Tuesday and Wednesday General Question and Answer

Ask any general questions you might have

After 6 months of base building, I've started training for my first marathon in 19 weeks. I've set my goal to run sub 4 hours. Trying to decide if that's realistic or not. I'm using Higdon novice 2, and I have completed the first 5 mile pace run, with an average of 9:10/mile. My heart rate crossed my lactate threshold (according to garmin) around mile 3, however the entire run felt relatively easy. I could likely maintain that pace for 10 miles right now.
Does it seem plausible that I can train my running economy well enough within the next 19 weeks to stay below my lactate threshold for 26.2 miles? Or should I re-calibrate my expectations and try for a slower time?
You are way over thinking this. Don't determine goals based on heart rates, use races to calibrate your expectations at other distances.
e: I think I need to just stop posting because Krazyfranco basically beats me to every response
Unless you actually know what your Max HR is (from testing it) and what your Lactate Threshold HR is, don't pay any attention to it.
It's not included in the plan, but the best way to get a barometer on your current fitness (and whether your goal marathon pace is at all realistic) is to go out and race a shorter race, all out. I'd pick the next 5k you can get to, and see what you're capable of. If you're able to run a 5k in, say, 24 minutes or so right now, then absolutely your goal MP is a reasonable place to train for the next 18 weeks. If you're coming it at 27-28 minutes, ~9:10/mile might be a little too fast for your for those pace runs right now.
Beyond what the other commenter has mentioned about figuring out lactate threshold, I wouldn't pay a ton of attention to what your watch thinks it is. That "lactate threshold" comes from an algorithm that tries to match it up to your age and relative fitness, but it's pretty hit and miss.
Way too early to say. If the run felt relatively easy, you were not at your lactate threshold. A true LT run is nowhere near "relatively easy." Use the "conversational rule" to determine if the run is hard or not. When I'm running at LT, or running close to it (like, say, a half marathon) - getting a sentence out is relatively hard. On an easy run, getting a sentence out is easy.
For example for me - LT might be around 7:15/mile. An easy pace for me is usually in the 8:45-9:30/mile range, just depends on the week and what I've done the day before.
This might be a super weird question, but would you feel comfortable buying running short shorts second hand? I want to get a pair of 1” BOA shorts on eBay and I don’t know if it’s too risky...
You can get them for 20 bucks or so from running warehouse.....
I will literally send you 20 dollars for you to NOT buy used shorts. Gross.
Diet question for y'all.
How bad is sugar? I constantly see that people shouldn't eat cereal or granola bars because of the crazy high sugar content but so long as I'm still getting vitamins, carbs, etc from other sources and I'm not gaining weight is there a downside?
The Kenyan runners are known to get 20% of their calories from white sugar in tea. Doesn't seem to be a problem if you are constantly depleting your glycogen (aka running). Sugars from fruits and vegetables are perfectly fine, but the added sugars in cereal and packages bars probably should be avoided. It's better to get carbohydrates from fruits and starchy foods like grains and potatoes.
You can get cereal and granola bars that have very little added sugar. But in general I think avoiding added sugar is good - steadier energy and less "spikey" inputs of simple sugars for your pancreas to deal with.
It depends. I eat a generally pretty balanced diet but have a strong sweet tooth. No issues with weight gain or energy levels but if I have too much sugar, I get more GI issues when I run.
The biggest downside of sugar to me (as someone who doesn't need to be wary of calorie intake) is the way it makes your energy levels fluctuate over the day. I switched my breakfast from sugary to non-sugary cereal a while back, and noticed that had a much more constant attention/energy level in the second half of the morning.
Sugars from natural sources (e.g., fruit) are obviously far better than anything refined (e.g., adding sugar to your coffee/tea, baked goods, etc). A nice challenge is to cut out added/refined sugars for a couple weeks to see how it makes you feel (fruit is fine). You might experience some withdrawal in the first week though. You'd be surprised about how much stuff has sugar in it that really doesn't need it (bread comes to mind). The last time I cut out sugar from my diet, after a few weeks I felt my energy levels were more stable, I experienced less "runger" after long run/hard workout days, and my cravings for junk food were substantially reduced. I eat far less sugar now than I used to, but I do indulge every now and then because life is short, and ice cream is just too damn good.
Sugar alone won't make you gain weight if that is your concern. But as runners we need calories and sometimes it's easier to get those from things that have a lot of sugar. I track my calories to make sure I don't gain weight, and make sure I get enough protein, but other than that I'm not concerned with anything else. Maybe I should be.
I remember an AMA from a doctor runner person saying that a runner's diet of lots of carbs could lead to diabetes so there's that....
All things in moderation. Sugar is not inherently bad for you, but too much sugar is.
Sanity check needed:
My goal race for the fall is CIM in early December. In the meantime, I've been participating in this race series with my running club (the scoring is similar to cross-country -- top X women score, then get compared to other teams) and the women's team is doing really well this year. The final race in the series is a full marathon on 10/27 and I'd like to run it -- it def wouldn't be an all-out effort though, more like an uptempo long run. I would definitely be one of the scoring women, so it would help my club if I ran it. How bad of an idea is this?
Some of the higher mileage Pfitz plans have a long run of 38K. If you don’t overdo it in terms of effort, I think it would be fine. But if I were in your situation, I know I would have difficulty not overdoing it. Just treating it as a training run seems like the best thing to do.
I don't think it's an awful idea, but you need to be careful how hard you run it. Otherwise you run the risk of compromising your next few weeks. Your following week should still be recovery week regardless.
I've done it once before without much problem, but I ran it at conventional Pfitz long run pace for the first 24 miles, jogged it in, took the next day off, and reduced mileage about 15-20% that week. I was only on the 55 mpw week plan (though I peaked that week at 62) so if you're doing more mpw than that, should be ok. Again, just don't get carried away with racing it.
I ran Oakland marathon three weeks before Boston this year. I did the relay, so I raced the first 7 miles, then finished the course for my long run, which was supposed to be 20 miles that week anyways. I don't think it's that crazy of an idea especially if you're in shape.
5 Mile warm up, 20 miles at Uptempo % of MP, 1 mile cool down, .2 mile cartwheeling.
It's a fine idea, just making sure the next week in terms of volume is a bit reduced.
So those two races are like 6 weeks apart? How important is CIM to you?
If you took the 10/27 race kinda seriously you would maybe lose one week to tapering, and if the race didn't mess you up too much, one more week for recovery. which leaves you with three weeks to ramp back up and then taper again two weeks before CIM. How does that sound to you?
Also, do you have the willpower to not treat a race like a race?
Okay I think this is a weird question, but bear with me.
Do y'all get what I'm going to call 'mouth boogers' when you run? Kind of like a weird goopy film on your lips? When I wipe it away it looks like boogers.
I've noticed them regardless of whether I bring water with me while I'm running. Am I just very dehydrated? Am I the only one experiencing this gross phenomenon?
No but my nose runs incessantly while I run. It's very annoying.
Indoor track was the worst. I used to race with gum just to avoid this. It didn't really help much.
Same here, so I'm glad you asked!
I get that too. I don’t think it’s related to hydration, just saliva and dead skin (yum).
Yep, it's just like sweat/salt accumulation and dried around the corners of your lips lol. Maybe a little saliva mixed with it too. It's really not that gross
Any good speed session recommendations? I've just training on a whim for the next few months. Trying to focus a but more on speed without being overly structured. Any speed sessions you "enjoy"? I've been playing about with CV intervals but just looking for other ideas. Cheers.
I like the 6x800 at CV personally. That was actually the very last workout I did prior to my HM.
The other one I'm fond of is the 1 min on/1 min off fartlek. # of reps to taste, 10 is usually the bare minimum though. On is usually 5k pace, off is around MP or so.
800s @ CV pace, plus something like 4x200s at or under mile pace
I love Fartlek ladders when you're on the road. I do a six minute ladder where I start with 1 minute of 5k pace followed by 30 seconds of recovery jog followed by 2 minutes of 5k pace followed by 1 minute of recover and so on until you get to 6 minutes pace with 3 minutes rest. Then back down the ladder until you get to 1 minute of pace again. With a 10 minute warmup and 10 minute cooldown it comes out to around 80 minutes total.
For the track my running coach recently made us do something called "The Dutch" which is named after a guy in our running group. It's essentially you run the straightaways at mile pace and the turns at recovery. It helped me with acceleration and quickly establishing my form.
Another training question here. At what point did you consider going from running six days a week to running seven days a week? I’m sitting at about 45mpw and building, and I’m doing this on 6 runs per week. I can see getting up to 50-55mpw before possibly needing that seventh day, but I’m interested in hearing what others are doing.
Edit: Thanks for all the responses! I’m not sure why, but I expected most to be in favor of running 7 days a week. I also never considered a sixth-day double, and that intrigues me. Definitely something to consider.
I started doing 7 days a week partway through high school. Not sure what my mileage was at that time but I never hit 60 mpw until the summer before college.
Never. Or, more accurately, I've considered going to seven days, but ended up sticking with six days per week. I do double once or twice per week at current mileage, though, which is between 75-85 miles per week. I like the mental break a day off gives me. Plus, it makes my running a little easier to digest for my wife, knowing that I have a full day dedicated to family stuff every weekend.
On six days per week, I would say it makes sense to get up to around 65 miles per week. After that, you're probably better off either adding in a run on the 7th day, or a double.
I’m doing around 60 mpw and do so with 6 days a week. I really like the mental break of having a full day off. Also planning wise it’s nice to have a day where I can spend time on other things.
I'm running between 25 and 30 miles per week, and I usually run 7 days in a row and then take a day off. It has been basically by feel--usually it's my ankles that start to get sore that remind me to take a day off.
I'm probably going to be more strict on my rest days going forward, as I'm jumping into a training cycle.
I prefer an easy double to adding a 7th day. I really like the mental break of a day off. Got up to 80 miles week last cycle using this plan and will do so again.
I think it's better for fitness to run more in 6 days. Last year I ran 65 mpw in 7 days, and this year I'm doing the same in 6 and I feel like the latter is indicative of much higher fitness. I also feel better and more consistent all around with a day fully off. I'll probably add a 7th day during my marathon build to get into the 70s.
I run low mileage compared to most here but do so on 7 days. IMO it depends on what you're going to be getting out of that extra day. For me, running that one extra day gives me about 30 minutes worth of aerobic work and helps my recovery so that on Monday I'm ready for a tempo run.
I added a 7th day initially to get past 70 MPW, but now I'm usually doing 7 days/week at 55-60 MPW.
I think if you're sitting around on your rest day feeling like you're already fully recovered from yesterday's long run, go for it. Keep it mind it's better to be a little more rested than a little overtrained, so if you're on the fence I'd keep the full rest day and focus on training hard the rest of the week.
When it stopped making sense to add time/miles onto existing runs or increase quality, I spread out to a seventh day.
My usual schedule included a long run, an MLR, a dedicated workout (MLR and LR sometimes are workout and sometimes are just easy miles), and three easy days of about an hour each. Now and then I'll do a shorter double too. Once that was easy, I would take a day off every 10-14 days or so just as needed instead of a consistent 6 days/week, and now I run every day. I took like, years to get to this point, though - YMMV but no need to rush!
I've never run 7 days a week and I've maxed out at 70 miles a week. I feel like I need that one day off--for both mental and physical rest. I run in the morning, so especially when my mileage is high it's really nice to have at least one day when I can stay up a little later the night before and still catch up on sleep.
Is there any benefit to training in 30C + heat or am I going to have to suck it up and start running before work in the morning?
This morning I ran before work and it was a refreshing 17C, no problem with that. The last 3 days I have ran after work and it was 27C the lowest day and 32C the hottest day. My pace was slower and I sweated like I was swimming but is there any benefit to training in that heat or is it just being stupid?
(Recently moved to a new and hotter location last week)
You will acclimate some after a while but above 80F (~27C) I will often try to run in the evening (like 7 or 8 pm) if I can, although it doesn't always cool down much. Also hot days are always slightly better in the trails and shirtless if you do that.
you still get the benefits of running, it just isn't as much fun and will be a little slower. For me if its above 90 (32C) I'm gonna start thinking about not running or going early morning but i hate morning running.
I'll take 35F and sunny without wind over 80 and humid every day
I live in a very humid and hot environment that doesn't change much over the course of the year. I have found that while I will struggle at home in 30+ weather, the heat adaptation translates really well when I travel for races or just generally.
An example from 2017: October is one of our worst months and I really struggled through the training throughout the month. In November, I did a HM in another city that was around 12C and I felt like I was flying - I finished the HM at a pace that I was struggling at for interval work at home in October.
The past few months (summer for us), I have also been running in the evenings when it is much hotter and more humid - I've gotten used to it and am seeing big benefits when I run at cooler temps.
What's the alternative? What's the goal?
Certainly it's going to be easier to run in the morning with cooler temps and the ability to run closer to normal paces. But if the alternative is sitting on the couch if you aren't able to train in the morning, then running slower in the heat is better.
Also, if you expect your race to be hot, better to train in the heat to prepare.
I depends and sort of. If you're going to run in both heat and good temps, it's going to be difficult to get heat adapted enough to be able to put in decent work. In that case, you'll probably just always feel crappy during heat and won't be able to get that much out of it. If you're always running in the heat, you'll adapt enough to put in some good workouts and can come out of the summer suck with an amazing cardio system.
I found some heat adaptation benefits from easy running in the heat around lunch time, but it takes a few weeks before you can really tell. Quality in 30C+ is usually a no go for me, especially with dew points around 20C.
I ran 18:17 in a tune-up 5K three days ago. I'd say it was a 95% effort. My most recent interval workout was 2 sets of (1200, 800, 800) averaging 18:16 pace and running the last 800 in 2:50.
My goal 5K is next Saturday and I really want to run 17:59. If I go for it, will I blow up spectacularly? Or can a full taper combined with sheer force of will carry me under 18 minutes? Should I try to hit 17:59 pace for my last 5x1000m this week and reevaluate my goal based on how that feels?
This is something that I've tried to coach out of my athletes... you have an indicator about what your fitness is and what your workouts have shown, but you're willing to sacrifice one workout at the end to show yourself you're capable of running "xx pace." When that's not how it works. You can't really gain any extra fitness between now and next Saturday. So running the workout at sub 18 pace is just a mental thing for you to say you can do it. I absolutely think you can break 18 given your current fitness, and I think you can get out harder in the upcoming 5k and set yourself up around the end of mile 2 to have a great last mile. I think race strategy is where you will have the biggest change in your performance.
One workout, especially 5x1k is a rough workout to gauge your fitness on. I know everyone on the Jack Daniels plan uses this workout religiously, but it's not a great late season workout. It's a fitness builder, hard A1 style workout, and at the end of the year, you need different kinds of workouts to sharpen you up. These workouts are performances in themselves rather than honing in on your abilities.
If I were you, I would try something more like 3x1k w/4 minutes recovery + 3x400 w/2 minutes recovery @ touch faster than 5k pace. So instead of doing K's at like 3:38 pace, you're running the first 3 K's at like 3:33. And then you can do the 400s in like 82-83 seconds. And you do this without having to dig deep and prove yourself on a regular workout.
Going out 6 seconds/mile faster shouldn't lead to a massive blow up. Worst case is finishing 20 secs/mile slower. Take the shot; if you don't and finish at 18:10 you'll just wonder what if.
I'd say it's 10% luck, 20% skill...
You've already run the time your intervals are predicting, and it's only a 5k so go for it, maybe you blow up, maybe you don't!
My legs are trashed on 30 MPW. Shin splints, weird foot pains, calf soreness. I'm coming off of a rough patch with work, sick kids, lack of sleep, etc. and have gained ~15 lbs in 6 months.
I'm running poorly because of the extra weight, right? I've never been this heavy before so I have nothing to compare it to.
Lots of stress, not enough sleep, a little extra weight?
(other than the kids and the job are you me?)
But yeah, just the combination of those factors is a good reason to feel not that great. I'd say catch up on sleep (if the kids let you haha) and then cut back a little on running if any of the pains are concerning or ongoing issues to let them heal. Maybe add in a little crosstraining if you have the time. Hope the kids are feeling better and the job is working out.
I wouldn't discount the divided attention either. Running doesn't always feel like a focused activity, but it does take something.
It does make a difference, but don't discount the lack of sleep.
I'm going to start being better about doing some plyometreics. Should I do these on days after a hard run or on easy days? I'm inclined to keep them on the hard run days to keep hard days hard and easy days easy. Thoughts?
If you've never done them before, you could do like a Monday/Thursday split on easy days. If you're lifting, just avoid the day after leg days. Just remember that you don't need to crush plyometrics, 2x a week til you adapt, 3x a week after like 6-8 weeks, and after another couple months, you can start adding in more exercises to them.
And plyometrics aren't supposed to be hard. These aren't like going to the well type workouts where you're sacrificing your ability to recover if you do them on easy days. You still recover if you do them on those days.
I generally agree with hard days hard and easy days easy, but with plyos you have to be careful. Doing intense plyometrics on tired legs and with bad form is a recipe for injury. If you're going to to them on hard days, then consider doing them before the can think of them as part of the warmup as neuromuscular activation. You get the benefit of the plyos by doing them fresh, and then you can layer the endurance benefits of the workout on top of that.
Or, why not consider a dedicated day to hill bounding / springing,
Also remember to be extra cautious about adding plyos into a distance running schedule. If you're doing them right, they're super intense, explosive movements (but not hard in the sense that you'll be breathing hard) that put a lot of stress on you muscles, tendons, and nervous system. A progression in intensity might look something like: skipping --> hopping --> jumping --> bounding --> depth jumps.
We do drills pre-hard day workouts before intervals.
But I do some other stretch drills (like dynamic) a few other days per week.
Training question - I train with a coached group and we used to have more specific marathon - 5k type workouts but for the summer we're all together and doing track work is killing me (and I have no speed - "embarrassingly slow" comparatively but good energy).
I'm about to start my 18 weeks to NYC. Should I take a 'secondment' from my group and go full Pfitz? This would be a lot more LT type work than 100-800m etc that we're doing now.
Also my training each year I've generally stayed with the group - tried to follow Pfitz etc but with these group workouts the focus isn't always exactly what Pfitz would do. I've been in great shape but I spent a couple years at the half or lower distance. In the winter I got myself fit and did a 2:48 on peak 70, now targeting 2:45 in NYC looking to peak around 85.
What says you internet? go lone wolf for the rest of the year? or stick with excessive track stuff for now which does have its benefits.
If you're relatively weak at shorter stuff, it might actually be beneficial to keep working on that weakness for some period of time before going back to marathon-focused training.
If you don't feel like you're actually getting better with this random summer workout stuff, than abandon it.
Go Pfitz, if you can handle lone-wolfing it. Early Pfitz you probably can even keep doing some of the track work as I've done that and it worked well (assuming you're resilient enough).
Daniels has VO2 work early in the marathon training cycle. You can look into his approach if you want to stay with your group.
Does anyone see a family or sports medicine doctor on a somewhat regular basis, or work in that sort of field?
My legs haven't felt the same since my half this Spring, and while I know my nutrition isn't the best, I still feel like I should be recovering from easy runs better than I have been so I was thinking about getting some blood work done to make sure everything checks out (I also haven't been to the doctor for 10 years).
I'm mostly trying to figure out if I should just see a family doctor, or search out a sports medicine one.
Do you think you are getting enough calories in? That’s my first guess. If I ever feel bad during a run it’s usually because I didn’t get enough carbohydrate recently.
Also are you looking for something specific in the blood work? Like hemoglobin/ferritin status? If so then I think the family doc would be perfectly fine. In my experience there hasn’t been much to be gained by going to a sports doc.
Get the blood work through your family practice physician and see if anything is off. If everything is showed up normal then even a specialist might have a hard time figuring it out.
However it's still normal work on your nutrition anyway and get a follow up about 6 weeks later, assess how you feel and go from there.
Are you gonna walk away satisfied if the family practice doctor says everything checks out?
Your family doctor should be able to refer you to a sports doc if they're not qualified.
People with a half PR around 1:32, what did you run your marathon in after that?
Ran my 3rd marathon on Saturday and it went... well? I PR'd by 7 minutes despite bonking pretty hard at mile 21. Training went well, I had a 10 minute PR in my tune up half for a 1:31:59. The race predictor put my marathon time at 3:11 which I felt was pretty lofty.
I set out at 3:20 pace and I think despite the weather being 60ish the sun took a big toll on me, I sweat a ton and probably didn't replenish as well as I should. I came in at 3:28, which was a bit disappointing for some reason, even though it was a PR.
Am I dumb for being disappointed?
I think in general the (HM x 2) + 10-15 mins predictor is pretty valid for a marathon, until you get to be really fast. That 3:11 is too aggressive a predictor.
It sounds like you know the issues why you tailed off to a 3:28 - and NO it's not dumb to be disappointed. When you have a goal and you work that long for it, it's completely natural. Just because you PR'ed doesn't mean that you hit your goal. Disappointment is what can motivate us to make improvements for next time.
I'm assuming you ran Grandma's and while the temps weren't bad, it seemed like the sun fried some people by the time they got to Lemon Drop Hill. You were not alone in that regard at all.
I basically agree with everything
In addition, I think the best thing to do right now is try to nail down what went wrong during your marathon and plan to correct it for your next.
Some questions to ask yourself: Do you feel like your training adequately prepares you for the race? Is there room for improvement in your pre-race and/or mid-race nutrition? Should you have adjusted your goal based on the weather?
It's your race and no one can tell you you're dumb for feeling however you feel about it! I also PRd and was disappointed this spring, lol.
The equivalency calculators are just one piece of setting a goal time - they aren't predictors, they just say "with optimal training, if you run X distance in whatever time you can run Y distance in this other time". The "with optimal training" is where things get hairy, especially for the marathon because it's such a different race than 5k-half marathon. You have to look at the whole picture - weekly mileage, long runs, race-specific workouts, etc.
Not at 1:32 yet but should be getting close; 1:34:33 PR last fall, 1:36:20 race during my marathon block this spring, ran the marathon in 3:24:46 and was super pissed about it and got back to training fairly quickly since it wasn't a full race effort. But I have 7 years of running experience at this point and peaked at 80 miles - my half and full marathon times should line up fairly closely. If you have less lifetime mileage or lower weekly mileage those times will be further apart. ETA and yeah, as you mentioned, sun and fueling definitely take more of a toll in a marathon than a shorter race. Fueling strategy is something to test out very specifically in training so you can make a plan and just stick to it in the next race!
There's this race this Friday near my home, it seems very similar to that backyard ultra that's put up by the guy from the Barkley marathons. Every hour, a new lap of 6K (3.75 miles) starts, last man standing wins. I'm in week 3 of Pfitz 18/70 for the Chicago marathon but I'm thinking about participating, it seems like a cool concept. I wonder how many laps I could do. I'm thinking that maybe I should participate and just drop out after 12 loops or something, it would still be cool to be a part of the atmosphere. I'm just worried that it would affect my buildup to the Chicago marathon too much.
This sounds like you're casually assuming that 12 laps will be easy! :) I think covering 45 miles over 11-12 hours will be pretty darn hard, maybe even harder than doing it all in one go.
I'd think if you go much over 20-25 miles total you'll need a good ~week of recovery (skip the LT run and just take it easy). Might be a small setback in your training, but who cares.
Sounds fun ! I say go for it.
Just use it as your long run for the week 😉 I’m following the same plan for Chicago. I think it’s early enough in the cycle to do.
I'd do it if I were you, I find trail running community is always welcoming and they're very nice people, it's just... kinda different than road running.
Depends on just how big of a goal race Chicago is to you. That said, I think too often, people fail to have some fun with their running. You're early on in training, so as long as you don't get injured, you should be fine. Go do something different.
Rip summer bods week 3 thread
We hardly knew ye
Got discouraged by the lack of interest :(