Saturday, September 1, 2007

Awesome marathon workout

I have been running marathons since 2001. Over the years, I have read in countless books and magazines and online marathon training programs that you should integrate some miles at goal marathon pace into your runs. Some programs advocate fast-finish long runs, and others have you do the middle chunk of the run at a faster clip. Pretty intuitive, right? If you want to run a certain time for the marathon, it makes sense that you should practice that pace, especially during a long run.

Despite all I've read about advanced marathon training, I have never worked on marathon pace during my long runs. My goal during a long run is generally just to finish -- pace is an afterthought! But today I did the best marathon workout ever.

I met with a bunch of the Impalas and our coach at 7:30am at the Sawyer Camp Trail in San Mateo, about 40 minutes south of San Francisco. It's a 6-mile paved path that's pretty shaded with some rolling hills and a decent climb for the last two miles. Each half-mile and mile is marked, so it's easy to keep track of pace and effort. At least a couple dozen women on the team are training for fall marathons, so the workout was well-attended.

The workout was as follows:

Miles 0-9: normal long run pace
Miles 9-14: goal marathon pace
Mile 15: lactate threshold pace (a teeny bit slower than 10K pace)
Miles 16-17: normal long run pace
Miles 18-21: goal marathon pace
Mile 22: normal long run pace

So there you have it. A 22-mile marathon workout with 10 miles at marathon pace or faster. It went surprisingly well for me, and I think I needed the extra little boost of confidence since my training for the Chicago Marathon has been sub-par. For all your fall marathoners, I highly recommend that you try this workout or even an abbreviated version of it. Good luck!


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