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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Uphill to Boston. The Best of Times, the Worst of Times.

After the invisible frenzy online to enter the 2011 edition of the Boston Marathon, I was relieved to have planned ahead and signed up within an hour of the registration opening... procrastination, being a strong suit of mine did not pay in this case for many a runner.  Now, this week, the "official" training begins toward Boston.
Chattooga 2009

Like any good program, I ran an easy 45 minutes on Monday and then enjoyed a planned off day (Tuesdays are always for rest and are always VERY busy) to follow the easy run.  To this point, in my 2 days of official training... I have run less than I was averaging during the 2-3 weeks of rest I am coming out of! 

Today though, this changes... kind of.  I won't jump right in ... a smooth transition will be healthy for the body, mind and spirit.  I am also incorporating some other fringe aspects of training; strength, core, dynamic flexibility and relaxation techniques.

Getting Stronger
On the schedule for speed development is Hill Workout #1 of 4 during the next consecutive weeks.  The re-building of strength will give me an extended break from the left turns of the track and build the power I feel I am lacking in my stride. 

Today this means "Hill Blasters"!!  Sounds fun, right?

This nitty gritty of Hill Blasters is to run a slope of 5-8% (that's UP that grade... downhills will come later) for about 90 seconds at the effort equal to a 5k race.  I will do about 8 of these, maybe 6... maybe 10... I'll just listen to my metabolic pathways and differentiate between fatigue and excuses until I reach exhaustion, or just prior to. Lily will run these with me as the cooler mountain weather will allow her to!

...and Then Getting Longer... and faster

When Wheels "Fall" Off
This hill prescription will couple with the reapplication of the long run build up.  Currently I am at about zero for long runs... or 90 minutes with the wheels falling off.  So, I'll be beginning flat and easy at this 90 minute mark and flowing into hilly long runs and progression running over the next 6-8 weeks.  This will be just about the time the speed sessions shift back to flatter, ovally... pace based work.
Panoramic Mosaic Running
The overall approach is to develop a larger base by layering weeks upon weeks of easy runs and marathon goal pace running while sprinkling in some slightly faster 'reminders' with strides and even some formal "off weeks" below goal pace (at very low volumes).  This should be enough to maintain the majority of leg speed I have worked to develop this summer.  The idea being to provide a positive perspective to the marathon pace running which is the majority of the work.

Abstracting Time
You know, 6 months seems like a long time in the mind.  It seems long enough to be very abstract.  In that time many things will change: different climate, different life circumstances, probably even all different clothes, (at least the socks)... a whole new year even...  But- as the schedule for workouts is devised and revised you can see that 6 months is a very short time to develop the physiological systems while providing adequate rest weeks as well. 

It's a tricky business this planning... which is probably why I usually leave it up to the expert, my wife!

Then, Why?
There are a couple of ways to approach the running of a race, specifically the Boston Marathon.  You can take it all in and enjoy it, or you can train hard and race it.  My approach will be to make it impossible to distinguish between the two methods.  As I progress, I will work to be in the best shape I can be for the course and then hope for good conditions. 
  • If I reach my A-standard I will have run 2:50:xx
  • The middle ground is sub-3.  I feel confident 2:50-2:59:59 is my range for expected finish.
  • The safety net goal is to BQ and not die.  So, 3:10 & return to my room mostly upright and breathing.
My ultimate goal is to savor the moments in the training, the racing and the travel.  I want Boston to be An Experience which allows The Sean to grow.


  1. hills. how I hate hills.

    off to run my hills.


    tomorrow. ;)

  2. Hill blasters! I love it. Good luck. Cheers!

  3. how very enjoyable to BQ at Boston!

  4. Sean qualifying for Boston is half of the challenge. If I had to out money down on your time, I will go with the A standard for you. I'm just saying...

  5. I have to think that if you don't run a 3:10 at Boston, I have NO chance in hell to run it anywhere. Needless to say, I'm hoping you are WAY faster than your A goal!


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