Posted by: Joe English | December 1, 2009

Training — Taking the pressure off in the marathon

Coach Joe English

Coach Joe English

A reader named Jennifer from Redmond, Oregon had contacted me after the Portland Marathon and she was, to say the least deflated. Jennifer had done what so many people do in a marathon. She had taken the pace out too quickly and bonked in the second-half. She had driven home to Eastern Oregon with smashed dreams and in a state of disillusionment with her running. How could she have trained so hard and things gone so wrong?

She came to me with a simple question: should she get back on the horse and run the Seattle Marathon about two months later and if she did what would should she do differently?

Jennifer had run been hoping to run 3:45:00 in the Portland Marathon, but had started fast. She was out in front of the 3:40:00 group at one point, so we know that she went out too fast. In the late miles, she faded but did actually cross the line in about the same time as her previous marathon a few months earlier.

My advice to Jennifer was to indeed to get back out there and try again. I told her to pick a pace that would she could maintain for the whole race even if it felt slow in the first half and then try to maintain it in the second half. That’s always the tough part of the battle — starting off and feeling like you’re running too slowly, because the second half is just that much tougher than the first EVEN AT THE SAME PACE.

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