Changing Gears

One of the hardest things post-marathon is finding your speed again. The marathon, when well executed, is a very long run at a sort of hard pace. Workouts are usually tempo runs or marathon pace chunks of long runs and true speed work is saved for the very end and serves more to sharpen up the legs than confer any actual speed. Coming off of Mohawk Hudson, I am very fit. And very slow.

If I was just going into the winter season, this wouldn’t be a problem and I’d have time to remind my legs that I don’t always have to run 6:40 pace. However, I’m headed to Las Vegas next weekend to attempt to race a half marathon, so 6:40 won’t do. In the past two weeks since I’ve really been training again, I’ve had a lot of frustrating runs where despite my best “fast” efforts, I’m settling right into 6:30 to 6:40 pace.

I finally turned a (tiny little) corner this week. On Wednesday, I hit the track for 3 by mile at T pace and happily settled at 6:04 pace, followed by a mile of 200 ins and outs at 5:15 pace. Today I paced an athlete to her first sub 21 5K (Go Flan!!!!!) which was 6:40 pace (again), but did manage to kick at the end and shake out some more junk. I was also happy to find that 6:40 pace felt like jogging and that the 3 miles flew by. Good sign for next weekend.

In terms of next weekend, my “absolute best day ever, jump around at the finish” goal would be to break 1:20 (6:08 pace). My more realistic but still challenging goal will be to PR (under 1:21:45 so 6:14 pace). My non-time based goal is to execute a smart race; controlled through 6, cruise to the turnaround a little after 9 then send it once we’re back on the Strip heading home.

Anyone else struggle to convince their legs to turnover after the marathon? What are your tricks for reminding your legs that they can fly?

4 thoughts on “Changing Gears

  1. foxrunsfast

    I’m struggling to remind myself how to run fast in the first place! I’m coming back from injury and finding that I’m nervous about adding any faster work into my schedule. What do you usually start with in your marathon buildup before your official “schedule” even starts? I’m thinking of doing a 15-20 min tempo tomorrow as part of an 8 mile run to ease back into some faster work. Any workouts you like doing early in the season (or before the season starts) to remind your legs what speedier stuff feels like?

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    1. runnerunderpressure

      I usually start with some fartlek style stuff before I do tempo. Some of that is to manage my workout anxiety and some is to just let my legs pick the pace. I’m away from my computer coaching right now but I’ll post my two fav “get back into it” workouts when I get back.

      Reply
      1. foxrunsfast

        I probably should do something like that – I’d rather err on the side of caution since I’m coming back from injury! I have the same workout anxiety too – I have a hard time sleeping before “hard” efforts – even though I know it’s not a big deal! What’s the worst that can happen, right? I don’t hit the paces? But I still stress myself out about it!! It’s nuts. Thought about just doing 8-10 striders within my 8-mile run tomorrow to kind of test the waters and see how that little bit of speed feels before doing anything more. Anyway, would love to hear what you recommend!

        Reply
        1. runnerunderpressure

          I think striders sound really smart! That way you haven’t committed to anything if your shin isn’t quite ready to rock yet. I love to do striders in the last two miles of my run, usually alternating between 1 minute and 30 seconds in length. Let me know how it goes! Posted two other workout ideas for you too.

          Reply

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