As I've already mentioned I've started my training in earnest for a goal marathon (The Nagano Marathon April 17th 2011). I won't start on the program proper until January 3rd but have been doing the lead up weeks, introductory weeks 1 to 3 in rotation. I'm just getting used to the type of running they expect, at the different levels I'm suposed to run the sessions in.
Effort 1= 4:42 per km HR 102-119
Effort 2= 4:14 per km HR 119-136
Effort 3= 3:46 per km HR 136-148
Effort 4= 3:34 per km HR 148-156
Effort 5= 3:29 per km HR 157-164
The above are the different pace and heart rates I'm to run for a maximum heart rate of 170bpm and a marathon goal time of sub 2:45:00. I'm doing 2 to 3 sessions in the higher levels and the rest of the week at a Cruisey level 1 effort.
It's taken me a few weeks to get used to this but now I can get pretty close to what they ask on all my runs. Found it a little hard to hold the heart rate down at the effort 1 pace at first but the fitter I get....Midweek I was able to keep my HR in the low 120s and run a pace of 4:20, which I've got to be happy with at this stage of my training.
As stated, the above rates are what is recommended to train at to run a sub 2:45:00 marathon, if I want to go any faster I can run the sessions a little faster while still trying to keep my heart rate down as close as possible to the recommended rates.
Also if I want to run a faster marathon than 2:45 I'll have to up the mileage, add a couple more sessions a week at the lower level effort range. Knowing myself, I need to be running between 100, to 160kms a week if I'm to handle the last 15k of a fast marathon so I will add runs as I need to get me up to those kind of Ks just being careful not to run them all too fast and put myself into over training mode which I'm susceptible to do.
I might even do one of my fast sessions downhill, ala Hosaka, in order to save my legs and increase my rate of recovery. I'll be a bit smarter this time and not so obsessive. like tonight I had a hard, long day at work and now it is pissing rain, cold and windy. I normally would run in this but actually don't feel like it and can't see the benefit of simply running to log the mileage. I'll run hard when I have to and relaxed most of the time, and never when I don't feel like it. This will keep me feeling like it more often than not and I'm sure that this is a recipe for PBs and a long running life. I have learnt that just like in a race I have to "let the pace/race come" to me.