Doc’s Talk 04-15-2012

Roger Kobayashi completed his first marathon in 1979 (The Marathon Marathon in Terre Haute, Indiana), and attended his first Honolulu Marathon Clinic meeting in March 1985. He did his first Honolulu Marathon in 1988 and has completed one in every decade since then. Roger became part of the Honolulu Marathon Clinic staff in 1989.

Today Roger shared information on Collapse Point and how you can extend your collapse point through training.

Collapse point

What is it? It’s the point at which your running pace will be slowed to a walk. It’s the point at which you “hit the wall”. It’s the point at which your body runs out of glycogen, the primary fuel source (or the high octane fuel) and switches on its secondary fuel source, free fatty acids (or low octane fuel).

What does it feel like when you reach your collapse point? It feels like somebody suddenly pulled the drain plug on your energy tank.

Example: I started a marathon at an 8:30 pace and reached the 20-mile mark in exactly 3 hours. That means I averaged a 9-minute pace for the first 20 miles. For the purpose of this example, let’s presume that my pace at the 20-mile mark was 9:30 minutes per mile. Then, it took me 73 minutes to get to the finish line. So, let’s do some rounding and say that my average pace for that stretch was 12 minutes per mile. If I were running at a 9:30 minute pace at the 20-mile mark and averaged 12 minutes per mile for the last 6.2 miles, I must have slowed to a 14:30 minute pace at the finish line.

Let’s recap: I started at 8:30 per mile, was doing 9:30 per mile at the 20 mile mark and then was slowed to 14:30 per mile at the finish line. The big drop in pace came around Mile 22. You don’t want that experience.

How do you determine your collapse point? Each one of us has one. I believe that even world-class marathoners have a collapse point. Take your total mileage for the 60 days prior to the marathon and divide by 20. If you ran an average of 9 miles per day, you would have 9 times 60 equals 540, divided by 20, giving you 27. So, by that simple formula, your collapse point would be three-fourths of a mile beyond the marathon finish line. The collapse point calculation is based on your marathon pace being identical to your training pace. So, one way to avoid hitting the collapse point in a marathon is to run a lot.

Most of you aren’t ready for 60 miles per week. The beginning group is trying to get to Triangle Park and back. In your first year of marathon training, you only have one marathon in your bodyDon’t use it on a training run. I ran 72 miles in a week, just because I wanted to be able to say that I did it. Nothing good came out of that – I was wiped out for almost two weeks.

But, don’t give up hope, there is another way to move your collapse pointSlow down. Here’s how you do it.

Group 1 – 30 to 40 miles per week. Make your race pace equal to your training pace plus 20%. Example for Group 1: Let’s presume that your training pace is 10 minutes per mile. Add 20%, 2 minutes and your race pace should be 12 minutes per mile.

Group 2 – 40 to 50 miles per week. Make your race pace equal to your training pace plus 10%. Example for Group 2: Again, let’s presume that your training pace is 10 minutes per mile. Add 10%, 1 minute and your race pace should be 11 minutes per mile.

For some good reading on nutrition, Dr. Scaff recommends everyone check out the daily postings on Dr. Alan Titchenal’s “Got Nutrients?” web site:

Here is a recent posting:

April 9, 2012
The joint pain experienced by people with rheumatoid arthritis can lead to decreased physical activity. This, in turn, tends to result in loss of muscle mass and gain in body fat. For managing the arthritic condition and promoting good health, it is important to find tolerable ways to stay physically active.

Consumer Link
Nutritional Implications of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Research Link
Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Oct;76(4):774-9.