Thursday, August 31, 2017

Less than 4 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

I've only just returned from Europe 11 days ago, but I already feel pressure to finalize plans to fly again in two and a half weeks. It seems that my fatigue and struggling in the Czech highlands has paid off, as I have felt fantastic since flying back to Portland. I know I will start to feel human again at some point, but for now I'm proud of the way I pushed through the tough days earlier in the training cycle as I am being rewarded with a feeling of fitness and optimism. I was happy with both of the workouts this past week, but I was even more pleased with the perceived effort. Nothing was forced, and the overall daily volume has been very manageable. I have no doubt that a fair amount of the mental and physical lightness has been thanks to the help of Cam Levins, having recently moved to the neighborhood, and I am looking forward to continuing our cooperation in the future. I hope I'm rounding into shape at just the right moment before Berlin!

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

Weeks to go: 5 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday off 9.5 40 minutes 9.5
Tuesday 14 + drills and strides 6 20
Wednesday 4 mi tempo @ 18:59, 10 mi run, 4 mi tempo @ 18:57 off 24
Thursday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Friday 75 minute run + 8 x 200 meter hills 6 20
Saturday 12 6 40 minutes 18
Sunday 20 miles moderate + 4 mi push @ 19:31 off 20
Total: 131.5

Friday, August 25, 2017

Less than 5 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

It was a long trip home, but I'm happy to be back in Portland for the time being. My wife and I had booked our tickets to Czech well before I had committed to Berlin, so we had built in a stopover in Barcelona on the way home as the tickets happened to be cheaper. We were there for three days, one of which happened to be the day of the attacks. We were about 10 blocks away with plans to walk toward Las Ramblas after lunch, so while we never felt that we were in any danger, it was a sobering experience. I feel terrible for the people of Barcelona as I am sure it strikes you completely differently when something of that nature happens in your own backyard. The rallies of solidarity the following day were inspiring. Most encouraging was the ability of the Spanish people to stand against fear while embracing the Muslim community of Barcelona.

On a lighter note, I chose my week of travel to be a down week in terms of intensity. I had a strong mid-week workout before flying to Barcelona, but used the uncertainty of the weather as an opportunity to force myself into a Fartlek for my Sunday run. I decided to push my long run until a few days later once I was back in Portland.

I did my best to grind out every run and every workout while in the Czech countryside in the hope that it would pay off with some confidence building workouts once I returned. I am relieved to say that I have felt amazing since landing and am looking forward to sharing the details next week. I have also been fortunate that Cam Levins is back in the neighborhood and we have been able to link up for a workout as well as some easy running. Most of my training since leaving Oklahoma State has been solo, but I am very appreciative for any opportunity to train with someone when possible, especially with someone with the work ethic and credentials of Cam. Hopefully we can help each other to our goals this fall and further into 2017/2018.

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

Weeks to go: 6 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Tuesday 12.5 + drills and strides 6 18.5
Wednesday 15 x 1km, 2:58 down to 2:51, 1 min rest 5 23
Thursday 11.5 5.5 40 minutes 17
Friday 13 5 18
Saturday 4.5 + drills and strides off 40 minutes 4.5
Sunday Fartlek: (5,4,3)(4,3,2)(3,2,1)(1,2,3) w/equal rest off 19
Total: 120

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Less than 6 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

After another week of solid volume I am happy to report that I am tired but healthy. My body is holding up as well as I could ask for, and I am now on the second half of the marathon training block. That does not mean that I am in the clear from injury by any means. Before the Olympic Trials Marathon last year, I was diagnosed with a femoral stress fracture the week before the race. It's easy to ignore warning signs of a serious injury when training is going well, and I am determined to not make that mistake again. Predicting an injury before it gets past the point of no return is very difficult, but my experience the last couple of years has at least forced me to take time off when in doubt. A week in the pool is much better than 12 weeks in the pool, and very little fitness is lost. I hope I continue to feel this way over the next 5-6 weeks, but I am trying to stay closely tuned in to what my body is telling me and am prepared to adapt if needed.

I'm now on my last few days in Czech. Going home is always enjoyable, but Czech has become a second home to me as I have spent a couple months a year here for the last decade and even lived in Prague for about 18 months. In terms of training, the timing is perfect as I will be able to use my last 5 weeks to train on faster terrain and at sea level in order to put the final touches on the training segment before Berlin. I'll be back in Czech a week before the marathon to recover from travel and adjust to the time difference. I always prefer to stay somewhere familiar where I know the running routes and can cook my own food for as long as possible before a race, so I consider myself very lucky to have a home base in Europe that allows me to do that.

There are several guys living in Portland who are training for fall marathons currently, and I will do my best to recruit some training partners for this next stretch. I haven't run a step with another person since I left Portland last month, so a little company would be appreciated. Thanks again for reading and feel free to check out last week's training below. Follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Weeks to go: 7 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Tuesday 12.5 + drills and strides 6 18.5
Wednesday 4 mi, 3 mi, 2 mi, 1 mi starting 4:46, finishing 4:37, rest = 4 min, 3, 2 5 22
Thursday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Friday 1 hour + 8 x 200 meter hills 6 19
Saturday 10 off 40 minutes 10
Sunday 15 mi tempo @ 5:06 (hilly) off 21
Total: 130.5

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Less than 7 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

It's easy to find a little extra motivation for training watching the IAAF World Champs this year with all the fantastic performances so far. It has been a real pleasure to see the US efforts by Amy Cragg, Jenny Simpson, and Evan Jager, and plenty of excellent races off the podium as well. Seeing the disappointment on the faces of the US men in the 10km after running PBs in a championship race really shows how far US distance running has come over the last several years in terms of expectations and mentality. There is still a good deal of racing left, and several great US distance stars on deck.

As for my training, I had another productive week in southern Czech. I'm feeling stronger over the difficult terrain and slight elevation, and my workouts and easy runs are slowly starting to show it. I'm feeling exhausted most of the time, which is a normal part of marathon training, and I'm combating the fatigue with daily naps, long nights of sleep, and a high protein diet. It feels good to be putting in this kind of mileage again. Before NYC this last fall, I limited myself to 100 miles per week, and while my workouts went well, I went into them quite fresh which isn't necessarily ideal during marathon prep. My mileage is now oscillating from 120 -130 miles per week now, but with 1 very easy day in order to average closer to 20 miles per day on the other days of the week. So far the body is holding up very well, so my long term goal remains to get back to 140+ miles per week come next spring. It's been a long road since the injuries began in 2015, but I'm very close to being back to where I want to be.

The next 5 weeks will be the real meat of the training cycle and I'll be able to make a more realistic goal for Berlin during this time. Getting back to Portland and knocking out a few faster long runs on a more Berlin like course should give me the last bit of confidence that I'll need heading into September 24th. I booked my flight yesterday, planning to arrive a week early to adjust to the time change and recover from the flight. That step has made the race feel much more tangible and I'm fighting off any sudden sense of urgency as I am not even half-way through this training block.

Some of the training posted below was already posted last week, but I wanted to get back to a Monday-Sunday calendar going forward, so what you see is my last completed week of training which started 8 weeks before Berlin. Thanks again for reading and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Weeks to go: 8 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Tuesday 12.5 + drills and strides off 12.5
Wednesday  4 mi tempo @ 4:45-4:46, 30 minute run, 3 mi tempo @ 4:42-4:43 4 22
Thursday 12 6 40 minutes 18.5
Friday 1 hour + 8 x 200 meter hills 5 17
Saturday 7 off 40 minutes 7
Sunday 25 miles, 18-22 @ 4:52 off 25
Total: 122

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Less than 8 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

It's been a little while since the Peachtree 10k US Champs, but it took some time to settle on my next race. While the 10k wasn't a perfect race, it was a huge step forward for me after the injury ridden last 18 months. I went through 5km at 13:52 and the wheels didn't fall off. The first 5km is mostly downhill, but regardless, I felt more like my old self than I had in any race since the injuries began. Now that I have many months of consistent training and my blood work back to normal, I am optimistic about the fall and winter.

After a lot of deliberation I have decided for the Berlin Marathon this fall.  After getting out over my skis in New York this fall, I am looking for a controlled environment in which I can gain confidence heading into the spring. I would like an extra month of training for confidence, but that is almost always the case. I went backpacking for a few days following Peachtree to have a mental break before the marathon buildup, and then jumped right back in where I left off, leaving myself with about 11.5 weeks to prepare for Berlin. It looks like we'll have a small group of runners shooting for the 2:09-2:10ish range, so I should have people to run with as well as a couple of pace makers. Scott Overall (2:10) will be in this group, which is a big boost, as we have run in the same pace group during two of my PRs in the past (Fukuoka and London). Hopefully our training will progress at a similar pace and we both end up healthy at the starting line and can feed off each other on September. 24th.

I am currently back training in the Czech countryside as we spend time with my wife's family. I've
mentioned this in the past, but the running routes are fantastic in southern Czech (Vysocina), although hitting times is quite difficult as it is very hilly with a little elevation (2500ft.) The elevation isn't much, but combined with the hills, workouts are still fairly challenging. It's a great spot for base building, so the timing couldn't be better. I will be in Portland for the final 5 weeks of training and will be able to fine tune then.

I'm slowly building my mileage back up to marathon range but will still keep my volume between 120 and 130 for this segment. That includes one day (Saturday) of either very easy or off meaning that I am still averaging 20+ miles per day the other 6 days of the week. I am looking to get my mid-week workouts to 16-18 miles most weeks including warmup and cooldown to build strength as well.

Below are the last few weeks of training, and I will be posting the rest of the weeks leading up to Berlin. Thanks again for reading, and follow me here on Twitter for more updates.

Weeks To go Weekly Miles      
11 120 Monday    
    Wednesday   10 x 1 mile starting @ 4:57 down to 4:40, rest = 1 min
    Sunday   22 miles with 4 mile push @ 4:55
10 125 Monday    
    Wednesday   tempo runs 3.5, 2.5, 1.5@ 71ish, rest = 2 min, 1 min
    Friday   Run + 8 x 200 meter hills
    Sunday   23 mile moderate long run
9 130 Monday    
    Tuesday   8 x 1 mile @ 4:45-->4:25
    Thursday   Run + 8 x strides
    Friday   12 miles @ 5:00
    Sunday   24 mile moderate long run
8 120 Monday    
    Wednesday   4 mile tempo, 30 min run, 3mile tempo @ 4:45ish