Marathon Coaching Exercise: The Simulator

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“The Simulator” is the title given to a really exact exercise created by brothers Keith and Kevin Hanson, who coach the Hansons-Brooks Distance Mission. The appellation refers back to the exercise’s goal of simulating an upcoming marathon race as intently as potential with out stressing the runner to the purpose of ruining the circulate of his or her coaching. It’s meant to place the ending touches on the runner’s marathon-specific health and show his or her means to realize a time/tempo purpose for the marathon.

The format couldn’t be less complicated. The Simulator consists of working 26.2 kilometers (roughly 16.three miles) at one’s purpose marathon tempo. Why 26.2 kilometers? Two causes. First, at 62 p.c of the complete marathon distance, 16.three miles is lengthy sufficient to problem and enhance one’s capability to maintain a focused marathon tempo and to offer a legit indication of the realism of a marathon purpose. But it’s not so lengthy that it’s going to destroy the runner’s legs for the following three days.

The second rationale for the 26.2-kilometer distance is only psychological. The distinction between working, say, a 16-mile marathon-pace run and a 26.2 km Simulator is nearly solely symbolic, however the symbolism is essential. Consciously approaching the Simulator as a “metric marathon” enhances the runner’s consciousness of the exercise as proof of his or her readiness to run 26.2 miles at a desired tempo in a couple of weeks. It makes the exercise only a bit extra confidence-boosting than a nearly similar exercise missing that layer of symbolism.

In marathon coaching it’s vitally essential to reach on the beginning line feeling assured in your means to realize your purpose. Such confidence is constructed on proof of this means gathered in coaching. The extra acquainted you’re in coaching with the take a look at going through you, the extra assured you can be–and the extra assured you’re, the extra doubtless it’s that you’ll obtain your purpose. It’s good to have the ability to stand on that beginning line and suppose, Yeah, I’m nervous, however I’ve all prepared run the tempo I wish to run in the present day for 26.2….kilometers.

The Hansons often have their runners carry out the Simulator 5 weeks earlier than a marathon. That works for elite runners who run such excessive mileage that they want three full weeks to taper for his or her race, however for us mortals it’s in all probability higher to run the Simulator nearer to race day—4 and even three weeks out. Once more, the thought is to place the ending touches in your marathon health.

The Hansons runners don’t relaxation up for the Simulator. They do it on the finish of a standard coaching week, on less-than-fresh legs, on the grounds that this makes the Simulator much more marathon-simulating by “making up” for the truth that the exercise is 38 p.c shorter than a marathon. I favor to run the Simulator on comparatively contemporary legs, nonetheless, as a result of it permits me to carry out higher within the run and thus makes the exercise extra confidence boosting. Particularly, I take it simple for 2 days earlier than working the Simulator.

Earlier than you begin the Simulator you’ll wish to do the identical warmup you propose to do earlier than your marathon. I like to recommend a mile of jogging, a couple of mobility workout routines, and some strides (20-second runs at 5K race tempo). Attempt to do the exercise on a course that’s similar to the course of your upcoming marathon. When it got here time for the Hansons crew to run the Simulator forward of the 2008 males’s Olympic trials marathon, held in New York Metropolis, they took a nine-hour bus journey to the Large Apple and ran it in Central Park. Ideally, you’ll additionally run your Simulator on the identical time of day as your marathon.

It’s essential to drink throughout your Simulator. Discover out which sports activities drink can be accessible in your marathon and make the identical product accessible to your self all through the exercise. You’ll be able to carry your fluid, however I discover this to be a significant annoyance, so I wish to recruit a pal to accompany me on a motorbike and hand me the bottle after I want it.

Since pacing is a important component of this exercise, you want to have the ability to monitor your tempo all through it. One choice is to run on a marked course or on a route with identified mile landmarks, put on a stopwatch, and verify your splits as you go the markers or landmarks. A second choice is to put on a velocity and distance machine. A 3rd choice is to have your fluid assist bike owner use a motorbike with a cyclometer that measures time, distance coated, and common velocity.

Two remaining notes: First, it ought to go with out saying that this difficult exercise requires that you just practice appropriately towards your marathon purpose for a lot of weeks earlier than you do it. It is best to have loads of high-mileage weeks, lengthy runs, and shorter marathon-pace runs in your legs earlier than you tackle the Simulator. Second, the Simulator shouldn’t be related to runners whose marathon purpose is simply to complete. The Simulator is meant just for runners who’re match sufficient to race a marathon at a a lot quicker tempo than they might run a marathon merely to complete. In case your purpose is simply to achieve the end line, the perfect exercise to place the ending touches in your health and supply that final little bit of confidence is the standard 20-miler.

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