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State of the Art
A Marathon Training Newsletter
Volume XIII – December 2004

Welcome to the Winter Edition of "State of the Art", a regularly published newsletter of the State of the Art Marathon Training web site located at: http://www.marathontraining.com. Marathon training tips, featured question, personal success story, the latest news, recipe, among other topics are featured within this issue. As always, we welcome your feedback and contributions. Email us your thoughts, experiences, suggestions, and/or anything pertaining to marathon training and running in general for an upcoming issue at art@marathontraining.com. Thanks in advance and hope you will enjoy this newsletter!

Featured Web Site Section
For many people, “striving to attain a healthy lifestyle” is oftentimes mentioned as a New Year’s resolution. And beginning a running program is a great way to start anew in 2005. Whether you’ve never run in your life, are interested in returning to running after a long layoff, or perhaps have family members or friends that you’d like to encourage to take up the sport, our featured web site section will be of interest to you. “Beginning a Running Program” includes a training schedule and helpful tips that will enable just about anyone to safely go from running zero miles to 39 minutes non-stop in 17 weeks or less. That’s ample training to run a 5K race this spring!

Updated Articles
Contained within the latest web site update are several very informative and interesting articles that we invite you to read. Our featured article, written by Elizabeth Talley Campbell, is a heartwarming story about the marathon she ran dedicated to her dad. Perry Dau provides a comprehensive analysis about the many considerations relating to the selection of running shorts. Imagine running a marathon through the beautiful countryside of France where wine is offered along the route and participants wear costumes! Wendy Dereix shares her memories of the Marathon des Châteaux du Médoc. Traveling to the opposite side of the globe, veteran marathoner K.P. Tan contributes, “Anyone for an Ultra-Marathon”, highlighting his experiences training for, and running the MR25 Ultra-Marathon held in Singapore. Finally, Jean Hansen shares with us “Time Management Tips for Solo Entrepreneurs” containing many helpful tips that runners can certainly benefit from as a way to maximize their personal, professional, and training time.

Featured Question
The featured question this issue is submitted by Kimberly D. of Modesto, CA:

Hi Art,

I’ve been a recreational runner for three years. I really enjoy running but consider myself to be slow, as my pace is about 11 minutes per mile. For fun, I run two to three local 5Ks per year and usually finish in around 31 minutes. While I’m not really interested in becoming a serious competitive runner, I would like to improve the pace of my runs. Any suggestions?


Hi Kimberly,

Thanks for your email and visiting my website. Before answering your question, let me start by saying that incorporating some fast paced training into one’s regimen needs to be very individualized based on their running background and current level of fitness. In the frequently asked questions of my site, I provide an overview of the risks, benefits, and guidelines for incorporating speedwork into one’s training. I encourage you to check out that section of my site: FAQ – Speedwork for additional information.

It is very important that prior to beginning speed training, you have been consistently averaging 20 to 25 miles per week of running over the past year. You didn’t mention much about your current training so let’s make the following assumptions as an example: All of your runs are done at a very aerobic pace, that is, where you are breathing easily and are able to converse with another runner. If you use a heart rate monitor, you are training at about 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. Let’s further assume the following about your current workout schedule: Sunday is your long run day – 8 miles; Monday and Friday are rest days; you run 4 miles on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday; and you run 5 to 6 miles on Wednesday. Given this format, I recommend incorporating a cumulative fartlek workout once a week as part of your Wednesday run. You may ask, “What do you mean by fartlek and how is this workout done”?

The word fartlek is derived from the Swedish phrase “speed play”, their informal method of varying the pace of workouts by throwing in some short segments of brisk running to improve one’s pace. Running at a fast clip from telephone pole to telephone pole and then slowing down to recover until the next pole is often cited as an example of a fartlek workout. As a means to carefully monitor and control the amount of fast-paced running within a workout, I prefer to use time as a measure rather than distance. I recommend gradually increasing the total cumulative duration of fast running week-by-week to minimize one’s risk of injury. The following is an example of a cumulative fartlek (CF) workout.

Begin by running one to 1-1/2 miles at your normal pace as a warm-up. Then increase your speed to the pace you usually average or even a bit faster during a 5K race. Assuming that you push yourself somewhat during your 31 minute 5K races (which calculates to almost 10 minutes per mile), your CF pace would be at this pace or perhaps 5 seconds faster per mile. This pace would be in the range of 80 to 95 percent of your maximum heart rate. Another way to view your CF pace would be to remember the excitement you feel when the gun sounds signaling the start of a 5K race – Although you’re not sprinting at a breakneck speed (as if you are in the Olympic 100 Meter Finals), you are running very briskly aided by the adrenalin rush and to also distance yourself from the pack. Vary the duration of these short bursts of speed anywhere from 30 seconds to 75 seconds maximum. Furthermore, the duration of your fast segments can be either increased or decreased at anytime during the CF workout. The duration you choose will also depend upon your running experience, your perceived level of effort, and the amount of discomfort you wish to endure. Because you’ve never done speed training before, I suggest fully recovering (where you have time to “catch your breath” and are no longer breathing at a labored rate) before picking up the pace again.

Keep in mind that the idea here is to practice running at a very brisk effort while employing good running form. Push yourself until your breathing becomes labored and you sense the pace beginning to slow. Rather than continuing to press on at this point (where you are running at a slower pace with deteriorating form due to fatigue), it is much more beneficial to run fast for a shorter period of time and then resume after you have fully recovered. Allow yourself enough time at the end of the CF workout to run very easily for a mile or so to cool-down.

The first week, try running for four minutes of cumulative fast paced running (for example, 30 seconds + 30 seconds 30 seconds + 45 seconds + 45 seconds + 30 seconds + 30 seconds). Then once a week, add two minutes of fast paced efforts for each CF workout over the course of the next few weeks. By having a specific plan ahead of time for the total duration of cumulative fast periods of running, you will be much less likely to become injured by overdoing it.

As a final thought, I strongly urge runners of all experience and ability levels to incorporate periods of easy weeks two to three times per year – no speedwork or races as a means to recover and minimize risk of injury and burnout. For those who have done speedwork in the past, CM workouts done once or twice a week for three or four weeks are a great precursor to more formal speed training. Additionally, experienced runners can do CM workouts at a brisker pace (10-15 seconds faster than current 5K race pace) with shorter recovery periods in-between. All of the guidelines and precautions mentioned above still apply.

I hope you find this information helpful. Wishing you the very best...

Art Liberman
State of the Art Marathon Training

Art offers individualized coaching services designed to meet your needs and to help you achieve your running goals. For more information, check out the Personal Training section.

Success Story
We would like to share this wonderful letter we recently received from Mike P. from Minneapolis, MN.

I trained for five months on my own slowly building my weekly mileage as well as the times per week I was running. With 3-1/2 months to go before the Twin Cities Marathon, I found your schedule on-line. I counted back from the marathon date, October 3rd until the last week in June and picked up Schedule II from there. I was surprised to find that I was right on track. I completed every mile of training from that point up to the marathon and finished the Twin Cites marathon in 3:24:38. I am 34 years old and this was my first marathon. Although I didn't qualify for Boston, I’m very happy with my results. I will continue to use this website for all my training and tips for next year. I have spoken with many other marathon runners and they all agreed that I was on a very good schedule. Thanks for the knowledge.

Mike P.
Minneapolis, MN

We hope that you too will consider sharing with readers your personal success story and/or testimonial pertaining to running, racing, general fitness, etc. Email us at: art@marathontraining.com.

Featured Recipe
Betty Y. of Clearwater, FL provides this issue’s recipe…. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Chili
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot grated
1 green pepper, chopped
¼ cup powdered chiles
2 teaspoons, ground cumin
4 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup water
32 ounces, crushed tomatoes
¾ teaspoon, dried oregano
1 zucchini, diced
2 cups, red beans, cooked
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
3 red potatoes, boiled
¼ cup oil
1 cup, vegetable broth


  • Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, stirring three to five minutes. Add the carrot, green pepper, stirring for five to seven minutes. Add the powdered chiles and cumin, stirring two to three minutes until the mixture begins to stick to the pan. Add the garlic and stir about 30 seconds. Add the water and stir one to three minutes until the mixture is thick. Stir in the potatoes, oregano, and zucchini.
  • Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 45 – 60 minutes. Stir frequently
  • Stir in the beans and cilantro

Serves 6

Thanks Betty for sharing this tasty yet low-fat recipe, great for a cold day!

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In Closing
Thanks for reading State of the Art newsletter. Here’s wishing you and your family a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2005!

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