7 Weeks to Boston …. Born to Run

Posted: February 28, 2010 in Training

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.

Full Moon over Austin

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.

Sunrise Brushy Creek Park - Austin

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

Sunday Run Stats

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.

The Boss

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

  1. Angel P says:

    I enjoy the blog. Running for a great cause , I wish you the best of luck in Boston.

  2. Brian Cass says:

    My picks are:

    Smashing Pumpkins – Today (an oldie but goodie; perfect way to start a morning run, today is the greatest!)
    Phoenix – 1901 (the intro always makes me wanna pick up the pace)

    Some other road tested favorites of late:

    Nina Simone, Felix da Housecat – Sinnerman
    Passion Pit – Little Secrets
    Phoenix – Lisztomania
    Paul Van Dyk – We are Alive

    • joerunfordom says:

      Brian – thanks for the visit and the post! Hope all is going well with your half-marathon training for Pittsburgh. Looking forward to seeing you there at the start! Best, Joe

  3. My picks are:

    Start Me Up- The Rolling Stones
    Awful- Hole
    What’s My Scene- Hoodoo Gurus
    Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong- Spin Doctors
    Alison’s Starting to Happen- The Lemonheads
    Town Called Malice- The Jam
    Paradise City- Guns N’ Roses
    Monkey Wrench- Foo Fighters
    Rock ‘n Roll Band- Boston
    Been Caught Stealing- Jane’s Addiction

  4. Kris Stevens says:

    Awesome song to run to Joe. It sounds like you had a lot of fun this morning. I only ran in Austin once, however, the picture in your blog makes me want to come down and train more often.

    Song selections are important in training. It can definitely play a pivotal role when you are trying to get to the next mile. My newest favorite song to run to is: Battle Flag by Lo Fidelity Allstars. **Warning there is a sensored and unsensored versions to this song.**

    Others that are great:
    Well Enough Alone and I Get It by Chevelle
    Life In Fast Lane by The Eagles (great for interval training)
    Somebody Told Me by The Killers
    Stanglehold by Ted Nugent

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Kris! We’ve got some great areas to run in here in Austin for sure – we need to get you down here for a race soon! Will definitely check out Lo Fidelity Allstarts …. that will be a new one for me. Take good care, Joe

  5. james says:

    the moonlight just makes the start of the run amazing!

  6. Brendan says:

    Some nice training on dailymile. You’ll be set up pretty well for April. Boston is my favorite marathon. I’d recommend doing it without the headphones if you can – the crowd is incredible, as are the other runners. Would be a shame to miss all of it.

    That being said…last year as I was nervously doing nothing the weekend of Boston in anticipation for Monday, I came up with this playlist about the Boston course…link at the end where I uploaded the songs. Enjoy!

    1. Dropkick Murphys – I’m Shipping Up To Boston
    2. Wilco – Monday
    3. My Morning Jacket – One Big Holiday
    4. The Roots – Adrenaline
    5. Cars – Let’s Go
    6. OK Go – Here It Goes Again
    7. Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.
    8. Marc Broussard – Hope For Me Yet
    9. The Kinks – I Gotta Move
    10. Ben Lee – Run
    11. Marah – Going Thru The Motions
    12. The Ting Tings – Keep Your Head
    13. The Roots – Stay Cool
    14. Gnarls Barkley – Run (I’m A Natural Disaster)
    15. The Clash – Death or Glory
    16. The Strokes – When It Started
    17. Tom Petty – Climb That Hill
    18. The Raconteurs – Steady, As She Goes
    19. Ben Lee – Close I’ve Come
    20. The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
    21. Reel Big Fish – Good Thing
    22. Ted Wyman – You Won’t Break My Heart Tonight
    23. JET – That’s All Lies
    24. The Black Crowes – Go Faster
    25. My Morning Jacket – Remnants
    26. Dr. Dog – Hang On


    • joerunfordom says:

      Brendan – this is awesome! Thanks so much for all the encouragement over on Dailymile and this list is great! I’m about 90-10 on running without music at Boston – I think I will miss a lot of the experience with my buds in. I’m also thinking I might just turn the volume way down just so I have that comfort and familiarity with me during the race. Come mile 21 I’m betting I’ll regret not having something to jam to. Thanks again for the visit and post! Joe

  7. Sunshine says:

    Songs I enjoy at the end of a run:
    Kings of Leon- Your Sex is on fire
    Limp Bizkit- Rollin
    Fall Out Boy- Sugar We’re Going Down Swinging
    Hoobastank- The Reason
    Jay Z- 99 Problems
    Maroon 5- Harder to Breathe
    Green Day- Time of Your Life
    Beyonce- Cray in Love
    Creed- Higher

  8. onelittlejill says:

    Love Springsteen; grew up not too far from him and listening to him daily. I was even born the same day he released “Jersey Girl” so I am the official Jersey Girl 🙂 I have seen him 3x in concert!

    As for my music, it varies…I do some Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters, Dr. Dre, The Who…seriously, I like all music!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Jill! Thanks for the visit. Very cool on Bruce ~ Jersey girl is an absolute classic – great stuff. 11 shows and counting and honestly I’d drive just about anywhere to catch Bruce if he gets back down here to TX. The last show I saw here in Austin was VERY different than a Bruce show in the Northeast – Philly, NY, NJ shows are taken to a new level – but it is still a great time. I might have to bust out some Beastie Boys for this playlist – it’s been awhile since I ran to them. Take care Jill and stay warm! J

  9. Alett says:

    Born to Run is my absolute favorite song! When I hear that randomly (walking by a store, radio etc.) I feel like it is a positive sign and the day will be awesome. My first marathon was New Jersey too – one of my favorite aspects of this marathon was the spectators blaring the Boss on their lawn speakers!

    Favorite running songs include:
    – Born to Run (of course)
    – Where the Streets have no name (U2)
    – Running right through the world (Toasters)
    – Pressure Drop
    – Hold on Tight to your dreams (Electric Light Orchestra)
    – Dancing in the Light (Entrain)
    – Dancing with myself (Billy Idol) *no idea why but this was the song that was in my head almost the entire way of NJ marathon
    – American Land (Bruce Springsteen)
    – Run, run, away (Dominoo’s version)

    • joerunfordom says:

      Alett – thanks for the visit! I have some Billy Idol in my playlist as well – It does a better job motivating me on the cycling trainer than the running trail for some reason — but there is a place for Vital Idol when you are an endurance athlete! Take good care, Joe

  10. Jamie Wolf says:

    Great blog! That is amazing that you are running Boston. Best of luck to you!


    • joerunfordom says:

      Jamie – thanks so much! Very excited about Boston – although Pittsburgh 13 days later will be the real celebration for me.

      Thanks for the visit! I’ll be heading over to fitforamom shortly! Best, Joe

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