Sunday, March 15, 2009

Boston Marathon Training Update - Week 12

I know there are quite a few of you who follow my weekly training updates likes it’s the roadmap to marathon running success. Over the past few days, many running friends, both virtual and real-life have sought me out to comment on my training based on these updates. Well, sorry to burst your proverbial bubble, but that really isn’t the point of these regularly scheduled interludes to my otherwise esoteric running-related ramblings. The reason I take the time to jot down what and how I run each week (and you take the time to indulge my silliness) is so when this is all over, I can sit back and review and reflect on what I’ve done right and what I’ve done wrong in training, and in doing so remember how and why I ran everyday at the pace or the distance that I did. Although I act as running coach for a lot of my friends, I actually don’t have one of my own. As a result, I have to do a considerable amount of reading, self-analysis and interpretation from past experiences to figure out the most appropriate way to train for me. I hope it’s understood that no one should copy what I do or train like me (heaven-forbid) expecting similar results. [Yes…this was another public service announcement instigated by the litany of friends who I found out was distributing my ingenious but personal training plan and using it as their own…]
Anyhoo…now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s see what the damage was this week. (Oh, and by ‘damage’, I’m merely echoing the sentiments of my lower body, which isn’t too happy with me right now…)

Week #12 (3/9-3/15)
What I Planned:
Speed Interval Run: 8 total miles with 4 interval miles at 5:55 pace
Recovery Run: 8 miles at easy pace
General Aerobic Run: 12 miles at 7:10 min/mi pace
Weekend Long Run: 21 miles at long run pace
Total week 13 distance planned: 49.0 miles

What I Ran:
Mon – TM Interval Run: 8 miles with 4 interval miles (5:46-5:52)
Tues – Recovery Run: 8 miles at 7:16 pace
Thurs - Midweek Marathon-Pace Run: 13.1 miles at 6:43 pace
Sat – Weekend Long Run: 20.5 miles at 7:10 pace
Sun – Slow Recovery/Coaching Run: 10.2 miles at 8:52 pace
Total week 13 distance: 60.4 miles; avg pace – 7:20 min/mi

How I Ran:
This running week was chuck full of unexpected surprises for me. In fact, if I had to lists all the training firsts that happened this week, it’d look a little something like this…

Mon – First time I’ve ever completed 4 sets of interval miles
(…all at less than 5:55 pace no less!)
Tues – First time I’ve ever run a mile with Runner26
(…would’ve done more too, but she was in a hurry!)
Thurs – First time I’d ever done marathon paced run for 10+ miles
First time I’d ever broken 7 min/mi pace for 10+ miles
First time I’d ever completed a training run in a faster time than a race of the same distance in the same calendar year!
(So much quality in so little time!)
Sat – First time I’d ever ended a 20 miler by running on bridges
First time I’d ever broken 7:12 min/mi for 20+ mile run
First time I ran with my RB since training ended for NYCM
(…and he simulated Heartbreak Hill for me…what a friend!)
Sun – First time I’d ever run 10+ miles after a 20-miler the day before
First time I’d ever ran with three friends in same week.
First time I’d ever run 50+ (60+) miles for one week.
(…how’s that for quantity?)

Needless to say, this was another fantastic week of running. Some speed, some distance, some quality and some quantity. Can you tell I’m straddling the fence here to decide which is better for me going forward?
Actually, I have to say, despite all the amazing accomplishments on the speed front earlier in the week, it was the steady slow weekend runs that were the highlights or me. As such, I’ll forgo my accounts of the weekday miles and concentrate on how I spent my running weekend.

Saturday – 20 Mile Long Run (Last Eight with RB)
Saturday’s run with RB was invigorating for many many reasons. First of all, he was one of my best friends, and one the earliest people I’d ever coached to run a marathon. Second of all, since he finished the 2008 NYCM last year, he hasn’t been running much, so to have him volunteer to run eight miles with me on my long run was encouraging and inspirational. Since he lives a block or so away from the Lower East Side path, I was expecting our time together to be spent mainly on the dirt roads. Instead, shortly after meeting up close to South Street Seaport, he led me away from the path and onto the Williamsburg Bridge. Gasp! Mind you, that I had run about 14 miles all the way from Central Park and down the West Side Highway to meet up with him and wasn’t feeling like climbing bridges to finish up the run. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that miles 16,18,20 is where all the treacherous hills will be in the Boston Marathon and so spending the last miles of the long training run on a bridge climb could prove somewhat useful. So I allowed him to lead me on to the bridge, which was more daunting mentally than physically I found, and down onto the nether regions of Brooklyn. Once in Brooklyn, we descended further, almost another mile to the waterfront before making a turnaround. The trip back to the bridge and back to Manhattan, was excruciating to say the least…one series of climbs after another…three monstrous elevations to conquer until we finally crested the bridge again and was able to cruise in a long descent all the way back home.
Afterwards, I wanted to kill him for springing such a tough course on me without ample warning. Then he said something during our recovery walk/jog that again was totally unexpected but something that I would truly appreciate:
Laminator, I got to hand it to you. You’ve inspired so many people with this running craze of yours. Not only me, my girlfriend, EW, and his whole family, now MA, and the rest of his folks…and it all started because of you. Yeah dude, none of this would have happened if you hadn’t asked, trained, and inspired us all to do the marathon. I think we’re all truly grateful.
Wow, how can you be mad at a guy after he says that? Yeah, I think he planned it this way on purpose. So instead, we went back to his place where he showed me the marathon training plan I had created for him was still hanging on the refrigerator and while refueling, made plans in the upcoming month to run together. I also got him to sign up for a few 10Ks and a couple of half marathons later on in the spring to help get back into the swing of things. Wahoo! Score.

Sunday – 10 Mile Coaching Run (8 Miles with MT)
It wasn’t really suppose to go down like that. Not after I had already run a grueling 20 miler the day before, and had already completed my highest mileage week ever. I was supposed to have Sunday all to myself, to rest, to recover, and prepare for more miles in the week ahead. But because I felt guilty for not having checked in with my friend MT who I was coaching to run her first half marathon a week after the Boston Marathon, I decided late Saturday night to text her to ask whether she had completed her weekend long run yet. No, she replied. I plan to do it tomorrow…but would love some company. I sighed. But figuring that 8 miles at a 9 minute pace was more consequential to her training than my recovery, I rescinded and agreed to meet her early this morning for the eight miler.
I was still debating whether I needed to physically run with MT as I made the necessary preparations to go running this morning. My body, especially the ankles and balls of my feet, wasn’t so appreciative of my decision to hit the roads so soon when the physiologic scars from yesterday’s brutal bridge run hadn’t yet sufficiently healed. Maybe I could just go, see that she got out for her run, and then go back home. But, in the back of my mind, knowing she didn’t have a watch, didn’t know the park course distances, and had a propensity to leave on a long run without bringing such essentials as water, I knew I’d be worried if I didn’t tag along.
So I muscled up the necessary energy to go through the motions, met MT in Central Park and East 72nd where we always met, and led her on an 8 mile trek around the West Side Highway up to Columbia University before coming back through Morningside Park and into the park again. I didn’t talk or coach much during this run, partly because I was tired, and partly because I was concerned about how these extra miles were going to affect next week’s training. MT though was her usual bubbly, upbeat self, at least in the beginning. She told me she had signed up for Bay-to-Breakers in San Fran. She told me she got a few other people in her office to come out for a four miler in Central Park in a couple of weeks, and even asked me what time goal she should aim for for her first half marathon. (I'm guessing 2:00 for her...) The funniest moment came when we came upon a long uphill exiting Riverside Park and she just stopped, stared, shook her head, and said “Oh, No way!” I turned back and said “Hill Training! C’mon!” and didn’t even stop to let her pout. I’m sure she was scared I was going to leave her there. So she reluctantly followed, muttering the whole way…”I hate you, Lam. Why…why?” Once I reached the top, I yelled back at her…”You signed up for this…remember?” She quickly shut up and followed me in silence the rest of the way.
In the end, we covered the required distance. The run itself wasn’t too bad, although we had to stop a few times so MT could drink from the water bottle (she hasn’t quite gotten the whole drinking-while-running bit down yet). My feet weren’t quite bothering me as much at the end of the run as it did in the beginning so I figured I wasn’t none the worse for training an extra 10 miles this week. After we finished, as I was about to drop her off and run back home, she stopped me and said “Hey Lam, thank you for coming out here with me today. You know I would’ve never made it out here if you hadn’t asked…” “Yeah, I know” I said sheepishly. “You’re a great coach, you know that.” “Yeah, I know that too.”
Wow, two running aw-shucks moments in one weekend! Yeah, You can add that one too to the list of “first time ever”! The perfect ending to a great week of running.
Hope you all also had a magnificent running weekend. Spring and warmer temps are finally here!


Anonymous said...

Not having looked at your prior stuff, if this week is typical, I think you're in good stead for Boston. It's quality and although not high quantity, it's much better than the never-over-46 you had before. So let me put that caveat into my prior comment.

Mike G said...

I think your many posts show that you put in consistently high intensity workouts day after day, all in preparation for the big dance. So I think that this day to day "consistency of quality" is going to carry you, that is the true edge that is making you fast and strong.

All the other details are just semantics. Your body knows if you're ready, and it appears to be telling you that you are.

RunToFinish said...

well I know I won't be following your plan since you are like wayyy better than I am, but I do have a question! If you have a moment, I'm just curious if you've ever had any major injuries and how you recovered..I'm looking to you pros for a little wisdom :)

aron said...

wow what a week!!!! whoa 60 miles! definitely getting your quantity in there, but check out those qaulity runs! awesome week lam!!!

Anonymous said...

You did have a great week of running and way to mix things up. Way to hit all your goals too.

Running and living said...

Nice combo of quality and quiality. I think you won't have any problem on the Boston Marathon hills, particularly after the hilly long run!

J said...

Somehow you just keep getting faster and faster!! It really is amazing!! Keep up the great work and keep inspiring ppl to run farther and faster!!

Spike said...

awsome week of running, and an even better week of coaching. miles never seem as long when you are running/coaching someone...its kinda cool how that happens.

Xenia said...

Holy crap! That was some week of running you had. A-freaking-mazing. I can't even motivate my lazy self to get in a third of your week's mileage. Oy!

Michelle said...

Wow dude you are rockin!!!

I love reading your blog for inspiration. I mean that Lam!!!

When i get out there again, I am going to think of you and all the running you've done and still will do!!!

Marci said...

I think you are deserving of the praise. You obviously put a lot of thought and work into your training, and your times prove it.

The Happy Runner said...

Awesome! Those mile times for your intervals are killer. Congrats on the speedy half, too.

I hope your legs are a bit happier with you today!

Chic Runner said...

You are a running fiend! Also, I can't wait to see what you think is more important quality over quantity. The life long question of miles over speedwork!

X-Country2 said...

Happy to hear you had such a great week. Boston will be here before you know it.

Breadcrumb Runner said...

Wow, those are some great runs. Don't worry - like you, I act as my own coach. And you're right in that what works for you, may not work for others.

It appears you're going to be in pretty awesome shape. I'm looking forward to reading about how your next race goes!

lindsay said...

ok. i need to quit making excuses for myself. you are a doc and running awesome 60 mile weeks. i have no excuses...

nice job going above and beyond the schedule! and with such amazing speed at that!

sRod said...

What an adventuresome week!! Great work! You're going to tear up Boston.

Steve Stenzel said...

Nice training!! Looking at your thoughts and workouts, I think we might run/train in a similar way!...

But you've BQed, and I'm just a schmuck!


Happy Training!

Run For Life said...

Nice week! That 20 miler sounds like it was tough but great to have a friend there for some of it.

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