Friday, March 27, 2009

Moving On: Pacetats and Pacing

Alrighty then. Now that everyone has gotten a chance to speak their mind on the mileage controversy, I think it’s about time we bury the hatchet and move on. But before I do, let me set the record straight. Although I was perturbed and rather perplexed by the harsh criticism, it was NEVER my intention to desecrate or otherwise ridicule the character of the critic. Nor was it my intent to assemble the minions to launch a verbal assault against the perpetrator. I highly respect everyone’s opinion, even those that do not agree with my own. However, I also believe that when the basis of ones hard work for the last several months comes under heavy scrutiny, I am similarly obliged to offer an objective defense using my own past training as evidence. Otherwise, if I continued forward in silence, it would appear as if I am acquiescing to the label of my marathon training as “soft” which I vehemently do not agree with. (As a matter of fact, even in further defining the term, the lesson learned in a sub 2:30 marathon was used – which is really not anywhere close to what MY marathon goals are. Therefore, the question of mileage for a sub 3:00 marathon is not the same as for a 2:30 marathon. So, in my opinion, to use that derogatory term to describe my training when it’s already been shown to be able to carry me to a 3:02 marathon is really not justified.) Furthermore, as I’m the acting running coach for more than a few friends and bloggers, how can I perform my duties honestly in helping them train for their own half-marathons and marathons with a custom plan I designed for them if I don’t even believe enough in my own training philosophy to offer a suitable defense when it is under attack. As such, I was more or less forced to build a strong case for myself not using slander or ridicule but using objective verifiable training data from marathons past. I truly hope I have done that. If anyone took offense from my arguments on my own behalf, then I am the one who’s truly sorry because I thought I handled the situation as tactfully as I could and took my time to select my words carefully.

I guess we can all agree to disagree and continue on with our individual methods for training for races the way we like.

Whew, now that’s over…I have other burning issues to discuss as it relates to the Boston Marathon, or just marathoning in general…

My new bloggy friend carpeviam made a recent discovery and sent me a link in the comments of the last post. It was for pacetat. It seems like they now offer temporary tattoos with pace tables for each mile of the marathon on them. How cool is that? Although I’ve never been one to use predefined set paces to carry me through a marathon (mostly because I often do not run marathons with a singular goal in mind), I’m tempted to use a pace bracelet on this go round just to keep myself on my goal pace. Are there people out there who swear by them? How have your experiences been running with and without a pace bracelet? The way I look at it, sometimes it can be a godsend when other times it can be a crutch.

Secondarily, even if I were to run strictly according to pace, what is considered good pacing strategy for a deceptive hilly course like Boston? I’m thinking strictly an even pace throughout is probably not the way to go since most of the hillier portions are towards the end. Still, I’m nervous that if I work too hard building up bank time for the hills, I’ll just burn myself out. As a guide, I’ve downloaded Greg Maclin’s amazing worksheet (as listed in RWOL forum here) and have been playing around with different numbers. I’ve also been looking with interest at normalized paces of the elites from the 2008 version of the race (as described in this thread) in trying to decide how I should tackle the course myself. Any helpful insights or knowledgeable insider info would be much appreciated.

Or if you don’t have experience in such matters, you can tell me how I totally just jinxed myself in ignoring all inhibitions for spending $90 on one of these.
So what if I’m planning to wear it in front of the kids at the hospital instead of my white coat for the entire month of April? I think I’m entitled. Besides, I’m sure the kids won’t mind…even if the administration or my colleagues might think differently. But then again, they've never qualified to run The Boston Marathon now have they?

17 comments:

wowo said...

I got one of those free at the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis. Since I ran with a pace team I never used it, but I totally felt like a serious runner and wore it the entire day. When people pointed it out, I was all like "Yeah, I just ran that 1/2 marathon this morning. No sweat, I'm a serious runner" Even though I could barely walk.

Vava said...

That's a very cool thread you linked to on pacing strategies for Boston. I am not a marathoner or a very accomplished runner, but I really enjoy these types of analyses. Thanks!

carpeviam said...

Hey, my running partner (who ran Boston last year) told me that apparently, there are pacing bracelets (and maybe tats?) that are offered at the Boston expo that DO take into account the hills and your predicted pace! Unless they've changed them for this year, they are hard plastic. She didn't run with it because it was so awkward. But, if they offer a tat that is Boston and pace customized, I could get into that! Depending on weather, of course. So many variable. ;)

nwgdc said...

I absolutely LOVE the jacket. Good decision. Wear it EVERYWHERE.

aron said...

someday when I run boston I am buying that jacket and wearing it EVERYWHERE as well :) nice job on the purchase!!

I wore a pace band for my last marathon... I liked it because my Garmin was slightly off of the course (like usual due to weaving, etc) so it was nice to be able to check it against the actual mile markers on the course. I am going to wear one again for Eugene. Good point on the course though and taking the hills into consideration, definitely something to think about.

Running and living said...

I love to run with pacers - my best races have been when I just followed the pacer, rather than worrying I am going too fast or too slow. Not sure what I'll do in Boston. Everyone says the hills are a killer, but when I ran them, albeit after only 14, not 20 miles, they did not seem that bad. In fact, the Newton Hills seem harder to me than Heartbreak. In any case, I will probably get a pace tat (extra security if my Garmin misbehaves). Ana-Maria
P.S. Thanks for providing the links in your post, v helpful!

Ms. V. said...

Pacetats would make me crazy. But, I'm neuoritc like that.

Susan said...

I wore pace bands for both of my marathons, but I don't think I'll wear them again. They're good for letting you know where you should be each mile, but it's too easy to get thrown off of the "perfect pace." This is true especially if the course is hilly, but also taking into account aid stations (if you slow down during them, how often they are, etc). I generally know about where I should be at certain mile markers, and that's good enough...otherwise I go crazy if I'm off by a few seconds, but maybe that's just me. Having a garmin certainly helps as well...

Love the jacket!

Marci said...

I didn't get a chance to comment on your previous post, but I'll say the following. I've only recently started reading your blog Lam, but I value your running advice. Your running plan work -you have awesome results to show that it does!! End of story!

I used to always wear a band, but then I found I got too upset if I was off for a marker. But it does make the math easier when your brain becomes mushy later in the race. Have a great weekend!

Cowboy Hazel said...

The pacetats seem very cool. I think I'm gonna get one for 3:05:00 for my marathon. I've been putting a lot of thought into that lately, actually, it's interesting that you mention it. I don't want to try anything too aggresive, but I want to leave myself a little cushion on the BQ qual time in case something unexpected happens late. I'm very bummed that I can't run Boston this year, but I'll be there in 2010. And then, I'll buy the ridiculous jacket too. Enjoy it. You've earned it.

lindsay said...

i am so getting a jacket next year when i go! (needed a break after the goofy, so i'm bypassing '09) they are terribly pricey though, boo.

i used a pace band to get my bq. it worked for me because i'd look down at (almost) every mile and see that i was at/ahead of pace and that helped motivate me to carry on. i suppose it could be a hindrance if you are having an off day, but you can always toss the band or rub the tat off. i also liked having it to help distract my brain from the pain (physically and mentally) at times.

The Happy Runner said...

You know, if I was running Boston I would probably be wearing a Boston jacket, pants, socks, hat, gloves, undies, the whole thing. Work it!

Run For Life said...

I would also wear the medal all month, hehe.

M*J*C said...

Thanks for stopping by Lam! Your messages always mean so much to me!
I love that you bought the jacket and are planning to wear it the whole month of April, you have to get a picture of that!!!!

Michelle said...

Great jacket!!! Take a photo of you wearing it just because!!!

X-Country2 said...

Rock that jacket loud and proud!

sRod said...

1. I've never seen anyone so analytical about pacing! I should really know by now, but damn, you do bring it to another level.

2. Wear that jacket until it is threadbare!

 
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