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My Marathon Training Strategy, Slow and Deliberate

Posted Oct 16 2012 9:38am

Holy crap, I can’t believe that the New York City marathon is right around the corner.  I feel like it was yesterday that I created my schedule, printed it out and hung it on my office wall.  I’ve been staring at that damn thing for 14 weeks having meticulously crossed off each day when the workout has been completed.  Now here I am staring at it while I start the maddening process of tapering.

Training has gone well so far.  I had an 18 miler last weekend that I switched with a 21 mile run with the prior weekend.  The reason I decided to swap was because I found a half marathon to run in conjunction with the 21 miler in an effort to keep me focused and motivated.  When preparing for my 18 mile run last weekend, running on only four days rest, I decided to give a slow and deliberate effort.

In the past I have overly obsessed about pacing during my long training runs.  During this year’s training I decided to not really focus on the pace but the overall effort.  With 21 miles in the books, the lost long training it was more important for me to spend as long as possible on my feet.  Yes, I was out there for 18 miles, but by having a slow and deliberate effort (up to 2 min slower than goal pace) for the entire run I was able to give my body one last test of being out running for an extended period of time.

To counter this slow and deliberate last long run my plan is to run a Half Marathon this weekend to kick off tapering along with multiple speed workouts and tempo runs leading up to race day. I want my body and more importantly my brain, to remember how easy it is to pick up the pace.  This strategy combined with the reduction in miles will ensure a marathon race day where I’ve dotted all my “i’s” and crossed all my “t’s” from a training standpoint.

Slow and deliberate runs have been more of a staple of my training this year.  After two straight weeks of long run mileage build-ups where I would run slower, I would then have a step-back week where my mileage for the long run dropped off.  During these step-back weeks I got after it a bit more aggressively with my pace.

Sometimes something small like changing up your pacing strategy can be the added benefit needed to hit race day goals.  I guess I will have to wait a few more weeks to see if this strategy worked for me.

What new strategies in training have you tried recently? Does playing with your pacing help your overall training? Do you always feel ready to run a race?

- Scott

(Scott blogs at iRunnerBlog and is co-founder of #RunChat , a twice-monthly Twitter chat for runners.  He has completed multiple races, from marathons to 5ks. When Scott isn’t running or blogging about it, he is a sales executive, a supportive husband, a Mets fan, and enjoys everything that the New York City area has to offer.)


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