Run marathons just for fun? Why not!

This coming weekend I'll  be down in Denver and decided to run the Boulder Backroads Marathon with Haliku on Sunday September 21st.

Having just run a 64.5 mile DNF at Lean Horse a few weeks ago, I'm not concerned about my endurance at all. However, my main question is how in the heck am I supposed to pace myself for a short race? It would be easy to just slog (slow-jog) it out at my 50 or 100 mile pace. But that would be completely wimping out.

My greatest challenge will be to not unconsciously fall back to my ultra-slow easy-slogging pace of 12 min/mile or slower after mile 18 or 20 as if I were running 50+ miles instead of 26.2. If you train and practice at a slow pace then you will race at that pace too. Although this marathon will be only for "fun," I'd like to push it a little faster than I might on one of my usual long extra-slow training runs.

Because I have never done a previous road marathon to use as comparison, last week I did a marathon time predictor work out: Yasso 800s. These were popularized a few years ago by a writer for Runner's World magazine. They have always been a difficult workout for me.

I must confess: I absolutely HATE intervals…. half  mile…. one mile…it doesn't matter- I HATE 'em all! But  l do understand their importance in maximizing cruising speed.  Even after only two or three interval workouts, I already note an increased rate of leg turnover.  They are effective but I still hate'em.

My average time for these 10 x 800 intervals was 4:17 minutes and  I actually sped up on each of the the last three intervals to 3:44 minutes for the last one. Not fast for a speedy short distance runner but it was plenty fast for me. This average time predicts my potential marathon time as 4 hours and 17 minutes. Of course, Yasso 800s are only a predictor to give us a general ball park estimate of what we might be able to accomplish with proper training and good running conditions. 

A prediction of possibly doing a marathon in under 4 and a half hours actually surprised me given the usual extremely-slow ultra-slogging pace that I run my 50+ mile races. Because I will be running this marathon for fun and have no interest in a PR, I think that trying to run it under 5 hours should be a very reasonable goal.  However, it will be a PR for me no matter how long it takes, given that this will be the first official road marathon I have ever run.

Using other time predictor calculators, doing a 26.2 marathon in under 5 hours translates to a potential 100 mile finish around 28 hours- as long as I did all of the necessary other training, of course.  With another ultra coming up in Mid-November, the last thing I want to do is be stupid and injure myself simply because I worried about too much my time and pushed myself too hard. 

I got a massage Friday and feel great. There were a lot of tight spots and adhesions that I didn't even know about. Stretching is fine but sometimes manual terapy is just what is needed. This was the first time I tried this massage therapist; however she was absolutely wonderful and I will certainly be back. My ITBs were tighter and more tender than I realized but they are better now. I think that getting a massage at least once a month during the racing season would be a good goal.  

She said that my legs were very interesting to work on because I have muscle development that she does not normally see, even in other runners. I wish that such muscle development also translated into faster finishing times for my ultramarathons but that's OK, I am completely fine with simply being able to finish.

I just learned this morning that on October 4th there will be a local marathon, the Crazy Horse Marathon run on some of the trails I frequently train on. There actually will be two marathons: Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore which start at either of the monuments but finish at the same park in Hill City. I wonder why I wasn't aware of this before? I suppose it must be because we ultramarathoners are in a different world than marathoners.

Hmmm… I think I will see how Boulder goes first. This marathon will be only two weeks later. As long as I don't do Boulder too hard, Crazy Horse could be another nice long training run for me.  

08 Boulder Marathon Map

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4 responses

  1. Looks as if you are becoming a bit of a marathoner! Best wishes have fun!

    September 14, 2008 at 5:40 pm

  2. Marathons? Oh they're just nice little training runs. J
    Actually, I have all of this ultra-endurance left over that I didn't make full use of at Lean Horse. I'd like to use some of it now. It will be interesting to see how well I can pace myself to run only 26.2 instead of my usual going slow and holding back with the intent on running all day and all night.
    If I push myself fast enough, perhaps the marathon will even teach me a lesson about the mythical "wall" which is something I have always scoffed at as an ultrarunner.
    Not that I am ever fast. Slow and slower are my two favorite paces. Haliku will attest to that.

    September 15, 2008 at 7:42 pm

  3. I don't know, as much as 800m repeats suck, they become habit forming the more one runs them. Enjoy the marathon. The weather should rock!

    September 15, 2008 at 8:01 pm

  4. They would be a good habit for me to get into. I alway notice a difference in my cruising speed even after only a few of these workouts. Maybe I can move up from being very slow to just sorta slow?

    September 16, 2008 at 5:35 am

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