February 20, 2012

8 weeks until Boston

On the track in Sedona - February 2012
This winter has been all about running - the exact opposite of last winter (where we were still running a ton, but our lives revolved around skiing all day on the weekends). I'm now 8 weeks out from the Boston Marathon, and the excitement is really starting to build.

Here's a quick rundown of my training since Philadelphia. For the first 7 weeks, I primarily ran easy, built my mileage up, and threw in some occasional faster efforts starting around the holidays - just to give my legs a chance to "go" once in a while. Around that point (early January) I realized two things: 1) My body was fully recovered from the fall marathon season and ready to get back after it, and 2) In terms of skiing, this winter was going to be a bust! So I ended up deciding to run Boston.

For the next 3 weeks I lived in the 140 mile/week world (where I have gotten very comfortable), started mixing in some lighter workouts, then raced a 5K which told me I was on the right track. The last 3 weeks have been another 140+/wk cycle, topping out at 150 miles, and my workouts have gone really well. The majority of my hard days have consisted of tempo runs in the 5:10-5:20 pace range, long runs up to 25 miles and almost always with a fast finish, and then some shorter reps on the track (or roads) to keep the turnover. I've also started incorporating days where I do a tempo run in the morning, then shorter track reps at 3K/5K pace in the afternoons. With my ability to recover quickly between runs, this has allowed me to get in an extra track session each week without sacrificing a recovery day. The "winter" weather in Utah has been quite mild to this point, and it hasn't been hard to do quality workouts on the roads and even on the track.

Now I'll drop the volume a bit and start working in even more marathon-paced (and faster) miles. I'll race 3 times in the next 6 weeks: The SLC Track Club 15K on Feb 25th, the Southwest Spine and Sports Mountain to Fountain 15K in Arizona on March 11th (this will be a major test as I'll be racing against a bunch of elites who train in Flagstaff), and then a 5000m on the track against the college kids on March 30th (Utah Valley University Invitational).

In between these races I'll be doing a handful of marathon-simulation workouts, on routes that simulate the Boston course as much as possible.

Since I'm not shooting for the specific OTQ standard this time around, I have more of a goal "range" than time in mind. First and foremost, I want to break my PR of 2:21:46. But unless weather conditions are abysmal I think I can go a lot faster, as I'm already in much better shape than that. Sub 2:20 would be great, sub 2:19 would be even better. I think after the 15K in Arizona in 3 weeks, I'll have a much better idea of what I should be aiming towards. For now, I'll just keep cranking out the miles, tempos, and all that fun stuff - and keep the faith that I can put it all together on April 16th.

13 weeks of training since the Philadelphia Marathon on 11/20/2011


  1. Your training is amazing and I am constantly impressed with your consistency. I love that you share how you train with everyone because we all learn so much from your example.

  2. Very cool. Doggler here from 14ers.com. I'm just trying to wrap my head around 150-mile weeks and have a few questions.

    1)Long runs are 25ish, but you still have to average a good 20 a day the other 6 days of the week. How many of those are broken up into two-a-days? I assume most of them? Does that usually mean an AM/PM split of near 50/50? (i.e. 12 in an AM workout and 13 in the PM)

    2)What is the slowest pace you find yourself running on your recovery runs? This part has always fascinated me. Some elites have no problem plodding along at 9:00's and even force themselves to do so. Others are always cognizant of the pace and have some sort of threshold, say 6:30's, that they never allow themselves to go beyond.

    It's been fun to follow along and hope Boston gives you the PR you seem primed to have...regardless of tailwind. :) Good luck!

  3. Rachelle - thanks! My system isn't going to work for everyone, but hopefully other find the information useful. I know it helps me to post it - b/c it forces me to THINK about what I am doing! :-)

    Sean - I run twice a day, every day, for the most part. Its usually a 50/50 split, or maybe more like 60/40 (with more being done in the mornings). Sometimes I'll try to get in a "medium" long run of 15-17 miles in the middle of the week. Or if I am doing a big workout, like a long tempo run, that might end up being 15-18 miles total, and then my other run will just be a short (~4 mi) shakeout.

    For recovery runs I have no problem going super slow. I would say on average, I'm running 6:30-7:30 pace for most easy runs... but some mornings I won't even go faster than an 8-9 minute pace... especially the day after a harder effort. I never force the easy runs - that's been my key to keeping the volume high and getting in quality workouts while staying healthy.

    I post my daily runs on the link that is at the top of the page, if you are interested in more specifics.

    Seems like you've been getting in some solid training and have some big races on tap for this year.