Few days after the 1st CAMSUR Marathon, I had a conversation with one of the Finishers who finished the race in sub-four hours. The runner had been running his past Marathon Races in 3:35 to 3:50 hours but he would like to be consistent and cross the barrier of less than 3:30 hours. He simply meant that it is hard to master and predict your finish time in a Marathon Race if you are training and running the race here in the country. That’s true!
At the back of the mind of this runner, I could only analyze that he wants to set a record in his PR best time in his Marathon Race. Through my experience in running and being exposed to races here and abroad, I told him that the prevailing weather/climate in the country is the number one factor that prevents us from coming up with our PR best time. It is best to train hard here in the country and then choose/plan for a race in one of the temperate countries like China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, or to the United States. Running a race in a perfect and cool temperature makes wonder to the racing/running body. Aside from a better quality of air and running environment, I never had any problems with muscle cramps on my legs and problems on hydration.
The second most important factor is the intensity of one’s training. If you want a detailed explanation of this factor, you have to refer to the book, “Jack Daniels’ Running Formula” where you will encounter Vo2Max, VDot, and the different range of average pace depending on the intensity of your workout. Your average pace is categorized into the following types of workout intensity—EASY, Threshold, Marathon, Race, and Interval Paces. Based on your predicted time to finish a certain distance, you have to follow each recommended pace depending on the intensity of your running workout. In my case, I have to maintain an average pace of 5:45 minutes per kilometer in my EASY runs to be able to finish my predicted time of 3:45 hours in a Marathon Race. You can just imagine how I need to be consistent with my training if you will know my average paces in my Threshold, Marathon, Race, and Interval workouts. The bottom line is that, I want you to get hold of the book by Jack Daniels and learn the details from it. Remember that the “devil” is always at the details.
The last thing that I could recommend to people who would want to establish their best PR time is to be able to value the word, RECOVERY. In between these workouts with intensity, you must be able to find time to have your body recover from the stress of such workouts. You must have to follow a standard weekly schedule for your running workouts. In the many journals, books and reading materials, I found out that the best competitive runners follow a 7-day a week schedule that is generally presented like this:
Monday—Easy and Recovery Run
Wednesday—Moderate to Easy Run
Thursday—Moderate to Easy Run
Saturday—Easy to Moderate Run (minimum of 1 ½ hours)
Sunday—Long Steady Long Run (minimum of 2 ½ hours Easy Run)
You could see in this basic weekly schedule that the body would be able to recover after your Speed Training days and after your weekend/Sunday LSD runs. You could also lessen the intensity of your weekly average runs after 3 weeks, making at least one week as recovery week within a month’s of training schedule.