Oly Marathon Training – Long Run #1… Some “Chi Running”

It’s been a couple of weeks since I posted… spring break trip to San Diego with my daughter. Oh… and that old friend – work, so I have been kinda busy. Still, I have been sticking with the program as we head towards the next marathon in Olympia on May 20. CG noticed (even while on vacation in TX) that I was remiss in my blogging and reminded me to get back here.

Last Sunday was the first real long training run and the plan had me scheduled to do 18 miles. We first did a big loop along the Green River and by the time we were back at the running store we had put in 11 miles. Since it was a long run I took one of those strap-to-your-hand water bottles. By mile 5 or 6 I remembered why I hate them. My right arm was getting more tired than the left (I know, I know… just change hands, but it doesn’t feel right) so pretty soon I was obsessing about that and being distracted from thinking about good running form.

The form thing I have been practicing is something I touched on before – optimum cadence (step frequency) of about 180 steps per minute. Saw some of a video (Chi Running… there’s a book also) that gave me some more insight into how to practice this… a major key to maintaining a pace is in keeping the arms pumping. They do indeed seem to “regulate” leg speed and it does help you with the hip motion necessary to stretch a few more inches out of each stride. The short version… when I concentrate and manage it… I do run faster for the same apparent effort.

We took a few minutes to refill drinks bottles at the store and set off on the hard part of the morning. Eric’s training plan was to have us run a few segments that would make the 18 seem more like the 26 in the race. The hill climb was first… then he led us to a winding, steep bike trail 1 mile descent into the valley (at mile 16). The pounding our quad muscles took in that mile or so was brutal – made the next mile along the river tough to maintain pace.

In the end we ran just over 19 miles and yes, it felt like more. Felt harder than my familiar old “long runs”. I have often discussed that old question with other runners… “if you’re going to race 26 miles, why do you never run more than about 20 in training ?”. I suppose we could, but I always doubted that simply adding 3 or 6 more easy-paced miles 3 or 4 times would truly make that much difference. Eric’s plan seems to be to let you put in enough miles AND find ways to generate sufficient training stimulus that will prepare you for the rigors of the approaching event.

But man was I tired and hungry after it…

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~ by John Rankin on Apr 12, 2007.

One Response to “Oly Marathon Training – Long Run #1… Some “Chi Running””

  1. I read ChiRunning front to back a few times. I don’t know if I’m doing it right but I haven’t suffered any shin splints, joint problems etc. in a very long time *knock on wood* I’d like to check out the DVD.

    Glad to see you back in here, John!

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