Sunday, May 25, 2008

Soldier Field 10M --> FIRST Training?

Last week, I stated that I would not run a step until yesterday’s Soldier Field 10-miler. I was able to hold out until Friday morning. I decided an easy two-miler would be good to get my legs going again since last Sunday’s marathon.

Prior to those two miles, I spent my free time recovering, kid-sitting, planning and researching. I finally started to read about the FIRST Training Method that my good friend, Steve, now swears by after his phenomenal 2:51 in Boston, a six-minute PR for him.

FIRST recommends a "3+2" weekly training schedule: three high-quality runs and two x-train sessions. The theory is that focusing on pace intensity and race specificity, and allowing the body to recover will enable the busy runner more effectively his achieve his running potential. The plan weeds out all the junk miles and reduces injury risk.

Three runs per week: (1) Track repeats (VO2 max), (2) Tempo/LT and (3) Long runs. Toss in a couple of bike, row or swim work-outs, and that's it. I do like the fact that the program includes five 20-milers over the 16-week program, which is two more than Pfitz's 55mpw 18-week plan.

The plan worked wonders for Steve, who came off knee surgery last year only to nearly beat Lance in Boston this year. Should I give it a try?

As for yesterday’s race, I kept my expectations for my time in check. I never had run a race of any kind six days after a marathon. I decided to see if I could hold 6:45'ish, which would put me on track for a PR at this distance and see how things went.

Race morning conditions were absolutely glorious. Gathering in front of Soldier field at the start with 7,500 runners was exciting and entertaining experience.

All went well for the first seven, at which point I thought I would try to get that PR. However, shortly after taking a gatorade at the 7th mile marker, I was struck with a violent side stitch. That discomfort coupled with some breathing issues brought me to walk.

I mustered a 6:59 final mile, which was strong given how I felt on mile 8. Finish time was 1:10:05, which is 2:23 behind my PR.

6:39 + 6:42 + 6:49 + 6:56 + 6:47 + 6:48 + 6:55 + 7:43 + 7:49 + 6:59 = 1:10:05.

It was Liv’s first race spectator experience. She did great! Here we are celebrating in the Soldier Field concourse after the run.

I’ve decided to rethink my plan of running one of the few half marathons in early June and get back to training. I don’t feel like putting up another 1:28-1:29 right now, which is probably where I’ll land best-case. It’s time to get back to work and try to make some gains.

Next race is likely to be the Downer's Grove 10-miler four weeks from today. I want to work toward putting up a 1:06. I need to work toward a 1:25 half in August.

Will I be able to run a 1:25 half this summer and a 2:59 at Twin Cities in October on three runs per week?


Arcane said...

FIRST's paces seem downright crazy. Their intervals paces are just way too fast. THey published a book on the training program which you might want to consider buying. It's mostly for people trying to qualfy for Boston though since they give detailed pace guides and programs for each of the qualifying times. I'm sure it can be used to translate to a sub 3 marathon though. good luck!

Nitmos said...

I'm a FIRST guy even before FIRST was cool (and published). I don't have time for more than 3 days a week of running (the cross training is sporadic at best and usually involves me chasing my son around with his soccer ball).

Nice job in GB and the 12th 'thon! It'll be interesting to see if you'll reap benefits transitioning from Pfitz to First.

MN Ultra Runner said...

Hey Ryan,
Just ran across your blog through another site...Twin Cities guy here. I'll keep an eye on your blog, best of luck with your running goals!