Friday, March 9, 2018

6 weeks to the Boston Marathon: Last week's training

After another long week of marathon training, I am now in Jacksonville, FL awaiting the 8:00 AM start tomorrow of the US 15km Championships at the Gate River Run. I have done this race several times in the past, but it's been a few years, and I'm looking forwarding to reliving some memories. I truly enjoy this course; there are some challenging hills, but it's very runable. The toughest and longest hill comes near the end of the race over a bridge before shooting us downhill directly into the finish line, and this is usually where the race is won or lost. It's looking like it will be in low to mid 50s for the race, which is pretty ideal given how humid it can be.

I have taken the last 2 days very easy, but as you can see, the previous week was full marathon training. I had a big workout on Sunday, which is a little close to race day, but I am running out of time for high quality long runs before Boston. It was one of my best tempo, run, tempo workouts I've ever had, and while I won't be fully rested heading into the 15k tomorrow, that workout gives me confidence that I am strong enough and fit enough to be competitive. While eyes are still on Boston, Gate River is an excellent opportunity to test myself and get a very hard effort in a little 5 weeks out from the marathon.

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below:

Weekly Total:
140 Monday         2/26/2018 AM: 14 PM: 6
Tuesday         2/27/2018 AM: 12 PM: 6
Wednesday 2/28/2018 Fartlek 3 x 1-2-3-4-5, 19 total
Thursday   3/1/2018         AM: 14 PM: 6
Friday         3/2/2018        1 hour run + 12 x200m or hills, PM 5
Saturday         3/3/2018        AM: 12, PM: 6
                Sunday            3/4/2018         3.5 mile warmup, 4 mile tempo @ 18:53, 10 miles in 57                                                                         minutes, 4 mile tempo @ 18:48, 3.5 mile cooldown (25)

Friday, March 2, 2018

7 weeks to the Boston Marathon: Last week's training

The reprieve from cold rain and snow treated me well in Santa Cruz last week. It's amazing how much of a difference a little change in weather and scenery can make. I did not choose the course for the 6 x mile wisely, as it was a little too soft and hilly, but the effort was there. If I was training for a shorter distance, I would be looking for more of a confidence boost from this type of workout, but for the marathon, effort will do. My confidence boost came over the weekend with a fairly quick 14 mile tempo on a hilly 1.5 mile loop. I was fortunate enough to have the company of Brett Gotcher on the bike showing me the way and providing encouragement. Before the workout, I had resigned myself to the fact that the hilly course would force me to back off on the pace, but I managed to surprise myself with how smooth sub-5:00 felt on tough terrain. Trading tights and a waterproof jacket for shorts and a t-shirt in California felt like Forest Gump dropping his leg braces. Hopefully I can get a few days of similar weather in Portland over the next 6 weeks!

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

8 140 Sunday 2/18/2018 Long run 24 miles with 2 x 3 mile pushes at 13-15 and 17-19, (4:57, 4:52, 4:49) (4:57, 4:49, 4:48)
    Monday 2/19/2018  
    Tuesday 2/20/2018  
    Wednesday 2/21/2018  6  x 1 mile on hilly course, 3 min recovery
    Thursday 2/22/2018  
    Friday 2/23/2018
    Saturday 2/24/2018  14 mile tempo @ 4:55

Friday, February 23, 2018

8 weeks to the Boston Marathon: Last week's training

Another solid training week in the books. Monday was a scheduled off day, dropping my volume to 120 miles but still averaging 20 miles per day for the other 6. Tuesday's workout was a little different than we've done in the past, and I enjoyed it. I have done many tempo workouts following easy miles (1 hour plus), but coming in off of 5 miles at marathon effort, I was surprised by how challenging the threshold track tempos were. 5 miles at marathon pace is not in itself a hard workout, but it brought just enough fatigue to really make the next 7 miles a struggle. It felt like a true marathon workout: a constant grind, never really feeling particularly smooth. The rest of the week was fairly mundane, but the daily volume certainly has me feeling worn down.

Portland received another round of snow starting on Sunday of this week, so I am now in Santa Cruz so I can continue my training without a treadmill. A day or two is manageable, but it looked as though it would stick around for a while, and so far it has. Flying to Santa Cruz when is snows sounds pretty exotic, but I used airlines miles and am staying with a friend, so I managed to escape at no cost. It's a beautiful place to run, but it is always slightly unnerving to be in an unfamiliar place when you are in the middle of peak training and each workout is important. Fortunately I've had the help of other runners to guide me the best they can. In fact, I'll be getting the expert bike pacing of fellow 2:10 marathoner, Brett Gotcher this coming weekend. The running community is tight, and it seems you can manage to find someone in every region willing to lend a hand. Building that network has been one of the greatest joys during my running career.

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Weekly Total
9 120 Sunday 2/11/2018 Long run 22 miles easy
    Monday 2/12/2018 off
    Tuesday 2/13/2018 Tempo 5 miles by effort on roads then 5 min rest, 4 mile, 3 mile on track @ 70-71, 4 min rest
    Wednesday 2/14/2018 AM: 14 PM: 6 + strength
    Thursday 2/15/2018 12 x 200m or hills
    Friday 2/16/2018 AM: 12 PM: 6
    Saturday 2/17/2018 AM: 14: PM: 6

Thursday, February 15, 2018

9 weeks to the Boston Marathon: Last week's training

This last week was a tough one, but I knew that going into it. In the past I have normally kept the week to one mid-week workout and a fairly high quality long run, but we are trying a couple weeks of two workouts, plus an easier long run. It won't be the norm for this marathon block, but we are going to give it a shot for at least one more week. Within 6 days I had a 24 mile run, a 14 mile tempo on a challenging, hilly loop, and 7 x 1 mile on a net-uphill paved course. My biggest mistake was not taking the 24 mile run easy enough. I still drove around my usual 12 mile loop placing bottles with my Power Gel mixture, which in itself makes me take the run more seriously. It ended up being a progression run finishing at 5:00 pace. I definitely felt that two days later in the long tempo attempt, but it still went fairly well. By the time I got to the 7 x mile, I was pretty wrecked, and decided after two reps to do the rest of the workout as a Fartlek. A couple of light days later, and I'm feeling back to normal, but it is a lesson learned for the coming weeks. It takes discipline to pull back a bit when you feel that you are on the brink of over-training, but I have enough experience to know that it's necessary in avoiding injury or detrimental exhaustion.

I decided to make an overnight trip with my wife and 2 month old son to the Oregon Coast and felt rejuvenated after a couple of surprisingly sunny beach runs at a time of year when you feel that you have the entire region to yourself. Looking forward to the challenge of the next couple weeks before backing off slightly heading in to the US 15k Championships at the Gate River Run. I have run this race many times in the past and have placed as high as third. I'm looking forward to coming back for the first time since my injuries in 2015!

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below.

Total Volume:
10 140 Sunday 2/4/2018 Long run 24 miles, progressing to 5:00
    Monday 2/5/2018 AM: 14, PM: 6
    Tuesday 2/6/2018 AM: 14 miles @ 5:10 on hilly loop PM: 5
    Wednesday 2/7/2018 AM: 14 PM: 6
    Thursday 2/8/2018 AM: 10, PM: 5
    Friday 2/9/2018 AM: 7 x 5 min Fartlek w/3 min rest PM: 6
    Saturday 2/10/2018 AM: 14, PM: 6

Thursday, February 8, 2018

10 Weeks to the Boston Marathon: Last week's training

It's been a while since my last blog post, but there hasn't been much to report since Berlin. My wife and I had our first child on December 14th, so training was a little lighter than usual this winter. This was expected of course, but I am now into full marathon mode preparing for Boston in April. I have normally reserved my spring seasons for the track, so I am very excited to finally be able to incorporate the world's oldest marathon. 

After the Berlin Marathon in September, I took a couple weeks off before starting to slowly build volume again. I was able to get up to 130 miles per week with some decent workouts, but with our delivery date approaching, running had to take a back seat for a few weeks. I knew I wouldn't be sleeping much, but I underestimated how tough that was going to be. Once I started coming out of this foggy, delirious period, Portland was hit with a mini ice storm right around Christmas. That left me only a few weeks to prepare for my half-marathon in Qatar on January 12th. I actually had surprisingly solid workouts during these few weeks and was fairly happy with my performance (7th place) in a loaded field. The time was only 63:45, but it was warm, windy, and a 5k out and back around a single cone, so considering the preceding month, I was pleased with my effort. After a few days recovery from the long travel, I jumped right into marathon training. We were fortunate enough to have Eva's parents fly from Czech to help us with our newborn during this period which really helped me get into a sleep/train routine. 

I have posted the last couple weeks of training below and will now start posting weekly up until Boston. Our volume strategy this time around is to alternate between 140 miles per week and 120 miles per week. The daily volume actually won't change much, but I will take one day off every other week to catch up on sleep and prevent injury. This is one step closer to the 150/135 alternations I was able to do pre-injury. In the coming weeks I'll look more closely at the field, which is historically deep, and talk about my race plan moving forward. I'm healthy, hungry, and have fun toy to play with at home in between training sessions (baby Oliver). 

Total Volume:

12 140 Sunday 1/21/2018 Long run 20 miles
    Monday 1/22/2018  
    Tuesday 1/23/2018 Threshold: 4 mile, 3 mile, 2 mile, 1 mile @ 70-71, 4-3-2min recovery
    Wednesday 1/24/2018  
    Thursday 1/25/2018 Run 10 x hills or 200m strides
    Friday 1/26/2018  
    Saturday 1/27/2018  
11 120 Sunday 1/28/2018 3-4 mile warm up, 4 mile @ 70-71, 10 miles @ 6:00, 2 mile at 70-71, cool down = 23-24 miles
    Monday 1/29/2018  
    Tuesday 1/30/2018
    Wednesday 1/31/2018 8 x 1 mile on hilly course (4:48 down to 4:28)
    Thursday 2/1/2018
    Friday 2/2/2018  12 x 200 meter hills
    Saturday 2/3/2018

Friday, September 22, 2017

2 days to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

I'm sitting in my hotel room in Berlin, counting down the hours until race-time. The race starts at 9:15 (CEST) on the 24th, so the middle of the night for those trying to follow in the United States. I left for Prague on Sunday and arrived Monday evening, so I will have had almost a week to recover from travel. The jetlag is hitting me much harder this time than it did earlier in the summer, but fortunately my sleeping is almost back to normal with two nights to spare. I arrived in Berlin yesterday, and the brief 30 minute flight was as easy as it sounds.

This past week has been mostly focused on risk aversion: Flying to Europe early, sleeping as much as possible, being deliberate with food choices as to avoid food poisoning or any other digestive issues, thoroughly washing hands, pre-preparing my fluids for race-day, etc. I even switched taxis at the airport when realizing immediately that the driver was very sick. There is no reason to lose the last 11 weeks of marathon prep over something that is in your control. Now it's all on me come Sunday.

We will find out the final details regarding pace groups tomorrow, but it sounds like I will be in a 65:30 group at this point. I think this still puts me in a good position to set a PB as my current personal best is from London where we came through in 65:15 and faced some headwinds the second half. If I had run these same workouts before my stress fracture cycle, I would probably look to be more aggressive, but because I have not had many opportunities to race the last two years, I need to be patient and do my best to take a step forward toward the Olympic Trials for 2020. Even though my volume hasn't been quite as high as in the past, the quality has been steady across the board, and I think I have a chance to give sub-2:10:57 an honest shot.

As I mentioned previously, the front end of the race is going to be incredibly exciting, with Kipchoge, Kipsang, and Bekele all in contention for a new world record. Be sure to tune in at NBCSN.

Thanks again for reading. The final two weeks of training are posted below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Weeks to go: 2 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 off 40 minutes 14
Tuesday 12.5 5 + drills and strides 18
Wednesday 4 x 2 miles @ 4:40-4:45, rest = 2 min off 15
Thursday 12.5 off 12.5
Friday 11.5 4.5 40 minutes 16
Saturday 45 minutes + 8 x 200 meter hills off 9.5
Sunday 15 miles easy off 15
Total: 100

Weeks to go: 1
AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday off - travel to Czech off- travel to Czech 0
Tuesday 11.5 6 30 minutes 17.5
Wednesday 5 x 1km @ 2:55, rest = 1 min 4.5 15
Thursday 9.5 off 9.5
Friday 7 + drills and strides off 7.5
Saturday 4-5 miles off 4.5
Sunday Berlin Marathon off 15

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Less than 2 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

I'm on my last few days in Portland before heading to Prague to rest before the Berlin Marathon on the 24th of September. With the world record under serious threat, I am a little jealous that I'll be running several minutes behind the leaders as opposed to seeing the race play out! With that said, it would be an honor to hit a new personal best during the same race the world record falls. Let's hope for both!

I'm looking forward to getting to Berlin and discussing the final pacing situation with the other runners and pacemakers. It seems that we will have a solid group being paced somewhere between 64:30 and 65:30. That is a big difference, but I am hoping that we can meet somewhere in the middle as 64:30 might be a bit aggressive for me at this point!

I pushed my mid-week workout back by a day this week after the 16 mile tempo because that workout took a lot out of me. I had a suspicion it would, so we had the option built into the calendar. I also came down with a cold starting Thursday night which knocked me down for a couple of days, but I felt surprisingly good by Sunday. We had originally planned some threshold intervals followed by an hour run, but due to the cold I decided for a moderate 19 mile run. I was pleased that a 5:26 average felt easy, especially considering my first two miles were 6:40 and 6:15 respectively, meaning the other miles were mostly in the teens. It was also my last chance to practice with my fluids which I have dialed in.

Everyone has their own hydration strategy, but I keep mine fairly simple and straightforward by mixing one Powerbar Powergel (Tangerine or Double Latte w/ 50mg of caffeine) with 400 mL of water. I drink about 230 mL of water per bottle which will be available every 5km in Berlin, and I have been training with this exact ratio for several marathons by now. It's important to know how your body will react to supplements when you are under duress, so I always encourage runners to test out their nutrition plan several times before race day.

Thanks again for reading, and feel free to check out last week's training below. My next blog will be coming from Prague as I rest and prepare for the big day! Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Weeks to go: 3 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 off 40 minutes 14
Tuesday 12.5 6 + drills and strides 18.5
Wednesday 12.5 6 40 minutes 18.5
Thursday 4 miles, 2 miles, 2 x 1 mile @ 4:45-4:48, rest = 4 min, 2 min, 1 min 6 21
Friday 14 5 40 minutes 19
Saturday off-sick off 0
Sunday 19 miles @ 5:26 off 19
Total: 110