Archive for April 4, 2012

On Sunday night Dawn, Landry and I did a little celebrating after I wrapped up my final “long” run of Boston Training.

Long is a relative term of course as I can remember my first marathon training plan that called for 5 mile runs on Tuesdays, 6-8 miles on Wednesdays, 5 miles on Thursdays and on the weekend I would run back to back on Saturdays and Sundays. 

On Saturday I would run 1/2 the distance of my Sunday run, with my long efforts on Sunday mornings starting at 8 miles and gradually building to 16, 17, 18, 19 and finally 20 miles.

I would run three different 20-milers toward the end of my training cycle, but the week afterwards I would always “step back” to a 12-miler.

This is a standard approach to marathon training, one designed to deposit a trained but more importantly a healthy would be marathoner to the starting line.

As I continued to train for marathons and my goals got more and more aggressive, my mileage increased quite a bit.  It happened slowly at first, it was almost unnoticeable. 

Instead of 5 miles on Tuesday’s I ran 6.2.

Wednesday’s became 10 miles during my higher mileage weeks.

I added a 4th 20-miler to my training cycle and in fact would run two of those long runs up to 21 miles.

The result – 3:15:01

For the New York City Mararathon last year my Tuesday runs were now 8.3 miles.

Wednesdays 10-12 miles

Five 20 milers, including two at 22 miles.

The result – 3:08:09

When it was time to train for Boston this year, things got taken to another level entirely.

I would still run 8.3 miles on Tuesday morning, but would run another 8.3 miles the same afternoon.

12 on Wednesdays.

Hill Repeats on Thursdays

10-12 every Saturday regardless of my Sunday long run.

9 different 20-milers, including runs of 21, 21, 22, 22 and 23 miles.

The result – well, that’s the question now isn’t it?

In the case of the 10K and half-marathon, the results were pretty clear as I set new PR’s at both distances.  But the marathon is a different animal.  It is a race that is every bit mental as it is physical.

It also becomes a nutrition and fueling event as much as a running one.

In addition to hard training, you have to run a smart race, conserve your energy early, catch a break with race day weather and lastly – have it be “your day” out there – as even the most well conditioned athletes have days where they simply show up flat to a race.

You can fake it for 6.2 miles, maybe even 13.1.

But the marathon will find whatever weakness exists on race day and expose it for all the world to see. 

There is a good chance we run well at Boston.  There is also a decent chance that we don’t.  As much as I would like to think that I will be o.k. with whatever outcome we reach on April 16th – I know that I have put a lot into this pursuit and if I do not perform well, I will be disappointed.

Very rarely do we celebrate preparedness.  We usually reserve the right of celebration for results.

Well on Sunday night, it felt like celebrating was the right thing to do.  This has been a tough training cycle.  Tougher than any I have ever completed before.  I ran more miles, more individual runs, more races and did them faster than I ever have in the past.

So with Landry enjoying a perfect spring evening in Austin, chasing bubbles around the backyard with her high-pitched little girl voice ringing out:

“Bubbles …. bubbles …. bubbles …. bubbles” as she played, Dawn and I sat down to our first outdoor dinner of the year with Steak, Lobster Tails and mushrooms all hot off the grill and a couple of cold beers.

It was a great way to take a moment to enjoy where we are and look forward to where we hope we will be at the end of the 116th running of the Boston Marathon.

A wise man once said, “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it”.

Exactly right Ferris.

On to Boston.