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

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Less than 3 weeks to the Berlin Marathon: Last week's training

Berlin is approaching fast and the majority of training is in the bank. There is still plenty of time to make mistakes, so I  need to remain vigilant in diet, rest, and injury prevention. A few more hard efforts are in the near future, but the most important long runs are now over after last weekend's 16 mile tempo. I averaged 4:58 for the workout, but I was at about 5:00 through 13, closing in around 4:50 for the last 3 and feeling strong. I have averaged faster for this tempo workout in the past, but I was very pleased with how comfortable I felt. Since returning from Europe I have ticked all the confidence building boxes I was hoping for, and now the focus turns to feeling fresh and healthy on September 24th.

Portland has been choked by smoke since a fire broke out in the Columbia River Gorge on Sunday. It has begun to improve today, but I have had to balance treadmill miles to save my lungs while not hurting myself with 20 mile indoor days. Hopefully we are through the worst, but ash falling from the sky, blood orange sun and moon, and scratchy throat and eyes have all been very disconcerting. Unfortunately most of the west coast is experiencing poor air quality at the moment, so a quick escape for healthy training is not easy.

I head back to Prague in 9 days to give myself enough time to recover from the travel and time difference. In Prague I'll be able to cook and run in a familiar setting as opposed to living in a hotel for a week. From there I'll have a snappy 30 minute flight to Berlin 3 days before the race.  A few years ago I had the privilege of pacing Shalane Flanagan in her American record attempt, so I have run 26 miles of the course and am familiar with start and finish line procedures. One less thing to worry about!

Pace groups will be finalized over the next couple of weeks, but it appears that we will have a decent sized group going through at around 65:00ish, which will be perfect based on the marathon block I've had. Looking forward to sharing that info when it becomes available.

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

Weeks to go: 4 AM PM Strength Mileage
Monday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Tuesday 14 + drills and strides 5 19
Wednesday 6 x 2km starting @ 4:45 pace down to 4:28 pace, rest = 90 seconds 5 21
Thursday 14 6 40 minutes 20
Friday 1 hour run + 8 x 200 meters @ 30-31 off 12
Saturday 6 off 40 minutes 6
Sunday 16 mile tempo @ 4:58 off 22
Total: 120