Finishing Touches for Boston

Posted: March 28, 2012 in Training
Tags: , ,

So, here we are.

Less than three weeks away from our return to the site of our biggest disappointment as an endurance athlete.  Just 19 days away from a shot at redemption.  Taking a Texas Sized eraser and wiping away the beat down that the Boston Marathon put on us back in 2010, and replacing that with what we hope will be a best-ever performance (PR) in the marathon.

Most coaches believe that it takes 13 days for any “training” that you do to manifest itself in the form of fitness or improved performance.  Anything you do in the last two weeks before race day is not going to help your fitness level, but can certainly harm it if you are not well-rested or worse, injured.

After tinkering around with my own marathon training plans over the years, I’ve found that a full 3-week taper was a bit too long a period to reduce mileage and intensity and “peak” for race day.  I trained up until two weeks before the New York City Marathon, tapered for 14 days last November, felt great, ran great – and set a new PR by 7 minutes.

So while we changed a few things for the course specific demands that “Boston”places on the athletes, raced a little bit more than last Fall at the half-marathon distance, we did in fact stick with the two-week taper.

Closing out the Shamrock Half

Tuesday of this week presented us with our last opportunity to “push it a bit” out there before we need to dial things back, ensure that we are 100% healthy on race day and cap things off with a slow, steady, relaxed 20-miler this weekend.

I like to change the time of my runs to mimic the start of a late race a few weeks before the marathon.  For New York or Boston with 10:00 a.m. start times, it causes problems for a runner who is accustomed to running at 5:00 a.m.  Your nutrition, sleep cycle, bio-rhythms are all “out of whack” – which is not a good thing when taking on a tough marathon course for an “A” race.

I will be running at 9:00 a.m. CDT (10:00 a.m. EDT) this week and next to get my body ready for the demands of a late race.

In 64 degree temperatures and 84% humidity, I left the house in just shorts, socks and my Asics (heavyweight) trainers to take on 18 miles “up-tempo”.  Much faster than my 20-23 milers have been run this cycle in the 7:40-7:55 range to build stamina and endurance.  I wanted to run this workout much closer to Marathon Goal Pace +:20 seconds to tax my systems only 9 days after the Shamrock Half Marathon.

Rare smile at the end of a race

After a warm-up mile in 7:19 climbing out of the neighborhood, I locked in and clicked off 17 more miles rolling up and down the hill route:

7:16, 7:03, 7:07, 7:12, 7:15, 7:04, 7:02, 7:13, 7:13, 7:16, 7:07, 6:54, 7:06, 7:12, 7:08, 7:16, 7:15.

As I pulled up at the driveway and clicked the timer on the watch we had posted 18 miles at 7:10 pace.  Roughly a 3:07:30 marathon plus or minus.

We’re ready.

Nothing much left to do but to finish out this 70 mile run week, watch my nutrition, monitor any aches and pains and make sure we are getting plenty of sleep.  Landry of course will have a bit of a say about that of course with her Mom away this week – but that’s all part of the gig when you are a Dadathoner.

I can hardly wait to feel those little arms around my neck when I exit the finishing chute onto Boston Common on the 16th and hand over my finisher’s medal to my little girl.  Hopefully she won’t have to wait very long after 1:00 p.m. EDT to get it.

On to Boston.

  1. Dave Spell says:


    Thanks for sharing your journey. You have made my taper and planning for Sunday’s marathon a lot less stressful. Your confidence and detailed planning is nothing less then inspirational. I know you’ll be in Texas on Sunday but I will be thinking about you while I am hammering away in Athens Ohio.

    Boom goes the dynamite!

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      David – Thank YOU for all the great support on the road to Boston. I am so excited for your race on Sunday – it’s almost as bad as if I was running it myself. Run the first 20 with your head on Sunday, the last 10K with your heart – no way you can lose if you do that. Run on David!

  2. Erin Ruyle says:

    Great photos from Shamrock, Joe! You look really strong crossing that finish line!

    Keep on keeping on – see you soon in Beantown!

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      Hi Erin! We ran a smart, smart, smart race on Sunday in VA Beach. Hoping for a repeat performance in a couple weeks in Boston – but alas, I’m nervous my adrenaline and the hype of the race is going to get the best of me early.

      See you in Boston Erin! Nothing short of tremendous the “comeback” you are on right now. I think you are going to surprise yourself at Boston.

      Best, J

  3. Ted says:

    Best of luck to you in Boston. Long time reader of your blog. Enjoyable as gives good insight in thinking of someone a few footsteps ahead of me (well a bit more then a few footsteps but who is counting…). Additionally a lot of the things you write are things I am often thinking about, consciously or subconsciously.
    Get ‘er done!

    • Joseph Marruchella says:

      Ted – thanks for the kind words and all the great support! Congrats on that 1:28:15 half! OU are on your way to Hopkinton yourself very soon! Keep hammering away.

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