 6 miles, which I happily took, knowing the longer runs were in the near future.  Next week picks up a little bit, but nothing longer than I know I can handle.  Next weekend I head to Rochester with KFB for the 4th, which will hopefully bring lower temperature and exciting new routes!

Weeks 1-3

20 Weeks

14 Jun

If all goes as planned, 20 weeks from now I’ll have just completed the Marine Corps Marathon.  While it isn’t my first marathon, there is still so much running through my head, at least 26.2 nervous butterflies fluttering through my stomach, and so much left unknown.  I now know what it feels like to hit the wall, to run myself to tears on a training day,  change plans with friends because I have to go on a run, and cross the finish line, but I don’t know what it is like to start this journey by myself, to run this new training schedule, or to run with a body that I already know has some issues.

On one hand I’m confident, because I know I can do it.  On the other hand, I’m shaking in my Asics, because now I know how much it is going to suck.

I’ll be using a 20 week training program, with 5 days of running per week.  This year I plan to do more track workouts, focusing a bit more on speed.  I will also be a little flexible with this schedule, listening to my body and adding some yoga throughout the weeks.  The training schedule starts off a bit light, but I thought it would be good for me.  I want to make sure that I don’t burn myself out, and take it easy on my knee.  I know there will be days during the first few weeks when I add a mile or two to a run, but I think it is best to take it easy instead of pushing it too hard from the get-go.

You can check out the training schedule below.  I’ll also be tracking my progress and updating it on TheHaySay weekly.  Plus you’ll be able to follow the progress in The Runs section.

Here goes nothing…

Marine Corps Marathon Training Schedule

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