So my brain and my body can’t decide what time I should shoot for in the marathon. My main goal is to finish, but I also need to pick a pace before setting off. It needs to be somewhere between manageable and challenging, and I want to have fun doing it. Of course, I have people mentioning the dreaded ‘B’ word (Boston, which requires me to run a 3:10 marathon in order to qualify), but I need to get that out of my head because it is a surefire way to crash and burn. We’ll shoot for that in a year if I haven’t blown out my knees first.
That being said, a lot my training is geared for a three-hour marathon. There’s no way in hell I am attempting such a lofty goal – I have no intentions of walking the last 10 kilometers – but I want my marathon pace to feel as easy as possible come November 5. It’s a lot easier to run five-minute kilometers when your body knows what it feels like to run sub-four-minute kilometers, let me tell you.
On Tuesday I decided to try a workout called Yasso 800s. I can’t remember where I found the workout (some running book, I imagine), but basically the concept is that a Yasso 800 is a micro version of your marathon time – if you want to run a 4-hour marathon, your 800-meter repeat time is 4 minutes. If you can manage to pull off 8-10 Yasso 800s before you start tapering, your marathon time is apparently within grasp.
Based on my principal of running harder than I should, I resolved to run my Yasso 800s in three minutes. Since it was late, I again hopped on the dreaded treadmill (no sense twisting an ankle in the dark), set the speed to 10 miles an hour, and went for it. The first couple were rough – three minutes is longer than you think - but I managed to get into a rhythm by the half-way point.
When I am running repeats on a treadmill, I usually cover the clock with a magazine or newspaper. It gives me something to look at while I run, and it also assures that I focus on form and not the time. Once I get to a point where I think I’m done, I push the magazine to the side and take a peek. I’m always short by at least fifteen seconds, if not more, but at least it passes a lot of time.
Somehow, I was able to finish the workout (eight repeats, plus warm up and cool down) without any problems. I was drenched with sweat and quite tired afterwards, but I was pleased I could pull it off, even if I have no plans to attempt a three-hour marathon. I’ll just have to remind myself about this when the gun goes off.