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The Transition-Marathon Training

Knoitall University

Free Resource (Video, Article, Pod Cast or Other)

Adult

Outcomes

Learn what the transition is versus the wall

Learn how to push out the transition and, thereby, the wall

Description

Everybody talks about the wall in a marathon, and for good reason.  The WALL IS REAL!  Electrolytes are depleted, muscles start to stiffen, and maintaining form becomes the singular focus for most elite runners.  

But I have found that there's something that occurs before The Wall that is every bit, if not more significant, than the Wall in terms of success in the marathon.  I call this the Transition.  

This is the point in the marathon where things start to get hard.  It can occur any time between miles 14-20, and you'll know it because you'll start exerting more energy with less output.  In effect, you'll start to slow.  

For me, this transition usually occurs around mile 15 in a marathon.  Up to that point I'm clicking along, maintaining pace, and every thing feels manageable.  I'm in a state of manageable dissonance.  Nothing hurts too much, and I feel as though "If I can just hold onto this for the next 12-13 miles I'm going to be great.  And that's usually when the transition starts.  

It's definitely not the wall...it's the point before the wall when your body starts relaying back to your brain the message that, "If you want to stay at this pace you're going to have to start working a lot harder."  For me, I can start to see my pace fall off and I start running harder but now I'm feeling the effects.

So, what about it.  Why care?  Well, I think by understanding this transition phase I've become a better marathoner.  I'm now more prepared for it...in fact, I expect it.  And, through proper training, you can push it out further into the race.  By pushing out the transition, you're also pushing out the wall.  For me, if I've trained well, I can push the transition out from mile 14 to mile 18, and that means pushing the wall out from mile 20 to 23 or 24.  It's significant in terms of time.

And, for me, there are a few ways I've found to push out the transition. One is long tempo runs of 8-10 miles. Another is high mileage, and a third is hammering the last part of my long runs. They key is to lengthen your efforts to lengthen the period of time before the transition.  

Good luck and go get it!

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