Backwards TIaRT

This week's TIaRT theme in the Runner's Lounge is: Share the one burning question you have about your running and ask other TIaRT readers/contributors for their feedback.

I've been running consistently since high school so I don't have many burning questions about my running. However, the one I just can't seem to get over has to do with my How to Qualify for Boston TIaRT post. That is: how is it that during a speed workout I can run a mile in just under 7 min pace, but completing a marathon in 3 hrs 40 min (8:24 min avg pace) seems a bit far fetched for this bod?

Part of me thinks I already know the answer: I don't employ enough rest days or enough "pushing myself to the limit" on some of my harder runs to reach threshold and understand my true potential. Does this happen to you during training? Do you just go out and run your 8:30 min pace because that's what your body knows and loves, or do you push it 'til it burns and your body is saying "I don't think I can do this, but I must keep going?"

Dear Readers, I insist, share the love and give me some feedback. And for heaven's sake, all of you who are viewing but not commenting, please delurk! :)


Amber said…
I'm a brand new runner so have no idea about qualifying for the marathon but I like to push myself to the limit when I work out. If I'm not really tired after an easy run I'll sprint the last 1/2 mile or so until my heart is racing and I'm huffing and puffing. Same thing if I'm on the elliptical and bike, every once in a while I'll turn the level up high or sprint to get my heart rate up! I just like the feeling when I'm totally spent after a cardio workout.

That being said the longest distance I've ran yet is 6 miles, so I really don't know how I'd do if I had to go farther and longer.
J said…
I have that same question. how can I run so fast for a mile or a 5k and then for the longer distances I can't hold that pace. I think its all about endurance. By working on running my longer training distances faster and starting a longer race at a slower pace so I could build into a faster pace. Hope that sentence wasn't too confusing!
ThatGirlRuns said…
Run your long runs with people that are faster than you. It will motivate you to keep your speed up for longer distances.

Good luck
I'm far too slow to think about running more than one 8:24 mile!

Kind of common sense, but I have found that when I focus on speed more during my shorter training runs, the pace on my long runs picks up. When I'm being lazy and just running the distance, my speed suffers.

I guess you have to be kind of fast in the first place, but also keep at it with your speed training!
Anonymous said…
Just came across your blog through the Runner's Lounge. I can't really offer much advice on your question since I've only done one marathon, but I'll certainly add you to my blog roll. (My blog roll has gotten stale and I need more to read!)
RunningLaur said…
I don't know that I'm qualified to give advice on this, being a slow poke nonmarathoner, but I'll do it anyway.

I'd try doing longer runs with fast intervals. If you know you can push yourself for a fast mile, then do a long run with fast miles regularly thrown in. This will teach your body that it can push faster over the long period of time you need for the marathon.
Anonymous said…
All I know is that even starting my interval workouts, and doing them consistently, has increased my pace by almost a whole Minute/mile since just last Fall. I definitely push it on my interval workouts. I follow a training plan, and to have a "plan" tell me what pace I have to keep helps a lot. I like to push distances, but need more will to push a speed. I've also realized that doing these on a treadmill really helps my pace, because I know that I'm Definitely keeping the pace. The treadmill --> road runs are crazy; I feel so much faster.

Not sure if that helps :) but just some input.

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