Thursday, July 5, 2012

Change: The Only Constant

In a lot of respects, 15 minutes is a long time.  And, uhhh, 4” is VERY large, right?!?! But, just like a lot of things, time is relative. 15 minutes in the shower goes by in the blink of an eye. 15 minutes while talking to a good friend barely scratches the surface. But, at the same time, during a 100 mile ultra marathon 15 minutes isn’t that big of a deal.  That said, even I am not self-deprecating enough to say that after running 15 marathons a 15+ minute PR is insignificant.

But yet, I set a 15 min PR during my 15th marathon in Eugene, OR.

If I were you, the question that I would certainly be asking is: “Seriously, you were joking about 4” right? Ok Mr. Boring Running Coach, what did you do different this time to have such a great race!?”  Of course, the answer is a lot of things – some were carefully planned out over the last 4 months, others were plain old luck.

Consistent Miles:  I’ve actually been in 3:10-3:13 marathon shape for a while, probably for the last 6-8 months or so. If it weren’t for the cramps@ RnR in January I could have ran fast then.  The real issue was that I had only been running 55+ miles per week for a couple of months – two tops.  For the Eugene marathon, I would not only run a lot of miles, but I would do it consistently. So, with the exception of a dip for Bronchitis, I ran 61 miles per week (on average) for two months. More miles isn’t the solution for everyone, but as long as you are healthy it has a very low chance of hurting your performance.

Mid week long: Nearly every single week I not only did a long run of 17+ miles, I also did a mid week long of 13+.  Now, the mid week runs take sacrifice. Less free time, sleep, and honestly less family time.... but I logged them week in week out. I would get up far before dawn and would try to be back to still spend SOME time with my family before work.  Each week I’d really make a solid effort to negative split them (second half faster than the first) and run them slightly faster than long run pace (MP+20-30 seconds).

Marathon Pace / Tempo (Half marathon) Pace: Knowing your weaknesses is important to improving in any endeavor. It isn’t the size of your sword, it is how you use it, obviously.  I’m a good middle distance runner (5K) but I lack endurance. So, this cycle I pulled back on the intervals slightly and replaced them with lots of tempo runs and marathon pace runs. Over time, I felt myself gravitating towards the faster pace without thinking of it.  Not at the beginning of runs, but instead at the end.  I likely am not in the best 5K shape of my life, but I made the sacrifice to be better at the marathon.

Listening to my body: Just like Forrest Gump said:  If I was hungry, I ate. If I had know....I went.  So, if my knee was sore going down steps, I cut it back for a day or two.  As a result, I had two weeks that were half of my “normal” mileage. Just like if your car is making a funny noise, best to take care of it early before the tire falls off in the middle of the desert.

Perfect race day: Frankly, I had LUCK.  Cloudy, no wind, 50 degrees. God himself couldn’t have ordered up a better race day.

Of course, there are other smaller changes that I was the first race I ever negative split, we arrived into Eugene extra early to give my son time to get used to the hotel, I carried a handheld vs a waterbelt, etc etc... but from a running perspective I think those 5 things were the key to success and punching my ticket to Boston.  They may not work for everyone, but they sure worked well for me!


Andrew Opala said...

Have a mentioned how much I idolize you! You could only be greater if you wore a kilt in a race!

Crystal said...

I cannot wait to cheer you on in Boston!! :) Plus get a picture with the famed "Boring Runner". Thanks for all the tips. YOU ROCK, as you already know.

Kate said...

No question that you EARNED that BQ.

Sue's Ramblings said...

Same training plan for Boston? Yes, I'm confident you'll get in!

Meghan said...

You were kidding about the 4", right?

What's your training looking like for Boston? Goes to show you - proper training can pay off!

pensive pumpkin said...

I don't know what's going on with this "kilt" suggestion, but I vote for that.

Also, um, you're fast. So you've got that going for you. Which is nice.

Even when you are kind and describe in great detail how you do it, I'm left all "I don't know how you do that." Time for some poop jokes, Adam. You're getting intimidating.

Michael said...

Reading posts like this give all of us hope, slow runners or fast, there is always room for improvement if you put the time and dedication in. Amazing!

Laura is Undeterrable said...

Another vote for the kilt.

I'm deeply saddened that you failed to mention the awesome person that yelled your name at mile 6. I feel that she really gave you some extra motivation.

It's good to know about the mid-week long run. My plan has those incorporated and I've been concerned about getting them in and if they are even worth it. Ok, fine, I'll do them. Gosh...

{lifeasa}RunningMom said...

All of a sudden any remnants of guilt I had lingering about having to take a few easy days right now for the hip to be happier have vanished.


Running Through Phoenix said...

Tip #6: Let a buddy hold on to your Garmin 910 for a few weeks/months.