There is No Magic Workout

It’s marathon season and many of my running buddies are getting ready plunge into their 1st, 2nd, even 30th marathon. I’m not running a marathon this year, but I’m daydreaming about them a lot. I’m going over workouts in my head and thinking about training cycles and personal goals. One point that sticks in my head is: There is no magic workout.

runners leaping in air

But there are magic moves for runners, like this perfectly timed leap from my sister and me post run. (p.s. Nothing about running is magic, but I wanted to show you a funny picture.)

I don’t believe runners can look at a single workout, complete it, and think they can run a great marathon (or any race for that matter). Success in racing takes weeks, months, even years! This is why I’m not a big fan of posting my workouts on my blog. People see my workouts, think “Oh, I can’t do that and we have the same marathon goal” or “I run my workouts much faster than that, maybe I need to adjust my plan” and the next thing you know, they are doubting their own training. Remember my post about believing in yourself and trusting your training?

I love to talk training just as much as any other runnerd, and if you ask me specific details, I’m happy to tell you. I just don’t spell it all out online. There are lots of people who do though, and do it in a way that’s fun to read. I’m currently liking blogs from Katie and Kristy for that sort of thing and other random musings.

Back to the magic workouts. One of my running buddies, Josh of Roadkill Racing, got into a debate a few days ago on the Runner’s World forums regarding Yasso 800s.

Josh Perks Racing

Recent racing pic of Josh, running cross country for Roadkill Racing

(I think Bart Yasso is awesome and I would be giddy to the core to meet him or anyone on Runner’s World staff.)

bart yasso on twitter

In fact, Bart and I follow each other on Twitter. See, we’re basically BFFs!

But… I don’t believe Yasso 800s are going to save the world – or predict your marathon time. You should read Josh’s post and then his follow up workout post, but to give you a shortened version:

Josh replied to someone on the RW message board who was asking about Yasso 800s and marathon training. Josh said he didn’t think Yasso 800s were a good predictor of marathon performance then stated his reasoning. He got a reply from Mark Remy, Editor at Large of RW, saying if you are training for a marathon, doing all the expected marathon training and Yasso 800s, they are a good predictor. He also challenged Josh to do the Yasso workout and report back. Josh did the workout, much faster than his fastest marathon time and is now joking about having a new marathon PR. (Once again, I recommend reading Josh’s posts to get more details.)

I think the best predictor of your marathon time is to look at your workouts as a whole. How do your longer tempo runs feel? Or mile repeats at race pace? Another predictor I trust is to put my race times, preferably longer distance races, into a running calculator like the McMillan Running Calculator.

How do you predict your marathon goal time? Anyone racing this weekend? Getting excited for your fall marathon or half?


4 thoughts on “There is No Magic Workout

  1. I really like this post. You worded your thoughts very well. :)
    I’ve even gone through phases where I’ve stopped posting my paces on DailyMile for the same reasons you mentioned. Generally, on my blog, I don’t include a lot of pace or mile-specific details, either. Not trying to be secretive, I just know how easy it is to fall into the comparison trap…

  2. Perfect post for me to read today!! I do this every time I’ve run a marathon, I get a few weeks out and think, oh no! I didn’t do this workout or that workout or enough of this track work – you said it – there is no magic workout. I have to believe and trust in my training. I often like reading other people’s workouts because it motivates me to speed up, or gives me ideas to freshen up my very boring workout!:) thanks for the shout!
    Have an awesome weekend!!

  3. Hey Jen! I’d live to know what your marathon training is like. I’m doing the Goofy race and a half in January. Just ran my first full last Sunday and it was much slower than I had anticipated! I ended up getting side shin splints, which has never happened before! Any training advice or tips???

  4. I love this post. Not at all bc I am in it (LOL – but thanks for mentioning me and I’m glad you like reading my blog :) ). I’m definitely going to read Josh’s post and I definitely don’t believe an 800’s workout is a good predictor either. I also agree about reading others workouts and times. I do like reading about them, but learned (the hard way) never to compare. Not healthy — we are all so different. But since I am over that, I do like reading them and hearing how they go… and seeing others successes. I think we can learn from it too in other ways. I am not creative with workouts but after reading some others, have gotten different ideas for mine that work for me.

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