Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fighting the Running Plateau

Ever since I started running, I have constantly improved.  Every goal race was a PR and it didn’t take much additional effort to run faster.  I didn’t have to think about improving, it just happened (plus I started off really slow so it was very easy to improve).

But lately, I am seeing a change.  As I have gotten faster, it gets harder and harder to improve my pace or to obtain a new PR.  Have I reached my running plateau?  Is a 7:00 pace the best I can do for long distances?

No, I don’t think I have reached my potential (or at least I hope not!).  But my days of not requiring much additional effort to improve are over. 

My current “comfortably fast pace” is around 7:15; my “easy pace” is around a 7:45.  To run the times that I want, I will need to have my “comfortably fast pace” be around 7:00 and my “easy pace” to be around 7:30.  If I want to run these paces for long distances and continue to improve and get faster, I am really going to have to push myself and to work hard.

I don’t have a coach to write me a “get faster program,” nor do I want to lock myself into a specific program found on the internet (because lets me honest, I do what I want when I want anyway).  To keep it “simple,” I will just try to do the following each week until the NYC Marathon (Nov. 4):

  • Run more.  I need to consistently run 40+ miles a week at a minimum, ideally 50+ miles a week (right now I am running around 30 miles a week).  I can do this by adding a mile or two to each run. 
  • More speed work.  And not just 4 miles worth of speed work at the track like I have been, more like 6+ miles of 200s, 400s, 800s, and 1 mile repeats.  Hill repeats can also count as speed work, plus hills will be good to train for the bridges I’ll be running over in NYC.
  • Tempo runs at faster than a 7:00 pace, and longer tempo runs.  My 5 mile fast runs just aren’t cutting it as tempo runs for marathon training, I need to do 7+ miles at a 7:00 pace.
  • Double days a few times a week to get in that extra mileage.  Get up early, run an easy 3-5 miler and then do another workout in the evening.
  • Don’t skip the long run.  I MUST do a long run each weekend from now until my marathon. 

By posting my “plan” for the next few months, hopefully I will stick with it and beat my previous marathon time (3:17).  In addition, Jeff will be training with me and he needs to pick it up if he wants to qualify for Boston during his next marathon (St Louis RnR on Oct 23).  Hopefully we can feed off and motivate each other!!


Average Woman Runner said...

Those are some good things to include in your training but don't forget the rest days. Making sure you are adequately rested will help you get better performance on your hard days. Speed + rest + long runs + rest = Improvement! Have you checked out the Run Less, Run Faster book? Some good ideas in there to ponder even if you don't follow their plan.

CentsibleRunner said...

Very good points!! Sometimes its good to be reminded about rest because we all get caught up in speed and mileage. Staying healthy is equally as important; if you are injured, you can't run.

I have not checked out Run Less, Run Faster, but I will definitely see if the library has it. As I get more into running, I probably need a little more direction than my "wing it" method :) Thanks for the comment!!!

Post a Comment