Wednesday, April 22, 2009


With the running of the Boston Marathon this Monday I have been a little preoccupied lately with this historic race. Monday's race was incredibly exciting, with two American runners (Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher) placing third in their respective races. Watching the coverage, I was sucked into the energy of the race and was finding myself wishing I was running there as well. But a significant hurdle still lies in my way.

For those of you who may not know, entry to the Boston Marathon is not gained via lottery as in other major marathons. It is achieved via a qualifying standard. This means that in order to enter in and run the Boston Marathon you have to run another marathon during the qualifying period that is faster than the standard time. For my age group that time is 3 hours, 10 minutes.

It is my goal to achieve this time for my marathon on May 3, however with all of this fervor around Boston I feel that my focus has drifted somewhat. My focus needs to be firmly on my race on May 3, and not on the thought of some future race in Boston. I have several key tasks to accomplish and I need to rededicate my mind to them. I need to taper well for the next 10 days, keeping my speedwork consistent while ramping back my weekly mileage. I need to continue to eat well and get my rest so my body can recover from training. I need to visualize my performance, and layout my plan for achieving my goal. Finally, I need to go out there on May 3 and race according to my plan. Accomplishing these key points will bring me success in this race, and no other race matters.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Well since my last post dealt with my running doldrums I think it is about time I gave an update. I'm officially fired up again! The half marathon could not have come at a better time in my training, and after the result I achieved (1:28:49 and 10th in my age group) I am brimming with confidence for the marathon. Even with the hard effort for the race, I was able to hit the ground running (pun intended) and complete both my intervals and the last 20 mile run feeling strong. I was also consistent with getting out the door for my easy runs. This was somewhat challenging as I spent the week hanging out with family, making my schedule a little inconsistent.

Needless to say this was just the kick in the butt I needed to get going into my taper. With less than three weeks to go now to the marathon, I will be scaling back the mileage to help my body heal up and go into the race strong. I have always felt this stage of the training to be difficult as I never really know how much or how little to run. I think last year I was a little high on mileage in the last weeks, and I hope to scale things back this year from that. Ideally, I should be feeling like I'm bouncing off the walls by the last week. The hard work is done, however, and I think that this will be a good race, barring any unforeseen circumstances. With the marathon, anything can go wrong, but I feel like my training has equipped me to handle the challenge ahead.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Doldrums

Man I just never see it coming, but the doldrums of marathon training have officially arrived. Fortunately, timing is everything, and I am only one week away from the official start of the taper. Last year this point arrived 4 weeks away from taper, and virtually killed the main training period for the marathon. This year I have been able to stay focussed and get my key workouts in for the past 4 weeks.

I seem to get to this point during every marathon training season, I feel totally unmotivated to run. Once I force myself to go out, I always enjoy it, but getting out the door gets harder and harder every day. This was especially true for my interval workout today. I did not want to go to the gym, once I was there I did not want to run on the treadmill, once I was running I did not want to start my intervals. Instead I just went through the motions, not allowing myself to walk away, and ended up having a very successful workout.

I made it to 10x800m today, which is a milestone in all of my marathon training seasons. The 10x800 workout (invented by Bart Yasso of Runner's World) says that you should be able to run 10x800m repeats with 90s rest in between at the corresponding minute:second time that your hour:minute marathon goal is. In other words, I have been aiming to run all of the 800s at 6:18 pace (about 3:07 per 800) and my marathon goal is sub 3:10. In past years I have kicked off marathon training with 6-8 800s and tried to hold on the entire 16 weeks, but this year I fixed the pace and starting from 4x800, slowly worked my way up. I think this method has been successful in that I haven't burned out too early this year. Today's result gives me the confidence I need to start tapering, knowing that the hard work has been successful.

Another point of excitement is that I have scheduled a training race this year, so I will race a half marathon (see sidebar) on Sunday. This will be a great change of pace from the weekly long run and I can get away with skipping my tempo run next week as well. My plan is to run the half marathon at my marathon goal pace (7:15 minutes/mile) which should have me finish around 1:35. I most likely could run faster than that, but the "A" race is the marathon and I don't want to be too sore so that I can still complete my workouts next week. I still have another interval session and a 20 on the weekend to do next week before the taper. It looks like the weather may be the best factor in keeping me honest as we are due to get a fair amount of snow on Saturday.