Tonight’s training run at the running club was taken by Paul Evans (former Chicago marathon winner) and Brendon Byrne (a UKA level 4 coach). It ended with a Q&A session, to which PE and BB made some interesting references. I have documented them here, as much for my own memory as for anything else.
Long run alone.
This was said in reference to the marathon being a mental challenge – and running the long run alone would help in this regard. I think there is much to be gained from running the long run alone, however, I am not sure this is necessary for every long run.
Tempo training = very good
The suggestion was that, after the long run, this was the best session of the week. I have always considered the tempo run to be important, but think it needs to be run alongside a more traditional interval session. The interval session would be used to increase speed, while the tempo run would be used to help maintain that speed over a longer distance (i.e. to develop speed endurance). The particular session he made reference to was 3*2 miles or 6*1 mile at about 10k or 5k pace, respectively.
Strength and conditioning is beneficial
The suggestion was that this is the one session PE would add to his schedule were he to write it again. But it wouldn’t take precedence over the long run, or the two other speed sessions.
Pasta party = bad
While the ‘loading’ of carbohydrates in the immediate days before the marathon is essential, there are many healthier sources of pasta than that which has been cooking for hours at marathon expos. However, make sure to book a restaurant for the night before the race, so as not to risk being left to wait hours for a table – 35 000 runners and their families is a lot for any city to accommodate.
At this point, I struggled to understand PE’s argument; having never trained or raced with gels, he claimed that they were essential for good marathon running. I would have liked to have pointed out that Steve Jones never took any gels, and no Brit has ever run quicker. Fortunately, somebody else raised a similar point, but the session was closed during the response.
Maybe I’ll go to the next session.