Sunday, November 08, 2009

Running Too Hard in the Ironman ?

I went out for my last long- 4 hour- ride and run yesterday. I really wanted to get the run nailed down and watch what I was doing. Maybe because it was going on during I workout, I was thinking about Ironman Florida and how the 10:00 mark got away from me in the back half of the run.

Or rather, I was wondering if it had gotten away from me in the front half or the back half.

I had a good ride. I started out with Steve and two other people but at 90 minutes I headed out on Route 1, settled into my aerobars and really opened it up. I had a great ride, came back and stripped off my cold-weather gear and headed right out on my run. I wanted to test a theory.

I wasn't going to take any food with me, just gatorade. I wanted to eliminate a quick burst from a Clif Shot affecting how I felt- I wanted to see if I started to fade at around 15 minutes (what should be 2 miles).

My theory was that what was hurting me- what had hurt me in Firmman and my last kong brick and even in Florida last year- wasn't the back half of my run, but the front half.

It goes like. I get off the bike, get my gear on (I used a three minute transition yesterday to mirror what happens in the race), and start running at what I feel like is a good pace for me. Which is really how fast I feel like I can run running, not really how fast I should be running. That's because I do the vast majority of my running faster than I'm ever going to average in the Ironman, and I start out the Ironnman running at a pace that feels good.

It's no different than the way 5:30 feels fine for the first mile of a 5K, and then starts to feel like crap.

So I was interested in the 10-15 minute range. I was running well when I started and then sure enough, at around 12-13 minutes I started to fade a little bit. I dropped my pace by about 15 seconds a mile and lo and behold, the fade faded. That was it. The inevitable trough was not inevitable at all.

A little bit later I looked at my results from Florida last year. I started out running at a 7:10 pace for about the first 6 miles of the run. I finished the last 6 miles at an 8:23 pace. Now 8:23 pace isn't horrible, but who knows. If I'd started out at 7:50 pace, I might have come home at 7:50 pace.

Can I translate to Arizona in two weeks ?

Who knows...

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