10 Weeks to Boston …. Tuesday Speed Workout

Posted: February 9, 2010 in Training

With only 10 weeks remaining until the Boston Marathon I thought it would be a good time to look back to my training log from last year and compare notes a bit with last year’s training plan.   I have been diligent in posting my workouts each day since I started running semi-seriously in 2005.  I find that reflecting back on previous training runs helps me continue to refine my training plans and strategies as I have become a more studious runner.  The fact of the matter is that as long as that calendar keeps moving forward and I now settle into the middle of my age division (M 40-45) I need to get smarter as I am certainly not getting any younger.

The on-line training log that I started using back in 2005 unfortunately was hacked in December of 2007.  Details I had recorded about more than 500 runs and close to 3,500 miles of running were lost to me forever.  It may sound silly, but running logs are very personal items that contain a lot of blood sweat and tears for a distance runner.  It took me many months to get over the loss of that information and even after that particular log was launched again few months later I did not feel comfortable trusting them with my information any longer.

At that time I started using the log at Running2win.com – they have a great product that allows me to record my runs, cycling workouts, track my shoes, temperature during runs, percentage of body fat, calculate calories and any injuries I am struggling with.  My favorite feature however is the notes area where I can record things like what I had for dinner the night before a key workout, my hydration plan and on-the-run nutrition plan to look back and see what has worked for me in the past.

You can access their free on-line training log at:


Tuesday Quick 4-miler

Today’s workout was a quick 4-miler after Sunday’s 14.5 mile run.  On deck this week I have two 8-mile runs on Wednesday and Friday and a 16-mile long run on Sunday.  Mix in cycling workouts on Thursday and Saturday and we have a full week ahead of us at Run for Dom.  I follow a traditional training plan like most marathoners, but I do add one small twist to it in that I add a “speed” workout every other week or so just so I can work on my leg-turnover and let my body know what it feels like to “go fast”.

I Wanna Go Fast!

I like to call these my “Ricky Bobby” days where I wanna go fast!  When I was trying to get my mile splits down to the 7:30 min. range to qualify for Boston I really believed that I would have to train occasionally at a pace much faster than 7:30 min/mile if I wanted to sustain that pace over 26.2 miles.  There are a lot of training plans that tell you not to run many workouts at race pace – and I agree that running at race pace or even faster does introduce the risk of injury if you do this too frequently.  But I also believe strongly that if you want to run a specific pace for a distance of 13.1 or 26.2 miles you need to condition your body to “exceed” that pace on occasion in order to build strength in those legs but also the speed necessary to sustain a quick pace when you are feeling fatigued.  That was the challenge for me in 2009.  I knew I could run 20 miles at 7:30 pace – but could I run 26.2?  That final 10 kilometers is very unforgiving.  Being able to sustain a quick pace over the last 6 miles of the marathon course was something I thought about during my “Ricky Bobby” workouts trying to push tired legs to go hard and fast.  I attribute a lot of my success in reaching my Boston Qualifying time to these workouts.

Final Mile Split

So this morning’s 4-miler seemed like a perfect day for a little “Shake N’ Bake” – After last night’s 12-mile cycling workout I had just enough fatigue left over from Sunday’s 14.5 mile long run that it would be tough to push pace and run fast splits.  Add in 31 degree temperatures and 15 mph winds this morning and it I could not have asked for a better morning.  Final results were very solid covering 4 miles in 28:16 (7:04 pace).  The key part of the workout was in trying to push each mile a bit harder than the one previous.  My splits of 7:13, 7:05, 7:00, and 6:56 were exactly what I was hoping for – true negative splits on a cold windy morning with tired legs, great stuff.

When I looked back at this training week a year ago in preparing for Pittsburgh I see some encouraging trends.  My 2009 14-mile long run was completed in 1:45:26 (7:32 pace).  I was able to finish this past Sunday’s 14.5 mile long run a bit faster at a 7:26 pace including some hill work. 

Prior to my 16-miler last year at the end of this training week preparing for the Pittsburgh Marathon I made home-made cheese filled Ravioli for dinner on Saturday night, had a salad, some black seedless grapes, and yogurt covered pretzels for a bedtime snack posting a time of 2:00:21 covering the 16-miler at a 7:31 pace.  That’s the blueprint for this Sunday’s run, cheese-filled ravioli sounds pretty good to me, dinner time is at 6:00 p.m. if you can make it.

  1. Ricky Bobby Days… I love it!

    Nice push through your residual fatigue to do this tempo run. You did a great job with the negative splits!

  2. joerunfordom says:

    Jill – thanks so much for the visit! Hope you are starting to feel a bit better. Love the Ricky Bobby workouts … sometimes we forget how fun it is to run fast sometimes training for a race. Talk to you soon!

  3. Lara says:

    Excellent negative splits, Joe, and I appreciate the narrative as well. It helps to hear the thought-process someone goes through in deciding what works and doesn’t work for their training. I, too, believe in the speed part of the training, though will be the first to admit that I’m not as diligent about it as I should be.

    All the best,

    • joerunfordom says:

      Thanks for stopping by Lara! I think we all could do a little better focusing on an individual workout – I have those run days when my mind is floating around from topic to topic and all of a sudden I’m almost back home – I try to at least every other week really zero in on splits and add a solid speed workout. Take good care Lara! Joe

  4. David says:

    Love the Talladega Nights analogy! haha And thanks for the r2w website. It sounds exactly like what I’ve been looking for to enhance my workouts.

    • joerunfordom says:

      David – thanks for the visit and comment! Hope you like the r2w site – there are a ton of them out there – but it has been very reliable and stable for me for well over two years now – so no complaints there. I like the archiving that Garmin Connect provides – but if you ever have to run indoors (treadmill) or have an issue with it updating you lose the ability to capture that data – I also can’t log which shoes I post runs in on the Garmin – so the r2w site fills in those gaps nicely. Take care and happy training!

  5. Brittany says:

    Interesting, never thought of it like that

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