Monday March 1st and we are now just 7 weeks away from the Boston Marathon. When I think back to where we were 9 weeks ago at the start of this training cycle for the first of two marathons, it is pretty incredible to see how far we’ve traveled. Back on December 28th I was finishing up rehabilitation from my shin injury and starting our training plan with just 3 tentative miles. My shin splint issue was only about 90% resolved, but with 16 weeks to race day it was time to gradually start building mileage and strengthening legs that had taken close to a full month away from running.
Since that first 3-mile run 253.25 miles have been covered during 36 training runs. 340 cycling miles have been logged over 25 rides. We raced at the 3M Half Marathon in January posting a Personal Best 1:32:13, continuing to move further and further away from our injury woes of November and December.
Today’s long run was scheduled for just 12 miles before another jump in mileage up to 19 next Sunday. This presented a great opportunity for a “fast finish long run”. I like to work in 3 or 4 fast finish long runs into the training plan before my 20-mile long runs appear on the calendar. Bring it on I thought.
It was virtually a perfect morning for running long. At 5:40 a.m. there was a temperature of 39 degrees, no wind whatsoever, and a full moon to help light the early morning trails. There are a lot of things I enjoy about being out early for my training runs, but this morning was really tough to beat. By 6:30 a.m. I could look over my left shoulder to see the full moon in the sky and off to my right on the horizon was the sunrise – great stuff.
The goal in my fast finish long runs is to run the early portions of the distance at my goal pace (right now 7:22 to 7:26 pace per mile) and over the final 30 -40 minutes of the run, push the pace running much faster than my marathon goal pace. This trains your body to push tired legs through their fatigue stage and work on leg turnover which builds speed. You can read about fast finish long runs here: http://wp.me/pHGel-af
Today’s workout was very solid with mile splits at: 7:23, 7:13, 7:25, 7:20, 7:19, 7:22, 7:09, 7:03, 7:10, 7:14, 7:05, 6:47. Total time for my run was 1:26:35 (7:13 pace). Last year in training for Pittsburgh I posted a 1:30:10 for this workout at 7:31 pace.
Now a couple things are important to remember – no two runs are the same so comparing a workout to a previous week, month let alone year can be very misleading. Another key point is that peaking for April 19th is the goal – not posting impressive splits in the month of February. Nobody will remember my 6:47 split on February 28th (including me) if I blow up at Heartbreak Hill in Boston or at mile 20 at Pittsburgh. That said, I do take pride in having a specific plan for today’s run and executing that plan throughout the training session.
We still have a lot of ground to cover before we toe the line on April 19th and the weather in Boston on Patriot’s Day will play a major factor in our goal for that race – but it would be a great way to honor Dom by posting another Boston Qualifying time during the Boston Marathon itself. If history serves as a guide, less than 30% of the runners this year will accomplish the goal of running a “Boston Time” during this year’s race. I’d love to be one of them.
I had a bit of a secret weapon this morning as well when I came over the footbridge that is 1.1 miles from our home. The unmistakable drum kick of Max Weinberg and the saxophone of Clarence Clemons from the E Street Band kicked of one of my favorite songs of all time to listen and run to. Springsteen’s Born to Run. Now growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs in the 1970’s and 1980’s certainly has had a little bit to do with my love for the Boss. I have in fact seen Bruce in concert 11 times over the years – but when it comes to running songs – Born to Run is pretty tough to beat.
I run to music during all of my training runs as well as most races I have competed in. (I am considering running Boston without music to take in the spectacle for all it is this year …) But for me there is really something about pushing through a difficult hill or a challenging portion of a training run to an inspiring beat. I am going to be putting together a new playlist for my 19 and 20 mile training runs that I have the next two Sunday’s this week.
If you have a song or songs that you like to jam out to when you are training please drop them in the comments below. I will put the list together for everyone at the end of the week and give it a try myself on Sunday. Going to be tough to top this one:
In the day we sweat it out in the streets of a runaway American dream
At night we ride through mansions of glory in suicide machines
Sprung from cages out on highway 9,
Chrome wheeled, fuel injected
and steppin’ out over the line
Baby this town rips the bones from your back
It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap
We gotta get out while we’re young
‘Cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run
Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend
I want to guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs ’round these velvet rims
and strap your hands across my engines
Together we could break this trap
We’ll run till we drop, baby we’ll never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
‘Cause baby I’m just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta find out how it feels
I want to know if love is wild
girl I want to know if love is real
Beyond the Palace hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard
The girls comb their hair in rearview mirrors
And the boys try to look so hard
The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist
I wanna die with you Wendy on the streets tonight
In an everlasting kiss
The highway’s jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody’s out on the run tonight
but there’s no place left to hide
Together Wendy we’ll live with the sadness
I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don’t know when
we’re gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go
and we’ll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
baby we were born to run