Sunday, July 20, 2008


My running has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride since my last post. I ran that 5k a week ago Thursday, which went OK, I suppose. In retrospect, maybe I wasn't as fast as I thought.

I attempted a solo 20-miler last Saturday morning, hoping I was recovered from the race. Apparently, I wasn't.

Due to some wicked storms in the area, I started off on the treadmill that morning. I knocked out 10 at an easy 7:53 pace. The only problem was that it didn't feel as easy as it should have. I cut it at 10 since I saw the rain stop, and I headed home to continue my run.

By mile 14, I could barely keep my pace in the low 8's. My body was spent. I decided to cut it to 16 miles and go back to the drawing board last Saturday. I needed rest.

Sure, the impact of the 5k from Thurs night played a factor. However, I felt my endurance has suffered due to the very low mileage the FIRST program called.

I was exasperated. This is when I gave up on the FIRST Program. I wanted to get back to putting in some decent mileage.

I hope I can retain some of the gains from the speed/tempo work. However, the fact is that these intense FIRST workouts left me with nothing for the Sat long run, and I was not building confidence for the long run either.

This past week, I made a risky transition back onto Pfitz's 55 mpw plan, which has been tried and true. I find that what has helped me is that crucial med-long run mid-week. The 10's, 11's and 12's that Pfitz works in.

As of last Sunday, bear in mind that I have averaged a paltry 31 miles per week over the last six weeks.

This past week, I banged out 47 miles (out of the 50 in plan) on 4 runs -- capped off by a 19-miler today at the Waterfall Glen trail. This week also included a solid 5-mile tempo run on Monday, as well as a breathtaking 7-mile 7:26 avg fartlek along the coast of Lake Michigan in Western Michigan, where we vacationed this past weekend.

I won't claim today's 19 miles was easy. In fact, I felt fatigue early on but completed the run in 7:50's. But this week felt like a step back toward the marathon training that I know works for me.

I get frustrated when I think back to last year knowing I was completing these runs with far greater ease. I somehow am not as far along in my training.

I have gone back to the drawing board. I am in the process of resurrecting my running. I will take aim at putting up my best possible time in Twin Cities on October 5th.


yumke said...

Hope you find the right plan for you. I'm loving the Pfitz but it's hard to follow it all the time

JimF said...

I am doing the Pfitz plan and have been following your progress on the FIRST program. I agree with you about the mid week runs. They have really helped me on my long runs. Good luck with the change!

Chad said...

I thought about being critical of the FIRST program when you mentioned giving it a shot, but I didn't say anything. I've never tried it and maybe it works for some people, but I doubt it works for most people - especially those trying to break 3 hours.

The good news is that you still have 10 weeks till TCM.

Luke said...

Mileage seems to be the sine qua non… Would you agree that many of the miles can be runned at relatively low paces to avoid injury?

Very nice blog, by the way! Cheers,

Darrell said...

With all the plans out there, you've got to chose the right one for you. FIRST seems to have merit, but high mileage is a proven formula. Don't forget to factor in the effect of fatherhood on training. Good luck figuring it all out.

Gabe said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on FIRST. I've followed Pfitz for my last 3 (of 4 total) marathons and it's worked well for me. I was considering switching to FIRST next time around, but it sounds like that might not be the best idea, at least based on your experience.

Just ran my last marathon this past Sunday, and missed my goal to BQ - I blame it on running 2 marathons within 11 weeks and riding on confidence of last (tough) one (SF) instead of focusing on high mileage for second (and no 20-milers).

Anyway, always good to find another runner-blogger!