Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hall, Ritz and the Rest of Us

I remember emailing Mystery Coach about Ryan Hall's stunning half marathon U.S. record after it happened and remarking on just how easy he looked in the video footage posted on Flotrack. Now that Hall owns the fastest debut marathon time for a U.S. runner with his 7th place 2:08 at London he has certainly shown an ability to train the right way.

While it gets old filtering out all the "praise this, glorify that" stuff that inundates any interview with the guy, it's interesting to read about him describing his training for his first go at the distance. My friend Jason sent me a link to his training blog, and this post stood out. It was written between three and four weeks out from the race.

"On Tuesday I ran my first ever 26-miler. It wasn't anything crazy, in terms of pace, but it gave me a lot more confidence that miles 20-26 aren't something to be scared of, just respected. ...In my buildup for London I have put in 5 tempo runs of 12 miles or longer, 5 runs of 2:15 or longer, and 4 marathon simulations running 8-10 miles at a moderate pace and then putting in 8-10 miles at marathon pace."

I've read that the tempo runs he describes are at pretty much marathon pace, which I guess is obvious given the length. What strikes me the most about the description of his training is what he doesn't mention: lots of speed work. His emphasis on spending lots of time at or around marathon pace as well as him putting in several runs that exceeded his finishing time for the marathon obviously served him well.

It gets more interesting when you compare what Hall did to what Dathan Ritzenheim and coach Brad Hudson describe here as their plan for Ritz's next marathon after a rough last six miles at the New York Marathon. " time they’ll probably run more miles, up to 130–140 miles per week, and at least one long run of 26–27 miles. Hudson also feels they should do more fuel-specific training, such as long runs at marathon pace. This year they did one, mid-program. Next time they would retain that one, and add another 14 days out from the marathon: 18 miles 'at fuel' (progression from 5:28 down to 5:00 pace). He also would add a workout nine days out, consisting of 30 minutes easy plus 10 miles at close to race pace, to send the final signal to the fuel system."

It sounds to me like Ritz will be training much the same way as Hall (assuming Hall sticks with what has worked), and that marathon pace, race simulation and serious long runs will all be parts of the recipe.

While my marathon pace is more than a minute per mile slower than these guys, I know I'll also be spending a fair amount of time around race pace if my last build with the coach is any indicator. I definitely still seem to have some fuel issues as I get into the third hour of racing, and it will be interesting to see what we do to counter it. In the past stamina has been the key with increasing back to back workouts at pace, but with more time on our hands I'm interested in whether or not a few longer runs would help.

As for today's run, it was slow and uneventful. I headed out once Kiera returned from her run, and after yapping yesterday abut how good a little sharpening generally makes me feel I was dragging most of the way.

Training: 7 miles, 48:24, 6:55 pace


Anonymous said...

Great post. Interesting to see that some of the elites are now embracing overdistance for the marathon. Galloway would be proud...

Any updates on Chicago?


Love2Run said...

Thanks Mike, food for thought on what went wrong at Boston for me. Lack of tempo and running long for time stand out for me.

Mark said...

Mike, that's cool you posted this stuff as I have been wondering and hadn't started loking yet for Ryan Hall's info.

One might equate him as the "Tiger Woods" of running. Amazing.

So, will you be tracking your MP % of weekly miles?

Phil said...

Thanks for all the reference material. It made for great reading. Good luck this weekend.

Michael said...

Hi Mike,

Given your experience and running maturity, I’d some training advice. As you know my experience in London didn’t go according to plan. I’m trying to salvage what is left of my fitness, and I’ve registered for the Ottawa marathon in three weeks (5 weeks after London). My question concerns the long run. I’d like to sneak another one in before racy day and I’m contemplating to options; (1) 2h20-2h30 this Wednesday, exactly midway between the two races, or (2) 2h next Sunday, two weeks before the race. What are your thoughts, if you were in my position and were committed to running, what would you do? Any advice you could provide would be much appreciated. I’m also going to ask Eric as he seems to have a solid, no nonsense approach.


Dusty said...

Interesting blog links - thanks for sharing.

Hope you do well this weekend!