Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just Another Long Run

Given Stephen's emergence as a world-class marathoner, I am kind of embarrassed to post my humble efforts on this exclusive blog. But somebody has to keep it going, so here goes:

I had kind of a weird run yesterday. It was 56F at start, then 66F at end, so it was getting warm and that was part of the problem. I ran 17.62 miles in 3:00:00, average pace 10:13 minutes per mile. I did not take a heart rate monitor on this one. My one-mile splits were as follows:

10:43, 9:57, 9:49, 9:43, 10:10, 9:54, 9:52, 9:54, 10:03, 10:13, 9:55, 9:56, 10:09, 10:00, 10:12, 11:14, 11:17, 7:00 (.62 miles at 11:20 pace)

I ran 14.5 miles before I broke and started slowing, then after another mile I detoured into the golf course clubhouse for a bathroom break. Golf clubs are kind of exclusive places and it was the Saturday morning rush. The way you pull this off is just walk in like you know what you are doing, streaming sweat and red face like you just came off the practice tees, and dare somebody to stop you, kind of like a terrorist. They don't negotiate with terrorists -- nobody has the appetite to tell you not to go to the bathroom, it is beneath them and they just back off, hoping the "help" will show up and fix the situation.

I turned off my clock for that episode, then started it again and jogged the rest of the way to three hours at 11:15 to 11:20 pace. The good news is that just a couple of months ago I couldn't have run this whole run at even 12:00 pace, mostly because of the heat but that isn't all of it. I am definitely getting better and it won't be long before 10:00 seems slow.

The goal was to run 3 hours at a 10:00 pace, so I missed that. I had difficulties from the start keeping the speed up. I never got down to an overall 10:00 pace, though I got within 2 cumulative seconds once, but I never went negative. If the temperature had been 10 degrees colder I might have made it, but the lesson from this run is that I am probably not going to be ready to run my January 1 marthon in the low 4s -- mid-4s is more likely, which is nevertheless a significant improvement over St. George, especially considering this marathon is here in Flatlandia.

If I am feeling good in a week I will go on a 3:30:00 run and try again to see if I can maintain a 10:00 pace. If it is a little colder I might make it. If I don't make it I will back off, because I need to get a 4:30:00 run in at a slower pace if that is going to be my marathon time on January 1. The important thing is to be out on the course as long as it is going to take to run the marathon, not so important to do it at marathon speed, in fact they don't recommend that.

During the week I have been doing all my runs at low heart rate, running every day for 1:15:00. I'll probably bump that up by 5 minutes this coming week. 47 miles total for the week.


  1. Maybe you would have run 4 min miles at 19 degrees like it is in slc right now. Fantastic run! Going to try to go to the Doctor again to see if I have had a stress fracture or just tendonitis.

  2. Way to go, Dad! Do you credit your increase in weekly mileage for your improvement or the fact that you're doing your long runs at race pace instead of low heart rate?

  3. You are the marathoner; I am the half marathoner. Even at that distance, I don't think I'd do very well at a flat race. We'll see on Jan 30.

    You had a great run and a great intimidation of the elitists.

  4. I'm interested to know what your overall general history of your monitored heart rate is. Can you give me a typical run/rate over say a 10 mile run? Then maybe a 15 miler?

  5. Thanks for the comments everybody.

    Daryl, I hope you have tendonitis (that doesn't sound right, but you know what I mean).

    Stephen, thanks, most people would just stop at a gas station but not me.

    Nathan, to this point I have only tracked my heart rate during long slow runs. There is a lot more information to be had with that device, but I don't have a baseline to go from so that I can tell what is significant, what is progress, and what is background noise, so I haven't tried much at other speeds. If I take it out on a long run, I just slow down further into the run in order to keep the rate constant.

  6. I understand. What rate do you see as being normal though over a long run? For me, it was up around 175 bpm.

  7. Nathan, to me 175 bpm sounds high, but you are younger than me. It kind of depends on what your maximum heart rate is. There are four main heart rate levels that I hear about. The highest is maximum heart rate, the second is lactate threshold, which is the rate at which lactic acid starts building rapidly in your muscles and you have to stop, the third is a tempo pace maybe 10 bpm below that (this would be the maximum pace at which you can do a long run, and it is the speed you train at in order to push out your lactate threshold), and the fourth is the aerobic threshold which is the tipping point below which your body burns fat instead of carbs. It is at the fourth level where I try to do most of my running. Level four is calculated as 180 bpm minus your age, although for different people it is different, the only way to tell for sure is to go get it tested which costs money. What they tell you not to do is run between level 3 and 4, even though it is in that range that you would run a marathon. People sometimes call those "garbage miles" because supposedly you aren't using workout time efficiently to develop any of the various systems. The truth is, though, that most people, including some good marathoners, seem to do a lot if not most of their running in that range, and there are people who argue that there is no such thing as a garbage mile (they tend to be the same people who say everybody is a winner, and maybe for running that is the correct attitude).

  8. For anybody who is interested, if you go over to my running log at and look at Wednesday's entry, there is an interesting discussion about low heart rate training and some links that are fun to look at.

  9. That is a really cool blog. You are truly an inspiration.