November 8, 2011

200m reps for the marathon?

Last night (in the dark, now that all our afternoon daylight is gone) we ran one of our last little token track sessions before the upcoming marathon. We are less than two weeks out, and now are tapering in earnest. Here's some  photos that we shot while playing around with the "high speed flash" mode on the camera, but more importantly, the reasons why we run such short reps while preparing for a 26.2 mile race...

Andrea and I have logged a lot of time on the track during our preparations for the Philadelphia Marathon, and a decent chunk of that time has been spent doing short repeats of 200-300 meters. No, we aren't trying to crank out a fast 1500m time (for now at least... next summer will be a different story!)... but we feel that the shorter, faster running is an overlooked and very important part of marathon training.

The short reps we do are often sessions in the range of 6-12 x 200m, 6-8 x 300m, etc. It usually adds up to 1-2 miles of faster paced running, with 100-200m of easier running in between the repetitions. The sessions are either done at the end of a tempo run, or after a recovery run. They are not meant to replace the other important workouts (like tempo runs and long intervals) but instead to supplement those workouts.

There are a couple of reasons we like doing these workouts...
  • Running at 1500m/3000m race pace makes marathon pace feel A LOT easier!
  • Running fast with good form (especially when you are already a bit tired) is good practice for the latter stages of the marathon - we are training ourselves to not let our form break down.
  • These workouts are pretty easy, but they provide a solid neuromuscular benefit without being too physically taxing - they "bridge the gap" between longer, harder workouts.
  • They break up the monotony of training - sometimes logging lots and lots of miles can be a bit boring (even for those of us who LOVE running)... running some short reps at the end of a run gets you mentally engaged and a bit more focused.
  • The physiological stimulus of the short reps often makes us feel sharper for the next harder workout

In terms of what pace these reps should be run at, I like to say "fast but relaxed." What this means, exactly, usually depends on how we are feeling on that specific day, and what we've already done that day. Somewhere in the range of 1500m to 5000m pace is usually in the right ballpark. Some days if I'm fresh I'll hit my 200s in 31-32 seconds, other days when fatigued I'm in the 33-34 second range. Andrea tends to run her 200s in the 40 second range, plus/minus a few seconds. I think the key is to not force the pace on these sessions. The whole idea is just to continually practice running fast, while saving your bigger efforts for the more important workouts.

Sometimes after running 200s, you get FroYo!
But the reason I'm posting this picture is to point out that yes, we
have a bag labeled "GU" and yes, its full of GU.

1 comment:

  1. Lydiard runners ran speed every week to balance out the energy systems.

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