Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Less than a week to the Boston Marathon: Last week's training

It's hard to believe the 12 weeks of marathon training are coming to an end. I started packing for Boston today and the light pings of anxiety have begun as reality sets in. My runs consist of me thinking about my last few months of training over and over again wondering what I could have done better, but it's too late to improve fitness. Fortunately I'm quite proud of this marathon training block. The injuries of 2015 and 2016 put me in a place where I wasn't sure I'd be able to train at a high enough level to be competitive again, but I was able to get back to 140 miles per week and run faster on some of my key workouts than I ever have before. I am fit enough; now I need to execute a tough and intelligent race plan.

The weather forecast seems to be changing every few hours, so I'm not going to get too worked about that at this point. Two days ago it showed a strong tailwind and dry, but as of right now (Tuesday afternoon) I am seeing a 21 MPH headwind and rain. In the end it doesn't matter. Boston is about competition, not times. I am going to pack and plan a race strategy for both scenarios. Plus, we have had a wet and cold spring (even by Portland standards), so not much can phase me at this point on the weather front.

Last week was kept to just two threshold type workouts. I felt quite well rested for the 4 x 2 mile coming off a fairly easy long run, so while it was certainly challenging, I had a little left in the tank which was the goal being so close to the race. The overall weekly mileage was significantly lower, but that includes a planned day off. I hadn't taken a day off since Gate River, so now seemed like the right time to let some of the training and 3 straight weeks at 140 miles catch up.

The fields for the Boston Marathon are set and they are very strong. I would love to make this my 4th top-10 Marathon Majors finish, and I'm confident I can do so. I'm going to race as I always have: Be conservative early, run tough when it counts, and beat guys I probably have no business competing with. 

I somewhat disappointed that I won't get to see the epic women's race live, but I'll catch up once I cross the finish line. If you can, tune into the race on NBC Sports Network.

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

  Monday 4/2/2018  AM: 12.5, PM: 6
  Tuesday 4/3/2018  AM: 4 miles easy + 4 x 2 mile (9:25, 9:23, 9:23, 9:19), 2 min recovery +4 miles easy, PM: 4.5
  Wednesday 4/4/2018  Off
  Thursday 4/5/2018  AM: 12.5, PM: 6
  Friday 4/6/2018  tempo runs 3 mile, 2 mile, 1 mile + 1 hour
  Saturday 4/7/2018  AM: 12.5, PM, 6
110 Sunday 4/8/2018 100 min

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

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

With less than two weeks to go, the hay is mostly in the barn as the old saying goes. I will still do one more challenging workout this week, but the tapering has begun. I've managed three consecutive weeks at 140 miles since the Gate River Run, and while that does mean a shorter taper than I am used to, I had the few days of rest before and after the race. The last couple weeks of volume will be at a fairly steep descent, but that will be more attributed to cutting out secondary runs rather than substantially decreasing the primary run mileage.

I have almost always finished off the bulk of my marathon training with a 16 mile tempo at marathon effort toward the end of the highest training volume. This current attempt was not my fastest, but it was amid the toughest conditions I have faced for this particular workout. I had a headwind of about 15-20 mph steady with gusts for six straight miles (miles 6-12) which lead to three miles at 5:17, 5:14, and 5:11. Once I turned the corner and had only a side wind, I was able to average 4:50 for the last four miles and get the overall average under 5:00. I think the effort was worth quite a bit more than the watch showed, not only for the weather, but because it ended up being more of a Fartlek effort. There's nothing wrong with that though, as Boston will likely have an erratic pace and effort. It's always good to practice those mental ups and downs that will inevitably come with the Boston course and tactics.

It's now time to utilize the extra energy that comes with tapering to focus in on all the minute details. While I always place an emphasis on the little things, I have to find somewhere to send the nervous energy. Diet, rehab, obsessive use of anti-bacterial, sleep, and slowly visualizing a race plan are examples. It's dangerous to get too specific with a plan for this type of race as the key will be adaptability. All you can do is imagine several possible scenarios while still being ready for the unexpected. You have to be confident in your fitness and be willing to change everything on the fly. That's the beauty of Marathon Majors like NYC and Boston!

Thanks again for reading. Feel free to check out last week's training below.

Weekly Total: 140
  Monday 3/26/2018 3 mile warmup, 16 miles @ 4:59, 3 mile cooldown
  Tuesday 3/27/2018 AM: 14 PM: 6
  Wednesday 3/28/2018 AM: 14 PM: 6 
  Thursday 3/29/2018
AM: Hilly paved Fartlek: (5, 4, 3)(4, 3, 2)(3, 2, 1) w/half recovery jog, 16 total
PM: 5
  Friday 3/30/2018  AM: 14 PM: 6
  Saturday 3/31/2018  AM: 12.5 PM: 6 + drills and strides

Sunday 4/1/2018 Long run: 18.5 miles, push 4 @ 4:56 from 14

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

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

We're down to just under 3 weeks until the Boston Marathon. I'm down to my last few days of max volume which always feels like a curse and a blessing. It's nice to know the toughest weeks are behind you, but the last 2-3 weeks of tapering bring an unwarranted feeling that fitness is disappearing and anxiety sets in as the race gets closer. I will do my best to use that time to dial in travel logistics, nutrition, rehab, and race-day strategy in order to occupy my mind.

There was no long run in this 7 day period as I've decided to spread them out a little more during the final weeks to encourage recovery and quality. The next long run was Monday the 26th which will be posted in next week's bog. I was pleased overall with the training week as I hit 140 miles again while also nailing my 5 x 2 mile mid-week workout. The times aren't terribly impressive, but in the context of the volume and previous week's long run, it's a positive sign for my marathon fitness. It is very satisfying to be back to 20 miles a day while also feeling 100% healthy!

I'd also like to encourage everyone reading this to check out the revamped RunDoyen website. I know most people reading this like to get into the nitty gritty of training, and RunDoyen gives you the chance to connect with pro's with expertise in anything from the mile to the marathon. I've really enjoyed being a part of the process!

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

    Monday 3/19/2018 AM: 14 PM: 6
    Tuesday 3/20/2018 AM: 14 PM: 6
    Wednesday 3/21/2018 AM: 5 x 2 mile @ 4:42 avg. pace, 2 min recovery PM: 5
    Thursday 3/22/2018 AM: 14 PM: 6
    Friday 3/23/2018 AM: 70 minutes + 12 x 200 meter hills PM: 6
    Saturday 3/24/2018 AM: 14 PM: 6

140 Sunday 3/25/2018 AM: 14 PM: 6

Monday, March 19, 2018

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

The US 15k Championships at the Gate River Run in Jacksonville were just over a week ago, and I was fairly pleased with my race. It was my second fastest time at this event and the first time I've raced it mid-marathon preparation. I took a few easy days the week of the race to give myself a shot at being competitive, but the overall focus has still been on Boston training. Looking back, I wish I had a little more confidence to go when the move was made a little over half-way through the race, but I was concerned that my marathon legs wouldn't allow me to make that jump. Regardless, my body responded well to a couple of days rest and I did the best I could off high volume training. It was a great sign heading into the last month of training for Boston!

I realize that I missed a week, so the last two weeks of training are posted below. I allowed myself some extra recovery time after the race, so my first real workout back wasn't until the Saturday after Gate River. We decided for a moderate 22 mile run using the first 2 miles as a warmup and progressing down. The legs bounced back better than expected from the race, and I had one of the best long runs of this type that I can remember. With 4 weeks to go, there are only a few key workouts left. I've hit several of my confidence building workouts already, so caution is key as we get closer to April 16th.

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

Weekly Total:
Monday 3/5/2018        AM: 14, PM: 6
Tuesday 3/6/2018        AM: 12, PM: 6
Wednesday 3/7/2018     AM: 5 x 1km @ 2:55-2:57, 1 min rest + 4 x 200 @ 30, PM: 5
Thursday 3/8/2018        AM: 8, PM: off
Friday 3/9/2018        AM: 5
Saturday 3/10/2018 Gate River Run 15k: 44:13
100 Sunday 3/11/2018        Off
Monday 3/12/2018 AM: 14, PM: 6
Tuesday 3/13/2018 AM: 14, PM: 6
Wednesday 3/14/2018 AM: 14, PM: 6
Thursday 3/15/2018 AM: 14, PM: 6, 8 x 200 meters @ 32
Friday 3/16/2018 AM: 12, PM 6
Saturday 3/17/2018 22 miles, avg. 5:17, 2 mile warmup, 4 mile push from 16 @ 4:54
140 Sunday 3/18/2018 AM: 16 PM: 4

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