Archive for May 23, 2013

After posting my workout on Thursday morning to my training plan spreadsheet I glanced at the “Completed” area on the bottom right portion of the document.

We have completed 15.90% of the total mileage on the plan so far and 17.95% of our scheduled runs.  As our daily mileage increases and our Sunday long runs move from 16 miles up to 22 miles, soon the mileage % will surpass the number of runs completed % and then finally during the taper they will normalize and equal each other.

It is interesting to think about a training cycle along those terms, but one that is well put together really is about consistency and periodization.  Build the strong foundation (number of runs, consistent approach day after day), then force the adaptation (higher mileage, tougher and faster workouts), then recover and get the machine ready to peak for race day (taper period).

I don’t usually look too far ahead when it comes to these things as I have found that it is better for me to simply focus on what is immediately in front of me instead of some workout 8 weeks away that right now might look pretty daunting.  Just stay the course, run the workouts that you have scheduled and leave the door every morning with a purpose.

Jack Daniels, PhD is one of the strongest believers of that tenet – every run should have a purpose.  Even if that purpose is simply active recovery from one tough workout prior to another.  But you should never run a workout without knowing specifically what you are trying to accomplish.  Akin to Coach’s comment about not boarding a plane to Baltimore if you want to get to New York …. you want to be sure you are dialed in and aware of what you are trying to get from each session so that you end up in the right place on race day.

Thursday’s workout was my first hill repeat session for Cottonwood.  Due to the downhill nature of the course, Cottonwood in many ways will be the most challenging marathon I have ever attempted.  That is not to say that a fast time is not possible on such a course.  In fact, if run correctly, the downhill elevation change can produce a fast marathon time.

But just like everything else about the marathon – that will not happen by accident.  If runners do not prepare for the grinding downhill course – late in the race, all of that “braking” that is being done by the large quadricept muscles will take their toll and it will be impossible for the runners to hold pace over the final 10 kilometers of the race.  This is something that happens in Boston to runners year after year after year.  Everyone worries about the “Newton Hills” and “Heartbreak Hill” – but the reality is that for many competitors it would not matter if those hills vanished from miles 16-21 of the course.  The downhill start from Hopkinton to Newton for 14 miles is what sapped the strength from those runners.  By Heartbreak you can just stick a fork in them because they are done.

That was us in 2010.  I had plenty of “want to” at that point – unfortunately, I just didn’t have the strength left in my legs.

Ever since, we have incorporated hill work into our training and that has never been a problem since.  But for Cottonwood, this preparation is even more important as we will be losing close to 4,000 feet of elevation from start to finish.  About 3X that of Boston.

Big Cottonwood Elevation

Big Cottonwood Elevation

Today’s workout called for:

3 miles warm-up

8X downhill at 10K pace (Half-Marathon effort) followed by a recovery jog back to the top

1 mile Marathon Goal Pace home.

Our repeats with a target of 1:40 (6:08 pace) came in at:

1:41,1:40, 1:41, 1:41, 1:41, 1:42, 1:39, 1:39, 1:39

After our final recovery jog to the top our Marathon Goal Pace Mile (Target of 6:47 as it was slightly downhill), came in at 6:41 – which looks great on the training log, but actually frustrated me as I needed better restraint and focus to not run that mile :06 fast.  That will come with time.  I will do better on the next one.

All in all just another brick in the wall so to speak, but an important one as we prepare with great focus and specificity for Cottonwood.

As it turns out we are exactly 1,000 miles away from the starting line on September 14th.  Not that I am counting or anything.

But with only 15-20% of the work done to this point – I have to say that I like where we are right now.  An enviable position with 16 weeks remaining until race day.