Monday, August 29, 2011

Advanced Marathoning + It Only Hurts When I Breathe

I've been running for...awhile now, but I still consider myself a newbie runner, especially when it comes to 26.2.  There is just so much about the marathon that I don't yet understand, and that's probably why I keep coming back for more.  I'm that kid who would work on a story problem without coming up for air until it was solved, all nice and tidy like.

Luckily for me, I also like to read, so there is no shortage of information out there for me to learn by.  I'm also blessed to have some fasty fast friends who are much smarter when it comes to training for the 26.2 (and really just in training in general).

At the start of the year, I had skimmed through Pete Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathoning as an option for Fargo training.  I was intrigued but mostly scared, and moved along to some other marathon books.  A few weekends ago, I was riding a running high, and since I couldn't go on another run (yes, I was literally having one of those days, hate me if you wish) I decided to tuck in to my book.  Danielle had sent it to me when I was originally toying with the idea of a fall marathon.  Uh hi... that marathon is like in 8 weeks.  Shhhhhhhh don't tell my brain that.

Anywhosits, I felt like I was back in school all over again, which is great, since uh... I am! ..... taking notes, marking up the book!  (Sidenote:  I had such a hard time highlighting things in textbooks when I first started college.  "A marked up book is a sad book," my grandma used to tell me.)

I found some interesting gems that I thought I'd share.  Since everyone and their dog has probably read the book, you can probably skim over this, but it doesn't hurt to re-read and re-learn info.  :)

I love all the information about heart rate zones.  After Fargo, I got a heart rate monitor (from the insanely nice Tara, thanks again!) and have been paying attention to the zones I should be in based on the types of runs I was completing.  It was interesting to realize that without paying much attention to the HRM, I tended to be right in the middle of my range for my easy runs and long runs.  I also learned at the end of an interval workout that my puke threshold matches up pretty darn closely with my max heart rate.  Good to know!

One thing I am confused/intrigued by is the long run pace.  Pfitz states that your long runs should be 10-20% slower than your goal marathon pace.  Based on a marathon goal pace of 9ish, I should be running a pace of 9:50-10:40 on my long runs.  He also says that your heart rate should be 74-84% of max.  While my heart rate is within the appropriate range, my pace doesn't fall within that range.  Does that mean I get to be a faster marathon runner?!?!?  Ok then... done.

Another note in regards to heart rate is your range for the actual marathon.  While Pfitz says 79-88% of your max heart rate, I'm guessing this is skewed towards someone who is faster than I am.  What would be a better goal/range/estimate for someone in the 3:45-4 hour range?

Overall I don't feel there was a whole lot of new information (other than HR, since I know very little about that) but was nice to reaffirm some information I learned the hard way, such as don't run your long runs at marathon goal pace!  I did this, and struggled in my first marathon after the 3 hour point because that's as long as I spent on my feet during my longest long runs.  Also, reaffirmed the statement, "you have to run slow to run fast."  Which I always thought was a bunch of hoopla.  :P

You can make a lot of mistakes in training for a half marathon and shorter distances, and still do great.  The marathon seems to be a very precocious beast that I have yet to master... maybe some of this info will help!

Any other great running/racing/marathoning books that I should read?
This weekend I was convinced I was dying.  I went for an easy paced run Friday after work, and I thought my lungs were going to explode.  It felt like I was gasping for air and that my lungs were the size of an unblown up balloon.  Luckily after the first 25-30 minutes it let up and I was able to continue without dying.  But I still didn't feel great.

Saturday I woke up and struggled to breathe and was convinced I was sick with some sort of allergies.  I rested and missed out on seeing KK in a penguin suit at a wedding, :(  but I was determined to be healthy and ready to take on my 8-10 mile run on Sunday with 6 at tempo.  Within the first couple of miles I knew something was up.  I was doing my warm up (roughly the 9:50s) and my heart rate was hovering around 175.  To give you an idea of where my heart rate should be, I usually try to keep it below 155 for easy runs/long runs.  During my 5k RACE two weekends ago, it maxed at 177.  Uh...yeah.  That's not normal.

I decided to head for home and struggled to keep from having my heart explode (or so it felt).  I was getting light-headed and nauseous from not taking in enough oxygen.  I took a few walk breaks and brought my pace down suuuuuuuper low.

When I woke up this morning, I finally noticed a pain in between my shoulder blades.  My breathing was still messed up, so I decided to suck it up and head to the chiro.  Nothing against chiros, but my health insurance suckkkkkks so a 10 minute session is $90.  Uff.  Turns out breathing is worth $90, especially when you have a goal race in 13 days.  She checked my alignment and immediately noticed that one hip is higher than the other.  Oh hai hip/piriformis/IT band/runner's knee issues!  Next she set to putting my back in to alignment.  She flipped me over and started pressing on my ribs, and it felt like she was poking me with a burning nail.  Apparently that means your ribs are out of place.  Three ribs later and I could breathe.  EEEEEEEEE! 

As soon as I got home I threw on my running clothes and headed out for a 6 mile run.  I was even able to do some 4x100 m pick ups at the end of the run.  I did 6 miles in 55:52 for a 9:19 pace.  4x100 m. 6:59, 7:03, 6:58, 6:55.  I randomly met up with another chica who was running my pace and had company for a mile.  She's running the Sioux Falls HM too and is looking to break 2 hours.  So fun!

And a random funny quip, I bought Kyle a sweet Alabama shirt when I was down south, and without realizing it, I bought myself the inverse of it.  When I realized my mistake, naturally I told him the shirts would be our "christmas card picture outfits!"  JK I don't do Xmas cards, but now I want to start.  After not seeing Kyle all weekend, he showed up at my apartment to take me out on a date, and **you've guessed it** TWINSIES!!!  I was the stubborn one, and made him change into a shirt that was in the back of his truck, man I'm bossy.  (he would agree).


Nobel4Lit said...

Glad to see that another book is telling me to run slow! I'm doing my long runs at 9:55-10:12 pace so far (slower by the week, it seems) and am skeptical!

Katie said...

ribs out of place? wowza, girl, OW.

Anonymous said...

"While Pfitz says 79-88% of your max heart rate, I'm guessing this is skewed towards someone who is faster than I am. What would be a better goal/range/estimate for someone in the 3:45-4 hour range?"

Well, yes and no.

I don't think speed necessarily has a lot to do with that. I've generally run marathons at about 85% of my HR and quite honestly, I know how to hold back rather well. The idea of suggesting THAT range is that you avoid red lining too early.

That said:

If you aim to average about 80-85% for the entire race, it's important to go out SLOWER than that. Looking at my Boston data, the last 6 miles were around 90-92%+ percent of max. However, I started at about 70% of MHR if not lower, which gave me room to play with. (My rule of thumb is to keep it below a certain number til about mile 10.)

Does that make sense?

The bottom line is keeping an average HR in a certain range for the entire race will get you across the finish line, and you've kind of got to get a feel for how much you can push and when to get how much you can deviate. While I think more base/experience can ensure you are able to push it a bit more, I think this is also where speed comes into play. In the 3:40-4 hour range I think the Pfitz range you mentioned is safe. Maybe aim closer to 80%, because you'd rather have more wiggle room than less.

This is a lot and not well stated. If you want to look at my HR graphs from my last couple marathons to see how I've paced based off of HR, let me know.

Wealth is Health said...

I just rented Hal Higdon's marathon training book, I haven't started it yet but he's another running guru.

jt00ct said...

I am glad you are feeling better Jeri. There are some PRS Fit podcasts on itunes that help explain pace, heart rate, etc. Good information and it is free, I recommend it if you are looking for more information.
Good luck with your training!

Glenn Jones said...

That book is the Bomb! And angryrunner has hit the nail on the head. It's all about physiology...