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November 2009 Archives

November 28, 2009

Pace Tools - Walt Disney World Marathon

By now most of the heavy duty training for the 2010 Walt Disney World Half or Full Marathon should be behind us. However with just about six weeks left pace may still be a concern so for what it’s worth, here are some things I do to help me improve my pace.

For years I’ve played with all types of techniques I hoped would somehow dividends in the form of a faster overall pace.

I’ve learned many things but the most important lesson learned is that what works for one person does not necessarily work for another.

If you would like to increase your overall pace try a couple of these on for size.

Measured Mile

The first thing you need to do is to find a measured mile and to cover that distance in your normal pace. Take note of the time but even more importantly take note as to how many strides you take.

I did this one Sunday afternoon on a ¼ mile track. I counted the number of strides for each ¼ mile and at the end of the mile I knew just how many strides it takes me to run a mile at that pace.

I thought, “Hmm, if I could just increase the number of strides for just the first ¼ mile of each mile I should be able to increase my overall pace.”

It’s a good theory but it works only if you are on a course which you are able to gauge distances.

On a track it was easy to do this.

So what did I do? Besides counting the number of strides I took in a ¼ mile I also took note of my time. Thus in n minutes I took n strides.

With those two numbers I could then say, “Okay so if I can increase my stride count by 10% for that amount of time every 10 minutes or so then over the length of the run I will have increased my pace.”

That’s one way to increase your pace. It works. I did this on thanksgiving morning in a 5K Turkey Trot.

Music Moves Me

This is the first year that I have used an iPod (shuffle) while running and it seems that using music helped me get into a quicker pace earlier in my training.

Music is good to help you establish a consistent pace but it takes time to compile a list of songs that are also consistent with the pace you want to run.

One of my friends who is a world-traveled marathoner does not use his music until he has to. That is, he saves his music until he feels he needs it to assist him in finishing whatever running distance he is doing.

Music can be your ally for setting a pace but it can also be your enemy. If you mix in too many fast songs in your running play list then you may find yourself running fast too often and possibly hurting yourself and running out of steam.

Know your distance and course and choose not just appropriate songs but also the appropriate order.

Treadmill Treatment

One thing to always remember is that your treadmill workouts will always have you running at a faster pace than your non-treadmill workouts.

I know that I can do a mile at least 25% faster on a treadmill than on the road.

Realizing this I use my treadmill sessions to simulate interval running which I will get to later.

When on the treadmill I start by walking and gradually increase my speed every 15 seconds until I hit the absolute fastest I can go. I hold that pace for about 30 seconds and then gradually work my way back to my regular pace.

After two minutes at my regular pace I increase my pace by 2 minutes for about a minute and then go back to my regular pace….I will do this for about 30 minutes.

The theory here is that if I can train my body to not just allow me to have sped spurts but also learn how to recover then I should be able to transition that onto the road running sessions. This is my interpretation of interval running.

Interval Running

The treadmill treatment technique is quite akin to the matter of interval running in which during the course of your workout you increase your pace for a set time and then pull back to your regular pace…and repeat this over and over for the length of the course.

Interval running is a technique that is unique to every individual.

For many interval running can begin at the start of a training run while for others a warm-up time is required. I usually need about a mile under my belt before I do any interval running.

It’s a very simple technique…run at your normal pace until you feel comfortable to speed up for a certain amount of time or distance. Some runners stick to a set time of 30 seconds to a minute while others imagine a distance of so many yards or feet.

If you can do this technique over a half-marathon or full marathon distance, imagine what your overall pace would be.

Is Twice Nice?

I have never used this technique so I have no data to share but I have read and heard that if you run twice a day…good luck finding the time to do so…that your natural pace tends to gradually increase.

I have not had any personal experience with this technique nor no of anyone who has tried it.

What to Do?

It’s simple. Do what works best for you. I am not an expert at this but am just reporting what I’ve tried over the years.

For anyone who wants to increase their pace I encourage you to try anything that works but does not cause a setback in your overall training.

Sometimes working on your pace leads to overtraining and you don’t want that.

Happy running.

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About November 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Team AllEars® Running Blog in November 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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