Monday, August 5, 2013

Clinton Lake Double = Marathon Finish Time

On our last run at Clinton Lake trail (north fork), Riddle and I were chatting about training and racing strategies. We decided that the hilly trail is not just a great workout (for marathons and ultras), but it can be utilized to estimate your marathon finish time. How you ask? Read on.

You've all heard of Yasso 800s, right? You run the 800m intervals in the same time (minutes:seconds) as you want to finish your marathon (hours:minutes). Going for a 3:30 marathon, then run your 800m intervals in 3 minutes, 30 seconds each. Build up to 8-12 repeats. If you can handle these repeats, AND YOU DO YOUR LONG RUNS, then you should have a feasible marathon goal time.

Wouldn't it be cool if you could do a long run and also estimate your marathon finish at the same time?

I have a new metric for determine your marathon goal time...and it is combined with your long run training. The time it takes to run two 10-mile loops at Clinton Lake north fork trail will equate to your marathon finish time. No adjustments needed. You run two loops of Clinton Lake in 4 hours, then your marathon finish time will be 4 hours. Of course, this new metric doesn't mean shit to anyone that lives far away from the north fork Clinton Lake trail (around Clinton, IL), but if you run the trail regularly, you can now predict your marathon finish time. Here are two extreme examples: Brandon runs a 2:48 marathon and does his two loops at Clinton Lake in about 2:48. Jeff runs Clinton in about 5 hours and runs a 5 hour marathon. I haven't run two loops at Clinton for some time, but my target marathon goal is 3:20-3:25 so I need to run that time on my 20-mile trail runs at Clinton (about 1:40-1:42 per loop). Perfect long run and perfect marathon predictor all rolled into one!

Not only do you get a great workout, perfect long run, and marathon are also on your feet for the same time you'll be running a marathon. No fast 20 milers that are done and leave you with 30-60 minutes (or longer) to complete your full marathon time. These runs simulate the actual full marathon TIME and allows your body to adjust to that demand. No bonking come the last few miles in the marathon. Your road marathon pace will be faster, but that pace will feel easy compared to the trails at Clinton Lake! Not many races have 66 hills in 20 miles. Your body will be strong and powerful, but the pounding will be reduced because it's trails (less impact and more variety) and you are going slower.

After Howl at the Moon ultra this weekend, I plan on doing regular 20-mile long runs at Clinton Lake to get ready for three fall ultras: Evergreen Lake 32 miler, Farmdale 30 miler, and McNotAgain 30 miler. I may even throw in a fall marathon to test out my new hypothesis!


ed said...

I wish that was true! I typically run sub 4 hours for the 1st 2 laps of the Clinton Lake 30 miler, but there's no way I could run a sub 4 marathon & maybe not even a sub 5. Of course I'd run those laps slower in training than on a race day.

Hey, I heard the RD was vacating the position at Clinton Lake . . . have you ever thought about getting back into it?

Good Luck at Howl -- looking forward to hearing all about it.

jeff said...

Chris, I promise I did not tell Ed to say that.


Chris said...

Ed (and Jeff):

Yes indeed, looks like Clinton is looking for a new RD. I'm not up for it now. Might change my mind. Who knows.

Ed-If you were "just training" at Clinton for 2 loops you'd run slower. It might be close to a marathon time. Or at least what you are CAPABLE of running.