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How to qualify for Boston: More Jack Daniels!

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5ksandcabernets: How to qualify for Boston: More Jack Daniels!


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to qualify for Boston: More Jack Daniels!

I finished the last mile of my last 5K in under 6 minutes, and I can hold a sub 7-minute mile pace for an entire half marathon.

But I am very weak long distance runner. The longer the race, the worse I perform. My racing times are not proportionate.

I was flipping through my worn, tattered copy of Jack Daniels' Running Formula the other day and noticed how my short-run ability does not match my long-run ability. (Yes. Jack Daniels. That's his real name, folks. And he had nothing to do with that drink.)

In Running Formula, Daniels lays out these cool charts where you input a time in one distance and he can tell you your potential time for another distance. These "VDOT" charts assume that you are properly trained for each distance you run, that you train just as hard to run that 5K PR as you did for the marathon.

Of course, a lot of people are "dis-proportionate" runners. Some people are natural long-distance runners, but they would not finish in the Top 50 of a local 10k. Others, like me, are very fast, with tons of fast twitch muscles, but struggle to hold an 8-minute-mile pace over an entire marathon.

For example...

Last Thanksgiving, I ran a 19:08 5K, a PR by 17 seconds.

Running Formula
says a person who can run a 5K as fast as I can should be able to run a 10k in just under 40 minutes, a 15K in 1:01:00, a half-marathon in about 1:28:00; and a marathon in about 3 hours and three minutes.

Here is how my best times in the 10k, 15k, half marathon, and marathon match up to what I'm supposed to be able to run based on my 5k time

Distance------My best-----How fast I should be--------Difference/Pct slower

Lets throw out my 10k and 15k performances. I ran that 10K PR just 30 minutes after running a then-5K Pr in 19:25. We'll also throw out the 15K PR because I ran it two days after a 20-miler.

So, that leaves us with my half marathon and marathon performances. As you can see, I am very close to my "running potential" on the half marathon. I'm only 4% slower on a half marathon than what I should be based on my 5K time.

The marathon? Ugly. Ugly. I am 20 percent slower than my "potential" according to the Jack Daniels Running Formula chart. Now again, I understand that some people are better long distance runners and I am a much better short distance runner. But 20 percent slower? I think there is, obviously, a lot of room for improvement for me there.

If I can cut my long-run problems in half, I'd be sniffing Boston.



Blogger Mrs. B said...

Interesting. But its Okay to be a super fast short distance runner, and that be one's forte right?

February 23, 2010 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Bryan said...

Sounds like you are due for more goal pace specific training to build your stamina for the marathon.

February 23, 2010 at 2:42 PM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

Dear Kevin.
These days there are so many good blogs about running that it is hard to choose a “best” blog. I’ve set up a list of great blogs and hope that many people vote for the blogs which they like. Your blog has been added to this list and is waiting to receive points and be voted up.
Please check out this Lens on marathon runners training ( to vote and add some of your own favorite blogs.
Personally I enjoy your blog very much and hope to continue reading new posts on your running experiences.

February 23, 2010 at 7:00 PM  
Blogger TRI-james said...

I thought the same as you - my long races were no where close to the short races. I started racing by pace instead of percieved effort or heart rate. And guess what?

I started racing faster. This weekend will be my first stand alone marathon and I am racing it by projected pace - and I'm scared ...

February 25, 2010 at 10:15 AM  

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