Coach Joey's Corner: Learning to Settle

It’s Monday! And that means it’s time for Coach Joey’s Corner! Check out his weekly training recap and how to learn the art of settling.

Training Update 2/4 to 2/10

Monday:

  • AM: 8 at 7:09 pace with 6 strides

  • PM: 5 at 7:32 pace

Tuesday

  • AM: 3 mile warmup, 8x800 with 200 jog rests, 2 mile cooldown. Goal was 2:30-2:35. Splits: 2:33.6, 2:33.8, 2:31.5, 2:32.4, 2:30.7, 2:29.8, 2:31.1, 2:29.1 (average 2:31.5)

  • PM: 5.8 at 7:30 pace

Wednesday

  • AM: 8 at 7:18 pace

  • PM: 4.8 at 7:50 pace. In pouring rain and flooding. Should’ve run on the treadmill!

Thursday

  • AM: 3 mile warmup, 10 x 45 sec gentle downhill strides, 3 mile cooldown. Avg 4:18.4 pace (4:27.3 Strava grade-adjusted pace)

  • PM: 5.6 at 7:52 pace

Friday

  • AM: 8 at 7:18 pace

  • PM: 4 at 7:19 pace

Saturday

  • AM: 20 at 6:39 pace.

  • PM: off

Sunday

  • AM: off

  • PM: 7.9 at 7:10 pace

·         Week Total: 96.5 miles

Tentative Racing Schedule

·         Hot Chocolate 15k 2/16

·         Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon 3/9

·         Purity Dairy Dash 15k 4/13

·         Grandma’s Marathon 6/22

Decided about a week ago to run hot chocolate, which should be a good rust-buster before the half. The plan is to decide for sure about Grandma’s sometime this week!

Some Thoughts

Another solid week in the books. Nothing super impressive, just good consistent training being added to the bank balance. Tuesday was a little bit faster but still very in control, and Thursday was basically just glorified strides, but it was good to get some turnover in and keep the legs awake. I was also pleased with Saturday. The slowest of the last 15 miles was 635, and it all felt pretty comfortable. Really, there’s nothing that impressive about running a bunch of miles 60-70 sec/mile slower than marathon pace. But the reason I was happy with this is that I felt I really settled into the pace. And do you know what a big part of racing well at long distance is?

Learning to Settle

Consider Eluid Kipchoge, the greatest marathon to run the face of the earth. No, really. Look at the picture below and consider Kipchoge:

kipchoge.png

Source

Kipchoge is pictured here dueling in out late in the 2015 London Marathon with former world record holder Wilson Kipsang. Another former world record holder, Dennis Kimetto, has already succumbed to the quick pace and is back in third at the time this photo was taken.

Note the calm demeanor of Kipchoge. You’d think that dueling with the world’s best might put some strain on your face, but great racers are great at relaxing and settling into the race. Let’s consider a more extreme example.

Take a look at Matt Centrowitz in the 2016 Olympics, where he ended up winning gold in the 1500m. Unlike the marathon, when you’re running a race less than a mile long you’ve got a lot to worry about—position, timing of moves, and usually a ferocious kick. But in the midst of all this chaos, Centrowitz seems to find some calm:

centrowitz.jpg

Source

Of course, having the right genetics and essentially being bred to win gold medals probably helps more than the calm look on your face, but the point here is that if you want to race well in distance events, you’ve got to learn to settle.

And if you can’t even settle in training, how do you expect to do it during a race? One good place to settle is a moderate workout or long run. Instead of worrying about hitting exact splits or trying to turn the workout into an effort that’s harder than it needs to be, practice settling. Get comfortable at the pace you’re running. If you learn to really get comfortable during a steady long run or even an interval workout, you’ll have a much better chance of not being overly antsy during a race. And especially in the marathon, any unnecessary energy you waste early on will really come back to bite you in the last 10k.

I feel like I should go on, but maybe it’s appropriate to just settle with what I’ve written so far 😉. Until next week…