As marathon day approaches, now officially less than 40 days away (no, I’m not counting), I’ve been doing my share of research on the race, the course, and of course the hills. To be honest, I’ve also been doing some virtual “spying” on my competitors…well, the ones who have blogs anyway. I’ve been looking at their runs, their schedules and their races, and trying to gauge where I’m at in training in comparison to them. (Oh, don’t turn your noses up at me…you know you all do it too!) Although for the most part it seems as if I’m up to par with everyone else, there does seem to be a glaring difference in my training schedule as compared to theirs. While almost everyone who’s training at the same paces as me are already running 60, 70, and even 80 miles a week consistently, I have yet to push a single mile over 46 for the week. And despite feeling bad sometimes that I train at such low mileage whenever one of my running friend/teammates asks and starts comparing my marathon training plan to theirs, I’m confident that “Quality over Quantity” is really the best training strategy for me and will deliver a good time for me in Boston.
In case there are some cynics who still quite don’t believe, here are a few reasons why ‘quality’ is such a better training approach than ‘quantity’…for me anyway.
- Quantity requires more mileage on the road, which increases the risk of injury.
- Quantity requires more mileage on the road, which takes heck of a longer time to run. Because I have a full professional and social life outside of running which I have to attend to, the less time I have to spend in training to achieve my goals, the better the life for me.
- Because you’re running less miles, you can train faster with quality than you would with quantity. For me, I find the faster I train, the faster I tend to race too!
- Rest is a major component of quality, not so with quantity. I’ve found that running 3 and 4 days consecutively no matter how slow, drains me down physically and mentally. Running back-to-back days is a rarity on the quality plan.
- Running short and fast quality boosts and builds confidence more than long and slow quantity. The evidence for this comes from the fact that the last meaningful session before a race always include some element of speedwork at around goal pace as preparation for a race.
I’m not sure if anyone in blogland agrees with this approach. After all, it is somewhat contrary to what all the great books (Daniels, Pfizinger, Rodgers, etc) would recommend. But because I’ve had progressive incremental success training under this paradigm (and besides, it’s a little too late to change anyways) while avoiding injury, I’m sticking with this strategy until it or I break down.
How does the rest of you train for marathons? Do you tend to suffer the long miles or run them fast to get them over with? Let the great debate begin.