Will this schedule help me hit my goal time?
Our philosophy is that training at what we call current fitness is far superior to training at “goal” pace. As such, we caution runners against focusing their training on a goal time or a specific performance objective.
That’s not to say you can’t have a particular time goal or performance in mind. Rather, it means that your training for that goal should be focused on the process of taking the next logical step to get fitter each day, week and month of the training cycle.
Benefits of training at your current fitness:
- lower risk of injury
- steady, consistent improvement
- target the right energy systems
- keeps you motivated
Which will help you reach your goals better anyway. So it actually is "goal pace" when you think about it!
To constantly try to get a feel for your current fitness, we:
- ask for recent race results
- monitor your shared training
- automatically adjust based on workouts and tune-up races
The training we assign is always based on current physiological fitness, not a goal time. Here's why:
The workouts and the paces you are assigned to run all assume you’re targeting and hitting a specific physiological effort. However, if you are not at that level of fitness, then the workout is wasted because you didn’t accomplish the objective. Here’s an example:
In marathon training you’ll be assigned workouts called aerobic threshold runs. Aerobic threshold is defined as the fastest pace you can run while using the aerobic system as the primary energy pathway. Aerobic threshold is important because it’s the pace that is the perfect balance between fat and carbohydrate utilization. The faster your aerobic threshold pace, the faster you can race the marathon without bonking.
To target aerobic threshold you need to run at aerobic threshold pace, which is roughly current marathon pace. If you run too fast you’ll actually be running a lactate or anaerobic threshold run – a workout that targets a different energy system. Here is a specific example:
Let’s say your goal is to break 3:45 for the marathon (8:35 per mile pace) and you base your training off this. But, your current fitness is more like a 4:00 marathon, which is 9:09 pace.
That means when you’re trying to run aerobic threshold runs at 8:35, you’re WAY too fast to target your aerobic threshold properly. At almost 40 seconds a mile quicker, this is more a high end or anaerobic threshold run.
Sure, it’s going to get you fitter overall, but it’s not going to help you improve in the marathon. This is exactly why you keep getting fitter and maybe even PRing in shorter events but bonk or fall apart during the marathon.
In short, when your goal time is off, all of your paces are going to be off. That means you’ll be running all the wrong effort levels and negating the most important benefit of your harder workouts. You’ll be wasting your time training.
That's why everything is based on CURRENT physiological fitness.