The Blonde Runs

Colorado lovin'

…on running conversations


If there is one thing I love, it’s talking about running. I love hearing about other people’s experiences and I love sharing my own.

Lately, I’ve been able to do a lot of marathon talk with a guy I met at the Lululemon Run Club.

(Hope you don’t mind that I share your story and questions, Scott!)

Scott was just recently accepted into the hard-to-get-accepted-as-a-foreigner Tokyo Marathon! While it’s a rather large race, at 35,000, they only accept a certain percentage of international competitors into the race. Like, a minuscule amount. So, for kicks and giggles, Scott and a couple of friends submitted their names into the lottery. And ALL. THREE. WERE. ACCEPTED. A little crazy? A little bit, yes! Crazy awesome! But Scott isn’t so sure…

He’s run a handful of half marathons, but never thought he’d run a full. So, when he heard about my “runners disease” at Run Club, I think it piqued his curiosity. Granted, I think I started badgering him with questions about his training plan, long runs, hopes and dreams, etc., when my ears perked up to his mention of running the Tokyo Marathon.

Since then, I have been his sounding board for some very legitimate distance running/training questions. Hopefully, I’ve been able to give him some sound guidance as he embarks on one of the greatest races of his life.

I’m sharing his questions here. If anyone wants to add to what I’ve already said, please do so in the comments section. If you disagree with me, I reserve the right to delete your comment. Just kidding.

Do you do any trail running? Or is it better to stick to the pavement for marathon training?

I love trail runs! I’m so lucky that trails are abundant in Colorado! Oddly enough, I don’t usually incorporate them into my training plans. I think I get too enslaved to the pacing and numbers on my watch to slow down for a trail run. And I tend to think that my training should resemble my race terrain. But I know that trail running strengthens me. And I tend to run them when I’m not training. So, why not run them when I actually am? Perhaps it’s something I remedy next training cycle.

How often do you run a week?

When I’m training for a race, I’ll run 6 times a week. And some of those days are 2-a-days. However, when I’m not in a training cycle, it really depends on how I feel!

What’s typically the “longest” run you’ll go on?

My longest run is a 22 miler that I log about 4 weeks away from the marathon. Prior to that, I consistently run 17-19 milers every weekend. I throw in another 20 about 6 weeks out. Keep in mind, that it takes quite a while to get to that point. A nice base. Lots of buildup.

My problem truly is “pacing.” I do fine in a group typically going as fast or as slow as they can without problem. But, running by myself I always go out “too fast.” I was researching some of those GPS style watches and noticed that the Garmin’s have a personal pace setter or something like that? Thoughts?

Yes, some of the Garmin styles have the pace setting option. You can program the watch to beep at you when you drop below a certain pre-set pace. This is a great function, especially when the idea of pacing may be foreign. “Pacing yourself” is such an arbitrary term. Mainly because it is determined per person, per race, per distance, per day, per feeling, etc… You can’t teach it. You have to experience it. You have to learn your body. You have to practice. It comes when you tempo. It comes when you race. It’s just a matter of time before you know what works for you.

Also, if nervous about pacing at a race, most large long-distance races provide pacing groups. Choose the group you feel most comfortable running with. You can always re-evaluate as you race and determine whether or not you should speed up, slow down, or stay put.

What do you put on the soles of your shoes for running when the ice does come?

Here in Colorado, we are bound to have a decent snowfall, at least a few times, between October and April. So, we diehards have to be well-equipped to handle the snow and ice on the roads, sidewalks, and trails. I use Yak Tracks. Made of springs and rubber, they are easy to slip on the bottoms of your shoes. More importantly, they provide that needed “extra layer” to keep you safe in the elements when the thought of staying inside by the fire has you feeling stir-crazy. I just saw that these came out. But, I haven’t tried them. Yet.


5 thoughts on “…on running conversations

  1. I tried the yak trax and didn’t really care for them. The problem is that the City is pretty good at keeping the paths near me cleared, which means that usually at least some of the path is clear pavement. Lots of the rest is hard packed snow and I can run on that no problem. A little bit is ice, and the trax help there, but not much. Plus they chew hell out of the bottom of your shoes and sound terrible when running on pavement. I’m going to look at some of the strap on stud systems. (TWSS!) If there’s much more snow than a few inches it doesn’t matter what’s on your feet. Plus, it’s good for your run form to learn to run on ice. Centered and balance and control and all that stuff.

    I don’t think I’ve ever run 6 times in one week. Ever. Good thing I don’t really have any aspirations to run a marathon any time soon.

  2. I agree that 22 miles is the perfect pre-marathon long run, which I always do 3 weeks out. Include one to two speed sessions per week of your build up, switching it up between repeats and longer tempos. 6 days a week! Yak-traks, yes! Only when needed. I used them last year when it was really icy, otherwise, I go without and am careful. Practice nutrition on your long runs! So important. And, oh yeah– have a blast!! xo

  3. Two more things … 1) stick to pavement since that is what you will be running on. And 2) the Garmin us a great tool but I hate that alarm and so will other runners if you aren’t “on pace”. 🙂 happy running!!

    • Yes! I had mentioned the alarm to him. That it beeps every time he drops below his pre-determined pace. I’ve run next to people who have theirs set up and it drives me nuts.

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