Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Walk with me

And the week goes on...and the week goes on  (lame attempt for some culture here).  How's your Tuesday going?  It's been a rush rush rush for me today-my boss is in town (he lives in Albany) so when he comes to town, I get to play super girl.  No complaints-it makes the day go by faster.  My only beef?  I forgot my lunch in the fridge at home = energy bar, peanut butter and leftover carrots for lunch.  Lame.
Regardless, I got in a semi-decent workout during lunch.  Kinda.  I had speed work on the dock but dropped down to "elliptical speed work" for 3 reasons:
1.  My outer calf continues to plague me.  That's the reason that makes me look smart.
2.  I'm running long tomorrow (I hope).  That's the reason that makes me sound like a well-rounded triathlete.
3.  Along with my lunch, I forgot my sneakers at home.  Lame.  I think we all know that's the real reason....and since I haven't achieved barefoot running status yet, I futzed it.  I bet my calf will thank my tomorrow, anyways, so we'll call it an added bonus :-)

The Ironman power walk/eat....don't judge, it was mile 127!
 Let's talk about running a bit more, shall we?  Since I've been racing/running/triathlon-ing for six years now, I get quite a few questions from new runners and triathletes breaking into the sport.  (Which highly amuses me-I don't consider myself an expert, but I am super happy to help!)
So...you wanna run.  Long.  As in, you've done some 5 and 10k's, but wanna do a half or full marathon.  Sweet!  I'm a big fan of distances.  Always have been.  And it seems this year is the big jump for alot of people I know-I've put together beginner plans for four different people for half marathons this year (again, not an expert-just spreadin' around what I've picked up!)  I usually give newbies 3 runs per week, along with a few days of cross training-I've found that it preps you for the distance without any overuse injuries, in most cases.  I always ask someone what their current fitness is in terms of a 5 mile test-what is your comfortable 5 mile time?  With that information, we can build a plan, working with your schedule, strengths, and goals.  It's not rocket science.
But.  This.
What never fails to amuse me is the misconception that in order to race a successful half-you must run the whole thing.  Now, don't shake your head at me. 
All 4 people I am working with said the exact same thing, and I'm trying to get them to at least look at it another way, but we'll see how that works out (laughing).
Am I an idiot?  I hope not.  Let's say your goal is to run a 10 minute paced mile in the half-which is roughly a 2:10 half (assuming you run the tangents-ALWAYS run the tangents, Rae!) Well, you can do that by running a 10 minute mile every mile, sure.  But I bet you fifty bucks you won't.  I bet you'll go out guns blazing, determined not to walk, then crash and burn at about mile 8. 
How bout trying something different.....during a training run, do a 9:1 ratio of run/walk.  Yep, run comfortably for 9 minutes, then walk for a minute.  This trains you to walk through water stations during a race, which are usually located every mile.  Do you have to walk through every one?  Nope.  How about doing a 2 mile run/1 minute walk?  This way you can stretch out, hydrate, and take a breather.  That means you can run just a bit faster (about a 9:40 mile) and still meet your goal, with 6 walk breaks.  It makes it easier mentally-you know you'll get a break, and physically, too.
Again, this is just my experience.  But your finish time is the same, whether you run the whole thing at a 10 minute mile or use the run/walk strategy.
Personally?  My half PR is a 1:50:09 (8:18 pace).  I walked 4 times during the race.  Would I change it at all?  Well, I'd knock off 10 seconds of one walk so I could go sub 1:50, but hey, without those 10 seconds of walk, I might have paid for it later, so who knows?
But again, I'm no expert. Just been around the (half marathon) block a dozen times :-)
Do you run/walk?  Or straight through run?  Which one benefits you more?


  1. Very good points here. I completely run straight up running races -it's a mental thing for me - and also do 100% run for Olympic distance tris. But now that I'm training for 70.3 and 140.6 this summer, the run/walk has to happen. Since I'm a big believer in "race the way you train" I've been doing some of my bricks with a 6 minute run/1 minute walk, and found that I basically go the same overall pace as straight up running off the bike.

    I've tried it on standalone runs and wind up going slower with run/walk, though.

    1. To each his own, right? I feel like an idiot I need to catch up on my blots! IM Louisville?