Thursday, March 3, 2011

Getting Some Advice from the Expert

Having a coach would be a great thing. Runners with coaches always have someone to consult when issues like illness, injury or just plain "what do I do now?" come up. I don't have a coach, and with the looming move and likely rent increase, I don't think I'll be able to afford one for quite a while.

Luckily, because I'm following the FIRST Run Less, Run Faster program, I don't often have questions the book doesn't answer. But over the weeks of this training cycle, a couple have cropped up. So I did what any good former newspaper woman would do, and I emailed the source directly. Bill Pierce is one of the co-authors of Run Less, Run Faster. He wrote back to my email within two hours of my sending it.

Here were my questions (in italics) followed by his answers:

Q1. I plan to follow the running workouts to the letter that week, but it's unclear to me whether I should continue x-training the week before the half-marathon (or for that matter the marathon when it comes). Do I just rest on what are normally xt days or keep x-training? My x-training workout of choice is a twice-weekly spinning class. Over the summer, it will probably be rowing and outdoor cycling.

A1. The week of your race you can make XT days rest days or you can do 20-30 minutes of easy spinning once or twice. (After our emails, I found out that my spin class may not be happening the week before my race anyway, because it's spring break around here. So there should be no temptation to overdo whatever I end up doing instead.)

Q2. I will have about nine weeks between the Boulder Half and the start of the 16-week marathon training program detailed in your book. What would be the best thing to do with that time? I don't want to lose any endurance or speed. Would it be OK to train for a race? Another thought I had was to ramp up the long runs to get a jump-start on that piece of it. But honestly I'm not sure what to do with those two months.

A2. Increasing the long runs so that you are comfortable doing 15 mile runs would be good. Also, go ahead and do a speed workout but not necessarily one of the track repeats. Go to our website and click on Tuesday workouts for something different. Don't worry about a target time, just do the workouts at about 90-95% intensity. Also, keep the tempo run of 5-6 miles and make it a good effort without focusing on a target pace.

He went on to say that he has run the Top of Utah Marathon and that it's a good course, especially for someone who is used to altitude.

I'm excited about this and feel less at sea now that I have a plan for the nine weeks before marathon training starts. The other thing I plan to do is use that time to really focus on my nutrition and weight. Stay tuned for more on how I plan to go about this!

Thanks for the help, Bill, in case you're reading this!

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