Jesus Crushes His PR at the Las Vegas Marathon – Race Report
Beach Runners Jesus and John after the Las Vegas Marathon
What an experience it was last weekend at the Las Vegas Marathon. Who would have thought I was going to PR in a city that is known for partying. We flew in on Friday December 8th and met up with some friends. It was definitely a test of will right from the beginning. I could only sit there and watch as my friends partied and drank all night, calling me “boring” and a “party pooper”.
I knew I had to focus on what I had gone out there to do. I didn’t want my training gone to waste on one night. I wasn’t sure how well I was going to do because this was going to be my 3rd marathon this year and my legs were feeling a bit fatigued. I modified my training after the Long Beach Marathon by alternating between long runs with medium short runs usually 8-10 miles every other week instead of doing only long runs and also limited speed work to only once a week. What a difference it made the week before the marathon. I felt a new spring in my step and felt better than I had in months.
When I showed up to the marathon I decided that I was going to shoot for a Boston qualifying time based on how I was feeling and the quality of my workouts that week. I knew I had my work cut out for me because I would have to clock in at 3:10 in order to qualify. As soon as the race started, I immediately tried to get on a 7:15 minute mile pace but encountered very strong head winds for an extended period of time and fell off pace. Halfway through the marathon I knew that my chances were going to be slim because I was already about 4 minutes off pace for a 3:10. I kept pushing trying not to let up and finally came through the chutes clocking in at 3:19 crushing my previous PR of 3:47.
I learned a valuable lesson with this marathon as far as training is concerned. Before the Las Vegas Marathon I was running all my long runs at or above race pace and running all my weekday workouts hard. I felt that if I didn’t push hard during training I wasn’t going to get faster, not knowing that I was only hurting myself. I modified my training immediately following the Long Beach Marathon to include only one hard tempo run during the week, including easier runs during the week as well and finally alternating between slow long runs with slow medium distance runs every other weekend.
I felt my body was better able to recover from the long runs by using this method of alternating long with medium distance runs every other weekend. I definitely feel I went into the race with fresher legs than I did at the Long Beach Marathon and it showed during the final push.
The moral of the story is, that you should cut down on the hard workouts to once a week, cut down the pace of your long distance runs to at LEAST 1 minute per mile slower than expected race pace and finally listen to your body by resting when you’re feeling over trained and fatigued. As Steve says, you won’t loose your fitness if you take a week off. This is the philosophy I used for this marathon and it worked great for me. I hope it can help other people realize that sometimes training a little slower can actually make you faster on race day.
Jesus – Beach Runners’ Mentor and SoCalRunnning.com Member