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November Training Journal – Something New (Q&A for you)

Every month on Strength Running I write a review of the previous month’s training – what worked, what didn’t, my failures and successes. My hope is that you can learn from my training to improve your own.

I’m going to do something a little different today: open a Q&A in the comment section about your training. Let me know what’s going on with your running and how I can help. I’ll also answer any questions about my training, racing, shoes, whatever – it’s all fair game.

It’s no secret that November was marathon month for me. On 11/20 I ran the Philadelphia Marathon, running a personal best time in 2:39:32. I won’t write another race report here, so check out the race report linked to above.

Philadelphia Marathon

Training Ingredients: the taper, workouts, and shoes

Most of the month I was tapering for the race or recovering from it, so there’s not much to report in terms of  high-quality workouts or weekly mileage totals. Overall volume was low for me with only 151 miles.

I experimented with a shortened taper before Philly and it worked well. My strategy was to dramatically cut the volume on several key runs throughout the week (making them very easy and short) while keeping the mileage high on workouts and a few other days.

My longest long run was also extended by two more weeks compared with my NYC Marathon. I was worried that I’d carry some residual fatigue into the race but with the targeted rest I felt fine. This won’t be true for all people but a longer taper just isn’t effective for me.

Let’s look at the November workouts:

  • 6k tempo in 21:25 (5:44 pace) + 4x1000m in 3:18, 3:16, 3:15, 3:14.
  • 22 mile long run with 3 x 3mile in 18:46, 18:05, and 17:46 (marathon PR pace, goal marathon pace, sub-marathon pace).
  • 4xmile on the track in 5:57, 5:37, 5:25, 5:19 with 200m slow jog recovery. Ten miles total.
  • 5k @ Marathon Pace: 18:44, then 4x200m in 35, 34, 34, 33. Ten miles total.

The highlight of November was the Philadelphia Marathon so check out the race report for the splits and play by play.

I wore the Saucony Fastwitch shoes for the race – they’re lightweight at only 7.8 ounces but not as minimalist as I’d normally wear for a race. Support was important to me and I think it was a good overall choice even though I got a blister on my right arch at mile 6.

My goal for my next marathon is to wear a true racing flat, but this is something I’ll have to work toward in the next 6-12 months with plenty of workouts in flats, barefoot strides, and foot strengthening exercises. My ideal marathon shoe is the ASICS Hyper Speed but I’ll need significant training to race in these for longer than 10 miles.

On to the Q&A!

Now let’s have some fun – leave your questions about training, racing, running shoes, pacing, motivation, etc. in the comments below. I’ll answer every single one.

I love doing Q&A’s and this was the foundation of the Strength Running PR Guide, a Q&A guide that’s available for free to my newsletter readers. If you want a copy, just sign up below and you’ll get access to it.

Stumped for ideas? The questions in PR Guide are on the following topics:

  • how to increase mileage / endurance
  • how to pace yourself on an easy run
  • pacing strategies for hilly races
  • how to add plyometric exercises to your training plan
  • how to schedule core/strength exercises in your training plan
  • when to schedule rest
  • how to know when you’ve gotten as fast as you can
You get the idea – anything goes. Ask away!
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