It’s Race Week! Pittsburgh Marathon

Posted: April 25, 2010 in Training
Tags: , , , ,

Wohoo!  It’s race week again at Run for Dom.  Today (Sunday) marks the one-week mark in preparing for marathon number two in as many weeks.  Over the past few days I have really started to feel the soreness moving out of my hips and quadriceps compliments of those damn Newton Hills at Boston and I’m starting to feel pretty good frankly.

Sunday Recover/Taper Run

This morning called for a 6-mile run which was splitting the difference between the traditional 4 miler I schedule one week after a marathon and the usual 8 miler I run one week before a marathon.  So, 6 miles sounded just about right.  I have to admit that there really isn’t a “playbook” for what I am doing right now.  Even the most detail oriented training plans do not spell out how to prepare for two marathons in 13 days – so I’m “winging it” a little quite frankly.  With the exception of the lingering soreness in my outer hips – compliments of the towns of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham and Natick – we’re starting to feel pretty “decent”.  I wrapped up the 6 miles Sunday in 43:02 at 7:10 pace.  Not too shabby only 6 days post-Boston Marathon.

I know the fitness level is there to cover the 26 mile, 385 yard course at Pittsburgh.  There are no real “injuries” to manage on race day as I am about as healthy as you can be after completing the gauntlet that is the Boston Marathon course.  The only real question I have right now is how early in the race will muscle fatigue set-in and at what point will the usual “in-race muscle rebellion” begin.

I have been looking back at my Boston race in a more analytical way over the past two days – removing the emotions of it and really dissecting what happened over those 3 hours and 22 minutes.  As I mentioned in my race report, it was a day that very early on I realized I simply didn’t “have it”.  There were two other things about Boston that really threw me off of my game:

1.  The late start time, (I usually start my runs at 5:30 a.m. CST) – did a 10:00 a.m. start throw off my nutrition plan?  Should I have eaten more after a 6:30 p.m. dinner the night before and the starter’s gun at 10:00 a.m. than my usual pre-race banana and bagel?  In hindsight – yes.  I burned close to 3,000 calories during the race at Boston and I really feel like my tank was empty over the final 10K.

2.  The early downhill sections – I definitely did not prepare for how steep those hills were.  Not knowing the course made me believe that my hill training was sufficient.  I know now that less speed work and more hill repeats are required for the next time I prepare for Boston.

So as I look ahead to the Pittsburgh Marathon and a course that I know well from last year’s race – I am looking forward to minimizing all outside influences this week and sticking to the things that I know. 

With a 7:30 a.m. EST start-time our nutrition plan should work out just as it did a year ago on our way to our Personal Best 3:17:43.  I also have a road map of sorts by looking at my mile splits and pace over the first half of the course to know I will be ready for the climb up Forbes at mile 13 to the top of the course. 

It will really be a matter of trying to gauge my muscle strength early in the race to determine just how empty our tank is from racing at Boston and if we can “run our race” or if I need to dial back the throttles quite a bit and simply shoot for a 3:30 – 3:45 kind of pace and simply enjoy the day and finish what we started by honoring Dom and his courageous battle against cancer the right way.

I will be posting a full course preview on Tuesday as I dive back into all of my race materials from a year ago and re-examine all of my mile splits from the 2009 race.  We should have our full “battle plan” finalized at that time and I should have a pretty good gauge as to how I am going to feel after my run that morning.

The weather forecast should also become a bit more clear by mid-week, right now the extended forecast is calling for temperatures around 60 at the start of the race and rain.  Not exactly what I would pick if I had the choice for race day, so we’ll hope that forecast changes between now and the starter’s gun.

Whatever the challenges on Sunday May 2nd we’ll be there to meet them head on.  I’m a marathoner afterall, and that’s what we do.

  1. Jodi Higgins says:

    Good luck next Sunday! I will be there running the 1/2 and it sounds likely thankfully I won’t be running up the mile 13 hill…or will I?

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Jodi! Congrats on the half next weekend! I’m sure you will rock it. Actually, you will be getting off the hook a bit on that climb up Forbes as the half and full marathon courses split before that climb. The Pittsburgh course is very fair with 3.75 pretty flat miles before the first hill at mile 4. You climb a bit from 8-11, but it is only about a 75 foot elevation change over those three miles. It’s more rolling than anything, and the bridges present a little bit of an arc – but nothing you haven’t come across in your training.

      Best of luck next weekend! Please let me know your bib number when it gets issued – I’d love to check-in afterwards and see how you do.

      Take good care,


  2. Brian says:

    I finished up my final 10 miler yesterday in 1:25 with 8:32, 8:25, 8:24, 8:30, 8:21, 8:28, 8:35, 8:39, 8:38, 8:26 individual splits — Hit my 8:30 /mi pace right on! I guess this means I am ready to rock the half at Pittsburgh! I’ll look forward to a course preview later this week, and can’t wait to catch up this weekend and meet THE MAN himself, DOM!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Brian – so glad to hear that you nailed your mark on that final 10-miler. You are very ready my man to take on the course. Keep watching that weather report – looks like the temperatures may be a bit high. Anything over 65 degrees and you have to slow down or you risk crashing – I usually look to dial-back about :05 per mile for every 5 degrees above 60. Good rule of thumb to follow.

      See you on Saturday Brian for dinner – safe travels out to Pittsburgh!

  3. Jodi Higgins says:


    I will definitely let you know my bib number. I actually live in Northeastern Ohio now (but grew up in PA) and will be getting into Pittsburgh Saturday afternooon and staying with my cousin. We will be heading to the expo around 1:30 on Saturday to grab our packets. I like the rule of thumb for temperature. I ran a 10 miler yesterday and it was 55 and scattered showers. It was actually perfect weather and it enabled me to run a PR of 1:21. I would be thrilled if the weather would decide to do that next Sunday!

  4. Jodi Higgins says:

    Also, I do keep a blog which will have my results posted after the race next week. It’s at

    • joerunfordom says:

      Jodi- thanks so much for the message and the link to your blog! Will be over to pay you a visit! Let’s hope for the mid 50’s for race morning. The early start will help for sure.

      Have a great final taper! Best, Joe

  5. Linda Case says:

    Ok. Needed to add a suggestion to your playlist since youre all about the 80’s and rocking the blue arm bands with the stars on them. Patty Smyth – The Warrior. Its my #1 song on my ipod when I run. Good luck in Pittsburgh! Kick butt!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Linda – that is a great call as I’m thinking about going more 80’s for my playlist at Pittsburgh …. great stuff. Hope you and the gang are all well down in SC – looking forward to catching up soon. Take care, Uncle Joe.

  6. Lara says:

    Joe, I’m so glad to hear that your muscles are feeling “race-ready” again. I’d like to add a suggestion for your playlist; I love hearing “Flower” by Moby. It’s not 80’s per se, but a song off the soundtrack to “Gone in 60 Seconds”, a car movie with Angelina Jolie and Nicholas Cage. It really gets me moving in a great groove!

    Thinking about you running your taper this week, yea!!!!

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Lara! Thanks so much for the visit and the message! That is a great suggestion as I know that song – great stuff.

      Thanks so much for all your support leading up to Sunday Lara – you are the greatest. Best from Austin, Joe

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s