I am trying a different approach to marathon training. With my previous two marathons, I had used a marathon plan that focused on a number of miles and a recommended pace for each workout. The majority of the runs, excluding the weekly long run, were between six and nine miles and paces from seven to nine minutes per mile, usually finishing in an hour or less.
For this training period, with the help of a personal running coach, I am using time and effort to define my runs. An example of a workout would be eighty minutes at an easy effort (not a jog, but controlled comfortable run) with eight strides thrown in. A stride is a fast paced run usually lasting about 20-30 seconds. A sample of a long run might be 100 minutes at an easy effort followed by 30 minutes at a moderate effort – slightly faster but still under control.
So instead of heading out the door planning on doing a long run of 14 miles at an 8 minute per mile pace, I set my watch to keep track of the time and use my sense of effort to pace myself.
I found this past weekend that my timed run was much more enjoyable. I was not fixated on a set number of miles, just ran until my watch beeped at the prescribed time.
I believe this will help with building endurance for a long race. Rarely in my previous training periods did I run in one session for over an hour. Now most runs will exceed an hour. With speed work and tempo runs thrown in, this should help me reach my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.