One of the toughest things I'm finding is to actually take it easy on my 'easy run' days. So for today, I paced with my daughter Tori for the 10k (6 mile) route we did. Tori is training for the Disney World Half Marathon in January 2008 and it working on building up both her distance and her speed.
My target pace according to my Runners World chart is 9:02/mile (5:39/k) but Tori isn't quite there yet -- so we just did what she could manage which was 7:00/k for the first 4k, closer to 8:00/k for the next 4, and then back to 7:00/k for the last 2k. And for the last 300 m., she kicked it up a notch to 6:40/k pace. So while I wasn't doing the pace that the chart required, the run did teach me to run slowly, and I got more minutes of running at the slow pace than if I had done the required pace. Hopefully it all evens out from a training perspective.
Tomorrow is the first long run of the chart -- 12 miles (19k) -- and I'm supposed to do it at that same easy pace of 9:02/mile. But, once again, I'm going to go off the chart -- this time on the faster end. Brian needs to do 16 miles (roughly 26k) at a pace of 8:15/mile, so he is going to run past my house and then while we're running together, we'll do 8:30/mile. He'll be able to get in 4k on either end of my 19k at a faster pace, so it should all even out.
The weird thing is that I ran the Lucan-Exeter Half Marathon last weekend which was a longer run and at a faster pace (7:44/mile) than I'm doing this weekend. Seems odd that I'm actually running less fast while training for the marathon. The other weird thing is that my long run pace never actually comes close to that of my marathon target during the training. Only during my tempo runs do I get to run faster.
As a test, Brian suggested that I put my goal finish time into the Runners World SmartCoach tool as the time that I had actually completed as my last race, and at a moderate intensity training pace to see what it came back with. One would suspect that this would provide a training plan that would allow you to run that same goal finish time. Surprisingly, the numbers were almost identical to the plan I'm on now -- perhaps even just a tad weaker.
So, I'll continue to 'believe' -- that the tempo runs for speed combined with lots and lots of easy miles are going to do the trick.
We'll see how I feel after running tomorrow. Its supposed to be warm (26 degrees) and 20 kph winds, so we'll get a bit of 'weather training' in.