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