This post originally appeared on Ben’s old blog, Running From the Physio.
In what is quite possibly the most eagerly anticipated contest since the 2009 release of Monsters vs. Aliens, I have been considering the pros and cons of trying to run quickly against trying to run further. Although there is an element of general musing about the question, it is also key to planning out my targets for next year. If what I actually want to do is run really quickly, a marathon probably isn’t the best plan.
First, a little background: I did my first half-marathon in March this year, and am running my second one in October. Other than that all of my races have been at the 10k distance. Before this year, I’d only passed 10 km a handful of times in training runs – including one 10 mile run which crocked me and stopped me running for the next four months.
|Me halfway around my fastest parkrun.
My fastest time is currently from Longrun Meadow parkrun, 21:06. Based on this a few formulas tell me that I should be able to run roughly a 1:37:00 half-marathon. My target time in October is 1:45:00: if I achieve that, the corresponding 5k time would be about 22:50. I understand the differences:
- I’ve run over 30 parkruns, and do so most weeks, while I’ve only done the one half-marathon.
- All of my runs are 5 km or more, whereas I’ve never trained over 13.1 miles.
- The predictions are completely different stages of development: parkrun has honed my 5k PB, I’m still learning about HM pacing.
On Twitter, the majority of the @UKRunChat
community are aiming to run further and further: lots are signed up for the Brighton Marathon, which I think is the first (and possibly last) marathon for many, while plenty of others are looking at ultras. This has created a lot of peer pressure (not necessarily negatively) to push myself to run further too. To this end, I pencilled the Robin Hood Marathon into my 2015 calendar, despite the fact that I never really planned on running a marathon quite yet.
The thing is, as I’ve mentioned before, I love running fast. Running for ages? Not so much. So, I’m coming to the conclusion that for next year at least, I might enjoy my running more if I just continue to focus on shorter distances, with a few half-marathons thrown in. To reflect this, my training would have much more speed-work: threshold runs, intervals, and any “junk mile” runs would involve fartleks. Hill sprints are difficult in Taunton, although there’s a few places I can go to run them, it’s just a matter of getting there!
All that said, I’m not completely decided yet: is this just an element of laziness or nervousness about stepping up my distances? I think
that it’s just making sure then when I do
step up I’m prepared and confident at the shorter stuff. I figure that marathon runners peak later in life, so while I’m still (sort of) young I can focus on running as fast as I ruddy can. I’m even considering running on a track, perhaps not racing though; I’ve seen @runmapporun
‘s times, and they scare me!
As you might be able to tell though, I’m still a little unsure about it all: part of me says I can do both, but getting the balance of speed and distance, while maintaining a sensible run/life balance seems a bit too much manage.
What are your goals at the moment: speed, distance, or both?
What advice can you offer me, what has worked for you?